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The leg press would be idiot-proof. There are many ways to mess it up in the weight room.

Because you do n’t have to balance the load as you do with squats, the leg press allows you to focus on moving the weight from point A to point B. That allows you to go heavier than you would normally do with a free-weight move. Heavy weights and bad form can cause injury.

There are many mistakes you can make on this solid leg movement.

The sled should be lowered too far.

The machine supports your back, which is one of the advantages of leg presses. Your back is vulnerable even though it ‘s next to impossible to get it off the pad. The sled lifts your butt and even the lower region of your back off the pad if you allow it to come down too far. If you are n’t in total control of the sled, your back disks are most at risk.

The 6 Biggest Leg Press Mistakes Solved: Lowering The Sled Too Far

The sled should be lowered to a point just before you lift off the seat. You may need a spotter ‘s trained eye viewing from the side to establish this as the end of your range of motion.

Just because you can take the movement even lower does n’t mean you should.

Only Shallow Reps are done.

The depth critique goes both ways if you have n’t heard it before. Anyone can load an impossible amount of weight on a bar or machine, but if you move it only an inch or so, you ‘re getting next to zero benefit.

The 6 Biggest Leg Press Mistakes Solved: Doing Only Shallow Reps

The muscles of the legs are not targeted by partial reps. If you ‘re only doing quarter-reps or half-reps, you ‘re not working the muscle well.

Staying shallow does n’t engage the glutes and hams as much as going a little deeper. Your knees should be bent 90 degrees if you try to lower the weight to a point at which your thighs are parallel to the foot sled.

You do n’t have your Heels on the Sled.

Not every foot plate has a large surface area ; when you ‘re stuck using a unit with a small one, you may be tempted to emphasize the quads to push your heels off the lower edge of the platform. You definitely should n’t.

The 6 Biggest Leg Press Mistakes Solved: Not Having Your Heels On The Sled

“ Your base of support becomes much smaller when your heels lift off, leaving you unbalanced and reducing your ability to perform a controlled rep, ” says Ciaran Fairman, a PhD student in kinesiology at The Ohio State University. You have less force production than if you had your full foot in contact, which allows you to drive through your heels. Shear forces on the knee will be increased by lifting the heels. You wo n’t be able to lift as much, you wo n’t have as much control over the weight, and you ‘ll be putting more pressure on your knees than necessary.

The heels come up off the footplate at the bottom of the negative rep. The ankle mobility of those people should be addressed so that they have the entire foot in contact with the sled at all points of the range of motion.

Allowing your knees to collapse.

Fairman says this is more common in women. It increases your risk of injury, most often through the anterior cruciate ( ACL ) tears. Weak hip abductors are often the reason for this. The knee valgus should be addressed immediately.

The 6 Biggest Leg Press Mistakes Solved: Allowing Your Knees To Collapse Inward

Valgus can be avoided during leg presses and squats.

  • Wear a banded movement on the press. The band on the top of the knee creates tension and helps people drive their knees outward during movement.
  • Paying particular attention to the gluteus medius is something that needs to be strengthened. Good exercises include squats and lunges.
  • The hip-abductor machine is the one in which you push your legs outward.

Turn your Feet Outward or Inward.

You ‘ve probably heard that turning your feet inward or outward on leg extensions and leg Curls can help you emphasize the quads or hamstrings. What ‘s good on one machine is n’t always good on another.

The leg extension and curl are open-chain exercises, meaning your feet are n’t planted against a solid surface. The pressure that will be absorbed by the knees when doing the leg press can be created by turning your feet too much. For most people, the best position to start with is feet shoulder-width apart and turned slightly outward, making only minor adjustments in foot position.

The 6 Biggestt Leg Press Mistakes Solved: Turning Your Feet Excessively In or Outward

You can still use foot position to shift focus from one area of the thighs to another. A low foot position is more effective at focusing on the quads because there ‘s less hip extension and more knee extension.

A closer stance is better for the outer thighs than a wider stance is for the inner thighs.

You need to lock out your knees.

While you ‘re always encouraged to take each rep close to full extension, there ‘s a fine line. That ‘s an important point, because it ‘s where the stress shifts from the muscle and onto the joint, and that pressure can be enormous when you ‘re using heavy weights.

The 6 Biggest Les Press Mistakes Solved: Locking Out Your Knees

You ‘re most likely catching your breath between reps when you ‘re locked out. It ‘s also giving your muscles a break. It ‘s bad for knees and counter productive to your goals.

If you have pre-existing knee issues, try to go to a point just shy of full extension, so the bones do n’t have maximum surface contact.

References

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