Matt Gemkow, the author of this content section at Select Fitness USA, boasts more than 15 years of fitness experience. He started out in sports and athletic training for many years and has since 2014 transitioned into heavy-weight training and bodybuilding. As a result, he has become one of the most experienced fitness equipment experts out there, and a valuable source of information.
7 Different Types Of Leg Press Machine You Need To Know About
If you're like us, we don't skimp on leg day. We thrive in the section of the gym where people take their legs to burn.
I'm sure you've heard of leg press machines by now, but are you aware just how many types of different leg presses there?
If that's what you came to see, you're in luck!
In this article, we'll be exploring seven different types of leg press machines that you need to know about.
Whether you're a seasoned gym-goer or just getting started with strength training, leg press machines can help you build strength, power, and muscle in your lower body.
From traditional plate-loaded machines to more advanced cable-based systems, there's a leg press machine out there for every fitness level and goal.
So, let's get started and discover the different types of leg press machines that can take your leg workouts to new heights!
What are the Different Leg Press Machine Types?
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The 45 Degree Linear Leg Press is a popular machine that allows users to push weight on a sled at a 45-degree angle.
This type of leg press machine is plate-loaded and is often found in commercial gyms.
The Horizontal Seated Leg Press is a machine that is used in a seated position with the legs extended out in front of the body.
This type of leg press is typically a pin selectorized style machine and allows for a more comfortable and supported leg press movement.
The Angled Leverage Leg Press is a type of leg press machine that utilizes a lever system for resistance. This machine is often found in many types of gyms and allows for a smooth and controlled leg press movement with a deep range of motion.
The Dual Function Leg Press is a machine that can be used as both a leg press and a hack squat.
This type of leg press machine is often designed for home gyms and provides users with versatility in a smaller amount of space than two machines.
The Vertical Leg Press is a machine that allows users to perform a leg press movement in a vertical position while lying flat on their back.
This type of leg press machine is typically plate-loaded and can provide a unique challenge to the legs with ultimate back and neck safety.
The Compact Leg Press is a machine that is designed to take up less space than traditional leg press machines, hence the name.
This type of leg press machine is often found in home gyms and can provide a challenging leg workout in a smaller space, and cheaper price point then the rest.
The Iso-lateral Leg Press is a machine that allows users to work each leg independently.
This type of leg press machine is often found in commercial gyms and can help users correct any imbalances between their legs, as well as provide an advanced level of isolation for developed lifters.
45 Degree Linear Leg Press
The 45 Degree Linear Leg Press is a popular machine that allows users to push weight on a sled at a 45-degree incline angle.
Also commonly referred to as the incline leg press, linear leg press, and 90 degree leg press, the machine gets its name from the angle of the sled.
This type of leg press generally holds a ton of weight and for that is placed often times in commercial settings.
It features a straight sled path, and forces the users into a deep, lower body focused, range of motion with a supported back and neck.
The sled of the 45 Degree Linear Leg Press is mounted on linear bearings that move on a set track, which helps to provide a smooth and consistent motion.
Users typically sit with their back against a pad and their feet on the sled, which is then pushed away from the body to complete the leg press movement.
The 45 Degree Linear Leg Press is typically plate-loaded, which means users can adjust the weight to their desired level of resistance.
How to Use a 45 Degree Linear Leg Press
If you're new to using a 45 Degree Linear Leg Press, here's a step-by-step guide on how to use this machine effectively. Each one from various brands may look slightly different, but in general the type of machine is used like this:
- Adjust the weight on the machine to your desired level of resistance.
- Sit with your back against the pad and your feet on the sled.
- Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the sled, with your toes pointing slightly outward.
- Release the sled's safety locks and slowly lower the weight down towards your body.
- Push the sled away from your body, straightening your legs in the process.
- Slowly lower the weight back down towards your body and repeat for desired reps.
45 Degree Linear Leg Press Benefits
- Lower Body Isolation
- Little to No Spinal Compression
- Controlled Movement
- Customizable Resistance
- Built-In Safety Pre-Cations
Horizontal Seated Leg Press
The horizontal seated leg press is typically a pin selectorized machine that requires the user to sit in a horizontal position and push the weight forward using their legs or push their body backward from a stationary foot plate.
The horizonal orientation allows for a very comfortable and convenient mounting process, you just sit down on it and start pressing.
The selectorized weight stack that would come with the machine makes it easy and quick to change weights between sets or even between users.
