- Before adding weight, adjust the footplate so that from a seated position the legs will be slightly bent when the feet are on the footplate.
- Ensure that the back is positioned against the backrest of the machine and assume the desired foot positioning (check the 'Further Clarification' section below for more information). From here on out the abdominals should be tightened.
- Press with the legs, then using the handle(s) release the safety bar (ensure that the knees are not locked out, but just short of being so). This is the starting position.
- Lower the weight so that the thighs either touch or nearly touch the torso (as low as is comfortable), inhaling throughout the movement.
- Press the weight back to the starting position, exhaling throughout the movement.
- Repeat steps 4-5 for the desired amount of repetitions, and when done do not forget to re-engage the safety bar.
The quadriceps and gluteals are the primary muscles used in angle leg presses, but there are a number of different positions which the feet may be placed to alter the muscular focus of this exercise. They are:
- Feet High on the Foot Plate - Focus is placed on the gluteals and hamstrings.
- Feet Low on the Foot Plate - Focus is placed on the quadriceps.
- Feet Apart - Focus is placed on the adductors.
- Feet Close Together - Focus is placed on the quadriceps.
A few useful things to keep in mind when doing leg presses are:
- Keep the back planted on the back pad. The helps to avoid back injuries.
- Keep the knees from moving outward to inward, vice versa. In other words, only allow linear movement of the knees.
- Keep the knees from locking out because locking them out is dangerous.
- Keep the hands off of the knees. If one needs to place their hands on their knees, then one should lighten the weight they are lifting.
- It is usually best to do the exercise with a full range of motion, unless working an advance regime that calls for partial repetitions.
As stated earlier, angle leg presses provide a nice alternative to squats for those with back pain; however, these individuals must ensure that their back does not leave the back pad. Even those without back problems should keep their backs planted on the back pad.