How To Hit Quads on Leg Press

How To Hit Quads on Leg Press

If you're looking for a way to pump up your quads without squatting, the leg press is a great alternative.

The leg press is a machine that allows you to push a weighted platform with your feet, while lying on a seat that slides along an inclined track.

The leg press can target different muscles of your lower body depending on how you place your feet on the platform. In this article, we'll show you how to hit quads on leg press, using some tips and tricks to maximize your quad activation and growth!

bells of steel leg press machine

Your Quads & What They Do

The quads, short for quadriceps, are a group of four muscles located at the front of your thigh. They are:

  • The rectus femoris, which runs from your hip bone to your kneecap
  • The vastus lateralis, which runs along the outer side of your thigh
  • The vastus medialis, which runs along the inner side of your thigh
  • The vastus intermedius, which lies underneath the rectus femoris

The main function of the quads is to extend your knee joint, which means straightening your leg. The quads also help flex your hip joint, which means bringing your thigh closer to your torso.

Quad Activity During Leg Press

So, are your quads active on the leg press? The answer is yes, but it depends on how you position your feet on the leg press machine’s platform.

Generally speaking, the quads are the primary muscles responsible for extending the knee joint during the leg press. As you push the weight away on the leg press machine, the quads contract o extend your knee and straighten your leg.

However, not all quad muscles are equally activated during the leg press. The rectus femoris, which also helps flex the hip joint, is less active than the other three quad muscles, because the hip joint is already flexed in the starting position of the leg press.

To increase the activation of the rectus femoris, you can try placing your feet higher on the platform, which will create more hip flexion and stretch the muscle more.

How to Hit Quads on Leg Press: Recruitment

There are several ways to increase quad recruitment on the leg press, such as:

  • Placing your feet lower on the platform: This will create more knee flexion and less hip flexion in the starting position, which will put more stress on the quads and less on the glutes and hamstrings.
  • Placing your feet closer together: This will shift more of the load to the outer quad muscles, especially the vastus lateralis. A narrow stance can also reduce the involvement of other muscles, such as the adductors (inner thigh) and abductors (outer thigh), making the quads work harder.
  • Pausing at the bottom: This will eliminate any momentum and increase the time under tension for your quads. Pausing at the bottom can also enhance your mind-muscle connection and help you focus on squeezing your quads hard as you push back up.
  • Using resistance bands: This will add more tension to the top part of the range of motion, where the quads are usually less challenged. Resistance bands can also create more instability and force your quads to stabilize your knees throughout the movement.
  • Using a squat wedge: This is a device that elevates your heels and creates more ankle dorsiflexion (bringing your toes closer to your shins). A squat wedge can help you achieve a deeper range of motion and increase quad activation by reducing calf involvement.

Final Thoughts

The leg press is a versatile strength machine that can help you build stronger and bigger quads.

By adjusting your foot placement and using some simple techniques, you can increase quad recruitment and make every rep count. Remember to use a weight that challenges you but allows you to maintain good form and control!

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