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The leg press is a weight training exercise in which the individual pushes a weight or resistance away from them using their legs. The term leg press also refers to the apparatus used to perform this exercise. The leg press can be used to evaluate an athlete's overall lower body strength (from knee joint to hip).
There are two main types of leg press:
- The diagonal or vertical 'sled' type leg press. Weight disks (plates) are attached directly to the sled, which is mounted on rails. The user sits below the sled and pushes it upward with their feet. These machines normally include adjustable safety brackets that prevent the user from being trapped under the weight.
- The 'cable' type leg press, or 'seated leg press', commonly found on multigyms. The user sits upright and pushes forward with their feet onto a plate that is attached to the weight stack by means of a long steel cable.
The leg press works the following muscle groups:
Varying the angle between the sled and the backrest and/or the position of the feet on the plate puts more emphasis on one or the other muscle group.
Magnitude of leg press lifts
As the (diagonal) leg press involves pushing a weight along an inclined track, rather than lifting it vertically, it is possible for strength trainers to press very heavy weights, compared to the weight they might use for other exercises. For example, bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman is featured in videos wherein he leg presses 2,300 pounds (1,043 kg) for a full eight repetitions. This significantly exceeds world records for the squat, which are 485 kg (1069 lb) unequipped and 575 kg (1268 lb) with supportive equipment.
Some famous people not otherwise associated with strength training have made claims of performing the leg press with heavy weights. Former US Secretary of State and septuagenarian Madeleine Albright claims she is able to leg press in excess of 400 pounds (181 kg). Pat Robertson controversially claimed to leg press 2000 pounds (907 kg), a claim that met with intense skepticism.
- Squat (exercise)#World records
- Zuckerman, Andrew (2008). Wisdom - 50 Unique and Original Portraits. Abrams. ISBN 0810983591.
- "Leg Press Video Demonstration". elitemensguide.com. Elite Men's Guide. Retrieved 10 March 2014.