Tip: Master the Leg Press

Just a few simple tips can help you get more out of the leg press. Here they are.


On leg day, after your squats and lunges, a machine exercise like the leg press can add direct quad training volume without accumulating a lot of systemic fatigue.

  • Foot placement matters for muscle activation but not at the cost of joint pain or lost range of motion. Knee-dominant exercises will always be quad dominant so any foot position used for this will train your quads effectively. Start by placing your feet narrow and lower on the press platform, but work higher and or wider if this allows better range of motion or eliminates joint pain.
  • Maintain a strong foot arch while externally rotating the hips to keep your knees from collapsing inward. Keep your core flexed and rigid. Descend to the fullest range of motion available without allowing your hips to lift from the seat and causing your back to round.
  • Don't ego-lift and micro-rep like a jackass. Avoid a hard lockout at the top to avoid injury.
  • Use a load which allows 12-15 reps to hit failure. This brings intensity, volume, mechanical tension, and metabolic stress into play. Drop set the last set 1-3 times for added destruction.

If your leg press is occupied, swap it out for the hack squat machine. The same principles apply.

Andrew Coates is a trainer who is focused on strength development for everyday people and young athletes. He’s a fitness writer, speaker, and host of The Lift Free and Diet Hard Podcast.

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