Foot Positions When Doing the Leg Press

Leg presses build tight and strong muscles.
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Want to impress beachgoers with your defined legs or perhaps gain an edge on the competition in a sport? If so, then you’ll need to regularly engage your legs in strength training exercises. A staple in leg training is the leg press. The leg press exercise is done using a plate loaded lever machine, selectorized lever machine or the sled machine. While each exercise fatigues the legs, foot placement varies according to exercise machine and variation.

Plate Loaded Lever Machine

    Plate loaded machines work by adding a plate weight to a designated bar on the machine. Typically, this bar is on the moving portion of the machine, which adds resistance to the movement. Within all plate loaded machines, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. However, where the feet are placed on the pushing platform determines what muscle group is primarily targeted. Positioning your feet higher on the platform isolates the buttocks, while placing the feet lower on the platform focuses tension on the quadriceps.

Selectorized Lever Machine

    The function of a selectorized lever machine is similar to that of a plate loaded machine. However, its primary difference is weights used. Unlike plate loaded machines that use circular plates that you must place on a bar, selectorized machines feature a weight stack of rectangular plates. You select the weight by slipping a selection pin underneath the weight amount you wish to lift. Much like plate loaded machines, your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Placing your feet in the middle of the platform is the neutral position, and by adjusting the feet higher you can focus tension in the buttocks, while positioning lower on the platform isolates tension in the quadriceps.

Sled Machine

    Upon first glance, you’d likely see similarities between the sled machine and selectorized machines since weight selection is done through a weight rack and a selection pin. Instead of your upper body remaining stationary during pressing action, the sled machine foot platform remains still while your upper body travels along a track. Again, foot placement for this exercise machine is the same as the aforementioned machines.


    No matter what foot position you choose during the leg press exercise, focus on pressing the weight through your heels and forefoot. Focus on keeping weight evenly distributed throughout your feet. If you have questions regarding foot placement for any leg press exercise, speak with a fitness professional, such as a personal trainer.

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