By Tim Rigby, M.A., NSCA-CPT
During the pandemic, people were forced to train at home or outdoors. A lot of makeshift substitutes for the gym were implemented, such as resistance bands and bodyweight training. Many fitness folks, needing much more substantial equipment, purchased sets of weights to use at home. While this is all good and productive, it doesn’t account for one piece of equipment that virtually nobody possesses for themselves: a leg press apparatus.
The reason for this is simple: it’s big and heavy. We mean wicked heavy. You can leg press more weight than in any other exercise, period. And often it’s the case where you can eclipse the amount of weight you can squat or deadlift when you’re in the leg press. For instance, many individuals whose squat hovers around 500 pounds (a great accomplishment), can hoist close to 800 pounds on the leg press for reps. This occurs from simple biomechanics, which of course is not to suggest the leg press machine is any less legitimate than the squat.
So now that gyms are finally back open again, we here at Fit Deals encourage you to make use of this unique piece of equipment and train on the leg press once a week or more. Don’t be mistaken into thinking the leg press only works your legs in general, and the benefits are spread out across your entire lower half. Simple footwork is all it takes to leverage the leg press for specific, targeted goals; by this, we mean adjusting your feet position is the key to the leg press machine’s versatility. Check it out:
Setting up with your feet about 50% wider than normal on the sled plate will specifically work your inner quads and adductors (the muscles which bring your legs in together).
Setting up with your feet about 50% closer than normal on the sled plate will specifically work your outer quads and abductors (the muscles which push your legs outward).
HIGH FEET POSITION
Placing your feet up near the top of the sled plate, at shoulder width, will emphasize the work of your hamstrings and glutes.
LOW FEET POSITION
Placing your feet down near the bottom of the sled plate, at shoulder width, will emphasize the work of your quads.
CENTERED FEET POSITION
And of course, if you do want overall leg development simultaneously, then simply keep your feet in the standard centered position on the sled plate.
So enjoy that long-lost adrenaline rush of pressing hundreds and hundreds of pounds! Just make sure to use solid execution (it’s the only way to ensure your gains will be consistent) and avoid any jerky, abrupt motions on the descent.
Make the most out of what the gym offers which you don’t have available at home. Get your ass in the leg press apparatus today!