Leg Press FAQ for Bodybuilders

leg press faq for bodybuilders

The leg press is a standard when it comes to adding mass to the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Most bodybuilders use this movement from their first day in the gym, as it is an exercise which can be completed safely by beginners as well as one that can add substantial size and shape to experienced bodybuilders. Let’s address some of the commonly asked questions regarding the leg press.

Q: First off, how is this movement completed?

A: Have a seat at the leg press machine. Slowly press the weight out, then adjust the side safety handles so that the weight has full range of motion. Lower the weight down slowly to a point where your knees are bent. Slowly return the weight to the starting position.

Q: What muscle groups does this movement target?

A: The front thighs receive the brunt of the work, but as state above, the hamstrings, glutes, and calves also face their fair share of work during this exercise. If your goal is to stimulate the thighs for the most part, you should flex them throughout your completion of the repetitions. This will draw more blood into the thighs and stimulate more growth. Completing several sets of leg extensions before attempting leg presses is another way to target the front thighs.

Q: What set and repetition scheme should I use?

A: You will want to go heavy on leg presses most of the time. There are going to be times when it’s advantageous to climb into the higher repetition range in order to stimulate the slower twitch muscle fibers. Most of the time, however, keeping it heavy for overall leg size is the way to go!

Q: Are there any useful variations?

A: Changing the foot position on leg presses allows you to target different areas of the thighs. You will likely find the soreness on the following days will vary slightly based upon the angle of approach you used when lifting the day before. Gauge this soreness to determine what areas you are hitting. If they are weak areas, you are doing something right!

Q: Is this a safe movement?

The leg press is one of the safest ways to train the legs. Some danger does enter the equation when bodybuilders attempt to go too low. Any movement below a strict 90 degree angle on the leg press results in the pressure being transferred from the thigh muscles to the knee tendon. Doing so with your body weight is dangerous. Doing so with 400 to 800 pounds on the leg press sled is insane. You don’t need to go all the way down to properly stimulate the calves. Lift safe and simple – don’t go below 90 degrees.

Q: Should I include this movement in my regimen?

A: You should certainly include leg presses in almost every thigh workout. It is second only to the squat in terms of effectiveness in building leg mass, and it delivers with much less risk of knee injury. The leg press works, and you should use it!