A Better Way to Leg Press

The leg press can help you improve your squat and develop every single lower-body muscle... if you know what you're doing.

A lot of lifters don't. Too often, you see people stacking on mountains of plates only to violently perform a couple of half reps. Or quarter reps. Or micro-twitches. If you're not controlling the weight, you could screw up your back by letting your pelvis roll up at the bottom portion of the lift.

Try out some of these variations using a time under tension (TUT) tempo approach to make the leg press safer and more effective.

1 – Wide Stance Leg Press

This variation will engage your adductors (groin muscles) to a greater extent.

    Wide Stance
  • Place your feet wider than shoulder width on the platform with your toes pointing out.
  • Make sure your entire back and pelvis are in contact with the seat. Maintain this throughout the entirety of the lift.
  • Take a deep breath and brace your core.
  • Drive your knees outward and feel a stretch (eccentric contraction) through the inner thigh as you lower the weight slowly.
  • Pause for one second at the bottom and explosively press the weight back up. Don't fully lock out your knees.
  • Pause for about one second at the top before lowering the weight back down.
  • Tempo: 3-1-1-1. That's a 3 second negative, a 1 second pause at the bottom, 1 second to lift the weight back up, and a 1 second pause before starting the next rep.

2 – High Foot Placement Leg Press

This variation is excellent for extra glute and hamstring engagement.

    High Foot Placement
  • Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Put your feet up about 6 inches higher than you normally would.
  • Again, make sure your entire back and pelvis are in contact with the seat.
  • Take a deep breath and brace your core.
  • Drive your knees out and feel a stretch through the glutes and hamstrings as you lower the weight slowly.
  • Pause for one second at the bottom and explosively press the weight back up. Don't lock out your knees.
  • Pause for one second at the top before starting the next rep.
  • Tempo: 3-1-1-1

3 – Narrow Foot Placement Leg Press

This variation will blast your quads.

    Narrow Foot Placement
  • Place your feet about hip width apart.
  • Keep your entire back and pelvis in contact with the seat.
  • Take a deep breath and brace.
  • Lower the weight slowly and feel a stretch through your quads.
  • Pause for one second at the bottom and press the weight back up fast.
  • Tempo: 3-1-1-1

Related:  The 6 Toughest Leg Press Variations

Related:  The Weirdest Way to Leg Press