Applies for – seated leg press machine, commercial leg press machine, vertical leg press machine, seated leg curl, leg extension machine.

Targeted Body parts – Quadriceps (Quads), Hamstrings, Gluteus Maximus (Glutes).

Level – Beginner

Today’s world is all about fitness and how to look good. If you ask anyone, “Which body part is the hardest to develop and shape?”. I can tell you the answer before you start asking. The answer is “none”.

Most women think it is hard to work on the legs. But the truth is that it is not all that difficult if you know exactly what you are doing. The easiest way to tune up the legs is by using the leg press machine. The leg press is normally a part of the leg strengthening course or machine circuit workout.

Now as a beginner, you must know about the leg press foot placement variations. I know it seems easy to work on the seated leg curl machine. But bear with me for now because you will come off with some valuable pieces of information from this ultimate guide to leg press foot placement for beginners.

Leg Press Foot Placement Guide for Beginners

The leg press machine gives you the same benefits as a barbell squat workout. It develops the quadriceps, hamstring, calves and the glutes. Here are some leg press variations for visible muscle gains –

  • Wide stance and toes directed outwards; feet positioned close to the highest point of the base plate
  • Wide stance and toes directed outwards; feet positioned close to the center (Sumo Leg Press Foot Stance)
  • Wide stance and toes directed outwards; feet positioned close to the end of the base plate
  • Shoulder-wide stance and toes directed upright; feet positioned on different areas on the base plate (Standard Leg Press Foot Stance)
  • Small width with toes directed inwards on either direction (Duck Leg Press Foot Stance)
  • Small width with toes pointing upright, feet positioned close to the highest point of the base plate (Narrow Stance High Platform)

There are more tips so, without further ado, let’s delve into them.

#1 – Control feet movement on the base plate

Take a firm position while lying on your back on the platform of the leg press machine. This gives a nice control over your abdominal muscles. Now, using your legs push away the base-plate using your heels or foot.

If you are using the front of your toes to control the base-plate, you will risk damaging your knees in the long run.

Quick Tip – your heels must always stay flat on the base-plate.

#2 – Control your head movement

People most often lean forward while they are on the machine. Do not do that. If you move your head towards the body, you are boxing your head, torso, elbows, and knees. This stops you from reaching how far your legs can go.

So, while leaning forward you are taking away from that by curving your spine. This puts you out of your strongest position.

Quick Tip: Put your arms behind your head and grip the headrest.

#3 – Extend correctly during an exhale

When you are extending your legs, make sure to exhale properly. Lie flat on the platform and lay your head on the headrest. Remember, you must extend slowly or else you are going to inflict a lot of pain.

Explosive moments while fully extending your legs can cause permanent damage to your knees

#4 – Pause correctly in between exhale and inhale

Take a pause while your feet are at the top of the motion. Do remember that while holding the weight, don’t lock out your knees. Ensure they are straight in line and not bowing out or bowing in.

#5 – Start correctly after an inhale

Return the footplate to its default position after an inhale. Remember to do this gradually and control your flow. You must lie flat on your back and keep your head on the seat rest when you do this.

#6 – Start small then go for higher targets

If you have never done this before, don’t do overweight with overconfidence. Trust me, putting a lot of weight is not the best way to get results. You can always advance as you continue.

#7 – Don’t add to much weight

Exercising requires a lot of effort so, it needs to be done with complete control over your body. Never try to fast forward to the end of the cycle or else you’ll risk losing control over your legs. Remember, thin wrist and knee joints are always more prone to injuries from weight training. So, make sure you know what weight suits your body.

#8 – Don’t curl your buttocks

There are two reasons that make your butt curl up on the leg press machine. Let’s check them out –

When you raise your head to watch your feet in motion
When you place your legs too high on the base-plate

When your butt lifts up, it automatically curls your spine. This is something you want to avoid.

#9 – Placing hands on the knees

This is something I see all the time. It happens when you are new or you’re putting in a lot of weight. Don’t do this because it’ll ruin your form on the base-plate.

Quick Tip – Grip the assist handles on the side of the machine.

#10 – Follow your motion and control it

Follow your entire range of motion without flexing your hips. If you are a shorter person, adjust the seat and the weights. Just play with the right position on the plate and you’ll adapt to it soon enough.

Final Words

So, this is my ultimate guide on leg press foot placement for beginners. Leg pressing is not easy. However, if you know enough before doing it, you can get along with the machine in less time.

Leave a Comment