Top 8 Leg Press Alternatives For Strong Legs

leg press alternatives

Leg pressI hope you know that the leg press is a type of machine-controlled exercise that primarily focuses on your quads and secondary on your glute. The probability of finding a leg press machine at the nearby gym is very low! However, the good news is that there are amazing leg press alternatives available out there that will still help you achieve your let training goals.

Did you know that your leg has the largest bundle of muscles? You should know anyway! These muscles are responsible for your stability, balance and strengthening your athletic ability. At least you now know how important it is to cheer the leg day. However, if you’re late to attend the gym or you find they closed the doors, don’t fret; we got you covered.

So, What Does a Leg Press Mean?


Typically, a leg press machine offers one of the most effective exercises that target your lower body muscles while helping you maintain an upright posture (supporting the back). The exercise involves using your bent legs to press away heavy weights until the legs straighten.

A leg press seat can be set at different angles, but the most common is the 45° angle. Here, you will lie on the seat while your feet are facing the machine so that you can push upwards, and once the legs straighten up, then you release the sledge. In a seated let press, the seat is set to about 90° but with an adjustable angle. You’re required to sit and push the weighted plate onwards with your legs before returning the legs to the starting point.


Which Are The Most Active Muscles Involved In a Leg Press Workout?

As mentioned earlier, a leg press exercise involves muscles such as quads and glute. To hit a specific muscle in your leg press workout, you will have to adjust your feet’s position in each workout.

Originally, the best way to effectively use a leg press machine is by positioning both of your feet at the center of the machine as you shoulder-width apart. This way, you’ll include all your leg muscles in the workout. These muscles include

  1. Quadriceps
  2. Gluteus Maximus
  3. Hip muscles
  4. Hamstrings
  5. Gastrocnemius

The higher you position your feet on the machine, the greater hamstring and glute muscles activation you’ll get. On the other hand, positioning your feet lower on the machine means more quadriceps muscles activation. A wider feet stance helps target your inner thighs muscles while a narrow stance hits your outer thigh muscles the more. Though the studies about the specific muscle activation and feet placement while in workouts are still limited, most of them have shown that increasing the intensity has the most impact on the muscles. Below are the top 8 leg press alternatives exercises you can do at home and give you the same results or even better results.

Top 8 Leg Press Alternatives

1. Squats

Do you know performing squats has the same muscle stimulation impact as performing leg press since they involve the same movements? The primary muscles involved in a squat workout are the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glute. First, you will stand while spreading your feet-width and slightly pointed outwards. Ensure to maintain your core tight as you thrust your hips backwards before you bend your knees. The knees must align with your feet and bulge outwards all the way downwards.

leg press alternatives

Besides, your knees shouldn’t go beyond the toes. In much as possible, try to keep thighs at a 90° angle with the floor as you push your glute downwards. Use the heels to push yourself up again. At the end of every top movement, ensure to tightly squeeze the glute. A resistance band can help you challenge your muscles more. Incorporating a resistance band while performing squats has the impact of activating your glute instead of the quads. Once you’re comfortable with balancing, you can include a dumbbell in both hands as you squat.

2. Sumo Squats

These workouts have almost the same movement range as squatting. However, sumo squats involve more muscle groups and are relatively difficult to perform. The muscles involved here are the glute, hamstrings, quadriceps and inner thigh muscles. First, spread your feet broader than the hips and ensure they are slightly pointed outwards. Don’t forget to keep your core taut. Now, send thrust your hips backwards as you lower your glute. This time make your thighs align to the floor and let your hells push you back up once again. As you finalize, squeeze your glute. Once you master this, harden the process by holding a dumbbell on your hands vertically with your hands in between the legs.

3. Bulgarian Split Squats.

Another best alternative to leg press workouts is the Bulgarian split squats. These exercises involve working out the opposite muscles on both legs each at a time, and it will involve a heavier weight on the back of your leg. The activated muscles here include the hamstrings, quadriceps and glute. Here, begin with a split-legged stance by placing your back leg foot on a chair, a bench or a stability ball. Try to balance the ball placed on your back foot on the level surface. You can as well move your front leg frontward up to a comfy distance. Now, bend your knee sluggishly until the front leg knee is perpendicular, i.e. at an angle of 90 degrees. Maintain your core in a straight position. As you finalize, press your front foot heel towards the ground when standing.

