Leg press can be performed correctly and incorrectly. This is not just dropping and pushing back the weight, but something more complex. Here are a few rules that will help you perform this exercise correctly, and therefore avoid injury and increase leg strength.
1. Choose an active range of movements.
The active range is the one in which you make the movement.
The active range in the leg press is selected according to the following criteria:
– glutes do not come off the seat;
– the lumbar spine is not rounded.
These criteria are very important under heavy loads. Your spine does not approve of such rounding: it is simply not designed for it. Your vertebrae receive a huge amount of tension with torque. In the end, this will lead to a hernia at best.
2. Choose the weight that suits you.
Stop flattering your ego by loading the platform with a ton of weights. A short range will not give you anything, and a sharp push of the platform with the whole body is likely to cause injury.
In fact, your mini-amplitude bench press will create a very small internal load. A full-fledged bench press with an average weight will bring many times more benefits.
3. Do not bend your knees completely.
The knee joints are designed to lock while being straightened. But this does not mean that they should be blocked with a load of 500 kg.
When you fully extend your legs, your quadriceps are in a slightly relaxed state. And it is here that the entire load of 500 kg falls on the joints and connective tissue. After all, all this tension and weight distribution has to go somewhere!
You need a slightly bent knee. Leave some margin – let your muscles, not joints, take the load!
So, we have analyzed the active range of movements in which your spine does not suffer, the quadriceps get a serious load, and at each end point of the repetition you do not bend your knees to the end.
So why you need to do leg press?
Here are the points where this exercise can really help:
1. The initial start of the deadlift.
If you have a weak breakdown of the barbell from the floor, then the leg press can really help. The main thing is to make sure that you use the same leg position as when pulling. Just don’t forget to take a little pause when you bend your knees!
2. Development of hamstrings and buttocks.
This exercise is a favorite for these muscles. Place your feet as high and wide as possible on the platform. Also take a small pause, bending your knees – so your buttocks and biceps of the thigh will get the maximum load in an elongated position.
3. Isolate the quadriceps.
If you put your feet on the platform very low and very close to each other, then your quadriceps will get very good insulation, because this position allows you to bend your knees much more.
That’s a useful exercise if you do it wisely. Be honest with yourself, use a healthy range of movements, and you will constantly receive results from the leg press.