Exercises I Hate (The Leg Press)
Lets be honest. People tend to gravitate towards the leg press because, well, it’s easy.
Warning: the video below is 32 seconds of your life that you will never get back and you may have a strong urge to pour battery acid over your eyes.
I don’t know which made me laugh more. The fact that the woman performing the leg press was wearing an ankle weight or that she was using a six inch ROM on each repetition. Either way, it’s downright absurd and just solidifies why I haven’t included the leg press in any of my client’s programming in over three years.
While the leg press does allow for certain individuals who “think” they’re strong to stroke their ego a bit, it also serves as a great tool for those training to become efficient at pushing a weight up an incline. Which as we all know, has a plethora of “real world” carry over to everyday life events. I used the word plethora, so you know I’m being totally serious here. See mom, I used my big boy words!
While many will state that the leg press is a safer alternative to squat variations, I will counter that argument by quoting Dr. Stuart McGill, who in his book “Low Back Disorders,” states: “the leg press sometimes causes the pelvis to rotate away from the back rest when the weight is lowered. The resultant lumbar flexion produces herniating conditions for the disc!” Translation: you’ll end up with an oowie.
Why anyone would want to go out of their way to reinforce a faulty motor pattern that will more than likely end up promoting disc herniations is beyond me. It makes about as much sense as Tom Selleck shaving off his mustache.
Personally I’m not a big fan of mustaches. However, recent research indicates that global warming can be attributed solely to the effects Tom Sellecks’s mustache has on women. I think I read that on Wikipedia. Either way, no man should ever give up that kind of power. Ever.
Long story short, from a cost-benefit perspective, I feel that leg presses just aren’t worth it. A trainee’s time would be much better spent learning how to squat properly. Not only will you have greater strength gains, improved bone health, and lean muscle gain….but squats will carry over very nicely in terms of everyday life events.