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May 13, 2019

8 Essential Leg Press Benefits You Should Know

Did you ever think of having sexier, stronger and more defined looking legs? Today, both men and women are becoming more and more conscious about their health and in the past people have underrated its benefits. Perhaps, having healthy and good- looking legs is simply one of the things that you’ve ever thought of many times.  Well, who wouldn’t want a firm and tighter butt as well as a stronger pair of legs? Whether you admit it or not, you are simply one among those health-conscious people who want these things. Prior to this, there is a great solution for you. One that won’t cost you much, won’t eat much of your time and most of all it is practically easy to perform. This solution is called a leg press. In this article, you can read about major leg press benefits and why sometimes it makes sense to have a leg day workout even at your home gym.

Basically, this is a specific kind of exercise which is intended for the legs. Get to know more of this kind of leg exercise along with the varied leg press benefits it has for you.

Leg Press: What is it?

Leg press entails a kind of exercise which is something that’s straightforward and simple. With this kind of exercise, you will be using a special type of machine or equipment called a leg press machine. This kind of exercise is one of the many leg exercises that make use of an adjustable weighted object or platform that is commonly lifted by the legs. The weighted object or platform should be lifted or pushed up and holding it for a couple of seconds then lowering it again in a slow fashion. With this kind of exercise, you can have the opportunity to evaluate the capabilities and strength of your lower body. It works to strengthen the different muscles in your legs and more.

It is an exercise training all muscles simultaneously, which helps to strengthen weaker muscles to improve stability in the joints. You feet position on the sled can help to target specific muscle groups. Your feet position on the sled can help to target specific muscle groups. The hamstrings and glutes are targeted when the feet are near the top, with the quadriceps being worked when the feet are near the bottom, and calf muscles when the feet are at the bottom with the heels not on the sled.

Home gym leg press machines are usually part of a multifunction gym set up. The following are the various seated leg press benefits that you will most likely get when you add leg press exercises to your regular leg day routine:

It Makes Your Gluteal Muscles Strong

Gluteal muscles pertain to your glutes or buttocks muscles. With press exercises for the legs, the gluteal muscles are used as stabilizers, strengthening them in the process. If the exercise is done correctly and properly, your gluteal muscles are fully engaged during the lifting and extension phase. The same thing is also true during the holding and control phase. With this kind of leg exercise, your glutes are trained to become stronger and more enduring. In the process, your muscle mass is increased and becomes bulkier too. With a leg press exercise, glutes are essentially strengthened and this is really one thing that’s being thought of by many women these days. Well defined and strong glutes simply make a person’s butt looking great, nice and tight. And with strong glutes, you will be more capable of performing various kinds of exercises for the lower body.

It Makes Your Hamstrings Strong

If you perform the seated leg press exercise regularly you can have the chance to enhance your hamstrings’ strength and shape. Hamstrings are muscles which are found right below your glutes, going down to your knees. When performing the leg exercise it is the hamstrings which are being engaged most of the time, defining and strengthening them in the process.

The hamstrings are the ones responsible for getting some initial energy or force which is used for lifting off. However, your hamstrings mainly act as the block which is very essential during the holding phase and when you need to lower the weight. With strong hamstrings, it will be very easy for you to perform activities that often require a forceful push. Such activities include running, skating, walking the stairs, jumping and a whole lot more. All of these can be achieved when you perform leg press exercises regularly and with the right kind of equipment.

Essentially, you can gain more power for your legs with this kind of leg exercise. It’s a kind of leg power that’s stronger and more explosive, allowing you to move faster as well. Another important thing that you can get from having stronger and powerful hamstrings is that you can have the chance to prevent certain kinds of injuries including pulled muscles. This is also, one of the crucial leg press benefits.

It Makes Your Quadriceps Stronger

If you want to achieve stronger quadriceps, you need to perform leg press exercise regularly. Respectively, quadriceps is the muscle group which is found in the front part of your thighs, specifically between your knees and hips. It is your quadriceps which is being engaged the most especially during the initial phase of the exercise.

