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Leg Press Alternative- Which One Will You Try!
Having strong legs is highly useful. Leg press and Leg Press Alternative workouts help you strengthen your legs. Whether you want to run a marathon or receive your mail near the house, having strong legs just plays an important part in every activity you perform.
The leg press is a kind of resistance training workout to strengthen your legs and build muscles. It also helps reduce injury risk and combat age-related muscles loss. This is required for everyday activities like going out of bed and buying groceries.
However, know that you normally require a costly machine or membership of a gym to train your legs. With these amazing machine-free workouts, you will be able to strengthen your legs in the convenience of your own home.
Let’s see different leg press alternative exercises and what does leg press do for your legs.
Leg presses are workouts done in a seated position. In this workout, your legs will press against a wall repeatedly, which is adjusted based on the fitness level of a person. This workout targets calves, hips, hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
The seated position for performing leg presses helps keep the torso and upper body still while working out the legs. It also needs less balance for weight lifting. If you have a gym membership, you can always perform fewer presses, if you don’t, you must try these leg press alternative workouts to strengthen your legs:
Leg Press Alternative
1. Leg Press Alternative Using Resistance Bands
A resistance band helps imitate the weight of your legs on a leg press machine. Leg presses using resistance bands serve and work on the same muscles as the machine for leg presses do. Resistance bands are movable and compact, so they are much easier to use in a lot of places. You will only need a chair or mat and a resistance band for this workout. The muscles that work during this workout include calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
You can either perform this leg press alternative workout laying down or in a sitting position. Here’s what to do:
Leg press alternative in laying position
This variant of leg press makes you push against gravity, just like you perform leg presses on the machine. Follow the steps:
- Rest on the mat keeping your face up. Elevate the feet off of your mat. Bend the knees, forming a 90-degree angle. Bend your feet, pointing the toes in the direction of the ceiling.
- Put the resistance band around the feet and secure the ends with your hands. Keep the feet side by side.
- Now, push your feet opposite to the bands till your legs become straight.
- Bend the knees to turn to form a 90-degree angle.
- Begin with one set of doing 8 to 12 reps.
If you can also perform leg presses sitting on a chair. Here’s what to do:
- Sit straight on a chair. Press your core and hold your back flat.
- Put the band around both of the feet and keep the ends just over the thighs.
- Press the feet against your resistant band until the legs are upright.
- Flex the knees to turn to your starting position.
- Begin with a single set containing 8 to 12 reps.
Squats also imitate the movements of leg presses. They are performed being in a vertical position for the lower back to absorb lower pressure. If you already have some injuries or pain in your back, squats would make an ideal leg press alternative for you. The best part about squats? You will not need any equipment, just bodyweight.
The muscles worked during squats include hamstrings, glutes, and quads. Here is a quick guide on how to perform this leg press alternative:
- Stand straight keeping a distance of hip-width between your feet. Plant your heels on the ground or mat and face the toes forward.
- To maintain balance, you can extend the arms forward being parallel to your toes or join your hands together in front of your chest.
- Now, send back your hips and bend the knees to lower down your butt. Make sure you are keeping your chest lifted and back straight.
- Until your thighs become parallel to the ground, keep lowering yourself. Keep the knees over your ankles.
- For getting up, push through the heels. Beginners may start with a single set only and perform 8 to 12 reps.
These were basic squats for beginners, if you wish to make your workout regimen a tad more difficult, you may begin using kettlebells or dumbbells in your workout. Holding weights while performing squats amplifies the effects of this workout.
Squats have different versions and all versions make a great leg press alternative. Here’s another one you must try.
You can strengthen your legs a bit more while performing sumo squats. This is a wider stance of regular squats which will target the inner thigh muscles and strengthen them by increasing the muscle mass. Here are some steps to follow:
- Stand straight keeping a distance slightly wider than regular hip-width apart distance.
