In today’s article, we’re going to be looking at 14 awesome leg press benefits.
As you know, real friends don’t let friends skip leg day.
When training in the gym, you can do as much bench pressing as you like, deadlifts, and as many curls in the squat rack as is humanly possible, but if you want real gym bro points, you’ll need to make sure that you train your legs.
DOMS after a tough upper body session can be tough, but you haven’t experienced true pain until you’re suffering from leg DOMS the day after a brutal leg session and you’re trying to walk up the stairs or sit down on the toilet.
To build an aesthetic, powerful, and symmetrical physique, your legs need to be worked just as hard as the rest of your anatomy.
When we think of leg training, it’s often the barbell squat that gets much of the praise and attention.
Squats are awesome, we aren’t disputing that, but as we’re talking about the benefits today, you can probably guess which exercise we’re focussing on.
That’s right, it’s the walking lunge, and… Only kidding, it is, of course, the leg press.
Here’s a look at 14 awesome benefits that you’ll enjoy when using this particular piece of kit.
Table Of Contents
Leg presses are an exercise performed on a leg press machine.
The exercise is one of the more basic leg exercises you can perform but don’t let that fool you, the leg press machine is one of the most beneficial pieces of leg training kit that you will ever find in the gym.
Now, there are vertical leg press machines out there, but by far, the most common leg press machine involves you lifting up a platform with your legs, whilst sitting at around 45-degrees.
You sit/lay down and push the platform into the air with your legs, and then lower it back down and repeat for as many reps as required.
Once finished, you lock the platform in place with the locking handles, and that’s that.
It is worth noting that you should never fully lock out your knees/legs when performing this exercise.
Seriously, there are some awful clips online of people doing that and suffering horrific leg injuries so just don’t do it!
You can adjust the weight by simply adding more plates to the machine.
Now we’re going to take a look at a series of proven benefits associated with performing leg presses.
These include the following:
One of the main benefits associated with performing leg presses is the fact that they work to strengthen your hamstrings.
Many people tend to neglect the hamstrings when working the legs as it’s the glutes and quads that tend to receive much of the attention.
When performing leg presses, however, you can work your hamstrings which will not only help you to add mass to the legs, it will also help to potentially avoid injury during sport and physical exertion.
Pulled, ripped, and torn hamstrings are very common in the world of sport and athletics, and leg presses will help to make them that little bit less common.
Yes, we know we mentioned how leg presses can be very dangerous if you don’t perform them right, but so can any exercise and so can any machine or item in the world for that matter.
Generally speaking, when it comes to injury prevention, leg presses are much safer than free weight exercises because they’re performed on a machine instead of using a barbell or dumbbells.
Everything is supported so you’re less likely to injure yourself.
Just remember to never fully lock out those legs!
When it comes to benefits, it isn’t just a safe exercise, it also happens to be a very comfortable exercise too.
Squats, for example, can put a strain on the knees, plus you have a huge barbell digging into your neck.
With leg presses, you’re sat/laid in a seat and you simply push the weight with your legs.
There is no strain placed upon the joints, no bar digging into your neck, and you aren’t struggling to keep your balance.
You are planted firmly in your seat so you can simply focus on pushing the weight platform with your legs.
Another important benefit of leg press machines is the fact that they’re great for your back and for your joints.
When you use the leg press machine, the machine itself takes some of the resistance and helps you to distribute your weight evenly.
Your back and spine are supported by the seat, and the weight is displaced differently.
For people with bad knees, leg press machines enable you to effectively train your legs, without damaging or straining the knees.
If you really want to burn calories, get your heart rate up, and blast through a leg circuit training, a leg press machine is very useful.
As long as you get it ready with the weight you want to use in advance, you’ll find that you can jump on, bust out your set, and move onto the next exercise in quick succession.
A free weight exercise would require more time to get ready and perform safely, which is why free weight exercises are often performed by themselves if fairly heavyweights are required.
With leg presses, you can jump straight onto the machine, do your set safely, move onto the next station, and so on, all in quick succession.
Not only are you less likely to be injured when using a leg press machine than you are when using a barbell to perform front squats, but you’ll also find that, in terms of benefits, but leg presses will also make you less susceptible to injury.
Leg presses help to strengthen muscles in your legs and lower body, which often can be injured when weakened.
