Although the leg press machine might seem like easy-to-use gym equipment, there are still people who injure themselves from using it the wrong way. Utilizing this equipment is important to improve your body posture and strengthen multiple muscle groups. You just have to learn how to use it, remember a few tips, and you’re set to maximize full result on your lower body.
The two types of leg machines are the horizontal leg press and the vertical leg press. The first type is the standard and commonly found in most gyms, while the second has a seat that reclines up to 45 degrees. Nevertheless, using either equipment follow the same steps.
Position your body
Rest your back and head on the padded support of the machine. Make sure that your body is lying comfortably against the equipment. Next, place your feet on the footplate. Your knees and legs should form 90 degrees.
Remember that your knees and feet should be aligned and neither curved inward nor outward. Reposition yourself if your legs are too bent and your feet and knees are not in line. By placing your feet in the correct position on the footplate, you can stimulate the different muscles of your lower body.
If you want to put more stress on your front thighs, place your feet on the lower portion of the footplate and near each other. On the other hand, if you want to shift the emphasis on your back thighs, place your feet on the top portion of the footplate with your legs spread apart.
Poor positioning could result in a costly disaster. It’s better to follow the correct body form when using a leg press to gain more physical benefits and avoid trips to the emergency room.
Grasp the assist handles
The leg press machines are built with assist handles to keep the user in place when lifting the weights. Hold on to the handles to help maintain your head and spine on the support. Never place your hands on your knees because it will make you lose balance. This is a common mistake that you should avoid.
Make the right movements
Once you have positioned your body, it’s time to push the weight away. Use your heels and forefoot and make sure your feet stay flat against the footplate.
While you are moving the weight forward, perform the breathing techniques. Exhale when your legs are away and maintain your back and head on the pad. Stretching your legs should be done in a controlled or slow manner instead of quick movement.
Take a pause at the top and ensure your knees are not bending. Next, inhale while returning the footplate to the initial position. Rest on the first position for a few seconds before pushing the weight again.
Accidents while using exercise equipment are likely to happen when instructions and safety rules are disregarded. Follow these tips to ensure that you are using the leg press correctly and safely.
Mind the distance
The plate should be adjusted to where your feet could reach. If not, the high distance will stress your glute. On the other hand, too low will put too much pressure on your legs and knees.
A full range of motion should be your goal. This means you cannot have a ridiculous amount of weight and then pump out only the tiny distance. You should be able to go as low and as far as you can.
Do not press with your toes
This is a mistake that people do not even realize when doing leg press. Remember that in order to successfully perform leg press, your knees should be in good shape. Healthy knee joints will help you carry the weight and not your toes.
Consistently lifting the weight through your toes will only put you under extreme and unnecessary stress. Plus, it will take you more time to finish one set.
Never leave your position
Do not let your bottom part or head raise from the seat. Hold on to the handles to help you keep your form. This is important to prevent your back from taking all the force. Jerking your body forward will not only put tension to your muscles but might also injure your spinal cord.
Lift what you can
One of the biggest factors that strain the muscles while training is lifting more than what you can. Lifting too many weights could make you lose your form. You’ll be unable to control your movements, and either falls off or crush your bones.
If you are a beginner, start modestly with minimum sets. Three sets of ten leg presses at most should be enough. You can add to the sets as you build up your strength in the following days.
If you are lifting your head or raising your back, it means you are using too much force to push the weight forward. Consider reducing the weight to the mass you can handle.
Know when to stop
Another mistake people do is forcing their body too much. If you feel your knees are already hurting, don’t push through and risk your joints. Forcing your legs will only cause injury.
After finishing one set, rest for a few minutes before continuing. When you’ve accomplished all three sets, call it a day or proceed to other exercise routines.
Famous Last Words
Being safe is better than being sorry. You are training for a reason and whether it’s for your health or for an upcoming outdoor activity, you owe it to yourself to have a safe leg press routine. Follow the correct posture and amount of weight to prevent accidents from happening.
In addition, before starting a leg press training program, you should first make sure that it’s safe for you to do. Anyone who is under the age of fifty is generally considered in good shape and safe to perform leg press. However, anyone over this age should seek medical advice for any health problems or risk of heart attack or stroke.