What Muscles are Worked by the Incline Leg Press?

The leg press works many of the same muscles that squats do.

The leg press works many of the same muscles that squats do.

The incline leg press machine may look like something you'd find at an auto body shop, but this massive contraption can give you a full tush and thigh-toning workout while supporting your back. It targets most of the muscles of your legs and backside. By adjusting where you put your feet, you can focus on specific areas you want to develop.


That burning in your thighs you feel doing leg presses? Those are your quadriceps muscles, or quads. As their name implies, there are four quadriceps. Three attach to your thigh bone, the fourth to your pelvis. All four run across the front of your knee and insert on to your shin bone. Their job is to straighten the knee. To target your quads on the incline leg press machine, place your feet toward the bottom of the platform.


The incline leg press is also a serious butt blaster. It works the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle of your backside, which runs from the top of your pelvis and sacrum to your upper thigh bone. Part of the muscle also attaches to the iliotibial band, a strip of tough connective tissue on the outside of your thigh. The gluteus maximus extends the hip. To focus on derriere development, place your feet toward the top of the platform and push through your heels.


Your hammies get a workout on the incline leg press, too. There are three hamstring muscles. All three originate at your sitting bone and run down the back of your thigh to insert on to the bones of your lower leg. Their job in the leg press is to help your gluteus maximus extend the hip. Placing your feet high on the platform and pushing with your heels will target your hammies as well as your glutes.


The incline leg press can also tone your inner thighs. The muscles of the inner thigh are the adductors. There are five of them, originating on various points on the pelvis. Four of them insert on to the thigh bone and one attaches to the shin bone. The adductors pull the thighs together. Some of them also assist in extending the hip. To work the adductors on the leg press machine, spread your feet far apart on the platform

Video of the Day

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


About the Author

Joe Miller started writing professionally in 1991. He specializes in writing about health and fitness and has written for "Fit Yoga" magazine and the New York Times City Room blog. He holds a master's degree in applied physiology from Columbia University, Teacher's College.

Photo Credits

  • Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images