LEG PRESS: Techniques & Common Mistakes


The leg press is a superb exercise for adding mass to the legs. It is second only to the squat, although by a far margin, for developing good leg. Truth be told, it is also an ego exercise as people like to report outstanding numbers for the poundages that they press on this exercise.

Your poundage does not mean a thing, what’s important is how you perform the exercise for maximum effectiveness. Let your legs do the talking…

Leg press variations:

1. Foot placements can be varied on the leg press for different effect. Do not use a too wide stance on the leg press in an attempt to recuit the inner thighs (adductors-there are better exercises for these). I use a regular stance and sometimes keep the knees fairly close together (feet straight) to emphasize my sweep.

2. I place my feet a bit low on the platform, after much experimentation. I find it hits my quads better. My training partner (ed: SA Champ Elton Horn)keeps his feet a bit higher up, a position which is easier on his knees and brings more of the glutes/ hams into play. Feel free to experiment to find a stance which works your legs better. Every leg press machine and person is built differently.


Some common mistakes:

1. A lot of people use heavy and push with their hands on the knees for assistance. This is wrong. It is understandable on the last 2 reps of your heavy sets for safety and self-assistance but don’t make it a habit. On my heavy sets, I personally like to place my hands lightly on my knees on the negative portion of the rep for what I call a “sense of security” but my hands come off on the positive portion of the rep.

2. Partial reps: many people load up plates on the machine and do only partial reps, moving sometimes a millimetre on each rep. Sacrifice weight for better form. Do proper reps.

3. Lifting the butt off the seat for extra push: an invitation to back problems.

4. Locking out excessively. Do not make the knees take the tension. Keep the tension on the legs by stopping just slightly short of lockout. This way you work the legs better and save your knees from catastrophe.

 by Vic Veeraj Goyaram (africanmuscle)

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