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11 Benefits Of The Leg Press

Leg Press Benefits

If you're going down the rabbit hole of information about lower body workouts, you've definitely heard of the leg press, and maybe some of its benefits.

While many people are aware of the basic benefits of using the leg press machine, there are several other advantages that often go overlooked.

In this article, we'll explore 11 benefits of the leg press that might influence you to hop on the leg press and work on those monstrous legs.


We are not responsible for any damage to clothing in response to massive leg gains. 

11 Legit Leg Press Benefits:

1. Lower Body Isolation and Development
 2. Low Requirement for Balance and Stabilization
 3. Excellent for Beginners
 4. Adjustable and Versatile 
 5. Improves the Squat, Deadlift, and Other Activities
 6. Safely Overload with a Lot Of Weight
 7. Used in the Beginning, middle, or end of a Workout
 8. Accessibility and Popularity
 9. Great for Injury Rehab and Prevention
10. Promotes Strong Bones and Increased Done Density
11. Multiple Types Of Leg Press To Try

1. Lower Body Isolation and Development

One of the key benefits of using a leg press machine is its ability to isolate and develop the lower body muscles.

By using a machine, you can focus solely on working your legs without having to worry about other muscles, like your back or core, getting involved.

Not that the back and core are unengaged during a heavy leg press set (they are), but you will not become exhausted to the point of failure due to your back or core muscles like on a squat or deadlift. 

This is especially beneficial for developing the legs, as you want all your outputted effort going into the legs on a leg exercise, and not being distracted by requiring immense amount of effort in your core, back, and other stabilizers. 

Proper form is key when using the leg press machine to ensure that you're targeting the right muscles.

Make sure your feet are positioned correctly on the footplate, with your heels flat and your toes pointing slightly outward.

Keep your back flat against the backrest and your core engaged throughout the movement.

Overall, the leg press machine is a valuable tool for isolating and developing your lower body muscles. With proper form and progressive overload, you can use the machine to achieve greater leg strength, size, and function.

2. Low Requirement for Balance and Stabilization

Another benefit of using the leg press machine is its minimal requirement for balance and stabilization.

Unlike exercises such as squats or lunges that require a significant amount of core stability and balance, the leg press machine provides a stable and controlled environment for the exercise.

You'd be surprised what level of balance actually goes into a movement like the squat or deadlift. 

A certain percentage of your energy is diluted from the core leg muscles, and put into stabilizers when performing a free weight compound movement, which is why they seem so exhausting, despite your legs not being completely at failure or exhaustion yet. 

Furthermore, the leg press machine allows you to funnel all of the exerted energy into the core leg muscles without be diluted into balance and stabilization.

This can be particularly useful for bodybuilders or individuals looking to specifically target their lower body muscles without having to worry about the involvement of other muscle groups.

While, it's important to note that balance and stabilization are important components of overall fitness and should not be neglected, when the goal is to work the legs, the leg press is great doing just that. 

In summary, the leg press machine's low requirement for balance and stabilization can make it highly beneficial for people of all types.

3. Excellent for Beginners

The leg press machine is a great option for beginners on leg day, particularly those who are new to strength training or weightlifting.

One of the main advantages of the leg press is that it is relatively easy to learn and progress on.

Unlike free weight compound exercises like the squat, the leg press provides a stable and controlled environment for your lower body workout with very simple form.

With proper instruction and guidance, beginners can quickly learn proper form for the leg press and begin effectively training their leg muscles without worrying about improper form or injury.

This can be especially important for individuals who may be hesitant or intimidated to try other lower body exercises, such as the squat or deadlift.

Additionally, the leg press allows beginners to gradually increase the weight they are lifting and quickly become familiar with heavier weights, which will be helpful in all other realms of their fitness journey.

The leg press is an excellent exercise option for beginners due to its ease of use, controlled environment, and easy progression with minimal attention to form. 

4. Adjustable and Versatile 

The leg press machine is a highly adjustable and versatile piece of equipment that can be tailored to fit the needs of a wide range of users.

One of the key features of the leg press machine is its usefulness to many people of all shapes and sizes.

Many leg presses are able to adjust where needed to make it comfortable for many people, so the maximum amount of users can reap the other benefits of the leg press mentioned here.

Leg presses also come with adjustable resistance settings, through a few different methods including selectorized weight stacks and Olympic weight plate loaded resistance methods.

This flexibility in resistance also means that the leg press machine can be used for a variety of different training methods, including heavy strength training, hypertrophic muscle building, and muscular endurance training.


