The Leg Press: Is this Machine Worth the Sweat?

Blog By: Kavitha Iyer.

The Leg Press

Good or bad? Is this machine worth the sweat?






  1. Using a leg press machine, sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. (Note: For the purposes of this discussion we will use the medium stance described above which targets overall development; however you can choose any of the three stances described in the foot positioning section).
  2. Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should make a perfect 90-degree angle. This will be your starting position.
  3. As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle.
  4. Pushing mainly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and ensure to lock the safety pins properly once you are done. You do not want that platform falling on you fully loaded.

Caution: Always check to make sure that when you re-rack the weight the platform is securely locked.

Variations: All foot stance variations described in the foot stance section.


To train the legs in near isolation using heavy loads while minimizing the risk of injury to the lower back.


“The leg press does allow you to use a great deal of weight while calling upon a lot of muscle mass,” says MF training adviser Jason Ferruggia. And, he adds, when used for high reps with a “pumping cadence,” in which you don’t pause between reps, you can pump a lot of blood into the legs, priming them for growth.


Using very heavy weights while lifting through a full range of motion can put you at risk for injury. The closer your knees come to your chest, the more likely your lower back will round and lose contact with the pad. “As it is, there is a great deal of pressure on the lower back during a heavy leg press,” says Ferruggia. He recommends doing nonstop pumping reps through a limited range of motion; that is, bending your knees to only about 90 degrees.


Good. If performed with caution, the leg press machine is a solid method for building solid legs.


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