One of the best ways to build your glutes is with the leg press machine. This powerful piece of gym equipment offers great resistance and targeted training for your leg muscles. But, there’s more to the leg press than meets the eye. You can use this machine for a variety of leg press exercises that engage different areas of your glutes. Learn about some of Tony Horton’s favorite ways to use the leg press for glutes. And, be sure to talk with your doctor before you start a new workout program.
What Is The Leg Press Machine?
The leg press is an easy-to-use resistance machine that mimics weighted or standard squats. It is particularly useful for beginners who want to use weights to help strengthen their leg muscles. It offers a seated design and features like safety latches that may make it easier to use than a loaded-up barbell.1
Different Types Of Leg Press Machines
The two types of leg press machines are the cable and incline machine. The cable machine has built-in weights that you adjust with a pin. The incline machine requires you to add round weights. While they differ in appearance and setup, these kinds of leg press machines do the same thing. You can use either machine for the leg press workouts below.2
Potential Benefits Of Leg Presses
The leg press machine provides an effective, compound lower-body exercise. This lower body workout engages your glutes and other leg muscles, like the quads, hamstrings, and calves.3
Strength training may help support knee extensions and flexibility and balance recovery. That’s a lot of great potential benefits for leg muscles from one machine.4
The Importance Of Strong Glutes
Your gluteal muscles facilitate your daily hip movement. This makes them hugely important for your mobility. They can also help support a healthy back and healthy hamstrings.5
Unfortunately, these butt muscles are often overlooked and underworked. This is especially true if you sit all day for work. In a seated position, your glutes may even weaken over time. Fortunately, occasional lower body training on the leg press may help reduce that effect.6
The Importance Of Strong Quads
Your quads can also get a great workout from the leg press machine. That’s good, because your quad muscles power any extension or straightening of the knee. When you build quad strength, it can help support healthy cartilage in your knee.7
How To Get The Most Out Of The Leg Press Machine
You might be able to do more with the leg press machine than you realize. Your leg press foot placement can target different areas of the glutes. Your foot placement may give you better control over your upper leg growth and development. That’s why Tony Horton compiled some of his favorite different leg press exercises for glutes.
Note: Speak to a doctor before beginning any new heavy lifting on the leg press machine.
Standard Leg Press
Familiarize yourself with a standard leg press, and then add leg press variations as you progress.
- Adjust the seat to a height and angle that’s comfortable for you. Check the weights to make sure they are appropriate for your skill level.
- Sit back, and press your back flat against the seat for the starting position. Place your feet shoulder-width apart in the center of the plate.
- Push up so that you can lower the safety catch.
- Lower the weight down toward your body to make a 90-degree angle with your upper and lower legs. Make sure your back stays flat against the seat.
- Push the weight back up by driving through with the heels of your feet. Repeat for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
- Be sure to return the safety latch on your last rep.8
High Feet Leg Press
Moving your feet higher up on the plate will shift the focus to the back of your leg. This is an important variation to include if you want to increase motion and flex around the hip. Increased hip strength and flexibility may reduce tension around your knees.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and move them up from center toward the top of the plate.
- Place your toes near the top of the plate.
- Perform the presses in this position for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.9
Low Feet Leg Press For Glutes
Give the front of your quads some extra attention by moving your feet to the bottom of the plate. In this position, you will get extra contraction in and around the quads.
- Lower your feet to the bottom of the platform, and turn your toes slightly outward.
- Keep your feet flat as you lower the weights down to keep tension on the quads.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.10
Wide Stance Leg Press For Glutes
A wider stance leg press can focus more attention on your inner thigh muscles.
- Start by spreading your feet wide on the outside of the platform.
- Then perform the normal leg press motions by pushing through with your heels.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.11
Narrow Stance Leg Press For Glutes
When you bring your legs closer together, it moves the focus of the leg press to the outside of the quads and hips. It also works the glutes and hamstrings.
- To complete this leg press, bring your feet close together to about 3 inches apart.
- Then, point your toes outward slightly and perform the leg press.
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps.12
One-Leg Leg Press For Glutes
Single leg variations provide a unilateral strength training approach. This targets one leg at a time so that each leg works the same amount. This can help create muscular balance between both your legs.
- Set up the leg press machine with smaller weight plates than usual.
- Sit down, and place both feet on the platform shoulder-width apart. Push up with both legs to release the latches, then put one foot on the floor.
- Lower the platform with one leg, and perform 8-10 reps.13
Press Yourself For Great Glutes
The leg press machine is an easy-to-use piece of gym equipment. It works out some of the biggest muscles in your legs, like the glutes. This important set of muscles helps with daily activities and movement at the hips. The leg press may also help you strengthen your quads, which helps support knee flexibility.
The leg press exercises for glutes above offer a comprehensive approach to glute strength. Tony Horton encourages beginners and professionals alike to take advantage of these leg workouts. You can do all of them, or you can select a few to target a particular area of the leg. No matter which you choose to do, your legs will thank you for exercising this crucial set of muscles. Just make sure to get your doctor’s approval before giving any new workout a try.
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