How To Do The Leg Press: An Advanced Guide

Leg press

The Leg Press is a vital exercise that most fitness trainers quite often neglect. It is an extremely important exercise used by lots of weightlifters, bodybuilders, coaches, and athletes. This exercise is beneficial for increasing the strength of the legs. Some people believe that this exercise is mainly performed to increase the leg’s power, but the fact is that this exercise helps improve the condition of the lower back muscles too.

In this article, The Treasure Tales provides a good insight into Leg press and how to perform it so that you can do it right every time.

What is leg press?

The leg press is an extremely compound exercise where the person pushing weight against them with their legs does a variety of repetitions. The origin of the term leg press exercise is actually quite confusing, as it is often used interchangeably with the bench press. However, the leg press is clearly different from the bench press as the latter involves the person holding a barbell with their arms crossed over their chest while they are standing with their feet apart. The leg press workout, however, is used to measure an individual’s lower leg strength.

This exercise will place most of your weight behind your legs and use your thighs, quadriceps, and calf muscles to support your torso. Since your legs are the heaviest part of your body, this will require you to use a great deal of strength to lift the weight. However, if you have strong legs, you will be able to lift the weight more effectively.

There are many advantages that a person can derive from doing leg presses, such as building leg muscle, increasing the strength of the back, developing posture, toning the thighs, and also obtaining a flat stomach.

So if you are looking to build up your strong legs, you should consider including the leg press in your fitness routine. It will certainly help you develop your core muscles, your ability to move your legs, and your leg power.

How to do the leg press?

To know how to do the leg press properly, you must know how this exercise is done. This way, you will be able to identify the right way to go about performing them. One of the basic principles about doing leg press workout is that you will need to bend your knees while using the leg press machine to lift your body up. For you to be able to get this right, you will need to follow some simple instructions.

The first step or the initial stage of doing the leg press is warming up. Warm-ups are always done before any physical work out activity. It is essential to do the warm-ups so that your body can prepare itself for the workout. When you start, the ideal time to do the warm-ups would be when you are just about to start your workout routine. In this way, you can ensure that you are not using muscles that are not toned.

Second, make sure that your thighs are slightly wider than your hip creases. Your feet should be placed apart equal to the distance between your ankle and your knee. When you are done with your legs, you will then position your hands on the sides of your hips and your upper body, then your thighs. To keep your balance, you will then raise your torso off the ground with the help of your arms. Ensure that you keep your back straight and use your legs for support as you raise your upper body.

To get the most out of your workout when you are doing the leg, you should focus on the tension in your leg muscles. You should not do the exercise if you are stiff or have less than 2 pounds of weight. To do the proper exercise, it is important that you have to be stiff enough, and you must ensure that you have enough weight on your legs before starting to do the exercise. If you do not do the exercise properly, it will not be effective on your legs’ muscle tissues because the weight distributed in the different muscles in your legs will not be given the right amount of attention.

Fourth, To start with, you need to lay flat on the machine and then place your foot on the footplate of the leg press machine. Make sure that your knee is bent and you are using enough pressure when you are pressing the footplate. Make sure that you do not go beyond your shoulder. It is important to keep your back straight as you press the footplate so that you will be able to gain maximum results from the exercise.

Now take your leg up and extend it as far as you can. Stop when your thigh reaches a point where you feel the pain coming from the front of your leg. Hold that position for few seconds before going back to the starting position. Repeat these steps until you do not feel any pain coming from your thighs.

When you are doing the leg press on the machine, you will notice that your legs’ movement is made into a series of levers. These levers allow you to do a full range of leg exercises. You should be careful when using the lever because you will be straining your muscles in your legs. If you have been training for a while, you should already be aware of the strain placed on your body, and it will be easier for you to get a better and more complete leg lift with the machine.

What are the benefits of the leg press?

Benefits of leg press

1. Helps you get a better physique

This exercise helps you target your back, and let’s not forget your calves, which are very important to your physique. You see, your legs are the same core body part as your back and calves, and if you want to build them, you should exercise them. They are challenging to exercise manually, so you should always include a good workout routine that targets them.

2. Helps you build strong gluteal muscles

Gluteal muscles play a vital role in the body as they help you in the sports like running, sprinting, etc. If you do not have strong gluteal muscles, you will not be able to run fast, jump higher, or do any sports.

3. Helps you get a stronger back

You should always do leg press for the maximum amount of time. This helps you get the most out of this exercise. Try your best to extend your legs as much as you can. Once you can extend your legs, you should immediately grab the bar and do an instant knee extension. This exercise helps you to get rid of excess fats in the body and makes your back leaner.

4. Helps you get a better posture

Most of you spend a lot of time sitting on chairs. This habit has to be eliminated as it does not contribute to your good health. While exercising always try to keep your back straight, sit with your feet flat on the floor, and use your arms to support your lower back. This will help you get a good posture, and you will look slimmer.

5. Helps you define your legs

You might probably be wondering how this can be possible, especially if you have been doing leg presses for so long already. Basically, when you do leg press exercises, you will be able to achieve an optimum degree of difficulty to work out the right muscle groups. When you are at maximum contraction in these particular exercises, you will be able to define your legs.