This is great for beginners and rehab clients as you can set the machine to only go a certain depth (range of motion) to eliminate any risk from using the machine.
This is most likely the safest leg press machine in the bunch.
How to Use a Horizontal Seated Leg Press
- Adjust the seat so that your knees are at roughly a 90-degree angle when you press.
- Select the weight that would like to leg press using the selectorized weight stack.
- Place your feet on the platform about shoulder-width apart or whatever is comfortable.
- Grasp the handles on the side of the machine for stability.
- Drive your feet into the foot plate, pushing with your quads, and keeping your glutes and core tight.
- Slowly lower the weight back to the starting position, and perform as many reps as you would like.
Horizontal Leg Press Benefits
- Targeted muscle development.
The horizontal seated leg press primarily targets the quadriceps muscles, but also works the hamstrings and glutes to a lesser extent.
- Low impact
Because the movement is horizontal and the weight is not placed on the shoulders, the horizontal seated leg press is a low-impact exercise that puts minimal stress on the joints.
- Easy to use
The pin selectorized system makes it easy to adjust the weight and quickly switch between users or weights.
- Adjustable Range Of Motion
The machine's design allows for a greater range of motion, which can lead to increased flexibility over time.
- Great for beginners or Rehab Clients
The horizontal seated leg press is a great machine for beginners or those who are recovering from an injury, as it's a safe and easy exercise to perform.
Angled Leverage Leg Press
An Angled Leverage Leg Press is a type of leg press machine that uses a lever system to provide resistance to the user.
The machine has generally a 45-degree angle and is typically plate-loaded, allowing for a high amount of resistance and adjustability.
Hence the name, the angled leverage leg press has an angled ranged of motion to a certain extent.
It's designed with a certain bio-mechanical range of motion in mind to most effectively target the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, while requiring little to no engagement of the lower and upper back.
This type of leg press is great all around for building the strength and muscle mass of your legs with a focus on hypertrophy.
How to Use a Leverage Leg Press
- Start by adjusting the seat to your desired position and load up the amount of weight plates that you know you can perform for multiple reps.
- Sit on the machine with your back against the backrest and your feet flat on the footplate and set your foot position.
- Grasp the handles on both sides of the seat and brace your legs and core, then release the safety mechanism, usually found on the side.
- Push the footplate forward with your feet, keeping your glutes and core engaged, squeezing your quadriceps.
- Go as deep as you comfortably can and drive the foot plate back up, while remembering not to extend your knees completely for safety reasons.
- Prepare again for the next rep. Always remember to breath!
Angled Leverage Leg Press Benefits
- Supreme Range Of Motion
- Lower Body Isolation
- Isolated Leg Training
- Fits All Different Fitness Levels
- Very Low Risk Of Injury
Dual Function Leg Press (Leg Press / Hack Squat)
The Dual Function Leg Press is a versatile machine that allows you to perform both leg press and hack squat exercises, making it a great addition to any gym or home workout space.
The machine typically includes a back pad and foot plate that can be adjusted to accommodate different body sizes and exercise variations.
Switch between a incline 45 degree leg press and a shoulder loaded hack squat variation all in the same machine, without taking up any extra space, or budget.
How to Use a Dual Function Leg Press / Hack Squat
Dual Function Leg Press Benefits
- Adjustable Plate Loaded Resistance
- Low Joint Strain
- Space Saving and Budget Saving
Vertical Leg Press
The vertical leg press is a machine that has a unique design compared to the other leg press machines.
Instead of a traditional inclined or horizontal angle, the machine's is aligned vertically as the name implies.
The lays flat, horizontal to the ground, with their back against a padded support and pushes the platform straight up towards the sky.
The aims to mimic a low-bar position barbell squat, while keeping the back and neck aligned and supported for supreme safety.
Its an excellent machine to throw in your routine to change things up from the common leg press machine.
How to Use a Vertical Leg Press
Vertical Leg Press Benefits
- Unique Leg Press Movement
- Lower Back and Neck Support
- Direct 1 : 1 Weight Ratio
On some leg press machines such as a 45 degree angled leg press, or a leverage leg press, the weight you load on the machine is actually slightly more than the exact weight that you feel like you're pushing.
The angle of the machine combining with gravity, causes it to be slightly less actually.
The straight path, and 100% vertical alignment, means that the weight you put on the machine, is coming at you with 100% resistance instead of being slightly offput by an angle.
