5 Leg Press Variations to Construct Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings

Leg presses can help build strength and muscle in the lower body. To get the most out of the machine, focus on your foot placement based on your goals, according to the personal trainer.

Targeting different muscles can be helpful whether you want to focus on building bigger glutes or strengthening your measurements, but it also improves performance and prevents injury by helping you exercise in an unbalanced state, NASM Master Trainer, Andre Adams told Insider.

Changing your leg position can push your glutes, glutes, or hamstrings to work harder for more benefit in those areas, he says.

Ben Foster, head coach and founder of People’s Sports Club.

No matter which variation you choose, you’ll be using all of your lower body muscles to some degree, but trying different variations in one exercise can help you maximize the benefits. their own, the coaches said.

Outline chart 5 Foot press variations and their benefits For neutral variations: feet should be shoulder-width apart in the middle of the rest of the foot.  This variation focuses on four reps with some glute and hamstring activation.  For the tall and wide variation: feet should be about 1.5 times shoulder width apart near the top of the footrest.  This emphasizes the glutes, hips, and hamstrings.  For the low and narrow variation: feet should be a few inches apart near the bottom of the footrest.  This variation is dominant.  For the raised toe variation: the foot should be neutral but have a plate or block that lifts the toes slightly above the heel.  This variation focuses on the hamstrings.  For the heel-raised variation: the foot should be neutral but raise the heel using weight-illuminated shoes, a block, or a plate to increase quadriceps activation, especially if you lack eye mobility ankle.


Alex Ford / Insider


Leg presses are great for exercises and low, narrow postures can increase benefits

When you do leg presses, the movement is mainly powered by the quads, the large muscle on the front of the thigh. For more access, trainers say, you can place your feet lower on the pedestal, closer together, or both.

In either case, the change in position will increase the angle of flexion (bending) in your knee during the workout, creating a greater range of motion for the quads to work on.

If you have knee or ankle problems, you can get the same benefits by using a disc or weightlifting shoes to elevate your heels, says Foster.

To activate the glutes and hamstrings more, go high and wide

Conversely, placing your feet higher on the machine plate or further apart, will focus more on the back of your leg, glutes, and hamstrings.

According to Adams, the wider, taller pose works by reducing your knee angle.

“You’re limiting quad engagement, so the hamstrings and glutes have to do more work,” he says.

Using discs or blocks to elevate your toes can also help you focus on your glutes and hamstrings.

Which variation is best depends on individual mechanics and preferences, and trying them out can help you learn how to activate the right muscles, says Foster.

“You have to try these positions and see what works best for you. You’ll be able to feel the muscles you’re working on,” he says.

Beginners should focus on the basics, says instructor

Trainers say if you’re a newer athlete, it’s best to master proper footwork before trying different foot positions.

“We wanted to make sure everything was going the right way before we got into those variables,” says Adams.

Beginners in general exercise may not want to focus on leg press at all, he adds.

You can develop better form, stability and a solid foundation by starting with barbell, kettlebell, barbellor your body weight because they force you to move in a controlled manner, compared to a machine that uses a limited plane of motion, says Adams.

Good examples include the “prisoner” squat (putting hands behind the head) and One-legged “pistol” squats to train your balance, mobility and strength in your legs and core.

And to get the most out of you, exercises like squats and dumbbell presses can give you a full-body workout in no time without spending extra time going to the gym.

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