These are just some of the many benefits of leg press. Always remember that if you want to get a slim waistline, then you have to work hard so that your abdominal muscles remain tone and strong. So follow all these steps for improved results.

Which muscles do leg press work?

Most bodybuilders know the importance of leg press. In fact, most of them would even go as far as saying that it’s one of their best exercises. There are a lot of people who would also agree with this claim, and they include amateur bodybuilders. The reason why this workout is so popular is that they really work on your legs. Aside from working on your leg muscles, there are other benefits that you can get from doing them.

So which muscles do leg press workout work?

Four main muscles make up your leg muscles, so you can expect that this exercise will target these parts of the body. Those four muscles are the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and calves. 

1. Quadriceps 

The leg press exercise works out the quads first. They are located on the front of the thighs just below the kneecap and are responsible for creating an incredible amount of forwarding momentum. This is what helps you push against the upward movement of the weight. Strengthening your quads will make your leg muscles stronger and bigger. This means that the exercise will be more effective in building muscle mass.

2. Hamstrings

 Hamstrings are the muscles that are mostly used when you do leg press exercises. So, since it’s part of leg pressing, then it should be worked out. It’s important to keep a balanced form when doing this, so don’t make the common mistake of focusing only on your biceps. Doing the exercise wrong will only result in injuries.

3. Gluteal muscles 

They are responsible for the leg’s inward rotation motion when doing the leg press. This gluteal function is responsible for the true, explosive strength of the legs, but we mustn’t neglect other smaller muscles that also play a huge role in getting the best results. For example, other muscle fibers should be emphasized with this exercise.

4. Calves 

Calves aren’t actually part of the leg muscles, but they’re important in getting the right results. Crunches will only work if you train your calves to grow. You can achieve this by doing the leg press workout. It’s important to focus mainly on the inner leg; here, you focus on raising your heels and flexing your foot while contracting your quadriceps, allowing the weight to be pulled from your lower back. Your calf muscles may be strong, but they’re not that big. For this to be effective, you need to train with weights and focus primarily on the inner leg. A very effective way to build up your calves is by using ankle weights. By having an assistant lift your ankles for you as you do your leg press, you’ll be able to work your calves to their fullest potential.

Who should perform leg presses?

Leg press is among the most effective leg exercises that can help build solid legs and arm muscles. However, some people don’t perform them very well. To help you gain better results, here are some recommendations for those who should perform leg presses. Keep in mind that different individuals have different goals when performing this exercise, so follow this to gain the maximum benefits from this exercise.

1. Individuals

Those with lower back problems should perform seated leg presses since their main goal is to strengthen the glutes. The Gluteus maximus is a smaller muscle group between the buttocks and hamstrings. Most athletes and weight trainers recommend the use of leg presses to train and strengthen the glutes.

2. Strength Athletes and Powerlifters

There are different training programs for different types of athletes and strength builders. For example, athletes need to have strong quads to run fast and jump higher, while powerlifters train their bodies for strength in the squatting position. Leg press is among the most challenging exercises out there, so most athletes and powerlifters focus on increasing strength in this specific exercise. When performing leg presses, an athlete or powerlifter should try to engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip flexors, but not the calf muscles. If the legs are weak, the athlete won’t be able to press as low. If the legs are strong, he/she can press much lower.

3. Strength Trainers

Most professional weight trainers and athletes do not recommend leg presses because they tend to increase the squatting motion instead of working the glutes. They are instead recommended for strengthening quads, glutes, and hip flexors. It is important to keep in mind that leg presses are harder on the knees than squats, so runners or weightlifters with knee pain problems may want to avoid leg presses altogether. However, if you are a runner, leg presses can help you develop your quads and hip flexors without decreasing your squatting. Also, if you are a powerlifter, you should think twice about leg presses because squats are much more effective than leg presses for building strength and power.

4. Bodybuilders and Fitness Models

Leg presses are great for bodybuilders because they increase quadriceps strength, which helps them perform massive workouts. Bodybuilders also use them to strengthen the calves, hamstrings, and hips, so they do not have to stop their squats to work the quads. Fitness models generally prefer leg presses over squats because they feel stronger, especially when weight is applied to the feet and legs. However, leg presses also stretch the hamstrings, making it difficult for athletes or bodybuilders to squat and then hold their legs out.

5. Anyone

In general, anyone who wants to increase their overall strength and power will be better off doing leg press exercises. Even if you have muscular legs already, leg presses will help you build strength in the calf and gluteus muscles and increase your total thigh size. Of course, this does not mean you should not squat. Leg pressing will help increase quadriceps strength, but squats are a better choice if you do not have a lot of quadriceps strength.

What are the mistakes you should avoid doing the leg press?

The leg press

Many people make the mistake of not doing the leg press correctly. They do not know that they have to exercise this part of their body, but they feel that if they do not do it right, it will not be effective. This is a vital exercise, and it is very important to do the right number of reps. If you do more than you should, you will be burning yourself out early, while if you do less than you should, you will end up hurting your legs and not increasing muscle size. Here is what you need to know about doing this exercise the wrong way.

