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leg press

starting position

Some time ago, a new trainer at the gym approached me as I was working out on the leg press machine. He wanted to correct my form, schooling me on the particulars of full range of motion. I wasn’t going deep enough, he remarked.
He was well intended but, in my opinion, misguided much like myself when I began as a personal trainer.

In the beginning, several trainers and I exercised together. Deep knee extensions and heavy weights were par for the course. We were bad asses.
It wasn’t long before the aches and pains began to creep into my knees.

I wasn’t a bad ass. I was lacking the confidence to work out differently than the others.
I changed my thinking, remembered what I was taught and started working out smarter.

Plenty of athletes and trainers insist that going deep is beneficial and the only way to thoroughly work the quads and hamstrings.
I am a stickler for the 90° angle when it comes to the leg press, squat or any type of knee extension exercise.

legpress 5


Major Muscles Worked: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Gastrocnemius, Soleus


squat muscles 2

This exercise develops the lower body muscles.

Position and movement: Sit on machine with head and spine in full contact with the seat. This keeps your neck, shoulders, spine and pelvis in the proper neutral position. Abdominals are contracted. Position feet flat on sled and knees at a 90° angle.  Exhale and slowly extend hip and knees by pushing through your heels. Knees should extend fully without hyper-extending (locking). Inhale and return to original position.

Common errors:
– extending hip and knees too quickly (can result in knee injury)
– hyper-extending (locking) knee when extended
– using too much weight
– failure to rest head on seat

Need further advice on the leg press or other lower body exercises? Please leave a comment…