Sports trainers often shit on the leg press because they do not transfer well to the sport, and squats are more effective at building overall strength anyway. Of course, this is important for coaches who work mainly with competitive athletes. But what about the leg press for bodybuilding?
"The leg press is a great exercise for hypertrophy," said the late great Charles Poliquin, "especially for the quadriceps." What is the best way to use the leg press for quad size? This:
- Medium to narrow foot position
- Low feet placed on the slide
- High repetition
High reps? What about "Go hard or go home!" There's a time and a place for that, but if your quads are just a little bigger than your calves, maybe it's time to pick up some plates and make a nasty time counter under tension.
Most lifters have a high percentage of slow-twitch fibers in their quadriceps. "With quads, you can achieve up to 50 repetitions per set, and there are a few professional bodybuilders who've grown to 30 reps per set," Poliquin noted.
While not everyone has fiber optic makeup – and although varied reps are usually the best – we would say that if you miss the quad size, then high repetitions could be the means you were looking for. Here's a classic routine from Poliquin that gets all this information up and running:
With less weight than usual, full range of motion, and tight and low foot positions, press your legs for two minutes without pressure.
Remember, full-range means you go down until your quadriceps covers your chest. With each repetition, stretch your legs to 95% of the lockout. The key here is to always maintain muscle tension.