The Purpose of Leg Press Exercises

Leg presses help strengthen the lower body muscles.

Leg presses help strengthen the lower body muscles.

Many women are under the impression that leg presses are for men only, specifically for men who want Incredible Hulk legs and thighs. But bodybuilders aren't the only ones who use the leg press machines. Many exercisers might use leg presses, from the athlete looking to increase her leg power to the avid gym-goer who simply wants a stronger lower body.

Muscles Worked

The leg press is considered to be a compound exercise because it involves the movement of two joints, the hips and the knees. The leg press targets the lower body muscles in the hips, butt and legs. The primary muscles worked during a leg press are the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Proper Form

To perform a leg press, sit in the machine with your back flat against the back rest. Place your feet on the foot plate so they are at a 90-degree angle. Use your hands to hold the handles throughout the movement to keep your back pressed against the rest. Slowly extend your legs. Do not fully lock them out. Bring your knees back in to your chest to starting position.

Leg Press Workout

When you first begin a new weight lifting routine, start with a lighter weight until you understand how to perform the move with proper form. Start the leg press with a light enough weight to perform 12 repetitions. If you can perform more than 12, increase the weight. Your target should be three sets of 12 repetitions of leg presses.

Safety and Ease of Use

Unlike other leg exercises, the leg press requires no real balance or coordination to perform properly. It is a very accessible machine and can be used even by beginners. The only warning with leg presses is to use a weight suitable for you. Do not use the weight someone else has left on the machine, because you could overstrain and hurt yourself.

 

About the Author

Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.

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