Basically, it is from your quadriceps where you get enough power to help you lift or push the weighted platform up. When you need to put the object back down, your quadriceps also acts as the secondary stabilizer. This makes the muscles still engaged in the process but not as engaged during the lifting or pushing phase. With stronger quadriceps, you have the power and ability to carry and hold your body weight up.

You also have the full strength to stand up and sit down easily and effectively. Keep in mind that the majority of force that you use when sitting down and standing up comes from the quadriceps. Thus, it is important to consider leg exercises like leg press to ensure stronger physical capabilities. And in some cases, a stronger quadriceps simply looks appealing and attractive too.

It Helps You to Build Stronger Calves

Another one of the many seated leg press benefits is getting your calves stronger. Calves are the muscles which are located in your legs. These muscles may be the last ones to benefit from the exercise but since the claves are used as secondary stabilizers, they still get benefitted in the process. This means that instead of nothing, acting as secondary stabilizers can make the calves slightly toned and strengthened.

With stronger calves, you can have more power to perform certain kinds of activities. These include running, cycling, going up and down the stairs or hill, and other daily activities and exercises. Essentially, having strong calves can also protect you from pulled muscles and certain kinds of injuries.

To help you in adding up the strain of your calves you need to perform the following during your leg exercise:

  • Extend your toes
  • Flex your legs or feet
  • Push the platform

You need to push the platform as far as you can manage and this should be done with your toes. By doing so, the load is practically increased, strengthening your calves more than you ever thought.

You Can Perform Many Variations

By using leg press equipment you simply get the benefit of performing many different kinds of variations. With this reality, you can have the chance to enhance different muscle groups. Thus, putting your feet on the platform and lifting and lowering it “is already a thing of the past.” Basically, it all depends on the position of your legs and feet that allows you to perform certain kinds of leg exercise variations.

For example, you can put your feet at the top machine’s sled. This means that you will be concentrating more on your glutes and hamstrings. Now if you are going to put your feet on the sled’s lower portion, this means that your quadriceps is your focus. With such kind of exercise, you are also allowed to move your legs or feet. You can use your toes to lift the platform, concentrating on your calves in the process. On the other hand, you can also have the freedom to perform some few reps when you need to train just one foot.

How to do the Standard Leg Press

How to do the Wide Stance Leg Press

How to do the Sumo Leg Press

How to do the Duck Stance Leg Press

How to do the Single Leg Press

How to do the Narrow Stance Leg press

For further leg press variations including how to videos please go to our article Leg Press for Glutes.

Total Development of Your Legs

Many people from around the world have become a fan of leg press exercise because of the fact that this kind of leg exercise is known as a compound workout. In many cases, many exercises are known to be singular because they only affect one major muscle group or muscle. And since a leg press exercise is considered as a compound exercise, this means that multiple muscles are affected in the process. With this kind of leg exercise, you can make your workout routine more effective and efficient. It will allow you to train all your leg muscles without performing different kinds of exercises.

With stronger feet or legs, performing different kinds of activities can become more efficient and easier. It also makes it easier for you to perform different daily tasks. In addition, stronger legs can also enhance physical performance. And yes, stronger and firmer legs look sexy as well and it is one of the most important leg press benefits you can get.

It Helps in Achieving Greater Balance

If you want to achieve the ability to balance, regular leg press exercise is the key. Why is this so? It is because a good balance has something to do with strong legs and the ability of the muscles to adapt to various positional changes. With the right and proper leg press equipment, you can have the power to strengthen your legs. With the aid of a leg press machine, you can perform different variations, allowing you to strengthen different muscles in your legs.

