The horizontal leg press is a strength training exercise for the lower body. The exercise primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves.
The machine works similarly as a vertical leg press, but the seating position puts you in an horizontal position. This variation of the exercise has a single leg and a double leg version.
In this article, we discuss both versions along with the muscles targeted and difference between the two variations of the horizontal leg press.
How to perform the horizontal leg press exercise?
- Adjust the seat and backrest to a working position. It’s crucial to set up the leg press machine correctly for the optimum benefits.
- Sit on the machine. Keep your back flat against the backrest, and place your feet on the footplate shoulder-width apart.
- Keep the knees bent at 90 degrees.
- You can add more stability to the exercising by holding the handrests provided.
- To do the exercise, extend your legs till they're almost extended, but make sure you don’t lock the knees.
- Keep your heels pressed onto the machine during the exercise.
- Hold the position for a second at the top of the motion before steadily returning to the starting position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Difference between double leg and single leg horizontal leg press
The primary difference between the double leg and single leg horizontal leg press exercises lies in the number of legs used during the movement.
In the double leg variation, both legs are engaged simultaneously to push the footplate away.
This exercise allows you to generate more overall force and lift heavier weights, as the load is distributed between both legs. It provides a balanced workout for both legs and is often suitable for beginners or those focusing on building overall leg strength.
In the single leg variation, one leg at a time is used to perform the exercise. That places a greater demand on each leg individually, requiring more stabilization and control.
The single leg horizontal leg press helps address strength imbalances between the legs and activates the stabilizer muscles to a higher degree. It also enhances core stability and can be beneficial for athletes or individuals looking to improve balance and unilateral leg strength.
Which muscles are worked in horizontal leg press?
The exercise primarily targets the muscles of the lower body. The specific muscles worked during this exercise include:
It primarily targets the quadriceps located in the front of the thighs. The muscle group helps extend the knee joint and is a primary visual muscle group for the lower body.
The hamstrings are the muscles that make up the back of the thigh. They act as synergists during the leg press exercise. Hamstrings include the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. Additionally, the muscle group assists with hip extension and knee flexion.
Each muscle group of the glute muscles are activated during the leg press exercise. It contributes to hip extension and provides stability to the pelvis and lower body.
The calf muscles help push against the footplate and provide additional force during the movement.
The horizontal leg press is a compound exercise that helps improve strength and muscle endurance. Furthermore, it can help you activate the smaller muscle fibers, too. It’s important to be aware of the weight your muscles can withstand and move forward with the exercise accordingly.