While we love the leg press workout machine for a myriad of reasons, the leg press has its own pros, cons, limitations, and risks just like any other exercise. Is the leg press good? Are you curious about the advantages and disadvantages of the leg press? Let’s take a look together so that you can make an informed decision to find out if this is the right exercise for you.
What are the Pros of the Leg Press?
Is the leg press a compound exercise? While the leg press is similar to a squat, it is actually an isolated exercise instead of a compound exercise. So what does the leg press work? If you’re looking to target certain muscle groups in your legs such as your quads, glutes, hamstrings, hips, and calves that the leg press is perfect for you. Leg press exercises are different from a squat in this way because a squat engages more muscle groups than just the legs, such as the abs and hips, and provides a more full-body exercise.
You can work out your quads even more with a leg press than with a squat due to less range in motion (and less engagement of the glutes and hamstrings) than you can achieve with a squat alone.
Because your back is supported and there are hand rests, a leg press tends to be more consistent and can be safer to execute than a squat. You can also easily and intentionally change which muscle groups that you would like to target by moving the placement of your feet on the foot platform of a leg press machine. So if you’d like to focus on building muscle in a specific area, you have more control when using a leg press machine than just doing a squat.
Speaking of control, because there’s so much support with a machine exercise you don’t need a spotter like you would for a squat! This means that you can have more independent freedom with your workout, and allows you to have more control over your safety when it comes to this exercise.
What are the Cons of the Leg Press?
Now that we’ve covered a few of the main reasons why we love using a leg press machine, let’s analyze the reasons why sometimes it just doesn’t make the cut. So, what are the downsides of using a leg press?
First and foremost, a leg press requires the use of a leg press machine while other exercises such as a squat can be used with just your own bodyweight ⸺ anywhere at any time. This means that if you’re looking for a more isolated leg exercise while on the go, you’ll have to revert to something else if you don’t have access to the leg press machine.
Because the leg press machine operates in the same way no matter if both legs are pushing equally or if just one is pushing, you can overwork one leg more than the other by accident.
If there is too much weight on the leg press machine, you might risk rounding out or hurting your back unless you are careful.
Similarly, with a squat, there is a possibility that you can injure your knees as well if you are attempting to press too much weight or lock your knees when you straighten out your legs during this exercise.
Although the leg press machine is very user-friendly, there is still a risk of user error. This could potentially look like incorrectly placing the seat or the placement of your feet, or even something more serious like setting the weight to something beyond what you can handle and causing injury. See our blog here about how to leg press properly.
Is the Leg Press Right for Me?
At Chuze Fitness, we pride ourselves on putting you in control over your own fitness. You are in charge of whatever movements and exercises feel right for you and your unique body, so be careful in listening to what feels good and what doesn’t. And if you find yourself needing assistance or you have further questions about any of our exercise machines, we encourage you to reach out to a staff member at any of our locations. We are always happy to help!
There are so many ways that you can exercise your body, especially your legs! A leg press is just one of many ways that you can build muscle in your legs. If you’re looking for a more full-body exercise that still emphasizes the leg muscle groups, a fantastic alternative to the leg press is the squat. But if you’re wanting an exercise that is friendly for all levels of gym-goers and where you can be in control, then the leg press is a great option for you.