How to Use a Leg Press Machine: 7 Best Leg Exercises You Can Do Using This Machine

Guide to doing the best leg exercises with a leg press machine, (Image via Pexels/Photo by Scott Webb)
Guide to doing the best leg exercises with a leg press machine, (Image via Pexels/Photo by Scott Webb)

Some of the best leg exercises can be done using the leg press machine. Interestingly, you can work your quads, hamstrings and calves, using this machine.

Usually, most gyms and fitness establishments have this machine. Some of the leg press machines can be used to hack squats as well. If you have access to this machine, it’s a great addition to your leg routine, and you must use it:

How to Use Leg Press Machine?

First, rack up the weights, and start light. You want to get your posture correct before moving to a higher weight.


Next, place yourself on the machine, and make sure your back is firmly against the back pad. Put your feet on the platform, and ensure your heels are placed on it properly.

Push with your feet, and extend your legs, pushing the platform away from yourself. Make it a controlled movement rather than an explosive one. Moreover, inhale, and engage your core when you’re about to push the platform.

When you’re at the top of the motion, do not lock your knees. That would increase the risk of injuries at least two fold.


While returning to the starting position, slowly bring your knees towards yourself, and lower the platform. If you’ve never used the leg press machine before, make sure you begin with a weight that doesn’t put immense pressure on your knees.

Best Leg Exercises to Do With Leg Press Machine

Here are seven of the best leg exercises you can do on your leg days to target your quads, hamstrings and calves on a leg press machine:

1) Classic Leg Press

The classic leg press requires you to put your feet at shoulder-width apart, and keep them in the middle of the platform.

This position focuses on the overall development of your quads and also works on your hamstrings. Basic or classic leg press is usually one of the top exercises done on this machine.

2) Low Feet Leg Press

To do a low foot leg press, keep your feet at shoulder-width, but they need to be placed towards the bottom of the platform.

This position will specifically focus on your quads and help activate the big and smaller muscles in the group. That'll boost your strength and muscle endurance.

3) Narrow Stance Leg Press

The narrow stance leg press requires you to place your foot in the middle of the platform but close together. Your knees do not necessarily need to touch for your stance to be a narrow one.

Keep a palm or 1.5 palm-distance between your feet. A narrow stance leg press can help work your outer thighs or outer quads. Not a lot of exercises work on the outer thighs specifically. So this exercise is one of the best leg exercises to isolate the outer thigh muscles and focus resistance on them.

4) Wide Stance Leg Press

To do this exerrcise, place your feet on the platform, and keep them wide apart. This exercise works the inner thighs, which is usually a secondary muscle in most other compound leg exercises.

It’s always better to have at least one exercise that isolates the various muscles and particularly focuses on them.

5) High Feet Leg Press

This is another good leg exercises that can be done on a leg press machine to work on your hamstrings and glutes.

Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and place your heels on the platform at the top while your toes stick outwards.

When you begin the exercise, you should ideally feel the stretch and resistance on your hamstrings rather than your quads.

6) Calves (with variations)

To work on your calves using the leg press machine, place your toes at the bottom of the platform while your heels stick outwards. Next, push the platform with your toes till your legs are completely extended.

Once you’ve reached this position, to work your calves, you must bend your heels inwards so that the platform lowers slightly, Push it upwards with your toes. If executed correctly, you’ll be able to feel your calf muscles get worked on.

7) Burnout Set

You can use a leg press machine to focus on doing failure sets as well. As the weight is adjustable, you can use this machine as a superset with any other compound or isolation movement, and do the sets till failure.

Burnout sets are one of the best leg exercises for anyone who wants to boost muscle growth, endurance and strength.

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Edited by Bhargav