Is the vertical leg press a good leg day exercise? Find out how this workout move can help the body develop a stronger set of bones and muscles that can help the body jump higher, squat heavier, and run faster.
9 Powerful Reasons to Use the Vertical Leg Press Machine
1. Targets Different Muscle Groups
By assuming different stances, one can isolate different muscle groups on the vertical leg press machine. This makes it an ideal exercise for bodybuilders who wants more muscle definition.
For example, if one wants to target their quads, they can assume a narrow stance with his or her feet at about hip-width apart from each other. Meanwhile, if they want to focus on their inner thighs and hamstrings, they can assume a much wider stance with their feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
2. Puts Less Stress on the Knees and Back
The squat is a great exercise that targets multiple leg muscles. The only problem is, it puts fitness buffs at risk of injuries.
Gym-goers with back and knee pain might not be able to perform it as well as they should. Regular squats place too much load on the knees and don’t provide enough back support.
On the other hand, the upside down leg press supports the back and joints all throughout the exercise. In fact, some gym-goers recovering from back and knee pain use the vertical or upright leg press machine to train their legs.
3. Reduces the Risk of Injury
While barbell squats are the king of leg day exercises, they aren’t safe to perform alone. This especially applies to powerlifters who constantly try outlift themselves.
Barbell squats require a combination of strength and balance, which can be very hard to maintain when going heavy. Just one wrong move is all it takes to fall flat on the ground with a barbell pressed against the shoulders.
So if one doesn’t feel comfortable doing barbell squats alone, they can opt for the vertical leg press instead. It works the same muscles squats do, and it also allows the lifter to press heavy stacks of plates.
Note: Keep in mind that fitness buffs shouldn’t replace squats with the vertical leg press unless prescribed by a medical professional. Rather, the goal should be to incorporate both of them into one’s leg day routine.
4. Supplements Leg Muscle Training
Beginners who still can’t get the hang of barbell squats can supplement their training with the vertical leg press.
While it isn’t exactly the same as a squat, it does engage the same muscle groups. So once one strengthens these muscles, they can try squatting heavier weights.
To further improve in squatting, fitness buffs can try other leg exercises with an easy learning curve like air squats and squat jumps. Performing all these will aid in developing a strong lower body that can push hundreds of pounds on the squat rack and the leg press machine.
5. Improves Overall Balance
Raw strength and power are useless if one has terrible lower body balance. Not only will it hinder muscular growth, but it might also lead to a series of painful injuries.
Luckily, another benefit of performing the vertical leg press regularly is it improves lower body balance. This machine is ideal in helping beginners learn how to distribute the weight evenly among their legs.
Once they master how to perform this move on a machine, it’ll be much easier for them to balance a loaded barbell or a pair of dumbbells while squatting.
6. Strengthens Bones
One of the best ways to strengthen the bones is to perform weight-bearing exercises like the vertical leg press. Performing resistance exercises like these forces the bones to grow and compensate for the additional stress on the body.
Gym-goers can start by gradually increasing the amount they lift while doing a specific exercise. For example, one can add a few plates on the vertical leg press machine after every two to three weeks to challenge bone and muscle growth.
Tip: To accelerate bone growth and development, fitness buffs should eat foods rich in calcium like milk, cheese, Chinese cabbage, and collard greens.
Weight-Bearing Exercise Definition: This is any type of exercises or workout move where a significant amount of stress is placed on the body. Some items to utilize are barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and even resistance bands.
7. Increases Sprinting Speed
Notice how thick and strong a sprinter’s legs are? That’s because one’s sprinting speed heavily relies on how far his or her feet can push him off the ground.
In fact, rather than making long strides, sprinters should go for quick, powerful ones that make them almost seem like they’re floating off of the ground. To achieve that level of strength, sprinters need to train their legs with muscle-building exercises like the vertical leg press.
Combine this exercise with a solid sprinting program and it’ll definitely improve one’s dash record.
8. Builds Stronger Calves
One can use the vertical leg press machine to solely train their calves. Just place the balls of the feet against the platform, straighten the legs, and then push the weight up and down using only the ankles.
Make sure the knees and legs are stationary all throughout this exercise.
9. Improves Jumping Power
The vertical leg press is very similar to the motion one does when jumping. In fact, the only difference is one is lying down when doing the leg press.
Once athletes get used to pressing a heavy load, their own bodyweight would seem like a feather in comparison.
Learn more about what a beast the vertical leg press is and how to do it from this video by Chalk Strength:
Overall, the vertical leg press is a great exercise for fitness buffs of all levels. Depending on the number of reps, weight volume, and foot positioning, it can help one boost muscles mass, improve balance, or increase sports performance.
Just remember that the goal should be to create a well-balanced fitness plan composed of different kinds of exercises that target various muscle groups. Also, don’t forget to eat healthy foods and supplement properly or one’s efforts at the gym will all be wasted.
Do you think the vertical leg press can help you with your fitness goals? Tell us why or why not in the comments section below!