T There are plenty of gym machines that can get you burning calories and gaining strong muscles without bulking up, yet if you are looking to focus on your legs and use weights, the options are restrained to two popular exercises. The first implies doing squats while lifting a barbell, and there is a lot of variation here as you can go for sumo squats, split squats, front squats, overhead squats, and so on. The efficiency of these types of exercises is excellent, but you must take into account that you need someone to supervise you, especially if you are a beginner, as lifting heavy weights is a serious job. The second option you have at your disposal, and a more elegant one, I may say, is the leg press machine, which is a gym apparatus that has you seated on a bench while you press with your legs on a plate to push away the weight of the plates arranged on the system. Today I will focus on the leg press and the benefits it can bring both for bodybuilder women and women who are only interested in getting a good strength training program for their legs.
If you are determined to use the leg press at the gym, then it is best to decide first what type of apparatus you want to use and then look for a place that can provide it. If you are planning on buying your own, then things are as simple as they sound. So, what are the options available?
While there are several leg press alternatives, there are some advantages that peak only with this apparatus, so I will explore them below.
Among the muscles a leg press works, the glutes are targeted directly and get a lot of exercises. You are using them to push the plate and also activate them during the plate lowering step. Having strong glutes means obtaining better pelvic stability, which is extremely important if you are dealing with lower back pain or knee pain. Moreover, as you work your leg muscles, they react better to effort, helping you move easier and faster. In the long run, the press prepares you for other exercises that may require improved mobility and better resistance.
As a lot of gym apparatuses do, the press allows you to play with the resistance it opposes. You can start by adding lighter plates until you get accustomed to the exercise. Then, you can gradually raise the number of pounds you are pushing. If you are focusing on increasing your endurance, heavier plates are the solution. On the other hand, if you want to get a cardio effect as well, you can try pressing lighter and increasing the number of reps.
Using free weights engages more muscles, according to this study, but it also implies more risks. You need to have great balance to maintain a barbell steady while squatting, and this is one of the reasons the presence of a spotter is mandatory. When using this apparatus, you gain two essential advantages. First, you have a more comfortable position that doesn’t put pressure on your spine and thus helps protect it. And second, the footplate moves on a single track, which means that there is no risk that it may fall on the side. This allows you to work out for longer and use a lot of weight, which has led to some weightlifters pushing huge loads that have established them as leg press world record holders.
In case you recently went through a knee, hip, or back surgery, the last thing you should do is try a deadlift or barbell calisthenics. You want to isolate your affected area but keep your main muscles moving so you don’t start losing muscle mass. Indoor bike workouts are often used in recovery therapies, but the leg press is gradually gaining trust, as a series of studies have proven that it can be a reliable way of helping patients regain their strength without endangering their health.
One aspect most trainers look to improve in their trainees is speed and power, as this helps them perform better. Strong glutes will give the athletes a boost in speed and, as this clinical trial has shown, the press can also improve their jump considerably. Basketball players have a lot to gain from doing leg presses, as well as sprinters. Furthermore, it can even help bodybuilders gain the power they need in their legs when they want to protect their upper body between barbell workouts.
Muscle atrophy appears when the muscles are not being used for a while but is also a common old-age problem. Senior women find it more difficult to do squats, which may lead to them avoiding them and not receiving the level of exercise they need. Since the press is easier on the knees, it is preferred for preventing muscle loss.
If you are interested in obtaining slimmer thighs, this machine can help you acquire excellent results. The secret is to push a smaller load while focusing on doing more reps. This will help you reduce your BMI in time without making your thigh muscles grow too big. I prefer it due to the comfortable seated position I can maintain, which makes it look more like a fun game than a strenuous workout that I am praying to end faster.
The load a woman can push with her legs depends mostly on her level of training but also on her body weight. In general, a beginner should be able to press 0.5 times her body weight, an intermediate 1.75 times her body weight, and an elite female weightlifter 3.75 times her body weight.
For instance, if you are weighing 120 lbs. and this is the first time using the press, you can safely load it with plates weighing 68 lbs. Nevertheless, if you feel that this is too hard for you, you shouldn’t force your legs. Drop some of the plates and work your way up to the optimal load.
Age can play an important part as well, as it affects muscle and bone percentages in your body. Thus, if you are in your twenties, thirties, or forties, you can go pressing up to 79 lbs. even if you are a beginner. But you should lower the load gradually, starting with your fifties.
It is incredible how much you have to gain if you include leg presses in your workout routine. The results aren’t late to show, and you will soon see how you find it easier to walk a lot of miles, run, or even play basketball with your friends. If you are a weightlifter, you will benefit most if you combine the press with free weights as you need to practice your balance as well. If you are recovering after an accident, the machine can help you get back on track without exposing your spine or knees to an unnecessary effort. Overall, the press is an accessible apparatus that suits every woman, from elite athletes who need to get better at their game to seniors working hard to maintain a good muscle mass.