Leg Press Variations and Foot Placement – Target Specific Muscle: When talking about leg workouts especially for the quads. The exercise that usually comes to mind is squat or the leg press.

Anyone that workout knows how to do the leg press but how many are actually doing them correctly to emphasize a certain muscle to get the most out of the leg press.

Leg Press Variations and Foot Placement

Leg Press Muscle Worked:

Foot placement and where to target the legs is crucial, obviously more of the quads, and less of the hamstrings.

Lots of people have that misconception that just getting on the machine and it does the work. But you really have to pay attention to what your doing, since it is a quad exercise. See this anatomy of leg press to see the muscles worked in details.

How to do Leg Press  for Quads


Leg press foot placement to emphasize quads. Your foot is place low on the platform. Higher foot placement will make it a lot easier to press a lot of weight. Often times you can see people press a lot of weight to impress people. But we’re just going to stick to getting the most contraction out of the legs.

  • Adjust your weight stack, your calves can carry your body weight. You’re going be able to lift a fair amount of weight.

  • The platforms will vary in size, keep your feet on the low of the platform. Foot placement should be no more than shoulder width apart.

  • Toes pointed slightly outward, this will maximize quad contraction.

  • As you push through the motion, the feet stays flat through the entire exercise. People tend to roll on to the ball of their feet which is more of calve exercise.

  • Come down to the point where your glutes don’t lift up from the platform. You want to come down low enough that you get a good contraction on your upper quads.

  • Press on the way up but not to point where you lock your legs out, you will need to keep the tension on the quads. This is very important. A lot of exercises you don’t need to necessary lock out, Leg press is a good example.

  • Do 10-5 reps

Leg Press for Glutes Muscle


Proper Leg press foot placement for glutes is a heightened position for the feet. It does not have to be on the very top of the platform.

The key is you want to find a position where you can create quality tension in the glute max. This is a great movement to to train the glutes in that mid to lengthened range

How to do Leg Press for Glutes Muscle

High foot placement puts more emphasis on the glutes.

  • Adjust your weight stack that you can do for maximum contraction

  • Place your feet on the high on the platform. Your toes should be close the edge of the platform.

  • Start off with the knee and the hip to be in alignment. Start by initiating with the glutes to find great tension in the glutes as you lift the plate off.

  • Pull your torso hard and stable into the seat. Pin and stabilize the glutes down to the the seat as it’s going to contract the abdomen to create a stable environment

  • Maintain the tension on the glutes as you go into the eccentric portion.

  • Initiate (push) by driving those glutes into the seat itself

  • Keep it a slow controlled movement, full stretch, full contraction with a hold.

  • Do 10-5 reps

Remember, always hold on to the handles with this exercise. Try to make sure that you get a contraction to the glutes. Don’t start doing half reps or bouncing. 

How to do Calf Raise On Leg Press 


Focus on getting a good contraction to the calves. Keep your lower back and glutes pressed against the bench throughout this exercise. 

  • Sit down on the machine and place your feet on the platform your toes should be at the edge of the platform and your heels should be exposed.

  • Lift this handle up and push back (we’re not doing leg press)

  • Now push through your toes and up to the top. Putting the weight in the back of your calf and trying to push the ankle joint over the front of the toes. This is the starting position.

  • Inhale as you slowly lower the weights by pulling your toes back until your calves feel fully contracted.

  • Exhale as you use your calves to push your toes forward so that the weights are lifted as high as possible fot maximum stretch

  • Do 10-5 reps
  • After completing your reps relock the weights before leaving the machine

Leg Press Variations and Foot Placement