Leg press technique in the simulator – we work out the quads

Apr 17, 2021 by Adam Addison
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Barbell squats are considered the best exercise for building muscle throughout the body. Unfortunately, this strength element creates dangerous compression loads on the spine. Therefore, people with back diseases are deprived of the opportunity to squat with a lot of weight.

Leg press in the simulator comes to the rescue in such a situation. To perform such presses, a special machine is used, which has an adjustable back and a movable platform located at an angle of 45 °. Thanks to its design, the machine almost completely relieves the dangerous load from the back, thereby allowing you to safely perform heavy weight presses.

the simulator is a comprehensive study of the hips. When performing, the main load is received by the quadriceps and, located on the back side, the hamstrings. Also, the buttocks and the muscle responsible for straightening the spine are additionally worked out.


To make the exercise as effective as possible, you should adhere to the correct technique. Let’s analyze it in detail:

  1. We set the angle of inclination of the back to 45 °.
  2. We sit down in the simulator and firmly press the lower back against the soft back.
  3. Lean our feet against movable platform and spread them to shoulder level.
  4. Spread the knees, raise the weight and remove the stops supporting the platform to the sides.
  5. Grab the handles, bend your knees while inhaling and lower the weight.
  6. Tighten the leg muscles and press the platform with exhalation.
  7. After completing the required number of repetitions, bring the stops and gently lower the platform onto them.

Recommendations :

  • In the upper phase, do not fully straighten the knee joints. Otherwise, the risk of knee injury increases.
  • In the lower phase, lower the platform as close to you as possible, but only until the lower back begins to lift off the back.
  • When performing, lower the back of your head to the seat. This will help keep your spine straight.
  • Keep your knees inward or lift your heels off the platform when lifting. Otherwise, the risk of a sprained knee ligament increases.
  • Hold on to the handles firmly. Otherwise, the body will move to the sides and the effectiveness of the exercise will decrease.
  • Control all movements. Lower and lift weights evenly. It is unacceptable to “toss” the platform with kicks.

Subject to the technique and safety rules, the exercise will only benefit.

Influence of different foot positions

parts of the thigh. For this, different options for the position of the feet are used. Let’s take a closer look at them:

  • Wide stance (wider than the shoulders). The load is placed on the inner thigh.
  • Narrow stance (narrower than the shoulders). The focus shifts to the outside of the quads.
  • Stance high (closer to the top edge). This variation will work the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Low stance (closer to the bottom edge). The main work is done by the quadriceps.

Pressing in the simulator can also be used to work out the calf muscles. To do this, we press the socks to the lower edge of the platform, leave the heels on the weight. We bend the legs and fix them in one position. We push the platform with toes.

In this exercise, you can also vary the load by changing the position of the legs:

  • socks apart – the inner part of the calves works;
  • closed socks – helps to engage the outer calves;
  • parallel feet – full calf pumping.

Machine presses for men and women

This exercise is included in many women’s fitness programs. The popularity is due to the ability to work out problem areas (inner thighs), as well as a good load on the buttocks.

Girls are recommended to perform intensive multi-repetitive sets (4×15-20). So the target muscles will stretch qualitatively, and the subcutaneous fat will burn faster.

For men, for the development of strength indicators and muscle mass gain, it is recommended to perform slow uniform presses (3×8-10). In this case, the weight should be selected so that the athlete performs the last 2 repetitions with maximum effort. This is the only way to “break through” the muscles of the thighs that are not responsive to training and make them increase in volume.

Horizontal press

Performed in a weight-block trainer. Unlike the machine, where the weight is lifted at an angle of 45 °, here the platform moves in the horizontal plane due to blocks. This design allows you to pull the hips as close to the body as possible without fear of lifting the lower back and shifting the load on the back. This helps to increase the range of motion and increase the effectiveness of training.

There are models of horizontal simulators, where the athlete lies on a moving base and pushes off with his feet from the platform. When doing lying leg presses on the simulator, the quadriceps receive the main load. In fact, the “recumbent” variation of the bench press is similar to the hack squat only in the horizontal plane.

Benefits over squats

Let’s list the main advantages of the bench press in the machine before the classic squat with a barbell on the shoulders:

  • Back safety. Even people with back problems can do the exercise.
  • Large working weight. When pushing out the platform, you do not need to maintain balance, which means you can take a serious burden.
  • Simple technique. It is much easier to master the press in the simulator than learning to squat correctly.

In addition to the above, pushing out the platform has fewer contraindications than the barbell squat. Leg pressing is generally not recommended for knee injuries and umbilical hernias. In all other cases, presses are allowed (subject to strict adherence to the technique).