The Decline Leg Press. Some like it, others just think it’s junk.

Ok, I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before: “different strokes suit different folks”.

Here’s the low-down on the leg press along with a few points, some good, some bad bad:

A. Good Points

  1. It’s a supported, relatively safe and controllable exercise with lots of stability. It is rather difficult to injure yourself here, as long as you’re not stupid. It greatly reduces the opportunity for lower back injury compared with a more functional, more dangerous exercise like full squats.
  2. It’s probably the strongest position for the human body to be in as far as leg movements go. The decline leg press allows the user to use more weight, with a greater opportunity for muscle isolation than perhaps any other exercise that I can think of.
  3. Less distraction, greater concentration and more intense focus on the work at hand than would otherwise be available. Mostly because you are not worried about balance and accidents.
  4. Somewhat versatile, dependant on the style. You can use it on the calves, modify it for targeting the vastus lateralis (creating a nice thigh sweep) or to focus on those oh-so-hard-to-hit glutes.
  5. Great for a pump at the end of a leg workout when you’re tired, fatigued and the lack of concentration might increase your risk for injury.

B. Bad Points

  1. Let’s come to grips, it’s a bodybuilding exercise. Most strength athletes won’t touch it as it offers relatively little core or functional benefit. This is the flip side of above points 1, 3 and 5 and a trade-off for the safety and stability that you get in return.
  2. At times most people are tempted to pile on more weight than is probably wise and use less disciplined form than they should as they struggle to impress everyone in the gym, including themselves, with what an amazingly strong guy (or girl) is, right at this moment, smashing it on the leg press..

Summary: The decline leg press gives you some benefits and it is a relatively safe leg exercise. It can offer a hellacious pump, especially at the end of a leg-day training session. As we all know, there are no free lunches, so in this case you are going to pay for using an exercise like this because it bypasses the important core, stabilising and functional muscle groups.

Ronnie presses a metric tonne.

Ronnie presses a metric tonne.

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