The machine itself is adjustable to fit many users which is great, but the user can also adjust their stance on the leg press to switch up which muscle groups are most primarily used during the exercise.

Changing the foot placement on a leg press is a great way to add versatility to the type of machine and further increases the beneficial nature of the leg press!

We have a full article about foot placement on the leg press you should read.

5. Improves the Squat, Deadlift, and Other Activities

The leg press machine is not only a great exercise on its own, but it can also improve performance in other activities such as sports, Olympic lifts like the squat and deadlift, and everyday functional movements.

The leg press targets and strengthens many of the same muscle groups as the squat and deadlift, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, making it an excellent supplemental exercise for those looking to improve their performance in these lifts.

By increasing the strength in these muscles, it will directly carry over and affect your strength in the areas mentioned. 

Additionally, the leg press machine can also improve functional movements in daily life, such as walking, climbing stairs, and carrying heavy objects. These activities require strong leg muscles and the leg press machine is an effective way to build and maintain that strength.

6. Safely Overload with a Lot Of Weight

The leg press machine allows users to safely overload specific muscle groups with a lot of weight, which can be challenging to do with exercises like squats and deadlifts.

This is because the leg press machine provides a stable and controlled environment, which reduces the risk of injury that can occur when lifting heavy weights with free weights.

With the leg press machine, users can load up the weight and target specific muscle groups without having to worry about balance, stabilization, exhaustion in other muscle groups, or failure of reps without full attention to the leg muscles at hand.

The greater control over the movement, and reduced risk of injury allow for peace at mind when looking to perform a heavy lift.

Additionally, the leg press machine often features safety mechanisms such as adjustable safety stops, which prevent the weight from descending too low and causing injury.

The ability to safely overload specific muscle groups is crucial for muscle growth and adaptation. By gradually increasing the weight and challenging the muscles, they are forced to adapt and grow stronger.

With the leg press machine, users can do this with a lower risk of injury, allowing them to safely push their limits and see progress in their strength and muscle development.

7. Used in the Beginning, middle, or end of a Workout

The leg press machine is one of those exercises that can be used in the beginning, middle, or end of a workout. Its versatility comes from its ability to be effective at many rep ranges and at any point in a leg day workout.

At the beginning of a workout, the leg press machine can be used as a warm-up exercise to activate the lower body muscles and prepare them for more intense exercises. Using lighter weights and higher reps, it will increase blood flow to the muscles and improve range of motion in the hips and knees.

In the beginning or middle of a workout, the leg press can be used as a heavy compound lift to target the lower body muscles with a challenging weight load.

It can easily replace the need for a free weight compound exercise like squats.

As a support movement to heavier compound lifts, the leg press can be used to target similar muscles, but in a higher volume fashion. Hit your squats with a 3-10 rep range and then go into the leg press for 8-15 reps and feel the burn!

Finally, at the end of a workout, the leg press can be used as a burnout exercise to fatigue the muscles and create an intense finisher.

By using higher reps and lighter weights, the leg press can help increase metabolic stress on the muscles, which can contribute to muscle growth and development through hypertrophy.

Overall, the leg press machine is a versatile exercise that can be used in a variety of ways throughout a workout. Whether used as a warm-up, heavy compound lift, support movement, or burnout exercise, the leg press can effectively target lower body muscles and provide a challenging workout for individuals of all fitness levels.

8. Accessibility and Popularity

The leg press machine is a popular piece of equipment that can be found in many gyms, rec centers, and fitness facilities. This is because the leg press is a highly effective exercise that targets a variety of lower body muscles, making it a valuable addition to any workout routine.

Because of its popularity, the leg press is also widely accessible. It can be found in most commercial gyms, including big box gyms, boutique fitness studios, and local rec centers. This means that individuals looking to incorporate the leg press into their workout routine can easily find a facility that offers this equipment.

For those who prefer to workout at home, the leg press machine is also a viable option. There are many different models available for purchase, ranging from compact and affordable to larger and more advanced. This means that individuals with a home gym setup can easily incorporate the leg press into their workouts without having to travel to a commercial gym.

Additionally, because the leg press machine is a popular piece of equipment, there are many resources available online for individuals looking to learn more about how to use it effectively. This includes instructional videos, articles, and workout plans that can help individuals maximize the benefits of the leg press and achieve their fitness goals.

9. Great for Injury Rehab and Prevention

The leg press, a favored exercise machine, has proven to be a valuable tool for both rehabilitating and preventing injuries. Its effectiveness lies in its ability to enable individuals with leg injuries or physical limitations to engage in weight-bearing exercises in a safe and secure manner.

