The Benefits of Using a Leg Press
There are many benefits of using leg press. As we’ve mentioned they’re great for people that require a low-stress way to work the quads, glutes, and hamstrings such as people who have undergone surgery or a previous injury. The leg press puts less strain on the joints so is perfect for people like this. However, the leg press isn’t just good for rehabilitation, it’s a great machine to implement into your workout routine regardless of whether you’re 100% fit and healthy or have struggled with health issues in the past.
1. You Can Load More Weight On
One of the benefits of using a leg press is the ability to load on more weight and do heavier sets. It’s far safer to move up the weight your pressing with a leg press compared to loading up more with free weights when performing a weighted squat. This is due to the controlled nature of the machine.
Rather than having the barbell balanced on the shoulder with weights loaded on either side, the weights are loaded on the press so your legs can take the strain of the weight directly. The danger with weighted squats is body movement from side to side. If you become unbalanced during a heavily load squat things can become extremely dangerous very quickly, even with someone spotting you. With the leg press, you do not have this issue. The weights are contained between rails and can only move forward and backward. No balance or sideways strain is needed during a rep.
This is great for people that struggle to balance with free weights and for people that want to push themselves harder when working their legs.
2. More Controlled Linear Movement
As mentioned, the leg press has controlled linear movement. The weights cannot slip from side to side. This is great for safety of course, but it’s also excellent for targeting specific muscle groups and working them more effectively.
The variable linear movement that’s involved when performing weighted squats is fantastic for working a range of other muscle groups as well as the ones you’re targeting. However, using the leg press eliminates some of the safety risks and helps target individual muscle groups far more efficiently. If you have designated days for muscle groups then using a leg press on leg day for your glutes, hams, and quads is an excellent approach. This brings us to our next point...
3. Great for Targeting More Specific Muscle Groups
The leg press is the best way to target specific muscle groups in the legs. More specifically, the quadriceps, the glutes, and the hamstrings. Targeting these muscles groups specifically can be extremely beneficial. When using any weight training machine you will miss out on hitting some other muscle groups as you would when using free weights. However, by specifically targeting certain muscle groups and ruling out the variable movement factor you can generally go on for longer and hit them much harder.
You are less likely to fatigue and overdo it when using a machine or stop the workout due to another muscle group restricting your movement. This isolation of muscle groups is fantastic for people that have obtained injury and require rehabilitation and people that cannot work certain muscle groups because of a disability or health issue.
There are of course some downsides to this such as uneven weight gain in certain muscle groups. However, as long as you diversify your routine and try to use free weights in other areas of your workout you will have no problem building a fit and healthy physique.
4. Safer for Injury Rehabilitation
We have touched on this subject many times in the article, but here we will go into a bit more detail and outline why the leg press is so fantastic for rehabilitation.
For a start, preventing injury is far easier when using a leg press over free weights. Reps are far more controlled and there’s less to go wrong. This is great for not only rehab patients that want to avoid causing further damage but also people that have built their strength to the point of requiring extremely heavy presses.
The greatest benefit of the leg press for people going through rehabilitation is the lack of strain on the knee. This is especially brilliant for people that have undergone surgery or have obtained previous injury to the knee. By loading up the press lightly the leg press can be used to rebuild strength in the quadriceps that are responsible for the movement of the knee joint. Weight can be added slowly over time to increase the load and further improve the strength of the muscles surrounding the knee joint.
The leg press is also an effective lower body strength exercise for elderly people that have weaker joints and bones. Weaker people can build strength extremely quickly and in a safe manner by using the leg press. This exercise is excellent for building strength around the hips and knees which are common areas of deterioration in seniors. This also goes for younger people that have obtained injuries in the same areas that need strengthing after prolonged rest or surgery.