You may not always be able to access the gym and the machines you want to use there for your workout. For some exercises, there are at-home substitutes you can use that are every bit as effective but require no machine.
The leg press machine is used for high intensity exercises that utilize your legs to push weight away from your body. Then, you bring that weight back toward you while your feet rest on a fixed platform. As you use the machine, you rest your back against a backrest. This machine works your legs in a powerful way, building up strength throughout your upper and lower legs.
There are multiple leg press machines to be found in the gym, like the horizontal leg press or the 45-degree leg press. These work your legs in different ways and force your body into different positions.
One of the most important things to know about doing the leg press and using these machines is that you have the right form. You want to get the most benefits you can out of the exercise an minimize any risk of injury. If you’ve never used a leg press machine, it’s a good idea to watch instructional videos on how to do it.
But what if you can’t get to the gym and there’s no leg press machine available? I’ll show you how to do leg press at home, using several alternatives that work your legs in the same way and give you the same benefits. Who says you need to go to the gym to get a balanced, full body workout?
The Broad Jump Uses Your Body
I want to start you off with a very simple but effective exercise that utilizes your own body weight to give you the same benefits of using a leg press machine. This exercise will really work your legs, and it will take some power as well. The broad jump specifically works your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Jumping exercises like this improve your lower body strength and can be excellent for boosting strength gains. They train your body to use more muscle fibers when you work out, which will in turn generate greater gains for exercise sessions.
Start with both feet on the floor a shoulder width apart. Breathe in and swing your arms back. As you do that, bend your hips and knees forward, keeping your knees lined up straight with your toes. Keep bending until your quads are in a parallel line with the floor and try to keep your back between 45 and 90 degrees to your hips. You’re now in the squat position, and from there you can breathe out and swing your arms forward. As you do this, you want to jump upward and forward. Try to land in a way that is soft on your knees so that you’re not putting too much pressure and impact on these sensitive joints.
To reduce impact on your knees, you can jump from one side of an exercise mat to the other. To repeat the jump, simply turn around and jump in the opposite direction back to starting position. This exercise may not be for everyone, but if you can do a leg press and use the leg press machine, you should be able to do the broad forward jump. If you’re looking for how to do a leg press at home, this is one of the best and simplest alternatives.
This is a very similar exercise but eliminates the forward jump so that it takes up less space and is easier to control. It is a very effective exercise for building your legs and your core. And it’s an excellent way to test your leg strength and how much height you can get out of your jumps. Once again, be careful about how you land to ensure that it’s a soft landing that isn’t too hard on your knees.
If you would like to add an extra level of challenge to the exercise, you can use ankle weights or even dumbbells. You should make sure you can do the exercise easily enough at first before you add extra weight to it. For some people, just the basic jump squat can be quite challenging and strenuous.
Start by standing on the floor with your feet shoulder width apart. Get into the squat position to where your back is at a 45- to 90-degree angle in line with your hips and make sure your quad muscles are parallel to the floor. Push from your heels to force your body up into the air come on straightening out knees and hips. As you land, bend your knees and hips and try to have a soft landing that reduces impact on your knees. You can easily repeat this exercise, since you’re staying in basically the same location the entire time.
Resistance Band Leg Press
Start by lying down face up on a mat and lift up your knees until they are in a parallel line with the floor. Keep your feet straight as you place a resistance band around the bottom of your feet. Press your legs upward, but not so high that you lock your legs. Lower your legs back down slowly towards the starting position in a smooth motion. You can repeat this exercise nine more times for a set of 10 reps and then do three sets of 10. This is a great starting number for people who are new to this exercise. You can work up from there or add weights to make this exercise more challenging.
Try to keep your core engaged in this exercise, as you can work your core and your legs simultaneously. Make sure the entire exercise is done in a smooth, controlled motion, as jerky movements can cause injury and hurt your overall gains. This is excellent alternative for how to do leg press exercise at home, and it works your legs in much the same way that a leg press machine would.
Let’s talk about one more method for how to do leg press at home without machine. The walking lunges are very popular and simple enough to do. They are a great way to build up your balance and work the two sides of your body together. They tone up the glutes, quads, calves, and other leg muscles and improve overall flexibility for your legs.
To begin, keep two dumbbells in your hands- one in each hand. Keep your head pointed straight ahead and take a large step forward, engaging your core and keeping your chest out. When you step forward, bend both knees, squatting down with your front and back legs working together. Then, return to the starting position, keeping your head pointed straight forward.
Once you get through one movement of the exercise, you can step forward again, but switching legs this time. You can do 10 reps on each leg, take a short break, and then do two more sets of 10 for each leg.
It’s important that you keep your core engaged and focus on your core as you do the exercise. This will help avoid injury and keep your body stabilized and strong.
These are just a few exercises you can start with that all serve as great alternatives to the leg press machine.