The Downside of Leg Pressing

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leg-press

The Downside of Leg Pressing

Leg pressing used to be a very important exercise in my leg routine, until the downside of it started to show it’s evil head.

As beneficial as leg pressing can be, it can cause some serious problems which I wasn’t aware of. I always noticed the more knowledgeable lifters in my gym, using the leg press machine as one for a warm up, rather than an actual exercise in itself. I never understood the reason for this as they never included that reason, but rather recommended as an exercise good for getting a pump, warming up and going high in reps rather than in weight.

Unfortunately, I had to find the reason on my own and most people realize this reason from their own individual experience. Unlike them, I am going to actually share this reason with you!


As one increases their strength on the leg press machine, there becomes a point where the amount of weight on the machine exerts a heavy force on one’s knees. It’s like a great pressure felt within the knees, that causes you to feel as if your knees would eventually snap, under the weight it is trying to support.

I had recently had the personal pleasure of increasing my weight on the leg press machine to 500 lbs. Previously I was performing high reps with the 450 lbs and decided, adding on more plates to make it 500, would be a good idea. Now, it may just well be that I increased the weight too much but I have been accustom to adding on 45 lb plates to my lower weights, when I progressed from them. So it felt like it was only appropriate to go up slowly, as I reached the 10 plate mark. The amount of force exerted on my knees, was more than I could bear. My form significantly reduced, not because my quads couldn’t support the weight but more because my knees were feeling the great pressure being pushed against them.

Leg press, personally, is an exercise that is good for warming up. It is good for getting the blood flowing into the muscles, so that you could reduce the injuries that can come from squatting. Increasing in weight, is a dumb idea personally and even if I decide to do it eventually, my main focus will always be increasing my strength on back squats.

There is no reason to put so much pressure on your knees, with an exercise that can still benefit you by lowering the amount of weight and going for higher reps.

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