How To

45 Degree Leg Press


The leg press is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to target the muscles of the leg.

The leg press targets both the quads and the hamstring muscle, depending on which foot position you push through.

The leg press is commonly thought of as a machine variation of the barbell back squat. The mechanics are fairly similar. However, the leg press does not completely mimic the movement pattern of the squat. Nor does it work all of the muscle groups that the squat does.

The leg press is best used as an accessory movement to the squat or as a primary movement to develop strength in preparation for the squat.

Leg Press Instructions

  1. Load the machine with the desired weight and take a seat.
  2. Sit down and position your feet on the sled with a shoulder-width stance.
  3. Take a deep breath, extend your legs, and unlock the safeties.
  4. Lower the weight under control until the legs are roughly 45 degrees or slightly below.
  5. Drive the weight back to the starting position by extending the knees but don’t forcefully lockout.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Leg Press Tips

  • To keep tension on the quads, keep the knees just shy of lockout.
  • To emphasise the glutes more, push through the heels or use a higher foot position on the platform.
  • To emphasise the quads more, push through the balls of the feet or use a lower foot position on the platform.
  • Don’t allow the hips to posteriorly tilt and roll off the pad.
  • Keep your low back flat against the pad throughout the movement.
  • Maintain a neutral head position by not looking up or down excessively.
  • Self-spotting is possible by simply applying pressure to the knees with the hands. Use only when necessary.
  • The toe angle is an individual feel and will depend upon your hip anatomy and ankle mobility – experiment and adjust based on feel.
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