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45 Degree Leg Press

What Is A 45 Degree Leg Press?

How To Do A 45 Degree Leg Press

The 45-degree leg press, also known as an incline or angled leg press, is a variation of the seated leg press where the plate is pushed at a 45-degree angle, instead of towards the wall. This exercise primarily works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, with some involvement from the calves and adductors.

The 45-degree leg press is more challenging than the seated variation due to an increased range of motion, gravitational pull, and higher starting weight. Benefits include more glute and hamstring activation and more resistance, which can make this more effective for building strength and mass. If you are new to leg presses, we'd recommend starting with the seated leg press to build form and confidence first.

Unlike with squats, the upper body is stabilised in a leg press, allowing the lower body to be isolated more and more weight to be lifted. This makes it a good alternative for those who struggle with squats due to balance, core, or back issues, but also means it can be more effective for training the legs to failure which is key for strength and hypertrophy gains. Leg presses can be used alongside squats or as a replacement.

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Commonly Asked Questions On 45 Degree Leg Press

Is 45 Degree Leg Press Good For You?

The 45-degree leg press is a good exercise for building quad, glute, and hamstring strength and muscle. While it is particularly suitable for those who struggle with squats due to balance, core, or back issues, it’s beneficial for anyone looking to increase lower body strength and can be used alongside or instead of squats.

How Deep Should You Go On Seated Leg Press?

The depth of your leg press will influence how many muscle fibres are recruited during the leg press. Aiming to get your knees to a minimum of 90 degrees will ensure the legs are sufficiently challenged, however the deeper you go the more strength you will build at end range motion. A good approach is to perform some sets at a weight that allows you to reach 90 degrees, then dropping the weight to increase the depth. However, you should only go to a depth that allows you to maintain a flat back – this will depend on your hip and ankle mobility.

What Does 45 Degree Leg Press Do?

The 45-degree leg press increases lower body strength and size by working the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Because the torso is stabilised, the legs are isolated and exposed to greater volume than with free weight alternatives like squats.

45 Degree Leg Press Tips

Changing the position of your feet on the plate can shift tension into different muscles. A shoulder-width stance places most focus onto the quads. To activate the glutes more, adopt a wider foot placement and slightly turn the toes out. To engage the adductors more, take a narrow foot placement.

How To Do A 45 Degree Leg Press

  1. Load the leg press with your desired weights and then adjust the back support if needed.

  2. Sit with your back and head flat against the back support and place your feet on the foot plate around shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. 

  3. Grab the handles and then press the foot plate slightly to unrack the plate off the safety hooks.

  4. Engage the core then lower the plate until your knees are between 45 and 90 degrees, ensuring your glutes and lower back stay still throughout. This is your starting position.

  5. Press the plate up by extending your legs out straight, taking care not to lock your knees. 

  6. Slowly return back to the starting position and repeat for desired reps.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.