In order to complete a truly great leg press routine, you might have to approach the machine in an entirely new way. Leg press machines are a staple of modern gyms, and almost anyone who has done circuit training has jumped onto a machine, pumped out a few repetitions and then moved on to the next grueling machine. The fact is, you can get a whole lot more out of a leg press workout if you approach the machine with a bit more care, and pay a lot more attention while you're completing the exercise.
A standard leg press machine has a seat tilted at a bit of an angle with a flat lever attached to weights. You probably know that you sit in the machine and place your feet flat against the lever to push against the weight. Here are a few quick tips about form to keep in mind. When you begin the push, your knees should be at a 90 degree angle and your feet should be shoulder width apart. Adjust the seat and your feet as needed until you're in perfect alignment. Paying attention to your setup will help you maximize your workout.
When it comes to weight, it pays to reassess. By using a high amount of weight, you'll give your muscles an incredibly good workout. Using low amounts of weight can help you work out your heart, but using high weights really forces your muscles to push, strengthen and grow. Use the highest weight you can push just two or three times without collapsing.
As you perform your workout, pay close attention to your form. Your toes should stay pointed upright at all times, and your ankles should be in line with your knees instead of rotating in or out. Your hands should grasp the handles near your hips so your backside stays in the chair. Breathe out as you push away and breathe in as you relax. During the push, move incredibly slowly. Think of pushing just a tiny bit at a time in a slow and steady movement. Don't allow your knees to lock at the end. As you pull your legs back, once again move slowly and don't let gravity do the work for you. Resist the pull. Don't let your knees touch your chest and don't allow the weights to touch and clang against one another. As you push and pull, think of suspending that weight between two fixed points with the muscles of your legs without resting at either end. Push back out again. It's likely that you'll only be able to complete a very few number of repetitions with this method, and you may only be able to perform this workout once or twice per week. Your legs will need a lot of rest after being abused in this way. But, you're likely to see fantastic results in just a short period of time. Stop exercising at any point if you feel pain in your knees or ankles, and stop if you feel dizzy. A great workout shouldn't land you in the doctor's office.