Leg presses will also help to support the lower back.
Some people even warm up with leg presses before performing heavy compounds.
Again, this helps to warm up the muscles and joints and keep you less susceptible to injury when training.
Although in bodybuilding gyms where heavy lifters tend to train you’ll find leg press machines like the ones we mentioned previously such as Shawn Rhoden or Jeremy Buendia, set at roughly 45-degrees, in truth, there are vertical leg press machines and horizontal leg press machines as well.
Though all of these machines work virtually the same muscles, because of their unique designs there are dew differences in terms of which muscles you train.
If you really get lucky and find an awesome gym you may find a gym with all 3 types of machines.
If you do stumble upon this bounty of leg training awesomeness, be sure to use all 3 and you’ll get to see how different each one feels.
When using a leg press machine, sure, you can use heavier weights to make the exercise harder, and you can do drop sets, supersets, and so on, but there’s another way of making the exercise tough.
A great way to get more from your leg press training is to simply adjust your foot placement.
For one set, go with a wide foot stance, then for the next to bring your feet closer together and go for a narrower stance.
By adjusting your foot placement on the platform, you can activate different muscles in your legs.
Some gyms even have leg press machines that allow you to perform unilateral leg presses with each leg individually.
If you use a horizontal leg press machine, you can adjust the weight on the machine by simply moving the selector pin into the relevant weight stack.
If you use a plate-loaded leg press machine, it’s simply a case of sliding a plat on or off the bar.
For drop sets, or for keeping up a fast pace, this is very useful indeed.
Compared with a barbell squat, you will save a great deal of time adjusting the weight so you can get through your workout quicker and get more done at the same time.
If you’re looking for an accessory exercise to perform after you’ve done a set of leg presses, you’ll find that calf raises work very well indeed.
You see, when you do this exercise, you’ll find that the calves get a bit of a workout in, without becoming fatigued in the process.
Because you’ve partially activated them, it’s great to finish up your leg press workout by super setting the exercise with calf raises for maximum calf activation.
If you’re looking to build yourself a strong set of quads, look no further than the leg press machine.
The quadriceps are one of the largest muscles in your body, and the stronger they are the more power your legs will be able to generate.
When you perform leg presses, some awesome benefits that can be enjoyed are all to do with strengthening and building up the quads.
Having a set of strong quads will help you to lift more weight in a number of different ways.
You’ll be able to press heavier weights, you’ll be able to lift more weights with your legs, you’ll be able to run faster, perform better jogging, stair climbing, promote muscle hypertrophy, and much more on top of that.
If you’re looking to build up the quads, leg presses are a great way of doing exactly that.
As mentioned in our intro, friends don’t let friends skip leg day.
It doesn’t matter how awesome your upper body looks, if you’re rocking a set of scrawny chicken legs because you’re not hardcore enough to train your legs, you’ll look out of proportion and you’ll look silly.
To build up your legs, you need to be performing a series of leg exercises that will work the various muscles in your lower body.
This is where it pays to perform leg presses.
You see, leg presses are ideal as they will enable you to target virtually every muscle in your legs, as well as your glutes.
Your legs will not only become stronger when performing leg presses, but you’ll also find that they become larger, more muscular, and more defined.
If you want a set of legs that Tom Platz himself would be proud of, be sure to perform plenty of leg presses.
When it comes to the many benefits that are available to people that perform this exercise, you’ll find that athletes tend to favor this machine when they’re training in the gym.
Because leg presses are great for helping you to jump higher.
Leg presses help to target fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers in the legs, which help to generate the power needed to jump high into the air.
Whether you play basketball, you’re a long jumper, a high jumper, or just somebody that wants to be able to jump higher into the air, using the leg press as part of your leg training is very beneficial.
One often a lesser-known example of benefits that we’re going to look at today is the fact that leg presses enable you to build stronger bones.
This is very beneficial for later in life as you can prevent breakages and conditions such as osteoporosis.
Also, you can discover more about leg press vs squat and which one is good for muscle growth.
And that pretty much brings us to a close.
Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed reading about these awesome leg press benefits, and hopefully, the next time you’re training your legs in the gym you won’t be so quick to avoid this piece of equipment.
If you want an impressive set of legs and to be able to perform better athletically, leg press machines are ideal.
Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as lifehack.org, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.