SUMMARY OF IS THE LEG PRESS GOOD FOR THE GLUTES .The leg press does not maximally activate the glute; it is a quadriceps exercise. There are better exercises to target the glutes, such as deadlifts, split squats, hip thrusts, lunges, and deep squats.
SUMMARY OF IS THE LEG PRESS GOOD FOR THE GLUTES
- The leg press does not maximally activate the glute; it is a quadriceps exercise.
- There are better exercises to target the glutes, such as deadlifts, split squats, hip thrusts, lunges, and deep squats.
The leg press is a popular compound exercise for the glutes that many females use in their leg routine to exercise the glutes. However, the seated leg press for glute training is a poor exercise choice. In this myth-busting article, I will debunk the common misconceptions that the leg press is an effective glute exercise. I will provide evidence-based information on better exercises for glute development.
Research has shown that the leg press does involve glute activation. However, it is not the most effective compound exercise for targeting the glutes. The leg press mainly uses the quadriceps muscles, while the glutes help in a smaller way (Sjöberg et al., 2021).
The leg press results in less knee stress, making it a good option for those with knee problems instead of squats. The glutes had the least muscle activation of all the muscles analyzed in the leg press. (Martín-Fuentes et al., 2022)
LEG PRESS VS SQUATS: WHICH IS A BETTER GLUTE EXERCISE?
A study comparing leg presses and squats showed that leg muscles were activated less in leg press exercises than squats. The reason is that the machine leg press does not require muscle balancing of the weight as squats do, resulting in lower muscle activation.
In a study of the exercises that maximally activate the glutes, the leg press was not even listed as an exercise. (Neto et al., 2020) Step-ups, deadlifts, hip thrusts, lunges, and squats were the best booty-building exercises. A deep squat, in which you bend your knees and squat parallel to the floor, is more effective than a partial squat. Also, use the mind-muscle connection and squeeze the glutes at the top of the exercise.
DOES FOOT PLACEMENT MATTER?
Some have suggested a higher foot placement on the leg press for glute activation. One study found that placing your feet higher up, feet leg press placement for glute activation. (Da Silva et al., 2008) The lower your legs are placed on the leg press platform, the more quads are emphasized.
However, other studies have shown no difference, and more research needs to be conducted. (Martín-Fuentes et al., 2020) A 2021 study found no differences in quad muscle activation with low and high foot placement. Foot placement for glute activation will likely have minimal effect on glute development. It’s best to find a position that feels most comfortable performing.
EXCESSIVE STRAIN ON THE LOWER BACK
One common issue with this exercise is its excessive strain on the lower back. The leg press can cause excessive strain on the lower back due to spine compression. In the book “Low Back Disorders,” Dr. Stuart McGill explains that the leg press can sometimes cause greater lower strain resulting in injury, compared to the squat.
ALTERNATIVES FOR BETTER GLUTES
Compound exercises stimulating the glutes more effectively are squat variations such as front squats, lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and glute bridges.
The barbell hip thrust is one of the best exercises you can perform for the glutes. A Journal of Applied Biomechanics study discovered that hip thrusts activated the glutes more than squats did. (Contreras et al., 2015)
A study comparing hip thrusts, deadlifts, and hex bar squats found that all these exercises significantly activated the glutes, with hip thrusts showing the highest activation level. (Andersen et al., 2018)
Bret Contreras, a renowned fitness expert known as “The Glute Guy,” recommends the “Rule of Thirds” for training glutes. A third of the exercises are in the horizontal position (i.e., hip thrusts, donkey kicks, etc.), a third in the vertical position (i.e., squats, lunges, step-ups, etc.), and a third in the lateral position (i.e., seated hip abductions, lateral resistance band walks, etc.).
The leg press is a great exercise for the quads, but there are better choices for glute exercises. Exercises such as squats, front leg squats, Bulgarian split squats, lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, and glute bridges are more effective for increasing glute size than leg press. Using a combination of these exercises will result in optimal glute growth.