The leg press machine seems to be the go-to place for many on leg day. It does not require much. One loads up the bars (sometimes way too much), sits down, and starts pushing the weight up and down. Many leg press machines even come with “spot plugs” to prevent a person from crushing themselves using a weight they should have no business using.
But it looks cool to load up a bunch of weight, maybe even get a buddy to sit on the machine to make it look cooler, and let the weight bang up and down as you grunt through a wicked set of 3 reps of 800 pounds.
Here is the deal, the leg press machine is a great machine. It has many benefits. If used correctly it can do amazing things for growth in the legs. Egos must be check. Focus needs to be dialed in.
When performing a leg press, a warm up set is important. Many do not realize how much they use their back when doing reps in a leg press machine. Getting all the joints warmed up and ready to work is important. Find a weight that you can do a nice, clean, and slow 15-20 reps. Make sure your feet are positioned properly as well. Keeping it simple and basic, feet should be just inside shoulder width and able to stay flat on the platform throughout the rep. So, if your heel comes up when you are bringing weight down chances are your feet are too low and if your toes can pop up your feet are too high.
Keep it basic.
Your legs should not exceed too much more than a 90-degree angle while bringing the weight down to your body. If your butt is coming off the seat you are going too far down, but if you are only moving the weight 2 inches then you have way too much on the bar and not getting good range of motion. Also, never lock your legs out on the top of the rep! This will ensure constant tension in the legs. Locking the legs out can also damage the knees. Do not underestimate your arms as well. Many leg press machines have grips to use as well. Not only will this aide you in just pushing yourself harder, the grips will allow you to be more stable in the seat which will keep your back aligned throughout the set.
Try a 4 to 5 set, 10-15 rep range workout next time you hit legs using these leg press tips!