LEG PRESS FOOT PLACEMENT

The leg press is a popular exercise among gym-goers, and for good reason – it is a fantastic way to build strength and power in the legs. However, many people may not realize that the placement of your feet on the leg press machine can have a big impact on which muscles you are targeting and how effectively you are able to perform the exercise.

In this blog, we will take a closer look at five different foot placement stances for the leg press and explain how each one can help you achieve your fitness goals.

Read also: 15 Rules for leg training

Leg press: Muscles that are involved

  • Glutes
  • Biceps
  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Adductors

How to train your muscles better

  1. Quadriceps Out: Bring your feet close (not together).
  2. Adductors and glutes: Bring your legs open to the press with the toes slightly turned out.
  3. Quadriceps: Place your feet in the normal opening with a low press on the press.
  4. Glutes and hamstrings: Place your feet in the normal opening and with a high press on the press.

What is the correct technique?

Sit in the position with your back, waist, and buttocks resting on the seat. Bring your feet shoulder-width apart. Push them but without locking the knees and remove the fuses that the machine has. Inhale and lower the weight to 90 degrees, then push up as you exhale. When you do repetitions, the knees should not bend inward or open outward, and the heels should not rise in the air.

1. Narrow stance

leg-press-position-narrow-foot-placement

The narrow stance, also known as the “sumo” stance, involves placing your feet close (about hip apart) on the leg press in the middle of the platform. This stance is effective for targeting the inner thighs and glutes, as well as the quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh.

To perform the exercise in this stance:

  • Start by sitting in the leg press machine with your feet placed together in the middle of the platform.
  • Press your feet against the platform and slowly extend your legs to straighten them.
  • As you press, keep your feet close together and try to keep your knees aligned with your toes. This will help to engage the inner thigh muscles and provide a more focused workout.

2. Wide stance

leg-press-position-wide-stance-foot-placement

The wide stance, also known as the “plie” stance, involves placing your feet wider apart on the leg press platform. This stance is effective for targeting the outer thighs and glutes, as well as the hamstrings muscles in the front of the thigh.

To perform this exercise:

  • Put your feet in the middle of the platform as you enter the leg press.
  • Your feet should be nearly hanging off the platform, with a distance between them of 1.5x your shoulder width.
  • In this stance, toes should be significantly pointed outward, up to 45 degrees.
  • Use your inner thigh flexibility as a guide to evaluating when to cease reps as this will fluctuate greatly as you execute reps.
  • Maintain a wide stance and strive to keep your knees aligned to your toes as you press. This will help to activate the muscles on the outside of the thighs and offer a more targeted workout.

3. Regular stance

leg-press-position-standard-foot-placement

The regular stance, also known as the standard stance, is a common foot placement for the leg press exercise. It involves placing the feet evenly on the platform, shoulder-width apart, with the toes pointing forward. This position provides a balanced foundation and allows for a full range of motion during the exercise.

To perform the leg press exercise with a regular stance, follow these steps:

  1. Position yourself in the leg press machine and adjust the seat and backrest to a comfortable height.
  2. Place your feet on the platform, evenly spaced and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Grasp the handles or the sides of the platform for support.
  4. Push the platform away from your body by extending your legs, using a slow and controlled motion.
  5. Fully extend your legs, but avoid locking your knees.
  6. Slowly lower the platform back to the starting position, keeping your feet flat on the platform and your back against the backrest.
  7. Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.

It’s important to use proper form and technique to avoid injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise. Be sure to keep your feet flat on the platform and avoid lifting your heels, and keep your back against the backrest throughout the movement. You may also want to adjust the weight or resistance to match your strength and fitness level.

4. High on platform stance

high-on-platform-leg-press-foot-placement

Your glutes and hamstrings are already being worked out by the leg press, but this stance specifically targets them by requiring more hip extension.

To do a leg press with your feet high on the platform, follow these steps:

  1. Adjust the seat of the leg press machine so that your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle when the platform is in the starting position.
  2. Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the platform, positioning them as high on the platform as you can comfortably reach.
  3. Grasp the handles of the machine with both hands and brace your upper body against the backrest.
  4. Take a deep breath and press your feet against the platform, extending your legs and pushing the weight away from your body.
  5. Continue pressing until your legs are fully extended, then slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

5. Low On Platform

low-on-platform-leg-press-foot-placement

In the low-on-platform variation of the leg press exercise, the individual positions their feet on the lower part of the platform that holds the weight. This changes the emphasis of the exercise and targets the quads and other muscles in the legs.

To do a leg press with your feet low on the platform, follow the steps outlined above but position your feet on the lower part of the platform instead of the upper part. Make sure to adjust the seat of the leg press machine so that your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle when the platform is in the starting position, and maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercise.

As with the high on platform variation, it’s important to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the resistance as you get stronger. This will help you avoid injury and maximize the benefits of the exercise.

What are the benefits of the leg press?

1. Builds muscular legs

The ergonomic design of all machines leads to high performance without risking the possible injuries associated with the use of free weights. Applying pressure to the legs focuses on the large muscles of the legs. This doesn’t require you to use the stable muscles since it’s done on the machine and this allows you to add more weight faster. And according to the principle of progressive overload, the end result is increased muscle mass.

2. Improves your squats

The leg press can act as a catalyst for squats because it increases your strength. This is logical, because you basically perform the same movement as in squats, only on the machine you perform it from a different direction and with a different angle of the trunk. However, since it doesn’t require as much balance or stability as squats, it’s easier to increase the load.

3. It relieves your back

The leg press exercise does not require you to put direct pressure on the spine. Loading the spine in itself is not bad but should not be done when there are back problems. This exercise eliminates the problem since the weight does not create pressure on the vertebrae.

4. It’s a good alternative when you can’t do squats

Squats aren’t for everyone. In fact, they are not effective for all body types. There are many who cannot do squats. Or even if they do, with several kilos on the bar, they don’t feel the right pressure on the legs. If you don’t plan on powerlifting, the leg press is a good alternative if you have some issues that prevent you from using weights. 

With the press and extensions, the quads are covered when you can’t squat. If you have problems in the lumbar spine, instead of deep sitting, you can do a press as long as you sit correctly and perform the exercise with the correct technique. Beware of overdoing it: it can cause dislocation of the sacroiliac joint and create painful muscle spasms.

Be cautious

You need a lot of attention to your knees and waist. Your waist should touch the seat well, while the knees when returning the legs, should not exceed 90 degrees. If you are a beginner, do the exercise with a few kilos.

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