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Leg Press Builds Strong Quads And Hamstrings

Exercise to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteal muscles

The leg press is an exercise that strengthens the entire leg. It works the quadriceps muscles (quadriceps comes from "quad" meaning "four" because there are four muscles in the group) at the front of the leg. The quadriceps extend the knee.

It also works the gluteal muscles (the three muscles that form the buttocks) and the hamstrings at the back of the leg.

Start with the legs extended and the feet pressed against the platform

Starting position -- legs extended but knees not locked

Starting position -- legs extended but knees not locked

The feet should be shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Make sure your feet are stable and comfortable on the platform before releasing the stops on the machine.

Slowly lower the weight

Second position -- hips flexed and knees at 90 degrees

Second position -- hips flexed and knees at 90 degrees

Slowly lower the weight until the knees are at 90 degrees. Pause briefly. Then extend the legs to the starting position.

Make sure the weight is under control at all times. Use good form with smooth movements.

Do not go too "deep"


Legs "overflexed" can put strain on knees

You don't need to go beyond 90 degrees at the knee joints with this exercise. Going beyond this point can put pressure on the knees.

The setup

Make sure the machine is set up properly before you start. There are "stops" on the machine. Stops are devices that keep the weight from falling too far.

Make sure you have the stops set properly. That way if the weight is too heavy for you the weight will hit the stop and you won't be injured.

How can this work both the front and back of the leg?

When you extend the leg there are two major joints involved. The knee is extended and the hip is flexed.

The quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh extend the knee.

But the hamstrings flex the knee. So how is it that the hamstrings are exercised with the leg press?

It is because the hamstrings not only flex the knee, they also help the gluteal muscles (the gluteals are the muscles in the butt) to extend the hip. So you get a bonus with the leg press. You exercise the muscles on the front and the back of the leg at the same time.

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