- Face your toes keeping the angle aside from the body while planting the heels into the ground.
- Hold a kettlebell or simply clasp the hand together.
- Push the hips back, bend the knees, while lowering down the buttocks. Keep the chest upright and back straight by engaging your core. This helps activate or engage a lot of muscles.
- Lower your body till the things become parallel to the ground as you do in regular squats. Keep the knees above the ankles. Always begin with a single set containing 8 to 10 reps and then gradually increase.
Here is another variation of regular old squats with great benefits. If you wish to challenge and strengthen one leg at a time, split squats may be useful for you. This version of the leg press alternative will work your glutes and quads. Follow the steps to get going:
- Step one of your foots forward and another one backward. Make sure most of the weight is shifted in the front leg and elevate the heel of the back foot.
- Face the toes forward and clasp your fists together.
- Bend the knees forward by lowering the hip. Make sure it is in line with your shoulders.
- Lower yourself till the back knee is raised just above the ground.
- Return to the starting position by squeezing your glutes and working on them.
- Begin with one set comprising of 8 to 12 reps only. repeat the same with your other leg.
3. Bridge exercises
This leg press alternative helps to strengthen and stabilize your core. It works your thighs and butt also while offering the same benefits as the leg press machine does. You just need your mat and you are ready to be in action.
The main muscles worked during this exercise include hamstrings, hips, glutes, and quads. Follow these steps to begin:
- Lie on your back straight. Now bend the knees and firm your feet on the mat just beneath the knees. You may also use a bench or an exercise ball to place your feet.
- Rest your hands on either side of your hips facing the palms down.
- Tighten the buttocks and core.
- Now, elevate your hips forming a sightline from the shoulders to the knees. Pause for a few seconds and then lower down your hips to remain in your original position.
- Begin with a single set and perform 8 to 10 reps.
If you find these too easy, do not worry, there is an advanced version of all leg press alternative exercises. You can always try using a barbell or a resistance band.
4. Broad jumps
Leapfrog jumps, also known as broad jumps help to build leg strength as your movements are explosive with such a workout. This particular exercise combines squats with full extension of the lower body making it an amazing leg press alternative.
If you feel pain in the joint, remain utmost careful with its exercise. It puts a high impact force on your joints and might hurt them. Also, you do not require any equipment for this leg press alternative.
Follow the steps:
- Stand straight keeping a distance of hip-width apart between your feet.
- Drop into the position of squats pushing the hips back and bending the knees. When you do this, swing your arms back.
- Now, swing the arms forward such that you push your feet into the floor and explode forward.
- Land back on the feet. Flex the knees, hips, and ankles as well to absorb the force.
- Begin doing one set having 8 to 12 reps and increase gradually.
This leg press alternative is similar to squats, even lunges engage the leg muscles without putting any pressure on the back. When you step forward during workouts, it works your glutes and quads.
You have already seen what split squat does and how it is performed, doing lunges is slightly different. Lunges will help engage both your legs at a similar time while the split squat will use only one at a time. Also, you do not need any equipment to perform this leg press alternative as well. It helps work your hamstrings, glutes, and quads.
Follow the steps-
- Stand straight keeping the distance of hip-width apart between your feet.
- Step your right foot forward while dropping the hips and bend the knees to create a 90-degree angle.
- Lower yourself till the front thigh or thigh of the right leg is parallel to the mat. Keep the front knee over the ankle.
- Push the front leg only when you reach to the original or starting position.
- Then do the same with the left leg. Start by performing a single set of 8 to 10 reps.
You can also perform advanced lunges to increase the difficulty levels. Hold one dumbbell in each hand and follow the same procedure to make it a tough leg press alternative. You may also hand the dumbbell in front of your shoulders.
6. Weighted Wall Sit
If you are looking for leg press alternative exercises to work the quads in the same way as a leg press machine does, then wall sits are a must-try. These are similar to regular wall sits but you can use weights to make it grueling and highly effective.
