THE leg press can’t miss a leg training, since it is one of the most complete exercises for this type of training. But, unfortunately, this is also one of the exercises in which we see more people doing it wrongly, preventing the person from reaching their goal and may even cause injuries if it is not done correctly. Although this device is best known for working the quadriceps, the truth is that depending on how you position your feet, you can work more muscles. To clarify your doubts regarding this gym equipment and, so that you can exercise correctly, in this OneHowTo article we will explain to you how to do leg press correctly.
Types of leg press
First of all, it is important to clarify that there are two types of leg press: linear and angular. They are part of linear 45º, 80º and horizontal ones, and in this type of leg press there is no change in the angle during movement. While in the leg press angular the platform is mobile and, depending on its variation, it is possible to request different muscles at the same time.
Depending on the feet positioning on the platform, the muscles used may be one or the other. The lower the feet are on the platform, the more the quadriceps will be worked. But it is not just the femoral quadriceps that is recruited during movement, other muscles such as the glutes, hamstrings, sural triceps and vertebral erectors are also recruited to perform the movement. While positioning your feet on the top of the leg press platform, you can achieve greater angulation in hip flexion. In this way, the posterior thigh muscles, namely the glutes and hamstrings, also come into play. And if the feet are further apart, wider than the shoulder line, the requested muscles are the adductors, those of the inner thigh.
Running the leg press correctly
Regardless of the muscle you want to work on, you need to follow some precautions when performing the exercise, because in addition to achieving better muscle performance, you will also avoid joint problems in the future.
The first thing to keep in mind when doing leg presses is how you sit on the machine. To sit correctly on the device, the hip must be firmly seated in the seat in order to prevent it from going forward or backward. During the execution of the movement, the transverse muscle of the abdomen must remain contracted. It is very important that the head and trunk are supported on the back, thus preserving the normal physiological curvatures of the spine. The feet must be correctly aligned, choosing to place them on the top or bottom of the platform, as I explained in the previous point.
To start the movement in the leg press it is essential that knees are in extension and not in retroversion, that is, curved backwards. One way to check that your knees are well positioned is to check that they are aligned with your toes. It is very important that your shoulders and spine are always completely against the seat, if it does not then it is likely that you are trying to lift more load than you can. You must be careful that, in the extension movement, you do not block the knee joint, that is, you do not stretch your legs so that your knees lock. This way you can overload the ligaments, tendons and joint capsule.
Use leg press safely
Although the leg press has a back support, depending on how this exercise is performed, there may be an unnecessary load on the spine. To prevent this from happening, it is very important that you keep your fully supported back on the bench during the execution of the movement, as I mentioned in the previous point. What ends up happening is that at the end of the eccentric phase, the person removes the lumbar spine from the seat due to a lack of flexibility. But in doing so, you will be causing an overload in the spine, especially in the lower back.
THE correct positioning of the knees it will also help you to do the leg press safely and without harming your muscles or ligaments. For this, it is important that during the movement the knees only perform the movements of extension and flexion, without performing any type of rotation.
All devices, including the leg press, must always be made with suitable loads. Do not think that by putting too much weight you will get better and faster results. Nothing better than performing the exercise with the load adapted to you and correctly to achieve an efficiency in the leg press. If you have questions about this, be sure to check out our article on how to start lifting weight.
Do not forget to warm up before going to the leg press, for this use the elliptical, treadmill or bicycle.
How to do horizontal leg press
THE horizontal leg press is one of the types of leg press that has as main objective to improve the conditioning of the legs. To do this exercise correctly, you should sit on the machine so that your feet are in front of you, your spine straight and completely supported on the seat and your hands holding the side supports. Take care not to bend your head forward while performing the movement.
Your feet should be positioned in the middle of the platform and at the level of your hips. When starting the exercise, keep in mind that the knees should make a 90º bending movement, while the legs should make a movement and extension and flexion. This is an exercise to be performed at neither too fast nor too slow a pace, so keep control of your movements at all times.
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