Using a leg press machine is a great way to isolate your leg muscles while reducing the risk of possible injury to the lower back. While that is its sole purpose, there are several added benefits to the use of a leg press machine, and there are cons as well. Regardless, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and you will find that using a leg press machine is a great way to juice up your ritualistic “leg day” routine for optimum results, strength and muscle mass.
Should you find that your legs are weak in general, or you want to make them stronger and more durable, the leg press machine is definitely for you. The use of a leg press machine can restore muscle and strength back into your legs by isolating and working your leg muscles. The leg press machine allows you to use a great deal of weight, or just the right amount of weight that is comfortable for you, further allowing a great deal of blood circulation to legs that can further promote muscle growth and strength.
As we mentioned, using the leg press machine can help strengthen the legs while reducing injury to the lower back. However, using the leg press machine can also work lower back muscles to your benefit. By the use of a leg press machine, you can single handedly strengthen your lower back and trunk, further building a lean and strong lower body.
Another added benefit is flexibility of use. The leg press machine offers many different variations that will help you target different leg muscles. Depending on how you position your legs, you can easily activate your quadriceps, glutes, calf muscles and hamstrings. With the leg press machine alone, you can really work every aspect of your legs, or if you are wanting to access a particular muscle group, the leg press machine allows you to isolate those muscles to further build strength back into the targeted muscles. Regardless of which approach you take, no leg muscle group is ignored or can be ignored while using the leg press machine.
As far as safety is concerned, the leg press machine is considered pretty safe. As the machine allows you to remain in the seated position, there is no worry about having to use the assistance of a spotter or having to balance the weights in an unsafe way. This allows the freedom to work your legs without the help of anyone else and as previously mentioned, this machine allows you to effectively work your legs with a reduced risk of possible injury to the lower back. This is very different from other leg exercises where the risk is much higher.
The leg press machine is also very easy to use. Even a beginner can effectively and properly use the leg press machine. This is important, because the leg press machine can virtually help those who are starting a new way of life, or building on their already pre-existing workout and health routine, get motivated. There is nothing more encouraging than a machine that can give you want you want, with limited risks, and is super easy and effective to use, straight from the beginning. Even if you aren’t someone who is trying to start off a new routine or way of life, and your sole purpose is to just build strength back into your legs due to increasingly weak limbs, the leg press machine is definitely for you.
When it comes to the not so pleasant cons about the use of a leg press machine, you will find that too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that includes using too much weight during your leg press workout. Using too much weight can put you at a higher risk for injury. As far as potential risks for injuries are concerned, you should always make sure you never use too much weight. Most importantly, always make sure that you are absolutely maintaining proper form, making sure your knees are bent during reps at a 90 degree angle.
There also is some concern that the use of a leg press machine is not what we would call a “functional” exercise. When you research any exercise machine or routine, you may come across the words “functional exercise.” A functional exercise means that you are performing an exercise that is similar to that of the movements that we “functionally” make each day. Normally, when we use our legs, functionally, they are placed on the floor and they uphold our body with gravity. The leg press machine takes that functionality away, leaving us on our back, further pumping our legs in midair, up against weights. As a result, there is some concern, according to livehealthy.chron.com, that “fitness or strength developed using a leg press may not translate well to every day or sporting activities, especially when compared to more functional exercises like squats.” (3)
Another downside to the use of a leg press machine is that, although you can certainly restore or add strength your legs, it can potentially cause muscle imbalances. Because this machine causes you to push, it can be very easy to push unknowingly harder with one leg, more so than the other. As a result, this can sometimes leave one leg stronger than the other.
As we mentioned, the leg press machine is considered pretty safe. However, as we also mentioned, if improperly used, it can certainly increase your risk for injury. Whether you use too much weight, or bend your knees too deeply instead of ensuring that you only bend them at a 90 degree angle, you could potentially put yourself at great risk for serious injury to either your lower back or legs. With any exercise machine or routine, you should always make sure you have scouted out the proper form and safety tips to ensure that you are using your equipment or performing your exercise properly. Also, maintaining proper form will also make sure that you get the desired results from any workout or machine you use.
Overall, the leg press machine is a great way to build your legs. As long as you are cautious and use it properly, you will definitely see the benefits from the use. However, it should not be used alone to build your legs. You should use the leg press machine in conjunction with squats, lunges and any other leg building exercise that is considered “functional,” for optimum results.