Hamstrings - Leg Press

Hamstrings - Leg Press

The leg press in an exercise for the quadriceps where you sit into a chair and press a weight 45° away from your body. There are also vertical and horizontal leg press machines. However, most gyms have incline leg press machines (45°). The leg press is technically similar to the barbell squat. Its advantages are that the back is not stressed that much, you can't fall or lose balance, and you can stop any time or use your hands to push the weight back up. The biggest disadvantage is that the leg press doesn't boost testosterone production like the barbell squat. The free squat (with a barbell on your back) is the heaviest out of all free weight exercises and no other movement stimulates testosterone production in a comparable manner. Find more leg exercises at weight training main.


  • Sit into the leg press machine and plant your feet on the leg support. Distance between feet: Approx. one shoulder width. Toes point slightly out. Extend your legs so that you can open the safety lock. Exhale at the same time. Most leg press machines have two grip you turn to the sides when you get started (not shown in this illustration). After unlocking the weight, grasp the handles and pull yourself down, so that your hips are as low as possible. Your back should remain flat on the back lean during the entire exercise. The foot rest is usually slightly slanted, so that your calves are NOT stretched at the lowest position. If the foot rest is of your leg press machine is parallel to the back lean, you might have to plant your feet a bit higher or use weight lifting shoes with high heels.
  • Lower the weight and inhale at the same time. Make sure you keep pulling yourself down, so that your hips remain close to the bottom of the seat. The distance between your knees should remain the same throughout the entire exercise. Stop shortly before your thighs rest on your abdominals. If you can't keep your heels flat on the foot rest, you need more calf flexibility, weight lifting shoes with elevated heels or just plant your feet a bit higher on the foot rest.
  • Then extend your legs again and exhale slowly. The up-motion should be slightly faster than the down-motion. If you are loading a lot of weight, I recommend you don't fully extend your knees. You don't want the weight to rest on your knees. Don't close our knees when you straighten your legs. Keep your legs parallel.


  • Recommended Repetitions & Sets for the Leg Press:
    • For strength: 5x5 repetitions
    • For size: 3x12 repetitions
    • For endurance: 2x 25 or more repetitions
  • Don't press air!
  • Stop immediately if you feel pain in your knees.
  • If the last repetitions is too hard, push your knees with your hands.
  • Most leg press machines have a "Lowest Position", where the weight stops. So don't worry, you should not get killed between the back lean and the foot rest when you reach muscle failure.
  • Keep your back on the back lean and your heels on the foot rest.
  • Stretch between sets and exercises.
  • The leg press is the little brother of the free barbell squat. It is technically not as demanding and doesn't stimulate testosterone production like the barbell squat.
  • The leg press isolates the leg muscles, while the free squat, the heaviest out of all free weight exercises, trains the legs, and the entire body.