If you are a newbie, do not use heavyweights in the beginning, your body weight should be enough. here’s how to do this leg press alternative:
- You will need a weight plate of proper weight in the hands and you are ready to start.
- Stand straight keeping your back against the wall and start walking your feet out.
- Lower down your body till the thighs become parallel to the floor while making sure that your knees are in line or behind the toes.
- Once you gain a stable position, place this weight plate on the legs.
- You may remain in this position for 30 to 60 seconds. If you are a beginner and cannot do so, simply hold for 10 to 20 seconds, you will reach there!
This leg press alternative exercises will need greater unilateral strength to perform. Continues load on one of your legs will create a higher exertion through the glutes. You might find this a lot more similar to the single-leg leg press. Here’s how to do this leg press alternative step by step:
- Keep a dumbbell in both your hands keeping arms extended by the sides.
- Stand facing a box of appropriate length or a bench. Make sure it has a knee height as it will be a good length, to begin with.
- Place the weaker leg on the bench or box.
- Pressing through the heel and the middle of that foot, push to stand on the box or bench.
- Do not rest the other leg too on the bench. Let it hang in the air for few seconds and then put it back to the floor.
- Complete 8 to 12 reps on this legal and then keep the other leg on the bench.
8. Bulgarian split squats
If you desire muscle mass on the quads while strengthening your lower body, look no further. This leg press alternative is the one for you! This training puts all the strain on one leg at a time – and without putting additional tension on the spine.
here’s how to do this exercise:
- Keep a dumbbell (for advanced) in each hand on extended arms by the sides.
- Stand facing away from box or bench of knee size.
- Place one of the feet on the bench and jump forward with another leg till you reach a lunge width distance.
- Bend your knee to lower down your body towards the floor. While doing this, you will feel the tension in the front leg and your glutes. You will also sense a stretch through the hip flexor and back quad.
- make sure you are keeping the chest up and your body weight should be on the front heel. The front knee should be behind the toes.
- Push back up such that the front leg becomes straight again without locking the knee.
- Perform all the reps on one leg and then place the other one on the bench or box.
9. Hip Thrusters
Hip thrusts help target your hamstrings and glutes thus being a great leg press alternative. This workout puts a great focus on your power, strength, and speed. However, you must get the correct form while doing it for the utmost benefit. here’s how to perform this leg press alternative nicely:
- Sit inclining up upon a stationary bench.
- Roll a barbell (or not, if you are a beginner) so that it lies in the crease of the hips.
- Have your feet closer to your hips and bend the knees. This should be done in such a manner that when you push into thrust, your knees form a 90-degree angle.
- Now, take a deep breath and push your hips till your shoulders are pressed on a bench and the hips are extended fully.
- Squeeze those glutes hard when you reach the top of this movement and hold the same position up there for a second or two.
- Now lower back slowly and repeat as many reps as you can.
Tip– More closer the feet are to the hips, the more you can work your glutes. The farther the feet are from the hips, the more you will be able to work your hamstrings.
The Bottom Line
Leg press alternative exercises help strengthen the legs or your lower body without taking the use of the machine. They engage different muscles at the same time thus preparing your legs to perform all the activities in your day-to-day routine with other workouts.
While these excesses do not require machines, you should practice them with safety. If you are new to using strength training, perform them with expert guidance. Bein with one set only having a few reps and gradually increase.
Make sure you warm up before starting the exercises as this reduces the chase of injuries and delivers oxygen to all the muscles involved. To gain total body strength, you have to work a different group of muscles every day and take enough rest in between.
You do not Require any leg press machine o gym membership to efficiently train your legs. As you have seen, there are lots of astonishing options to practice rather than sitting in the leg press machine. The exercises involved above work every muscle in the lower body and are great for everything you need for the legs: strength, energy, and size.
You may also go through these variations of side leg raises for great results and benefits!