Incline leg press exercise

Incline leg press

Exercise details

  • Target muscles: Quadriceps (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, Vastus Intermedius)
  • Synergists: Gluteus Maximus, Adductor Magnus, Soleus
  • Dynamic stabilizers (not highlighted): Hamstrings, Gastrocnemius
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Force: Push

Starting position

  1. Sit in the leg press machine. Make sure your back is pressed firmly against the back support.
  2. Place your feet hip-width apart on the platform.
  3. Release the safety bars, grasp the side handles for support, and extend your legs without locking your knees. Your torso and legs should make a 90-degree angle.


  1. Inhale as you bend your legs and lower the platform until your knees are almost fully flexed.
  2. Driving with your heels, press the platform back up to the starting position as you exhale.
  3. Repeat.
  4. When you have finished, lock the safety bars properly. Otherwise, the platform may slide down onto your legs!

Comments and tips

  • Make sure that the platform is securely locked when you load the weight.
  • Adjust the back support and safety brace to accommodate a full range of motion.
  • Keep your feet flat on the platform, and your knees and toes pointing in the same direction (slightly outward).
  • As you lower the platform, do not allow your lower back to curl up; keep it in firm contact with the support.
  • Do not lock your knees out when you press the platform up.
  • The incline leg press is a very versatile exercise. Altering the position of your feet on the platform will emphasize different muscle groups. The higher your feet on the platform, the more you will emphasize your gluteus maximus and hamstrings. The lower your feet on the platform, the more you will emphasize your quadriceps. The wider your feet on the platform, the more you will emphasize your adductor magnus and inner quadriceps. The closer-together your feet on the platform, the more you will emphasize your outer quadriceps.
  • Also known as the sled 45-degree leg press, the butt and thigh press, and the diagonal leg press.
  • The incline leg press should not be your primary lower-body exercise. There are better options. For example, the barbell squat not only builds and strengthens the same muscles but also recruits many more stabilizers and strengthens your core.
  • Other exercises targeting the quadriceps include the barbell front squat to overhead press and the double kettlebell front squat.

Incline leg press video


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