6 Most Common Leg Press Mistakes Everyone Makes

For many people, their self-respect is directly proportional to the amount of weight they can lift. Gym bros try to outdo each other by competing against one another in the gym, and the leg press is usually at the center of the abuse.

Although the leg press is a fairly easy exercise, many people still manage to screw it up. Our goal with this article is not to shame anyone. We’re listing out the mistakes so that other people can learn from them and avoid injury.

Going Too Heavy
We propose a strict ego-test before anyone can get onto the leg press machine. We don’t mean it figuratively, we literally want someone to question the lifter about his PR on the squat and deadlift before he can put on more than four plates on the machine.

The ego-lifters move the sled a couple of inches every rep before calling it a set. If you’re not able to maintain a complete range of motion (thighs touching the torso), you’d be better of lowering the weights.

Using Arms
Most people spot themselves by pushing their legs with their hands. The self-spot is acceptable if you’re training for failure and need a little assistance towards the end of the set. But if you need to push through your arms from the first rep, you have some soul searching to do.

On the other hand, some people leave a lot of gains on the table by raising their arms in the air or crossing them over their chest. Holding onto the sidebars or the pads can help you in generating thoracic pressure and keeping your core tight.

Lower Back
Some people make the mistake of lifting off their lower back from the pad. After your legs, your lower back is the muscle that is put under the most stress while performing the leg press.

If you feel pain or stress in your lower back while performing the exercise, you need to fix your posture. You can try adjusting the angle of the pad if you don’t see relief after making sure your lower back is not elevated.

Feet Placement
It’s not uncommon to see people performing the exercise with a messed up feet placement. In a normal stance, your feet should be placed at a shoulder-width on the platform. Your toes should be pointing out slightly (11 and 1 o’clock).

If you’re targeting the inner sweep of the quads, your feet will be wider than shoulder-width and the toes will be pointing farther outwards. And while training the outer sweep, your toes will be placed parallel and next to each other.

Knee Movement
Performing the leg press correctly requires you to learn the proper technique. While lowering the sled, your knees shouldn’t fold-in. You need to push-out your knees as you bring them closer to your chest.

In an orthodox position, your legs should be at the sides of your torso at the bottom of the movement. You also need to make sure your heels don’t come off the platform as you lower it down.

Back Placed Flat Against The Pad
This can get a little confusing as we just told you that your lower back shouldn’t be elevated. Remember – while, your upper and lower back should be placed against the pad, your mid-back should be slightly elevated.

You should maintain a big-enough arch so that your hand could pass between the pad and your back. Placing your mid-back on the pad will put unnecessary tension on your back and you won’t be able to maintain a full range of motion.