First, you should always work out the whole body with exercises like squats and deadlifts. You get great-looking legs when you exercise these parts of the body. You also get excellent core strength with them, which is extremely important for running and other activities. If you want to get big muscular legs, you need to be focusing on getting the proper amount of leg presses.

Second, you should do the leg press the proper way. Many people like to cheat by using their legs to do the motion instead of doing them correctly. This doesn’t seem right, and you can easily injure yourself if you keep doing it this way. Try to get in the habit of using your legs only for the motion.

Third, you should avoid overworking the shoulder area. The scapula, or the shoulder blade, is the area on the front side of the chest used to protect the neck and the spine. When exercising the scapula, you should only use light resistance and get up to the barbell first. It is best to work the scapula on the same plane as the rest of your upper body. As you increase the weight on the barbell, you will get stronger and use heavier weights to perform the perfect leg press. When exercising the scapula, use a light weight and perform small repetitive motions.

Fourth, you should avoid wearing gear that is too big. While some people think it is cool to wear light workout clothes when working out, you should also make sure that the clothes you wear are comfortable enough to perform the exercise properly. Wearing too big and bulky workout clothes can make it hard to breathe, which can make you injure yourself. Besides, many people are tempted to wear tape on their legs and other areas to make them look better. Avoid wearing tape since it can cause permanent damage to your legs and lower body.

Fifth, you should avoid doing this workout while lying on the floor. Doing this exercise while lying on the ground can cause severe back injuries. If you do happen to lie on the floor, make sure you have one foot on the floor and another on a chair or wall. Doing so will prevent slipping and will increase your chances of avoiding injury.

Safety and precautions | Leg press

So, you’re standing in the middle of a leg press exercise, and you have your dumbbells at your sides. You give one dumbbell to each leg, stand up and extend your arms as far above your head as possible, then lower the weights down to your feet, locking your knees. The hip flexors have already been contracted and pulled, so that is why your upper body is forced to bear the weight. That is what this exercise is, working the hamstrings to fatigue. Here are some safety and precautions to consider to prevent injury and maximize the effectiveness of your workout.

First, always use proper form when performing leg presses. As previously mentioned, your hamstrings are the primary muscle group worked during the workout, so it is important to engage these muscles when pressing. You should also maintain proper form for a few seconds after the last repetition to ensure that you are performing the exercise correctly. This will help prevent injury and decrease the amount of time it takes you to complete the exercise.

Next, make sure that you are placing the footplate’s weight on the heels of your feet rather than on your toes. If you try to perform the leg press while your toes are on the footplate, you may end up putting pressure on the backs of your calves, causing them to flare up or, worse, develop tears. Remember that leg presses can also cause the same problems with your lower back that you currently suffer from. For this reason, as well as prevent developing similar injuries, never use the exercise machines for the extended periods that you may be tempted to.

Always make sure that you don’t contract your quadriceps more than they are supposed to. Unfortunately, this often results in a bulge between the front of your thighs and the back of your knees. Because this puts pressure on your back, it can lead to strained back ligaments, torn cartilage, and even a slipped disk. You mustn’t increase the tension in your calf muscles during the leg press exercise because doing so will cause the muscle to grow in size, which may cause your back to become unstable. This can lead to pain, instability, and even damage to the back.

Another common precaution is that many people assume that if they perform leg press with bad form, they can avoid any potentially damaging activity. Unfortunately, attempting to perform this exercise while lifting your knees is a mistake that leads many people to strain their backs, shoulders, and even their kidneys and heart. If you are going to perform with bad form, make sure you are fully aware of exactly how much force you are applying to your knees so that you are protecting yourself against a possible onset of the injury. Additionally, remember that you cannot use the leg press machine for the extended periods that you may be tempted to.

Although leg press can strengthen your legs and provide you with a terrific core workout, they should not be used as the sole source of a workout routine. For those who are serious about building muscle mass and developing a solid physique, remember to use a wide variety of exercises in addition to leg presses, such as squats, chest presses, triceps kickbacks, and other upper body movements. Besides, make sure you always perform your workout with proper form. Also, remember that working your quads alone will not provide you with the results you desire, so be sure to include a robust secondary exercise, such as calf raises, in your workout program.

Also read:

How To Do The Vertical Leg Crunch For Stronger Abs And Core

An Advanced Guide to Lunges: What Happens If You Do Lunges Every day?

Deadlift Workout: The Ultimate Guide to Deadlifting


Once you have mastered the art of leg press, you will find that other upper body exercises will seem easier to perform. You may even find that the leg press has become second nature to you. It is important to push yourself and not to get comfortable with any exercise.

Make sure that you take the time to learn all of the techniques that are involved with this exercise so that you will be able to perform the exercise correctly each time. Once you have learned how to perform it correctly, you will find that you can do the exercise with ease.

Hopefully, this article gives you enough information on how to do it correctly. It’s a great way to build up your thighs, and it really helps if you have a strong core to support the movement. Good luck!

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