Leg press – How to do the exercise – What to Avoid and Proper Form
The leg press is a particular type of exercise with weight when one pushes some weight away from their body using their legs. Remember to be careful with this exercise. It works on the hamstring, calves, gluteus maximus and quadriceps. It is done with the use of machine weights. Before performing, it set the stopper on the machine so that the weight does not fall lower in case you lose control of it.
How to perform it
First, of course, you will need to use a leg press machine. Sit down on it. Directly in front of you will be a platform where you should place your legs.
There are safety bars, which hold the weight in place. To start the exercise you will have to lower them.
Then press that platform up until you cannot extend your legs more. Do not lock your knees. Your legs and torso should be at a 90-degrees angle to each other. That is the starting position.
Inhale and start lowering the platform. Continue until the upper and the lower part of your legs are at a 90-degrees angle to each other.
Use the quadriceps and your feet (mainly the heels) to push the platform back. Exhale during this motion.
Repeat and, when finished, lock the safety pins.
Mistakes to avoid
A common mistake that many people make is to use too small range of motion. They load too much weight and then push the platform just several inches. Yes, this does train some muscles but to get all the benefits from the exercise you should use the whole range of motion.
The opposite is also a mistake. This means you should not use too big range of motion because that way you do nothing but putting the stress on the lower part of the back increasing the chance of injury and decreasing the efficiency of the exercise.
Also, do not lock your knees. This not only reduces the tension on the quadriceps, thus, minimizing the effectivity, but also puts more pressure on the knee joints.
Moreover, do not put your hands on your knees. You need to shove the lower part of your back into the pad to minimize the pressure put on it and to increase the force of your quadriceps and putting your hands on the knees reduces your capabilities of doing this.
Yet another mistake is to put your feet too low or too high on the platform. If they are too low you are putting more stress on the knees and are unable to properly press with your heels. However, if they are too high the tension will be on your glutes rather that your quadriceps.
Do not let your knees buckle inward for this may put more stress on the lower back, the hips and the knees. If you tend to do this, then spread your knees outward in order to prevent them from collapsing.
Use mainly your heels to push on the platform, not your toes.
Grasp the handles on the leg press machine and hold the while doing the exercise.
In addition, lastly, here is a video on how to do proper leg presses: