The leg press gets a bad rep because it’s the exercise that chronic leg day skippers prefer when they finally do decide to lift legs. In reality, the leg press is an excellent addition to any training program in order to get more lower body work without loading the spine.
Leg Press 101
Leg Press — Setup
1. Foot placement
Place your feet on the top half of the platform.
- The lower your feet are on the platform the more knee flexion you will experience, which can cause knee pain for some people.
Leg Press — Execution
Unload the platform by pressing it away slightly so that you can disengage the safeties.
2. Eccentric prep
Inhale and brace your core.
3. Eccentric portion
Let the weight down until your shins are parallel to the ground.
- This is typically the same depth as proper squat depth, however we are all special little snowflakes so compare the feel to your squat and get deeper if you need to.
- Shins parallel is minimum depth. If you don’t reach parallel you are cheating yourself out of gains.
- Literally no one cares how much you can leg press. Trying to show off with a really heavy leg press is a waste of your time and will make your mother shake her head in disapproval.
4. Concentric portion
Press the weight away from you.
Exhale when you are at the top of the movement. Inhale, brace, and repeat.
Leg Press — Coaching Cues
- Stay out of your back.
- When things get hard, people almost always decide to throw their low back into hyperextension.
- Breathe and brace every repetition with a strong core and full lungs before every rep.This is how you are strongest.
- Hyperextending through the back will never make you better at anything except cat/cow in yoga
Leg Press — Adjustments
Knee pain can be adjusted for by moving your feet higher on the platform or reducing the weight.
Low back pain is the result of a loose core during the exercise. Even though this is a safe exercise, you still need to properly brace every rep or you risk throwing your back into extension. It’s easy to tell with the leg press if you’re doing this. If there is any daylight between your back and the upright seatback, you need to tighten that shit down.
Caveat: This exercise guidance should never usurp the advice of your medical professional. If there is a question in your mind as to the suitability of this exercise for you confer with your doctor. WATM is not liable if you do something ill-advised after reading any of our fitness content.