Tip: The Leg Press and Real Strength

Can you build strength in the leg press, or is it nonfunctional? Coach Carter lays the smack down here.

Some coaches say the leg press is worthless. Probably those "functional" coaches who have people balancing on a Swiss ball while juggling a couple of midgets.

Here's the funny thing about these clowns – they had to change the term to "functional strength" because, as one might guess, the leg press and other machines can in fact be used to build strength!

So they couldn't say, "Well, machines don't build strength." Clearly they do. And don't even get me started on the ass-hats who don't like the Smith machine because "it locks the lifter into a specific pattern and makes it more dangerous" or because it "doesn't work the stabilizers." Sheep.

Where Was I? Oh Yeah, the Leg Press.

In 2012 researchers did a study to examine strength training in older women, using all machines. Leg press, leg extension, etc. After 12 weeks, all these wonderful ladies increased their jumping ability. And the number of bodyweight squats they could do in 30 seconds increased by a whopping 18 reps.

Sounds functional, right?

There's a multitude of studies using the leg press to establish an increase in real life strength (running, walking, jumping, etc.) across virtually every demographic. They all end up showing the same thing. If you get stronger on the leg press, you end up with stronger quads in real life... not Matrix-style quads that only exist in a virtual reality.

Then there's decades of anecdotal evidence by virtually every experienced lifter on the planet who has done hard sets of leg presses for extended periods of time. What they ended up with was bigger and stronger legs.

Few things irritate me more than dogmatic strength coaches who believe that the answer to every question exists within a squat rack. It doesn't.