Best Leg Press Machines
Looking for the best leg press? Serious fitness fans understand the importance of solid leg development. Whether developing strength, or muscle sufficient to help burn calories, the legs form the base for success in all goals. But everyone’s goals, and budgets, are a little different, and then there’s also that consideration of space. The best leg press machines offer the ability to work on the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, as well as inner and outer thigh muscles. The leg press is typically used on a “Push Day” in the workout schedule, and to that extent can be thrown into the mix with upper body “Push Day” work as well. Whether it’s for your garage gym, or commercial fitness center, the leg press machine is a key ingredient to the mix.
Best Leg Press Machines
Not quite as prominent as the biceps, legs and glutes remain a top target for the fitness fan seeking a better physique. Most traditionalists argue that barbell squats are the ultimate leg exercise, but let’s face it, not everyone can squat. The best leg press machines take the load off the back and eliminate the balancing act required by the squat, and put the work squarely on the legs. And, some of the machines do offer a 4- or at least 2-in-1 feature where they can double as hack squats, forward thrusts, or at minimum calf raises. Unless you’re planning to compete in powerlifting or Olympic weightlifting, a high-quality leg press is probably the best implement in the gym.
High or Low?
Whether you choose a higher or lower repetition scheme, first consider your goals. The higher repetitions tend to create more muscle breakdown and in turn, offer more recovery potential by way of hypertrophy. With proper strategy, that could lead to a bigger, more toned look. Meanwhile, your lower reps are designed to increase 1-rep strength. Irrespective of your goals, always keep safety in mind. High reps unchecked could lead to tendon inflammation, while heavier weights without practice can lead to tears.
1. Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press/Hack Squat Combo
A 4-in-1 machine, the Force USA model offers leg press, hack squat, forward thrust, and calf raise, all in one machine. Typically referred to as a “hip sled” in many gyms, this unit quickly adjusts with the shift of a few plates, and allows standing motions as well as seated. Those four exercises in one unit make the machine completely capable of hitting all lower body muscles in the same workout: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Rated for a 1,000 pound weight capacity, the machine itself weighs 463 pounds. Built from 13-gauge steel, the Force USA Model stands 60 inches high, 66 inches wide, and 94 inches deep. Also included are four band pegs and six band peg positions, five safety lockout positions, and four plate storage horns.Read the Full Force USA Monster Ultimate 45 Degree Leg Press/Hack Squat Combo Review
2. Force USA Compact Leg Press
Designed with the garage gym in mind, the Force USA Compact Leg Press offers a stand-up press which combines both the leg press and calf raise. In addition to Olympic plates for resistance, the model offers band pegs for continuous resistance training. Rated at a weight capacity of 660 pounds, the unit is 65 inches long, 52 inches wide, and 57 inches high. Constructed from heavy gauge steel tubing, the unit features safety pin positioning and an adjustable seat with ergonomic-comfort-coated grip handles. Whereas most leg presses are designed for the user to sit in a reclined position, the Force USA Comact Leg Press is built with the opposite in mind, as the user’s seat faces the floor at an angle and they push up from the base, almost like a hack squat. Calf raises are made easy with this unit as one can remain seated and flex the ankles to drive the seat.
3. Rogue ISO Leg Press 35
Suited for all sizes of lifters, the Rogue ISO Leg Press 35 is a top of the line model most frequently seen in commercial gyms, but very much compatible with a serious garage gym’er. As a bilateral/unilateral leg press, the unit has four weight pegs and sports a total capacity of 2,475 pounds. With a pop-pin adjustable lumbar seat and spring safety stops, the multi-angle foot-deck glides on linear ball bearings for smooth action. Built to address the criticisms of machines past, the unit delivers more than 60% of true weight resistance and is balanced for both double, and single, leg exercises. The machine itself weighs 708 pounds with a 182-pound sled. At 98 inches long and 64 inches wide, the unit is 47 inches high, and has an overall foot print of 64 inches by 98.
4. Body-Solid LVLP Leverage Horizontal Leg Press
Constructed with 2×3-inch 11-gauge steel, the 525-pound machine measures 89 inches long by 57 inches wide and stands 52 inches high. With a fully adjustable seat and weight plate, what’s known as a “hip sled” allows users to recline back and drive the weight forward by way of the sled. With a lifetime warranty on the frame itself. The unit itself weighs 167 pounds and features sealed bearing pivot points as well double-stitched upholstery. A pivoting foot plate and adjustable seat make the unit usable for lifters of varying sizes.
5. Alek Vertical Leg Press
A vertical leg press, the Alek model positions the seat on the ground as users lie on their back and drive a weight plate straight up and down with their legs. Designed for weight plates at 1-inch diameter, an Olympic adapter sleeve is available separately. Good for smaller spaces and garage gyms lacking room, the vertical leg press is 54 inches long by 48 inches wide and 61 inches high. With a weight capacity of 400 pounds, the unit is designed to support the back and hips by way of an extra-thick back pad with contoured neck and head. Nylon bushings offer smooth, consistent motion of the extra-wide footplate and its no-slip design. Locking pins afford three different stopping and starting positions by way of ½ inch steel locks.