All You Need to Know about Leg Press Machines

Posted on February 24th, 2019 at 4:18 am by


The best way to tone up your legs and protect your back is using a leg press machine. A leg press machine helps in improving your quads, core, and glutes. Anything to do with leg muscles can be handled by leg press machines. Even with the specific focus of these machines, there are multiple designs that suit different leg conditions.

Not just any leg press machine is for you. Before you buy, it is important to consult fitness experts to help in matching your physical capability, fitness goals, and budget to a specific machine. You have to familiarize yourself with all features of a leg press machine before your first exercise session. You need to know every part of the body involved in the exercise.

How to use a leg press machine

Leg press machines are never complicated. They are designed to focus on leg muscles; while they differ in structure most have a seat and a bar where the feet push. If it is a gym, you will need to wait for specific instructions from your trainer on when and how to press. You can also buy a leg press machine for regular exercise at home. Brands can be unique in positioning of features and controls but the machines are rarely complicated.

There are two types of leg press machines;

  1. A sled-type press has weights on a flat surface for resistance
  2. A cable press is designed with weight fitted on a steel cable for resistance

In either of the two leg press machine designs, you will have to sit and place your feet on a sled or bar. In most cases, you select the resistance level or weight. It is as easy as bending and straightening the leg. You should always keep your feet firm on the bar. You might need to firmly hold on to the edge of your seat with your hands depending on the resistance level.

While high resistance levels lead to better results, the trick is in consistency. You can stick to a moderate resistance level but do it for longer duration and regularly. Once your feet has become familiarized with the weight and you no longer feel the strain, you can increase the weight. However, this is already an indication that you have boosted muscle strength and increased flexibility.

Apart from the weight, you can vary squat depth and speed of your pressing to achieve different muscle flexibility. Legs have multiple muscles; variations on a leg press machine target different muscles. This is why it is not only important to familiarize with controls of the leg press machine but also engage a fitness expert with knowledge of different leg muscles.

This post written by Elizabeth helps you achieve your fitness goals with less hassle and pain.

Why leg press machine?

Why leg press machine? The mechanism of leg press machines sounds simple and an imitation of squats and lunges. You might be wondering why you have to buy a leg press machine yet you can do this by yourself. Leg press machines are designed to engage different parts of your leg. It is not only about strengthening and toning but also balancing.

Here are some benefits of leg press machines

Targets specific muscles

The flat seat on a leg press machine is not rigid. It can shift in angles to target specific leg muscles. You can adjust the seat at either 45 or 90 degrees for different exercises. The seat can also lie flat. All these depend on whether you want to work out the calves, quads, or core. Some machines have vertical orientation that allows you to lie on your back and press your legs upwards. The target in this case are the calves, glutes, and hamstrings.

Resistance levels A leg press machine is a great option to a barbell or dumbbell because of space and most importantly weight options. You don’t have to buy another machine or change location when you need to increase or reduce weight. The controls are within reach for easy adjustment. The resistance levels also make it suitable for people of all ages.

The machine focuses weight on your legs. Legs are expected to carry all the bodyweight; it is therefore important to focus muscle-strengthening exercises on legs.

Protects your back

Weight lifting and strengthening muscles is a slippery exercise because you can easily slip and damage your spine. The back is a sensitive area when performing squats and lunges. While you can be conscious of these, there is little control over the exercise. A leg press machine helps you to maintain a proper posture while exercising leg muscles. There is a low likelihood that you will experience unnecessary pain on the back or sprains after the exercise.

There is no guesswork or much flexibility with a leg press machine. You are forced to sit down in a specific posture depending on the seat angle. Unlike squatting and other physical exercises that are impossible for people with back problems, leg press machines are ideal for people already suffering leg and spine injuries. Proper posture helps to relieve pressure hence low likelihood of getting hurt.


The best leg press machine is dependent on your fitness goals. First check on the features and design of the machine then match it with your goals.

Photos courtesy of bozdoz and Dr. Harry Gouvas (Harrygouvas) via Wikimedia Commons

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