Variations of Leg Press

I’m a day behind on my usual workout schedule since I took a break on Monday (Memorial Day). So I trained legs this morning. Leg day is one of my favorite workouts. And one thing that makes my leg workouts interesting is the two variations of leg press that I use.

I’d be willing to say that the variations of leg press that I use is responsible for the most growth and leg development I’ve experienced over the recent years. This is a simple concept for leg training.  It’s also something I use most every leg workout.

Variations of Leg Press 1: Regular

The first of the variations of leg press I use is probably the most common. This is just a regular foot position, about shoulder width apart. You can lift a hefty amount of weight with this variation which enables you to exhaust your quads.

Don’t confuse a regular foot position with a wide foot position. I see many doing what they call a regular leg press yet they have an extremely wide foot position. This is because the wider position allows you to lift more weight. But I’ve never felt this in my quads as much. To me, that’s ego lifting. And ego lifting doesn’t build great legs.

Going shoulder-width, or perhaps slightly wider, really targets your quads. Of course you use some hamstrings and glutes to assist as well. It’s a great overall leg exercise and you can get solid results from it.

Leg Press Workout - Variations of Leg Press

Variations of Leg Press 2: Close

The second variation of leg press is the close foot position. This stance really hits your outer quads, giving you that quad sweep effect. It’s basically where you put your feet close together on the leg press platform. You have to play around with how far up your feet are. Find a comfortable spot that works for you and that you feel your legs doing the most work.

I usually do the close variation of leg press before or after regular leg press, or sometimes I’ll throw it in at the end of my leg workout. Either way works. My favorite is doing the close stance prior to the regular stance leg press. This allows you to lift a little more weight for the close foot position sets. And it also pre-exhausts your quads for the heavier weights you’ll push for your regular foot position sets. In essence, it helps you feel the muscle working more on those sets. Either way works well and you can alternate how you do this each leg workout.

Workout Using Variations of Leg Press

Here’s a full workout using the variations of leg press I talked about. In fact, it’s the workout I performed this morning. In this case, I performed the close foot position leg press at the end of my leg workout.

  • Leg extensions
    • 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Leg Press – Variation 1: Regular
    • 6 sets x 8-12 reps
  • Squats (plate-loaded machine)
    • 4 sets x 8 reps
  • Hammer Strength Leg Curls
    • 5 sets x 12 reps
  • Lying Leg Curls
    • 4 sets x 10 reps
  • Leg Press – Variation 2: Close
    • 4 sets x 15 reps

Thoughts on Training Legs

One of the reasons I love training legs so much is because it’s become one of my fastest growing body parts. I’ve see big results from my hardcore leg workouts. By hardcore, I mean a mix of training to failure on some sets, techniques to increase intensity (such as rest-pause sets and drop sets), and high volume training. I implement all of these into my leg workouts.

I’ve mentioned this in prior posts, but legs are something I somewhat neglected in my early years of weight training. I would throw in an exercise or two and call that a leg workout. These days, and for almost two decades (geez, am I really that old?) I’ve dedicated a full workout to legs. There’s actually been times where I’ve trained legs twice a week (I’m considering going back to that as we speak).

I hope these two variations of leg press help you and give you some fresh ideas for your leg workouts. Like I said earlier, this is something I use practically every leg workout.

Train with Passion,


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