The Mighty Leg Press

Ahhh, another day to thrash quads. I’ll never understand why people consider Monday as the unwritten “National Chest Day” as if the rest of their body couldn’t use significant work. That’s neither here nor there. The leg press is one of those debated pieces of equipment that some will say is “a waste of time” and others will glorify it as better than squatting for quad hypertrophy. It is however ironic that those who “leg press 18 plates plus my partner on the top” rarely ever squat and if they do, it’s pretty piss poor.

Theres no studies on the previous statement, it’s just what I’ve seen from gym to gym.

 The fact of the matter is, is just like bench pressing or any of the other “big lifts”, it isn’t NECESSARY for AESTHETIC goals, however, as another form of resistance at a different angle, it does have it’s purpose. It may not be the test of brut strength but when properly performed, it does load the quads pretty efficiently.

I am NOT one to say that leg pressing is more efficient or less efficient than squatting as my belief is squats will ALWAYS reign supreme over leg press BUT for a population with chronic low back issues or poor proprioception while squatting, or someone just likes to leg press and it works for them (remember, we are all built differently), then there may be use for it.

The one major problem I see while people use the leg press, like in any other ‘big’ lift is the sacrifice of form to gain that extra 45lbs plate. The big issue is too much lumbar flexion when bringing the weight down. While bringing down 7 plates on each side might seem cool and might get the girl doing hamstring curls next to you to look, slipping a disk or herniating one is sure not worth that girl or her looks.

While leg pressing, there is one main movement you really need to master and that is hip flexion in its purest form. The butt DOES NOT come off the pad. Not even in the slightest. When you learn to flex from the hip and press, you’ll get better quad activation and less low back pain. It’s a simple tweak but you’ll be very surprised at what you can do.

Have a watch of the video. Watch my hips the first 2 reps. After, watch the following. The first 2 have movement that come from the low back. After that, my butt stays planted in the seat and I move from my hips.

Now again, this isn’t in any way, shape, or form telling you that “Oh man, leg press is superior to squats” or that “this is a must-do exercise”. In fact, I’d rather your find a variation of the squat that works for you before hit the leg press BUT with that said, there are still people that believe this reigns supreme or just like to do it. There isn’t anything wrong with it but if you are going to do it, do it correctly.

Move from the hips, not from the back. You do that, you save yourself the pain in efforts of trying to be a meathead.

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