Build Strong Butt with Leg Press Exercises for Glutes

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Last updated on September 8, 2023

The size of the butt has always raised eyebrows more so in today’s generation. whether it is too small or bigger than what is deemed the perfect size the butt is an area of great concern.

The gluteus is the main butt muscle and mostly known as the glutes. If your interest is making your butt bigger then all you need is to mix leg press for glutes with your daily workouts. But, you may find you need to do more than just leg presses to see significant results.

The leg press for glutes is an aggressive exercise that uses the lower body muscles. During a leg press, the glutes are the main muscle involved. This only means that the glutes receive the biggest load amount. Glutes muscle use can be increased by adjusting or repositioning your feet when working out.

It is important to consult with your personal doctor before starting any of these exercises.


What workout equipment do you need for leg presses?

The leg press is an important exercise that involves muscles that are rarely used. Leg presses are done using leg press machines. There are different types of leg press machines and they offer a different experience.

Some machines may require you to sit upright while others will require you to lay backward. When choosing a leg press machine, ensure that you settle for one that you are comfortable using. There are three main types of leg press machines and they include:

  •    the Cybex squat press
  •    the inclined/vertical leg press
  •    the horizontal leg press

In case you do not have access to a gym or machine, the best leg press alternative is doing barbell squats. Barbells fitted with the appropriate weigh will exert enough pressure on the lower muscles when performing squats.

What to avoid when using a leg press machine?

Before you embark on leg press exercise, your body ought to be perfectly fit. Experimenting with weights will most likely result in injuries. When starting it is important to use weights that are light as you move up the ladder. If you feel uncomfortable when working out, reduce the weight and if the discomfort is too much, take a rest.

On that note, here are things to avoid anytime you are using the leg press machine.

Always adopt the position designed for the leg press machine. Avoid positioning your body in a different angle other than the sitting position designed. This will ensure you do not develop back injuries when using the machine.

Avoid pressing too low to a point where your butt leaves the seat or your back becomes curved. Ensure that the pressing position does not interfere with the stability of your body.

Always warm up before you start exercising. Before you use a heavyweight, begin by using a lesser weigh to gain momentum.

Avoid locking out your knees from the straight position.

How do leg presses work?

Leg Press Machine for Muscle Building

The leg press requires you to move the lower muscles of your body. The glutes are the main muscles that are involved in this exercise and they are located on your butt. So, can leg press for glutes increase the size of your butt? Yes, they can.

However, it is essential that you understand that the growth of your bigger butt is not determined by the number of leg presses you do. Factors like genes and hormones are responsible. Leg presses will mainly ensure that the butt muscles become firmer thus your butt takes a great shape and increases its size.

Muscles activated by legs press

The leg press exercise comes in handy in boosting the strength and conditioning of important lower body muscles. Among the muscles impacted include:

Quadriceps (Quads)

These are the muscles located on the thigh


These are the Gluteus Maximus or butt muscles.


These muscles run from your sitting bone through the back of the thigh to the lower leg bones.


These are the inner thigh muscles.

Importance of leg press workout

The key reason why leg press workout is popular is because of its ability to impact different muscles. More to that, the muscles that these exercise impacts are important for day to day movement.

So, what is the importance of leg presses?

Leg Press Pros

  • Provides an opportunity to practice body posture and achieve high levels of consciousness
  • Boost muscle metabolism to important body muscles which aid in weight loss
  • The muscles impacted by leg presses become stable and stronger
  • Improves joint and bone health in the body
  • Replicates squatting which is a key human movement that provides stability and prevents falling
  • Targets your glutes

The proper leg press works out and how to create the perfect workout plan

The leg press is highly recommended by the American Council on Exercise as it helps increase muscle size and strength. However, if you are to reap the benefits of leg presses, you ought to adopt the proper approach.

Do three to five sets where each set contains 6 to 12 repetitions.

The best weight to use for this exercise is one that makes your glutes tired after every set. A challenging weight helps to overload the glutes so as to stimulate growth.

Feet positions when doing a leg press

Leg presses are pretty strenuous, for that reason, people grappling with back problems should totally avoid this exercise. Moreover, healthy people should also perform this exercise with caution.

