Squats got a rap. They’re tough and they work, right? Another great thing about them is that they aren’t done using a machine (well, you can use the Smith’s machine, but it’s only for girls). Machines got a weird rap, on the other hand. Some are good while others are seemingly useless (adductor machine?). Well, squats while great at building size and strength simply aren’t for everybody. Some people just don’t have the anatomy to squat efficiently while others can’t do them due to health issues (that aren’t only limited to bad knees, by the way). Here’s where the machines come to the rescue and the leg press machine can really help you grow those legs if you use it right (or, you know, at all).
Leg Press Tips For Maximum Gains
There are a few things you could do to maximize your muscle gains on a leg press machine besides the obvious – doing regular leg presses.
Increase Time Under Tension
Increasing time under tension (during the lifting/pushing portion of exercise) can make your muscles work harder and engage more muscle fibres into work. Doing leg press with 3-second-descents (count to 1,2,3 as you lower the weight on the machine) is one of the ways to do it. Be sure to pick up lighter weights as this will be quite challenging (and probably not safe) to do with the weights that are heavy for you. Better work your way up on the load scale later.
Change Foot Positions
Leg press platform allows changing foot stance/position, so take advantage of it and shift workload from one set of muscles to another. For example, if you move your feet higher you’ll target glutes and hamstrings while moving them lower will help you focus on the quads.
Do Unilateral Leg Press
You should be really careful with this one as your single leg isn’t as strong as both of your legs. Doing these the first time around will probably have you pressing less than a half of your leg press weight but you’ll be able to work it up pretty quickly. Just be sure to take your time, position yourself correctly just like in a two-leg press (with a natural lower back curve intact) and bringing weight just before your knee ‘lock’ in straight.