Although they aren't comprised of "show muscles" such as your biceps and chest, working your legs is important if you play sports or simply want a balanced overall physique. A widely available piece of exercise equipment for leg training at commercial gyms is the leg press. Because the leg press helps strengthen a number of muscles in your legs, it offers many benefits, no matter your exercise goals.
Efficient Training Progress
The leg press is beneficial because it can be an efficient way to spur progress. The leg press targets a number of different muscles: your quadriceps, gluteus maximus, soleus, gastrocnemius, hamstrings and adductor magnus. The ability to stimulate multiple muscle groups makes the leg press a more efficient choice than other leg exercises that target just one muscle.
The leg press is commonly compared to the barbell squat, as both are compound lower body exercises that target muscles such as the quadriceps and glutes. There is an important difference between the two exercises -- the squat involves supporting a loaded barbell on your back, while the leg press does not put your body directly under the resistance. Thus, there is no risk of the weight falling on you, such as there is with the squat. This makes the leg press a safer choice that does not require a spotter.
Vertical Jump Improvement
If you play sports such as volleyball, basketball or football, having a high vertical jump can be crucial for competition. Performing the leg press may help improve your vertical jump, as the muscles this exercise trains are the same ones your body uses when you're jumping. According to Tim Grover, Dwayne Wade's off-season strength coach, the single leg press is an important part of the basketball star's training sessions and helps promote improved jumping.
Performing the leg press may also help improve your speed. Moving quickly requires your legs to create enough force to propel your body forward. The more force you can create, the further you'll move with each step and the faster you'll travel. Training your body to create a significant amount of force by performing heavy leg presses can help enhance the speed at which you run.
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.