What is leg press good for?

Leg press

Explanation of the exercise

One of the best-known and most effective exercises on a strength machine is the leg press. Almost every fitness studio, every performance center and every physiotherapist has such a machine, which is why it is undisputed that this fitness device is one of the best. There are different versions of this device, but they hardly differ in their mode of operation.

Almost all muscles of the legs and the bottom are trained here. In detail, these are the quadriceps (quadriceps femoris muscles) and hamstrings (biceps femoris muscles) as well as the gluteus muscles (gluteus maximus). Depending on the position of the foot, the adductors (musculus adductor) and calf muscles (musculus gastrocnemius) are also stressed.


The right execution

Sit on the seat pad of the leg press and lean your back against the back pad. Place your feet about hip-width apart on the footplate provided. Further possible foot positions and their effects are shown and explained in the article Foot positions. If the device has grips, you can gain additional stability by holding on to them.

Now you release the lock and slowly and in a controlled manner bring the weight as close as possible to your upper body.

Then you exhale and at the same time press the footplate up over the heels of your legs. At the end of this movement, make sure that your legs are not fully stretched so as not to put unnecessary strain on your knee joints. Your feet should be positioned high enough on the footplate that the knees and toes form an imaginary line throughout the exercise.

Device variants

As mentioned before, there are different types of leg presses.

The one described in the description text is the 45 degree leg press. In this case, the foot section is pushed upwards at an angle:

The model in which the footplate parallel is pushed away to the ground:

It is very rare to find it vertical leg press, in which the footplate is pushed upwards:

There is also the 30 degree leg presswhere the foot section is not moved as usual. Instead, you press the seat slide backwards with your legs:


Common mistakes

When performing the leg press, it is particularly important to ensure that the knees remain stable during the exercise. The tips of your feet and knees must point in the same direction. The knees are also not allowed to turn inwards or outwards. The correct distance between the feet is essential to stabilize the knees.

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