Leg press: staging the legs

During the leg press, the position of the legs affects which muscles are used. Find out more and try each variation today!

Squats with dumbbells are considered the king of all leg exercises, but leg presses – also an effective and popular way to build beautiful legs – are definitely part of the royal family.

Medium stance engages the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

Medium stance engages the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

Most leg press platforms allow the legs to be high, low, wide, narrow. Which combination you choose depends on which muscles will be used, which makes this exercise super variable!

High stance

The higher you place your legs, the more the degree of hip extension and flexion increases and the less the range of motion of the knees becomes. What does it mean? You will feel more involvement of the back of the thigh and buttocks, they will contract more. In other words, if you want to train your glutes and upper hamstrings, then place your feet high on a platform.

You will feel more involvement of the back of the thigh and buttocks, they will contract more.

Of course, this focus shift won’t be absolute – you won’t be able to isolate one muscle from the others, so your quadriceps (quadriceps), and especially the vastus lateralis, will also get enough work. And since you are in a seated position during the leg press, your upper hamstrings and glutes will not receive the same load that they receive during “standing” exercises such as squats.

Low stance

A low stance will reduce the degree of hip extension and flexion and increase the range of motion of the knees. This means you use more quads and less use of your glutes and hamstrings.

Placing the legs at the bottom of the platform forces the quads to work harder, reducing the stimulation of the hamstrings and glutes.

Remember that increased muscle stress on the quads also means that the knees are getting more stress. Placing your feet low on the platform increases the risk of knee injury. Lifters who have had knee injuries in the past find this leg position uncomfortable. Be careful.

ATTENTION! Press your lower back against the back. As soon as you feel that the lower back has come off, break off and squeeze the platform up. It may be dangerous!

Leg press: narrow leg stance


A narrow stance (legs almost together) uses the outer quadriceps muscles of the thigh (quads) and abductors more strongly, while the glutes and hamstrings work less.

Wide leg stance

If you spread your legs wide on the platform, then the adductor muscle of the thigh and inner quadriceps will get a lot of work.

For girls: how to “get” the buttocks

To avoid overloading your quads and focusing on your glutes, place your feet closer to the edge of the platform.

Фото: Quiet Corner

Фото: Quiet Corner

And if you leave only the heels on the platform, the buttocks will literally “burn”.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

The lower you place your feet on the platform, the harder the quads are loaded. Usually girls don’t need it.

Photo: Pinterest

Another secret of working out the buttocks is to put your legs wide and turn your socks to the side.

Photo: YouTube

To engage your glutes, lower the platform as low as possible. Bring your knees literally to your ears.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

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