The leg press is especially advantageous for individuals who need to maintain and rehabilitate their leg strength without imposing excessive pressure on their joints.

This is due to the leg press's closed-chain nature, where the feet remain fixed, and the movement is confined to the legs, significantly diminishing the chances of joint injury, particularly in the knees and hips. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals recovering from injuries.

The leg press is particularly beneficial to people with knee injuries. By employing lighter weights and gradually increasing resistance, they can enhance their leg strength without exposing their knees to excessive pressure, thereby speeding up the recovery process and minimizing the likelihood of re-injury.

Furthermore, the leg press can be instrumental in maintaining proper lower body health and preventing injuries from happening in the first place.

When used correctly, it can help to fortify the muscles in the legs, hips, and glutes, which are critical for preserving balance, stability, and proper movement patterns. This helps to reduce the chances of injuries like sprains, strains, and muscle imbalances.

10. Promotes Strong Bones and Increased Done Density

Engaging in weight-bearing exercises of all types, the leg press for example, can be an effective way to promote strong bones and increased bone density.

The stress placed on the bones during weight-bearing exercises stimulates the body to produce more bone tissue, resulting in stronger and denser bones.

Studies have shown that weight-bearing exercises can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures.

Regular participation in weight-bearing exercises, like the leg press, can help to slow down or even reverse the progression of osteoporosis by improving bone density.

Furthermore, weight-bearing exercises have also been shown to have a positive impact on other aspects of bone health, such as bone metabolism and bone mineral content.

By incorporating weight-bearing exercises like the leg press into your fitness routine, you can help to improve your overall bone health and reduce your risk of bone-related injuries and conditions.

11. Multiple Types Of Leg Press To Try

There are various types of leg press machines available and in use today, each offering unique benefits and adding variation to the standard leg press machine.

Here are a few types of leg press machines to consider when shopping around for leg presses at the gym or for your own facility:

Horizontal Seated Leg Press Benefits:

  • Very Low impact on Joints
  • Adjustable Range Of Motion - Easily slide the seat back and forth
  • Best Leg Press for beginners

Incline Linear Leg Press Benefits:

  • Built-In safety pre-cations 
  • Controlled and consistent linear movement
  • Low to no spinal compression just like many leg presses

Vertical Leg Press Benefits:

  • Unique leg press movement 
  • Direct 1 : 1 weight ratio
  • Emphasis on hamstrings and glutes 

 For a full detailed explanation, visit another article about the 7 different types of leg press machine.

How to Do the Leg Press 

  1.  Load an appropriate amount of weight on the machine, whether that be with Olympic weight plates or the selectorized weight stack.
  2. Sit on the leg press machine with your back and head resting against the seat for support.
  3. Position your feet on the footplate, ensuring that they are stabile and ready bare weight.
  4. Adjust the seat if needed.
  5. Engage your core and hold onto the side handles for added support if required.
  6. Begin by pushing the footplate away with the center of your foot, making sure to keep your feet flat throughout the movement.
  7. Continue pressing until your legs are 95% extended, and be careful not to lock your knee joint and risk hyperextending the legs.
  8. To return to the starting position, slowly bend your knees and push them outward, similar to a squat, to prevent your knees from bowing inward.
  9. Perform as many reps as needed or as possible.

Leg Press Foot Placement and Variation

 There a few main leg press foot placement variations that help add versatility and change up the standard leg press:

  • Standard: Shoulder width foot placement. Targets lower body all around.
  • Wide: 1.5x - 2x shoulder width foot placement. Targets the lower body with emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Narrow: Feet together or inches apart. Targets the Quads primarily, as well as the hamstrings and glutes.
  • High Stance: Feet close to the top of the foot plate. Targets the hamstrings heavily, as well as glutes and quads. 
  • Low Stance: Feet close to the bottom of the foot plate. Targets mostly the quads.
  • Single Leg: Iso-lateral training with the leg press. Targets the muscles of each individual leg. 
  • Toes Only: Calf raises on the leg press. Targets the calves.

Feel free to experiment with each one and become familiar with all the variations. 

Wrapping Up Leg Press Benefits

 Overall, you can see the leg press is clearly a beneficial exercise. 

There is some controversy on the leg press vs. the squat, but in all reality, you can not deny that the leg press is useful and has its list of benefits. 

You can use the leg press to promote muscular strength, growth, endurance, and performance of other activities, no matter who, or where you are. 

If you're looking for a leg press for your home or commercial gym, we carry leg press machines from some of the top brands in America you should check out.

Want to read more about leg press machines? Check out some other resources below!

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About The Author

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.