5 Leg Press Alternative Exercises You Should Try

leg press alternative

The leg press alternative is indeed an effective exercise for the lower body. Still, it is pretty tricky for some people to do this exercise for various reasons. Such people should find leg press alternative exercises that can give similar results. 

The leg muscles should be worked on properly because they are the largest muscle group in the human body. These muscles help to provide stability and balance. 

But we all know that with huge benefits comes its most significant disadvantage of not being able to do this exercise everywhere. The leg press machine is so giant that no one can carry or transport it easily. 

Or suppose you’ve been in a situation where you recently started gyming in your garage gym and searched for a leg press alternative for your favorite gym machine exercises. In that case, this article will help you sort your problems with the leg presses alternative. 

Alternative Exercises for Your Leg Press Routine

1. Hack Squat

hack squat leg press alternative

This alternative exercise works on almost all the same muscle groups which the leg press works on. This machine is a variation of the squats but with machine assistance. 

In this, a machine assists in making strict up and down motions like a typical squat. The involvement of a device does not involve or allow the torso to move forward or backward. You don’t even need stabilization on this machine. 

Although there is minimal work for your abdominals and back during this exercise, much pressure is still on the shoulders. It amounts to significantly more spinal loading than the leg press. This load reduces due to the backward inclination of the body on the machine. 

How to Do This:

  1. Firstly, step on the squat platform.
  2. Make sure to keep your shoulders in contact with the shoulder pads. 
  3. Then hold the handles alongside your shoulders. 
  4. Next, form your regular squat position. 
  5. Then, when you are ready, stand up and release the stopper. 
  6. After this, bend from your knees. 
  7. Now, when you have achieved the depth, push the platform away from you and stand up.
  8. Once you are done with your sets, release your stopper and step out. 

2. Sissy Squat

Sissy Squat leg press alternative

It is a fantastic leg press substitute, focusing entirely on the quads. It is also a home workout exercise and an underrated bodyweight exercise. The knee-bending part of the exercise focuses on the quads. 

It is an excellent option if you don’t want to buy any massive gym equipment. But there’s a disadvantage to it, which includes significantly less hip flexion or bending, due to which the glutes get ignored.

How to Do This:

  1. Begin by positioning yourself shoulder-width apart.
  2. Then hold onto an object about hip height.
  3.  After this, push your knees forward.
  4. Now, when your knees move forward, you should lean backward.
  5.  At the bottom, your heels should rise a little from the floor, in a position where you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
  6. Lastly, push through the balls of your feet and push your chest forward to stand up.

3. Swiss Ball Curl 

Swiss Ball Curl leg press alternative

Many people also know this as “supine hip extension“. It focuses on strengthening your hamstrings and glutes. This alternative exercising alternative focuses targets on flexors and knee flexors. 

You only need a swiss or balance ball for exercise. It focuses on your primary muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, buttocks, calves, and ankles. The trainers say that the movement is complex and needs excellent strength. They say you must be comfortable with the action before including it in your regular workout schedule. 

How to Do This:

  1. Firstly, lay down on the mat with your heels on the swiss ball.
  2. Now try to form a straight line by slowly lifting your glutes off the ground. 
  3. Then roll your ball towards your buttocks and pause for 3 seconds.
  4. Lastly, return to your initial position comfortably.
  5. To begin with, do 3 sets of 5 reps.

4. Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat leg press alternative

It is an old-school exercise that helps strengthen leg muscles, especially the hamstrings and quadriceps. This exercise focuses on a single leg and forces you to engage your core. It is an excellent all-around exercise for building a sturdy base while improving your explosive power. 

It is a low-impact movement that pulls a large amount of pressure and force from the back of the muscles and advances the integration of leg muscles. You will need only dumbbells or kettlebells as your equipment. It targets the primary muscles like quads, hamstrings, vastus, lateralis, and rectus femoris. 

How to Do This:

  1. Start with standing in a relaxed position.
  2. Then hold a pair of dumbbells beside you and in front of the bench.
  3. Now lift your foot and place it on the top of the bench that is behind you.
  4. Then lower yourself slowly and ensure to maintain a strong core. 
  5.  Pause for a while when you are at the bottom of the movement. 
  6. Lastly, return to your initial position comfortably.
  7. You can do 2 sets of 10 reps on each side. 

5. Lateral lunge

Lateral lunge leg press alternative

It can be an excellent alternative for leg press. This exercise can help to provide massive improvements in core strength, stability, leg development, and balance (if done correctly). 

This exercise can help to stimulate the outer sides of the quadriceps in a better way. The best part about it is that you don’t necessarily require any different types of equipment to do this. 

It focuses on primary muscles like quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. This exercise is an excellent choice for those aiming to shape and ton their inner thighs. 

How to Do This:

  1. Start with standing shoulder-width apart 
  2. Then hold the pair of dumbbells in your hands 
  3. Ensure to keep and maintain your right leg straight, lunge to the left
  4. Keep your head still and straight and your core strong while you lower the weights between the legs 
  5. Now, pause for a while before you push back to your starting position 
  6. Lastly, repeat this and switch between your legs 
  7. Try to do 3 sets of 12-15 reps 

A leg press routine always targets the muscle groups like the quads and glutes. So when you choose an alternative for your leg press exercise, check if they target the same muscle groups.

An alternative should also minimize the pressure on your spinal area that you experience while placed on the lifter.

Do check our article on alternatives to leg press at home.

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