Starting to feel like you’re dreading your leg workouts? If you routinely go into the gym and do the usual – squats, lunges, leg extensions, and hamstring curls, you need something to liven up that pace.
The leg press is an often overlooked exercise that should make a re-entry into your plan. While most people simply opt for squats over leg press, remember that it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
While there’s no denying that squats should hold a key place in any good lower body workout, the leg press can be incorporated in as well.
There are many leg press variations that can be used to shock your muscles and help you see great strength gains.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main variations to consider.
Single Leg Press
Muscle imbalances between the two sides of the body are definitely not uncommon amongst those working out and the single leg press can help to correct this.
The single leg press, as the name suggest, is done by working just one leg at a time. You’ll simply place one leg up on the leg press, making sure the knee is in proper alignment with the toe and then press the weight upwards (or away if doing a horizontal leg press).
Once all reps are completed, switch sides and repeat. This is a great way to make sure that both legs are working equally hard and one leg isn’t overcompensating for the weaker one.
It’s also a good burnout exercise to do at the end of your workout session to really bring the legs to full fatigue.
Low Foot Placement Leg Press
If your quads need a little extra enhancement, the low foot placement is what you want. Rather than placing the feet on the middle of the leg press platform as you normally would, shift them downwards so that your heels are almost off the platform. Now press from there.
You should immediately feel it more in the quad muscle and less in the hamstrings, which would be worked to a greater degree the higher the foot placement is.
Turned Out Leg Press
The turned out leg press is the next variation to consider. For this one, you simply turn out the feet, making sure that the knees follow along.
Now press, sumo style, into the leg press. While doing this, you should feel greater muscle tension in the inner thigh area as well as the glutes. It’s a great exercise for hitting these muscles and providing more variety to your usual routine.
Feet Together Leg Press
Finally, the last of the variations is to simply put the feet as close together as possible. In doing so, you’ll also notice that you feel it much more in the quad region as this exercise will help to bring out that quad sweep.
When doing this, again, make sure that your knees are in a comfortable position and no pain is being felt.
So there you have a few different leg press variations that you should try during the workouts ahead. You shouldn’t aim to do all of these in one workout, but rather alternate between them over time to keep your body guessing as to what’s coming next.
What’s your favorite leg press variation? Tell us in the comments below!