The legs are a large muscle group that gets worked constantly throughout the day and therefore needs to be targeted with different exercises and lots of volume in order to grow – which is where the leg press machine comes in. The leg press is basically a squat performed in reverse and offers its unique package of benefits.
For one, it doesn’t put as much strain on your spine as squats and deadlifts do and many lifters welcome this opportunity to train their legs while allowing their backs to recover from the toll of heavy deadlifting.
But more importantly, the leg press is an extremely versatile machine that can be used to effectively hit different areas of your legs just by changing your foot positioning. You may not realize it, but your foot position on the leg press has a huge impact on which muscles receive the greatest stimulation, and making the best use of it will help you maximally develop your legs – besides, always doing it the standard way can get pretty boring after a while.
As you already know, the normal leg press foot position involves placing your legs about shoulder-width apart and centrally on the leg press. This allows you to use equal pressure on each muscle group for overall leg development.
Next time you train your legs, try making these small changes in your foot positioning to powerfully shift the exercise’s emphasis and improve your gains.
High vs. Low
Placing your feet higher will help you focus more on the glutes and upper hamstrings and enable a stronger contraction in these muscles due to the increased degree of hip extension and flexion and the reduced range of motion around the knees. If glutes and hams are your priority, use high foot placement to exhaust them better.