You're tight on time and the gym is packed. You walk around frustrated that you can't get in the work you need. Well don't fret; this Leg Press Lockdown workout is exactly what you need to strengthen your lower body on only one piece of equipment.
Most athletes do a lot of heavy lifting and plyometrics, which can be really taxing on the nervous system. This leg press workout gives your nervous system a bit of a rest, but puts your leg muscles under a ton of tension and stress, totally exhausting your muscle fibers and filling them with blood to create strength and size gains. It's also a deload for the spine, meaning your spine doesn't have to support weight as it does during a Squat or Deadlift. When performing with submaximal loads, you don't have to worry about hurting your lower back.
The Leg Press is second to none for quad development. However, you still need to perform barbell and dumbbell lifts to develop your posterior chain, stabilizers and other hip muscles. The Barbell Squat is undoubtedly a better lift for overall athletic development, but it can't blast the quads like the Leg Press workout. Studies also show the benefits of the Leg Press for muscle growth, overall strength and more power out of the bottom range of motion, since you are at a different angle.
The Leg Press Lockdown Workout
- Slow Eccentric to Explosive Press with center plate foot position x 10 (5/0/X/0 tempo) with 10 seconds rest.
- Decrease the weight by 20-30%
- Press with a low narrow foot stance x 8 (3/0/5/0 tempo) with no rest
- Press with a low wide foot stance x 8 (3/0/2/0 tempo) with no rest
- Calf Raises x max
- Rest for 3 minutes and repeat 3-5 rounds
- Tempo = (lower, pause at bottom, press, pause at top)
- Variations 2 and 3 should be at a weight you could normally do for 10-12 reps.
- On variation 2, isometrically drive your feet outward.
This workout is brutal and doesn't take much time at all to really whup you.
Important Coaching Points
- This simple movement can easily turn into a potentially dangerous one. The biggest mistakes on form are: pressing through the toes instead of the entire foot; too little or too much range of motion (ROM); locking the knees out; and bad posture, with hands on knees or a tucked chin.
- A common mistake is trying to achieve too much ROM and actually rotating the pelvis into a pelvic tilt, which takes the stress off the legs and puts it into the lower back. The best way to avoid this is to do a standing active range-of-motion test to see where you can comfortably lift your leg up without moving or tilting your pelvis, or having to use any other compensation. During the lift, you want to lower the weight as far as you can go comfortably without ever feeling the tension going off your legs.
- When you sit down in the leg press machine, first anchor yourself in by pushing your low back hard into the bench while keeping your hands on the handles to give you leverage and maintain a safe body position.
- When performing the reps for this workout, always keep the weight moving. The name of the game today is time under tension. Never lock out your knees at the top of the movement.
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