How to Add Weight to Plates on a Leg Press Machine

With enough practice, loading weight plates can be a cinch.

With enough practice, loading weight plates can be a cinch.

You go to the gym and find out that your favorite leg press machine with the pin and weight stack is under repair. The other option you have is the free-weight loading leg press that requires you to load the weight manually. Don't let the big weight plates intimidate you from using the machine. With a little practice and mindfulness, you can easily load and unload them easily. Besides, you're giving yourself a mini upper-body workout while carrying the plates.

Adding Weight Plates

Grab the weight plate at each end with each hand and pull it off the weight bar that holds the weight plates in rows. Don't hunch your shoulder or your back when you lift and carry.

Slip the middle hole of the weight plate through the leg press's loading bar. Push the plate all the way through the bar. Add more weight plates in the same manner for the desired weight you wish to lift.

Repeat the process on the other side of the loading bar. Check the machine to ensure that both sides are even before you use it.

Items you will need

  • Free-weight leg press machine
  • Weight plates (any weight)


  • To remove weight plates on the leg press that are racked near the floor, squat down instead of bending forward at your hip to grab the plate on each side with each hand. Re-rack the plates in the same manner. Secure the safety lock of the leg press before loading and performing the exercise.


  • Never use the equipment if the security lock is broken or unstable or if the leg plate of the machine feels wobbly. Report the issue to the gym staff immediately. If you have pain anywhere in your body, check with your health-care provider before starting any exercise program. Also, never lift more than you can handle. Muscle failure during the middle of the lift can cause severe injury to your knees, ankles, hip joints, lower back and hip and leg muscles.

Video of the Day

Brought to you by LIVESTRONG.COM
Brought to you by LIVESTRONG.COM

About the Author

Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images