That said, here are leg positions that will help you exert pressure on different muscles of your lower body.

The standard position

This is the most popular foot placement. This position involves placing your feet on the seated leg press machine width apart. The standard position is best for leg press beginners. To engage your glutes more, use the heels of the feet to push.

Sumo stance

The sumo stance positions positioning the feet wide with the toes flaring out of the platform. This position allows you to work more on the muscles in your inner thigh.

Duck stance

In this position, the heels come together forming a “V” shape. This position helps to exert pressure on the inner muscles of the thigh and on the glutes. Additionally, this foot position will come in handy if you want your muscles to get the teardrop shape.

Narrow stance high platform

The narrow stance high platform position requires you to bring your feet together and place them on the upper part of the platform. This position allows you to engage most muscles that are located at the back of the leg. In addition, this foot placement is best to overload muscles like hamstring, glutes, and calves.

In this position, you can push more weight.

Narrow stance low platform

This narrow stance low platform position requires you to bring your feet together and place them on the lowest surface of the pushing platform. While on this position, you can place your heels on the platform or choose to have the heels hanging from the platform. This feet position helps work the muscles at the back of your legs and other muscles like the hamstring and glutes.

Single leg press

The single leg press might seem impossible at first but with time, you will easily do it. This position is ideal for people looking to strengthen their lower muscles.

This position requires you to push the platform hard using your heels until you feel a burn on your butt. Ensure that you use a weight that you can comfortably handle when on this position. For safety purposes, the other leg should be ready in case the weight feels too heavy.

The single leg press is highly recommended for people with back problems as it ensures the pelvis is at a neutral position thus minimizing the risk of damaging it.

The Ideal Matching Exercises

A great exercise to pair with the leg press is the leg extension. This is a move that directs all of the force directly on the front part of the upper leg. The  main muscles activated are the quadriceps. The quads are an antagonistic muscle group to the glutes. Working them with the leg extension directly after you have done your work on the leg press will allow you to get evenly balanced strength and development between the front and back parts of the lower body.

To perform the leg extension you will, ideally, need access to a pin loaded leg extension weight machine at a commercial gym. However, you can make use of a weight bench with a leg extension attachment at home. With this one, you add weight plates to a set up at the end of the weight bench. If you have a weight machine at home, you may also have a weight stack leg extension attachment with it.

To perform the leg extension, adjust the machine so that you are leaning slightly back. You should be able to fully extend the pad at full extension and the pad should be sitting at mid shin level.

Proper leg and foot placement is important on this exercise. To work your inner quads, point your toes forward. Pull them back to concentrate the force on your outer quads.

Choose a weight that will allow you to perform 30 slow, deliberate reps. After about 15 reps, you will feel the pain in your quads as your four thigh muscles do all of the work. Allow yourself just 30-seconds of rest before doing the next set. Before you do, though, increase the weight by one plate. Now go for 20 reps.

Continue this pyramid method of increase the poundage and dropping the reps until you are doing your heaviest set for 8 repos. Now do a final; set with the eight you began with for 30 reps.

Once you get out of the leg extension machine you will find it difficult to stand upright – that is a good thing.

Follow up your leg extensions with three sets of lunges. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides. Then take a big step forward and lower your rear knee to the floor. Allow it to just touch before pushing through the thigh and tensing the glutes. Come back up to the start position and them repeat with the other leg. Do ten reps on each leg.

Complete your total body workout by heading over to the cardio equipment section of the gym. Jump onto an elliptical machine and start doing a HIIT workout. To do this, start with a 2-minue warm-up. Then start sprinting for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds and then do another sprint. Continue until you have done 8 sprints. By the time you walk out of the gym, your gluteus maximus will be ready for a well-earned rest!


Most forms of exercise ignore the lower body muscles. But with leg presses, not only will you condition your lower muscles but also you will make them stronger. Leg presses are ideal for strength training and glute activation. Now that you know how leg presses can help build muscles, nothing should stop you from getting that smashing butt or thighs you have always yearned for.

To learn about how to build your quads faster please our article best quad exercises.

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

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