There are some great leg press benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Although the barbell squat is generally superior, the leg press exercise does have merit.
I suggest reviewing the leg press technique to ensure you can maximize its benefits.
Leg Press Benefits. Sure, squats have more advantages overall. But the leg press exercise is still an exercise to be taken seriously. The most impressive benefits of the leg press are explained below.
- Build Muscular Legs. This leg exercise is great for adding pure size to your legs. The leg press exercise enables you to focus on your major leg muscles. It doesn’t require you to use your stabilizer muscles since its done on a machine. This allows you to add more weight faster. And according to the principle of progressive overload, the end result is increased muscle mass.
- Increase Your Squat. Assuming that you are well-suited for squatting, the leg press can act as a catalyst for squat strength increases. This makes sense because it is basically the same movement as the squat; only it’s performed in a different direction and with a different torso angle. However, since it doesn’t require as much balance or stabilization as squats, it is easier to increase the load and introduce a more stress to the leg muscles. (Note: you should be training squats in tandem with the leg press to see significant transference of strength, otherwise your stabilizer muscles will weaken.)
- Take a Load Off Your Back. The leg press exercise does not require you to put direct pressure on your spinal column. While spinal loading in and of itself is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t be done extensively by those with current and recurring back problems. This exercise eliminates that issue since the weight sled is on an angle. That is, the load doesn’t bear directly down onto the vertebrae.
- A Good Alternative If You Can’t Squat Unless you plan to compete in powerlifting, squatting is not an absolute requirement. The leg press is a sufficient alternative if you have physical limitations (e.g. poor body structure, terrible hip flexibility, back issues) that prevent you from using proper squat form.