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Leg Press 101 Video Tutorial

Gym Main Variation Strength


Leg Press
Leg Press

Exercise Synopsis

Target Muscle Group




Force Type

Push (Bilateral)

Required Equipment

Leg Press Machine

Fitness Level









The Leg Press is a compound exercise designed to primarily target the quadriceps while engaging a variety of secondary muscle groups. Using a dedicated Leg Press Machine, the exercise involves pressing a platform away from the body using the legs. As the legs extend, the quads are activated to bear the load. In addition to targeting the quads, this exercise recruits secondary muscle groups such as the abs, adductors, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, making it an efficient and comprehensive lower-body workout. The Leg Press provides an alternative to traditional squatting movements and allows individuals to safely lift heavy weights, promoting muscle development and strength in the lower extremities. Proper form, including a full range of motion and controlled movements, is essential for maximizing the benefits of this exercise while minimizing the risk of injury.

How to Perform

  1. Set the Leg Press Machine with your chosen weight, ensuring it aligns with your fitness goals and capabilities.

  2. Seated comfortably, place your feet on the sled, maintaining a shoulder-width stance to target the quadriceps effectively.

  3. Before initiating the movement, take a deep breath to brace your core, enhancing stability throughout the exercise.

  4. Gradually extend your legs, unlocking the safeties as you do so, allowing the weight to move smoothly.

  5. Lower the weight in a controlled manner, aiming for an angle of approximately 45 degrees or slightly below to optimize quad engagement and protect the knees.

  6. As you ascend, avoid forcefully locking out your knees, maintaining tension on the muscles for a more effective workout and reduced joint strain.

  7. Execute the movement for the desired number of repetitions, emphasizing the controlled descent and ascent to ensure both safety and maximal muscle activation. Additionally, focus on engaging secondary muscle groups, including the abs, adductors, calves, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, throughout the exercise to promote a comprehensive lower-body workout.


  1. Prioritize mastering proper squatting technique before attempting heavier weights to avoid potential mistakes and enhance effectiveness. Correct form is crucial for preventing lower back pain and ensuring optimal engagement of the target muscle groups.

  2. Maintain a Straight Back: Avoid the mistake of rounding your lower back by keeping a straight posture throughout the squat. Achieve this by directing your gaze forward, lifting your chest, retracting your shoulder blades, and arching your back. Sustain tension in your core muscles to support the stability of your back.

  3. Push Through Your Heels: To prevent unnecessary strain on joints and tendons, always push up through your heels rather than the balls of your feet. Ensuring the correct technique can be facilitated by curling up your toes during the movement.

  4. Prevent Forward Leaning: Counteract the tendency to lean forward, which occurs when your hips rise faster than your shoulders. Maintain control and stability by executing slow and controlled repetitions, while also emphasizing sticking your buttocks out during the descent.

  5. Mind the Position of Your Knees: Be mindful of your knee positioning during the squat. As you descend, your hips should drop straight down, avoiding any forward movement of the knees. Use a light weight to perfect your form by standing side-on to a mirror, ensuring that your knees remain aligned and never extend beyond your toes.

  6. Achieve Adequate Depth: Unlock the full potential of squats by squatting until your thighs reach at least parallel to the floor. Adequate depth ensures comprehensive engagement of the targeted muscle groups and maximizes the benefits of the exercise.

  7. Maintain Proper Knee Alignment: Avoid pointing your knees inward or outward during the movement to prevent unnecessary strain on the knee joints. Keeping the knees in a neutral position contributes to the overall safety and effectiveness of the squat.

  8. Avoid Looking Down: Refrain from looking downward during the squat, as it can lead to rounding of the back. Maintain a neutral gaze to preserve proper spinal alignment throughout the exercise.

How Not to Perform

  1. Avoid Overarching Your Lower Back: One common mistake during the Leg Press is arching the lower back excessively. To prevent strain and potential injury, maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. Excessive arching can shift the focus away from the quads and lead to unnecessary stress on the lower back.

  2. Do Not Lock Out Your Knees: Refrain from fully locking out your knees at the top of the Leg Press movement. Locking out the knees can transfer the tension away from the quads, reducing the effectiveness of the exercise and increasing the risk of joint strain. Keep a slight bend in the knees to maintain continuous muscle engagement.

  3. Avoid Bouncing the Weight: Resist the temptation to bounce the weight off the platform during the Leg Press. Bouncing diminishes the efficacy of the exercise by relying on momentum rather than muscle engagement. Execute controlled movements, emphasizing both the lowering and lifting phases to maximize quad activation.

  4. Do Not Lift Your Hips Off the Seat: Ensure that your hips remain firmly planted on the seat throughout the Leg Press. Lifting the hips can compromise stability and alter the muscle recruitment pattern, potentially leading to ineffective targeting of the quads. Keep a stable base to optimize the focus on the intended muscle groups.

  5. Avoid Placing Your Feet Too High or Too Low: Incorrect foot placement can affect the muscle engagement during the Leg Press. Placing your feet too high or too low on the platform may shift the emphasis away from the quads. Aim for a position where your knees are in line with your toes, promoting optimal quad activation while sparing unnecessary strain on other joints.

  6. Refrain from Using Excessive Weight: Using excessively heavy weight on the Leg Press can lead to compromised form and increased risk of injury. Prioritize proper form over the amount of weight lifted to ensure effective quad targeting and reduce the risk of strain on the lower back or knees.

  7. Avoid Rapid Descents: Resist the urge to lower the weight rapidly during the descent phase. Rapid descents can increase the risk of injury and reduce the time under tension for the quads. Control the lowering phase, allowing for a deliberate and controlled movement to optimize muscle engagement.

  8. Do Not Neglect a Full Range of Motion: Avoid performing partial reps that limit the range of motion. To maximize quad activation, ensure a full range of motion by lowering the weight until your knees are at a 90-degree angle or slightly below. This promotes comprehensive muscle stimulation and prevents shortchanging the exercise's benefits.


Variations of fitness exercises refer to different ways of performing a specific exercise or movement to target various muscle groups, intensities, or goals. These variations aim to challenge the body differently, prevent plateaus, and cater to individuals with varying fitness levels.


Hack Squat Machine












Alternative exercises in fitness refer to different movements or activities that target similar muscle groups or serve the same training purpose as the primary exercise. These alternative exercises can be used as substitutes when the original exercise is unavailable or challenging to perform due to various reasons such as equipment limitations, injuries, or personal preferences.