Compact Leg Press
The Compact Leg Press is a smaller version of the traditional leg press machine and can be an ideal choice for those with limited space or those who prefer to have a compact gym setup.
It has a smaller footprint and is generally less expensive than larger leg press machines.
They provide a great bang for your buck in terms of both money spent and space taken up by the machine.
You can still get an effective and challenging leg workout in, without nearly the amount of committed space and budget for a full size leg press of any type.
How to Use a Compact Leg Press
- Adjust the seat and backrest to a comfortable position.
- Place your feet on the footplate, shoulder-width apart, and pointed straight ahead, or in any comfortable position.
- Grip the handles on either side of the seat for stability.
- Push the footplate away from you by extending your legs.
- Pause briefly at the end of the movement, and then slowly return to the starting position.
Compact Leg Press Benefits
- Space-Saving Design.
- Less Expensive Than Typical Leg Press
- Safe and Easy to Use
- Can Help Prevent Injuries
Iso-Lateral Leg Press
The iso-lateral leg press is a type of leg press machine that has independently moving platforms for each leg.
This allows each leg to work independently, which can be beneficial for people who have strength imbalances or injuries.
Additionally, the iso-lateral design can mimic natural movement patterns better than other types of leg press machines making also a great movement for advanced lifters too!
Across the spectrum people can get value out this type of leg press machine that they otherwise would not find in any other type of leg press.
How to Use an iso-lateral Leg Press
- Adjust the seat to your desired height.
- Select the weight you want to use.
- Position yourself on the machine so that each foot is on a separate platform.
- Push the platforms away from you using your legs until your knees are almost fully extended.
- Slowly lower the platforms back down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Repeat for your desired number of repetitions.
- Also feel free to lock one of the platforms, and perform one leg at a time in the same exact way.
Iso-lateral Leg Press Benefits
- Can Correct Strength Imbalances.
Since the two legs are in charge of moving their own individual platform, there is no possible way that one leg can take over or help moving the platform for the other leg. This is great for training leg discrepancies and imbalances.
- Mimics Natural Movement Patterns.
- Provides a Challenging Workout for Lower Body.
- Safe and Effective Leg Training.
Are All Types Of Leg Press Machine the Same Starting Weight?
All leg press machines do not have the same starting weight.
The weight of the sled on leg press machines can vary significantly. Angled leg press machines usually have sleds that weigh between 45lbs and 100lbs.
In contrast, horizontal leg presses have a very low starting weight, which is typically the first plate on the weight stack of the pin selectorized machine. This can range from 5-20lbs.
On the other hand, a vertical leg press will have a starting weight that is exactly the weight of the footplate.
Each machine is different, but they all will be rather easy to perform with no weight starting on the machine.
Which Leg Press Is Best?
When it comes to choosing the best leg press machine, there are several things to keep in mind.
Here are some important things to consider after reading all about the types of leg press machines and deciding which you will purchase or use at the gym today.
Weight Load Capacity Range
Different leg press machines have different weight capacity ranges, so it's important to choose a machine that can handle your weight and the weight you plan to lift.
Make sure to check the weight capacity of each machine you're considering.
The dimensions of a leg press machine can vary greatly, and it's important to choose a machine that will fit comfortably in the space available, whether you have a full commercial facility, or a one bedroom apartment.
Consider the length, width, and height of each machine you're looking into, and measure your workout space to ensure a good fit.
User Experience and Comfort
The user experience of a leg press machine is important to consider.
Look for a machine that feels comfortable and natural to use, with adjustable settings to fit your body and fitness level.
It's also a good idea to read reviews and get feedback from other users to learn about their experiences.
Leg press machines can vary widely in price, and needless to say, its an inevitable part of the buying journey to consider.
It's important to choose a machine that fits your budget.
Consider how much you're willing to spend, and compare prices and features to find the best value for your money.
Also take into consideration the type of machine, we've covered some leg press machine types that are cheaper than others and some that have no cap on price.
Types Of Leg Press Machine Conclusion
In conclusion, there are several types of leg press machines, each with its own unique features and benefits.
When choosing the best one for you, consider factors such as weight capacity range, machine dimensions, user experience, and price.
Ultimately, the best type of leg press machine is one that meets your specific fitness goals and preferences.
If you're shopping for leg press machines of any kind, we have at least one that will suit your needs, no matter who you are. Check them out today!
At time, you can contact us via live chat, phone, or email, and speak with a real fitness equipment expert.