How to Use a Leg Press Machine

We are here to teach you how to use a leg press machine, so that you can focus on leg day at the gym. Knowing how to use one correctly is important to avoid serious injuries. If you want to invest in a leg press machine for your home gym, we suggest trying one out at a local gym first to ensure that it is something you are willing to spend money on. By practicing on a leg press machine, you can quickly learn how to get the most out of this workout and you’ll be impressed by how much progress you can make in a short period of time.

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What is the starting weight for a leg press machine?

The starting weight for a leg press machine should be 50 to 75% of your total body weight. You want to start at the lowest, 50% of your body weight, and go up if that feels too light for you. It’s always easier to add on weight as opposed to take it off. Every leg press machine is different based on the brand according to Nutritioneering, so you won’t know exactly which weight to start with if you do not use the same machine consistently. It’s best as a beginner to start with a light amount of weight to get the hang of the machine movement and form you should be using.

How often should you use a leg press machine?

Marca recommends that you only use a leg press machine three times a week. However, you can always add in other routines and exercises that target your legs. Three times a week is recommended if you want to start seeing a change in your leg strength. Doing more than three days of leg training using a leg press machine can be counterproductive because your legs need to rest in-between workouts. 

How to properly use a leg press machine? 

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Jonathan Borba – pexels

Step 1: You will want to load the weight onto the machine you can lift. 

Step 2: Next, you will sit down and lie back on the machine, ensuring you face the foot platform. 

Step 3: Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the pressure plate. 

Step 4: Undo the safety levers if your machine has them by the handles at both sides of the machine.

Step 5: Grab the handles by your hips and get ready to press

Step 6: Engage your legs by pushing the weight away from your body until your knees are extended. Never lock your knees when extending. Keep your core tight and back straight.

Step 7: After extending, lower the weight toward your body. While lowering, keep it a slow motion until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. 

Step 8: You will repeat the motion for the number of desired reps you want to complete. 

What are the different types of leg press machines?

Credit – Nate Johnson – Unsplash
  • Angled leg press machines – Has your back angled at 40- to 45-degree. 
  • Vertical leg press machines – Has you flat on your back horizontally. 
  • Seat leg press machines – Has your back vertically straight. 

How to target glutes vs. quads?

When using a leg press machine, there are certain ways to target your glutes or quads, depending on which muscle you want to focus on that day. Thanks to Nutritioneering, we learned how to use a leg press machine so that you target the quads. In order to do this, you should place your feet lower on the platform. On the other hand, if you want to target the glutes, you will want to place your feet higher on the leg press machine. Remember to still keep your feet shoulder-width apart, whether you are targeting your glutes or quads. 

How do you prevent leg press injuries?

  • Keep legs straight and avoid bending them inward or outward.
  • Make sure to place your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Only add the amount of weight you can handle no more. 
  • Do not go fast when using the leg press machine. It should be at a slow and steady pace. 

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What are the benefits of a leg press machine?

  • Targets multiple muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. 
  • It presses less stress on your joints since it is a seated exercise. 
  • It can improve your balance and stability by strengthening the muscles in your lower body. 
  • Increasing muscle endurance will improve your ability when performing physical activities.

Overall, this guide should help you feel more comfortable and confident as to how to use a leg press machine. It is a great machine to use to gain muscle in your legs and you’ll see results quickly. Refrain from doing too many reps when using a leg press machine. Typically, trainers recommend doing two to three sets of 10 reps with a challenging weight. You won’t want to overdo it, so when it feels like your legs have had enough, that’s when you need to stop and give your legs a rest.