Have you ever thought that you really wanted stronger, more defined, and sexier looking legs? Whether man or woman, chances are that you have thought about it. After all, who doesn’t want stronger legs and a tighter butt? The answer is that everybody wants those things regardless of whether or not we will admit it. Well, we have a solution for you, one that does not cost much money, does not take much time, and is easy to do to. That solution is the leg press.
So, let’s talk about what exactly this exercise involves and what exact leg press benefits are in store for you!
What Is A Leg Press?
A leg press is a simple and straightforward exercise, and the name of the exercise actually has the same name as the piece of equipment you use to do them, the leg press machine. This exercise involves lifting a weighted platform (with a weight level that can be adjusted), at a 45-degree angle (or even steeper) upwards and away from yourself. The leg press involves pushing the platform up and out, holding it for a second or two, and then slowly lowering it back down. This exercise is a good way to evaluate overall lower body strength and capabilities, as well as to strengthen various muscles in the leg, plus a whole lot more too.
Benefit #1: Strengthening The Gluteal Muscles
Your gluteals or glutes is the main group of muscles located in your buttocks. The leg press is a great lower body exercise which uses your gluteal muscles as stabilizers, thus engaging them and strengthening them. The leg press, when done correctly, will fully engage your gluteal muscles during the extension or lift phase as well as during the control or holding phase.
Doing many reps with a low amount of weight will train your glutes to be more enduring, while doing just a few reps with a very high amount of weight will add a ton of muscle mass and make them bulkier. Leg presses are a great way to strengthen your glutes, which is something that everybody, especially the ladies, wants to have.
Strong glutes are well-defined glutes, or in other words, they make your butt look really nice and tight, kind of like doing squats for your butt. Having strong glutes is great for executing a wide variety of lower body exercises, and they come in handy for simple things like walking stairs too.
Benefit #2: Building Strong Hamstrings
Another benefit you get from doing leg presses on a regular basis is that they go a long way in developing the shape and strength of your hamstrings. Your hamstrings are the muscles that go from below your gluteal muscles and extend all the way down to your knees. Your hamstrings are engaged almost the whole time when doing leg presses.
They are used to get some of the initial force for lift off, but are mainly used during the control or holding phase as well as when lowering the weight back down. Having strong hamstrings is essential for getting that forceful push off power that you need to run, walk stairs, skate, and for jumping too, which are all things that can benefit from a good leg press machine.
Doing leg presses will give you more leg power, more explosive power, and will help you move faster too. Another great aspect of having stronger hamstrings is that it can go a long way in preventing injuries and pulled muscles.
Benefit #3: The Leg Press Machine Is Comparatively Safe And Easy To Use
One thing that many beginner exercisers will be able to appreciate about the leg press machine is that it is relatively safe to use when compared to other weight lifting exercises. First of all, most leg press machines will come with a safety break to prevent the weighted platform from crashing down on you in the event that you slip or let it drop. This eliminates the need for a spotter, thus letting you work out your legs by yourself in a safe manner.
Moreover, the leg press machine features weighted blocks as opposed to many exercises which require the use of free weights. This means that you don’t need to balance the weights to keep them up and therefore you can focus solely on the lifting. It’s safe because a lack of balance when using free weights can cause you to fall over and injure yourself, something that is simply not possible with a leg press machine.
Also, for beginners, a leg press machine is also fairly easy to use without much instruction or know-how. This is not something that can be said for many other strength training and weight lifting exercises which require proper form, instruction, and more in order to execute correctly. With a little bit of instruction, you can master the leg press machine in just a few minutes. The leg press machine is a great workout tool that is safe and easy for beginners to use.
Benefit #4: Strengthening The Quadriceps
Moreover, leg presses are also fantastic for strengthening your quadriceps, which are (respectively) the group of muscles in the front of your thighs, between your hips and knees. Leg presses engage your quadriceps the most during the initial push off and lifting phase, and in fact, most of the power you need to lift the leg press machine will come from your quadriceps.
During the control phase as well as the phase where you let the weight back down, your quadriceps act as secondary stabilizers, thus they are still engaged during these phases, but just not quite as much as during the lifting phase. Having strong quadriceps is really important because they contribute to your ability to hold up your body weight, sit down, and stand up.
Most of the force you use to sit down and stand up comes from your quadriceps, therefore leg presses will definitely benefit you in your everyday life as well as in terms of overall physical capabilities. There is also the point that strong quadriceps just look really attractive too!
Benefit #5: Building Stronger Calves
The next benefit of doing leg presses still has to do with muscle strengthening, and this time it has to do with your calf muscles. To be fair, the calves are the muscles in your legs which probably benefit the least from the leg press exercise, however they do still benefit. During the leg press, your calves are almost totally used as secondary stabilizers, and not as the main force used to lift or let down the weight.