4. Lateral Lunges

These are also great leg press workout alternatives that focus on your quads, glute and hamstrings. Besides, it also targets a side of your glute and the inner and outer thighs. First, establish a lateral lunge by standing straight on both of your feet. Second, take a significant side with your right leg and ensure your knee is at a right angle. Your core should be tight while your torsos at a slight angle, leaning forward while bending. Take your leg back as you straighten it to stand up while both of your feet are held together. Do the same movement with your left leg. You can now add more weight.

5. Broad Jumps

These involve using explosive movements that hit similar muscles, just like when performing a squat. Other muscles involved are the hamstrings, quadriceps and glute. The calf muscles get activated.

Start with your feet shoulder spread apart as you start lowering your body to assume a squat position. Place your heels firmly on the ground and let your arms propel you forward, and then jump. As you stand on your feet, make yourself stable by having a straight core to sit in a squatting position. A resistance bang around your thighs can help increase tension while you exercise and evenly use your muscles.

6. Walking lunges (Dumbbell Version).

These workouts are one of the most popular movements available today due to the many benefits they offer. For instance, lunges help enhance your balance; they ensure work out on both sides of your body and integrate to your core for stabilizing. Besides, it promotes hip flexibility, ensures the toning of your primary muscles. This leg press alternative focus on your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Performing lunges boosts your functionality and immunity due to the much-needed effort required to perform them.

Begin with both dumbbells lengthen to the sides. Ensure to maintain the best athletic ready position. Your head should be straight, step forward to a comfortable step and ensure to keep your chest budging outwards and your cores engaged. Once you reach the bottom of your movement, return to the initial position and ensure to maintain your core strong and head straight. Maintaining a strong and stable core helps prevent injuries.

7. Step Up With Barbell

Squat with barbellIt’s one of the most amazing versatile movements’ ideals for general athletic abilities and also offers a perfect workout and only requires a little equipment. It serves as the best leg press alternative, especially due to the reduced impact on your body and the immense cardio benefits from it. As a plyometric movement, it is ideal for those looking forward to improving their overall body strength. It helps build and stabilize your muscles, thus enhancing your entire body balance. The exercise targets your vastus lateralis, hamstrings, quads, and rectus femoris.

Start by placing your barbell onto the back. Now place a bench in front, and it should be rough of the same height to your knees. With your back straight, step on the bench and ensure your core tight. Both of your feet should be on the box as you plan to return to the initial position. Lower your back down slowly and repeat with the other leg. You should feel softness when returning to the initial position hence preventing a heavy out of control landing.

8. Smith Rack Squats

Squat with power rackIf you’re looking forward to maximizing your muscle development and also lowering chances of injury, then the smith tack squats are your solution. This machine makes it possible for you to mainly target your workout technique hence helping stabilize your muscles. You can squat to the maximum level, knowing that the machine is there for your assistance.

The smith machine includes a bar that moves up and down smoothly, and this movement gives the user more confidence to workout heavier weight for maximum muscle development. Moreover, the machine will lock you up into the right position, thus preventing the drifting on your knees before your toes. This is achieved by placing a considerable amount of stress on your knee flexors.

Start by loading an ideal amount of weight for your knees onto the barbell. While you stand in the power rack, begin your workout with an athletic position, with shoulder-width apart. Now lover your knees into a squatting position, the weight pressing on the heels, head straight, and of course a core tight. Remain still for a one-second while at the bottom position before you return up. Unless you’re fully experiencing and have developed strong muscles, go above the parallel.

Final Thought

The above are a few helpful tips on how to perform the various leg press alternative workouts. The lack of a leg press machine shouldn’t deter you from building muscles while at home. By performing higher reps in the above workout sets, you can still build the strong muscles you have dreamed of.

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