Leg Press

If it wasn’t for technology the gym might be a much more dangerous place to visit than it actually is today. Fifty years ago there were barely any exercise machines in our gyms, so performing many of the exercises that we do today safely was far more of a challenge.

Take the leg press for example. Well years ago if you wanted to replicate a leg press it was a case of lying on your back and trying to balance a barbell on the soles of your feet. Needless to say, that method presented a number of safety concerns and is not recommended for modern day usage.

Luckily we have a machine that ensures most of the safety aspects for us. Firstly, you don’t have to be lying on your back because a leg press machine puts you in a seated position that is angled to the floor. As for the weights themselves? Well they are guided as you perform the exercise so you don’t have to worry about trying to balance while you are completing the exercise.

The safest aspect of the leg press machine is probably the fact that you can’t drop the weight on yourself. The lock/drop mechanism means that even if you start to struggle mid-rep, you can easily make sure that you don’t end up injuring yourself.

Everything mentioned above can be considered as the advantages of a leg press machine. But can you take the advantages of something and consider them as the disadvantages instead?

Well think about it like this. Have you ever lowered your knees all the way down to your chest when you are doing a leg press? The chances are that you probably have and when you did you ended up arching your back quite a lot. And if there is one part of your body that you definitely do not want to be injuring then it is your back.

And what about not worrying about balance? That is perfect if you don’t want to work on improving your balance. But be honest, how often do we use our legs in such a uniform up/down movement in a day? That exercise does not reflect the work our legs do in an average day. We walk over all sorts of terrains and our legs do far more than just going up and down!

So what’s the point? Is the leg press a pointless exercise? Of course it isn’t! The point is that a lot of people centre all of their lower body workouts around the leg press. Just remember there are other things that you can be doing.

Whatever the exercise is you need to make sure that you are using your knees and your hips. And if you are thinking squats and dead lifts then you are spot on! Total body workouts are always the best option. But you shouldn’t be looking to replace the leg press, it is an effective exercise. You just want to make sure that you aren’t depending on it completely for your lower body success!

Ollie Lawrence