Q: Does it matter where you position your feet on the leg press machine?
A: Yes, it does. In fact, foot position on this exercise has more impact on the targeted muscles than with any other movement in the gym. The leg press works the thighs, the glutes and the hamstrings. Altering your foot placement will shift the emphasis to specific parts of these muscles. For fully developed legs, it pays to know where to position yourself to put the emphasis on the areas you need to bring up.
There are four different areas of the thigh that can be focused on during the leg press. Bear in mind, however, that the change in emphasis is quite subtle and you will not be able to exclusively target any particular area. Each part has a fancy Latin name but for our purposes, we’ll refer to them as the inner, outer, teardrop (just above the knee) and deep inner thigh.
The conventional foot position involves placing your feet shoulder width apart in the middle of the foot plate. This will place primary emphasis on the deep inner thigh. Regardless of what foot position you choose, you should always angle your toes slightly outward. This allows the knee to move through its natural arc. By placing your feet towards the top of the foot plate you will transfer the major work load to the hamstrings and glutes. The opposite foot position – one in which your heels are resting on the bottom of the plate – will target the impressive teardrop muscle just above the knee. This foot placement will also bring your calves into play. Be aware, however, that this position tends to put more stress on the knees. Placing your feet together will put more of a load on the outer thigh.
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