Can You Do a Leg Press Without a Machine?

by Monica Niska, Demand Media
    Think outside the machine when it comes to the leg press.

    Think outside the machine when it comes to the leg press.

    You don't need a fancy machine to include the leg press in your routine. If you don't have access to a gym, or you just want to change it up, try using a stability ball, resistance bands or ankle weights instead. The leg press is a very efficient exercise because you engage all of the muscles of your lower body to do it.

    Benefits of the Leg Press

    The leg press targets the butt, hamstrings and quadriceps, along with the calves and inner thighs. To do it right, you use resistance to press away from your body and straighten your legs, and then control the movement on the return. Leg presses can help you get lean, sculpted lower-body muscles, prevent injury and help you get better at other lower-body exercises.

    Leg Press with Bands

    Instead of using a machine, you can perform a leg press using resistance bands. This is especially beneficial for older adults, those who are recovering from surgery or an injury, or people who are exercising at home without a lot of equipment.
    To do it, lie on your back with the band around the bottom of one of your shoes. Hold the band with one or two hands, with enough tension so you feel counter resistance as you press. Press your foot away from your body, squeezing your glutes, quads and hamstrings, until your leg is straight. Slowly bend your knee to get back to the start. Repeat 10 to 20 repetitions on each side.

    Stability Ball Leg Presses

    This move requires more balance than a traditional leg press. Start by sitting on the ball, then walk forward until your shoulders are supported on the ball. With tight abs, straighten your legs, by squeezing your quads and your butt. Then, bend your knees and bring your butt toward the floor. Repeat this leg press 10 to 25 repetitions, and focus on keeping your core, quads, and glutes tight with each rep.

    Leg Press With Ankle Weights

    Most ankle weights range in weight from 1 to 10 pounds. The leg press with ankle weights is done the same way as the leg press with resistance bands. The difference here is that you will be working against gravity by using ankle weights, instead of pushing against a resistance. Do this leg press with one or two legs at a time. To advance it, sit on the edge of a chair with your hands supporting you on the chair behind your body. Lean back slightly and then press your legs out. This will challenge your legs and your core.

    About the Author

    A woman with passion for inspiring the capability for "more" with unique inspiration; I believe I can value your team. I am a personal trainer, a self-taught cook, a budding author and blogger, and I want to do more. Quick recap: I've written for Livestrong, started my own business in wellness, run a marathon, and launched two blogs.

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