Preseason Strength Training: Machine Leg Press
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On this machine, seat and leg positioning determines which muscles you work. We’re aiming for a compound workout, so you’ll want the seat to be far enough forward that you’re getting a glute workout, as well as a quad workout. The angle of the back pad can also be adjusted, and you’ll want that to be as upright as you can handle, so that your lower body is doing the lion’s share of the work. There are a lot of adjustments to get just right, so the first time you use this machine, it’s important that you get a qualified trainer to set you up correctly. Once you’ve done that, keep these alignment tips in mind: Your shoulder blades, sacrum and the back of your head should be against the back pad with only a slight natural arch in your lower back. Your feet should be hip-width apart and positioned high enough on the pressing platform so that when you are in the extended/starting position, your heels are in line with your knees, which are slightly bent. Your toes should be pointed straight at the ceiling. Unlock the weight and—keeping your heels firmly on the platform throughout the movement—slowly lower the weight until there’s a 90-degree angle between your upper and lower leg. Hold for a second, and then slowly return to the starting position. Note: As you get the hang of this, you can vary the width of your feet to work different muscles (you’ll have to lighten the weight, too). For example, bringing your feet and legs together works the inner thighs more.