This is still better than nothing though, because the leg press will still slightly strengthen and tone your calf muscles. Having strong calves is quite important for things like running, walking up and down hill or up and down stairs, for cycling, and for many other daily activities and exercises too. Having strong calves is also important for preventing injuries and pulled muscles as well.
One thing that you can do to increase the amount of strain your calves take when doing leg presses is to extend your toes, flex your feet, and push the platform out as far as you can manage using your toes and the front of your feet. This will help to increase the load which your calves take when doing leg presses, thus strengthening them more than ever thought possible.
Benefit #6: Lots Of Variation
Yet another benefit of using a leg press machine is that it is great in terms of variation. It’s not like you just put your feet on the platform, lift, and that is all there is to it. Depending on what position your feet and legs are in, different leg muscles will be worked to a different degree, thus allowing you to focus on a specific muscle group to achieve the best results possible.
For instance, if you place your feet near the top of the platform, otherwise known as the sled, you will be focusing more on your hamstrings and gluteal muscles. On the other hand, if you put your feet lower down on the sled, you will be focusing more on your quadriceps. You can even move your feet so that your heels are not on the sled at all, and so you are only using the balls of your feet and toes to lift the weight, thus focusing much more on your calf muscles.
Also, on a side note, if you need to train one leg more than the other, you can choose to do a few reps with just one leg instead of using both, which is something that makes the leg press machine a very versatile workout option.
Benefit #7: Total Leg Development
One of the reasons as to why we are such big fans of the leg press as a full lower body exercise is because it is a compound exercise. Many exercises are singular exercises in the sense that they only work out one major muscle or muscle group in your body at a time. On the other hand, a compound exercise is any exercise which engages multiple muscles or muscle groups at once.
The leg press is a compound exercise, which means that it helps to exercise virtually every major muscle and muscle group in your legs at once. This is great because it makes your time count for more, it makes your exercise routine more efficient, and it lets you train all of the muscles in your legs without having to engage in multiple exercises.
Of course, we all want stronger legs because they make everyday tasks easier, they help to increase our physical performance, and hey, they look sexy too!
Benefit #8: Jumping Higher And Run Faster
Another small but important benefit that comes along with doing leg presses is that they will allow you to jump higher and run faster. Simply put, leg presses strengthen the power of your legs, especially the explosive power, and their endurance too.
In the long run, this means that you have more explosive strength to jump higher with, more strength to run faster, and more endurance to perform physical activities for a longer period of time without getting fatigued.
Benefit #9: Achieving Greater Balance
The next big benefit of working out with a leg press machine on a regular basis is that it can help you achieve a greater ability to balance. Your balance has a lot to do with the strength of your legs and the ability of your muscles to adapt quickly to positional changes. Well, a leg press machine does of course help to strengthen your legs, as has been mentioned several times before.
Moreover, the ability of your muscles to adapt to positional changes is also improved when you make use of the different ways in which you can use a leg press machine, something else which we have already covered in a previous section.
Simply put, stronger legs will keep you upright far better than weaker legs, mainly because your lower body strength is much higher than it would otherwise be. The leg press machine will over time provide your body with a much stabler base or foundation to stand on, something which becomes increasingly important as you age, which is when a lack of balance can lead to a slip and fall, and ultimately to injuries like broken bones and shattered hips.
Benefit #10: Building Stronger Bones
Another part of your body that benefits from doing leg presses is your skeleton and it is thanks to something we call a weight bearing exercise. A weight bearing exercise is any kind of exercise that puts increased pressure, stress, or weight on your bones, which is exactly what a leg press machine does by forcing you to push up X amount of pounds with each rep.
A weight bearing exercise is a bone building exercise, and this is because your bones grow and develop in much the same way as your muscles do. Your bones get bigger and stronger through weight bearing exercises in the same way as your muscles get stronger from doing strength training or weight lifting exercises.
The increased amount of weight and pressure put on your bones when lifting the leg press machine causes the osteoblasts in your bones to produce more bone mass to compensate for the large amount of weight.
When your osteoblasts produce more bone mass it gets added to your already existing bones, thus making them bigger, thicker, and denser too. This is very useful for providing you with a stronger skeletal system. This is especially important in your old age as your bones begin to weaken and you become susceptible to degenerative bone diseases.
As you can see, the leg press benefits are quite widespread, and not one is less valuable than the other. Of course, the biggest benefit has to do with strengthening your legs, but there is much more to it than that. If you want stronger legs, better balance, stronger bones, and a sexier lower body, then you should definitely consider using a leg press machine!
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about leg presses, feel free to shoot us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can!