You can simply put it this way: compared to weaker legs, stronger legs can keep you in proper balance. With regular leg exercise, you can gain a more stable foundation or base to stand on.  This is something that becomes more important as you grow older. As a person ages, his base or foundation usually becomes weaker, causing a lack of balance in the process. Because of this, different kinds of accidents are met along. Common examples are slipping and falling which are the common causes of injuries like shattered hips, broken bones and others.

Helps You to Build Stronger Bones

If you perform leg press regularly, you can have the opportunity to achieve stronger bones and get so much more out of major leg press benefits. A leg press exercise is a weight-bearing workout that helps the bones become stronger. Thus, it is not only your muscles that develop and grow but your bones as well. Because of regular weight-bearing leg exercises, your bones become stronger and bigger too. With increased weight, additional pressure is applied to your legs as the machine is lifted up, causing bone osteoblasts. Osteoblasts pertain to the production of additional bone mass which is required in a large amount of weight needed in performing and executing leg press exercise.

Safer Than Squats

The leg press is a safer exercise than the barbell squat because there is a lesser risk of injury with this exercise. Putting a loaded barbell on your back decompresses the spine, putting a lot of pressure on the discs. Over time, this can cause damage to the discs. Because doing squats properly involves some specific technique points it is also pretty easy to do the exercise the wrong way. If this happens when you have a lot of weight on your back, this can cause some serious injury.

When it comes to the leg press, the weight goes directly from the weight stack to your legs, without having to go through your back. This removes a great deal of the stress on your spine that comes with the squat movement.

Another benefit that the leg press has over the squat is that it is a much easier exercise to perform. All you have to do is to sit on the machine, take off the safety catches and then lower and raise the weight. So long as you are moving through a full range of motion, you can’t go wrong. However, in order to prevent damage to your knees, you should not lock your knees out at the top of the movement.

It is important not to go overly heavy on the leg press machine. Many people let their ego take over when they get on the leg press machine. That leads them to stack a huge amount of weight onto the machine. They then jump on the machine and start doing pathetic mini reps that only move the weight a few inches. A lot of the work will be performed by the tibia. No benefit will go to the quads, glutes or hamstrings. However, a whole lot of stress will be placed on the spine, and the erector spinae muscles that surround the lower part of the spine.

Cons of the Leg Press

  • Not a compound exercise – unlike the squat, the leg press is not a compound exercise. That means that it does not work a lot of different muscle groups at the same time. The leg press isolates the quads, hamstrings and glutes. However, the squat works the legs, core, and it is also a great cardiovascular exercise.
  • Potential for knee injury – as mentioned earlier, you do not want to lock out your knees when doing the leg press exercise. This can result in patellar injury or cartilage damage. You are far less likely to lock out in the top position of the squat exercise than you are with the leg press.
  • Because you are in a seated position when you do the leg press, you do not activate the stabilizer muscles that surround the working muscles. This makes it less of an effective exercise than squats.
  • Not a functional exercise – because you are simply sitting in a prone position and pushing with your legs, this is not a functional exercise. It is similar in that regard to the leg extension and leg curl. In contrast, other leg exercises like squats and lunges are functional exercises.
  • The vertical leg press may cause a rush of blood to the brain

Leg Press Workout Conclusion

We have gone through the benefits of the leg press and discussed why it is one of the most important body exercises.  This includes building lower body strength, muscle gain, improved balance if the follow the proper form guide to preventing injuries.

Furthermore, we have compared leg press vs squats including how compared to extend your legs with a leg press it is safer than free weight. This should allow you to decide which is suitable for your fitness objectives whether your weight lifting, to strengthen your hamstrings or quad strength, or simply building strength overall.

We hope you now appreciate the awesome leg press benefits there are and try to incorporate some of the leg press variations into your workouts.

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Joe (Qualified Personal Trainer & Nutritionist)


Joe Martin is a NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC) and Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-PST) with over 15 years’ experience in personal training and nutrition. Joe was also a former New York Giants Football Player and has his own fitness website Jerseyjoefitness.com

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