The Difference Between Leg Press And Squats


the difference between leg press and squats

What Is The Difference Between Leg Press And Squats?

As a 20 plus year veteran Austin personal trainer and gym owner, one question I hear asked of me a lot at the gym is, what is the difference between leg press and squats? There’s a lot of different machines in the gym. Some machines are made to replicate their free-form cousins, while others are an entirely different entity. For example, a bench press is not the same thing as a machine press. Yes, they are rather similar in that they work the same major muscle group, the pectorals, but how they do that is slightly different.

So, what is the difference between leg press and squats? Is there one? Yes, there is are major differences between the 2. To begin with, a leg press, which is a machine that is balanced and inherently stable, is an apparatus which you can load plates on, sit into, hold on to the handles, and proceeded to raise and lower the platform with the attached weights.

A squat, on the other hand is an exercise which does not require weights, but for the sake of this article, we will assume we are in a gym setting with an Olympic bar, performing them. In the case of a squat, the technique is completely different than the leg press, and thus so are the demands upon the musculature of your body. While there are many myths surrounding the proper execution of squats, and many different approaches to the exercise, it is vastly different from a leg press in that when performing squats, there is nothing stabilized for you. This means you must provide the stability with your body.

Obviously, the mechanics of the 2 exercises are vastly different, and therefore, so are the effects to the trainee. The difference between leg press and squats is enormous in that while you are still using most of the same major muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals, the emphasis of these muscles and how much we use them will depend upon posture, foot positioning in both exercises, and a few other factors. The major difference between leg presses and squats, however, is that since a leg press is a stabilized machine, and a squat is done with a bar that you have to stabilize, as well as your entire body, you are working a lot more of the auxiliary muscles such as the adductors, the abductors, the gracilis, and so on, and so forth. Yes, theoretically you can get a lot more bang for your buck with squats, but obviously, not everybody should be doing squats. I have, and continue to train a lot of people with disc issues in their spine, such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, etc. It would be foolhardy to place a weighted bar upon their shoulders and have them exercise for the sake of getting stronger legs. Therefore, a lower impact leg exercise would be the leg press. While they are lowering a weighted platform down towards their chests they are activating their hip flexors, gluteals, and many of the same muscles, it is simply a matter of the impact to the low back, the hip flexors themselves, as well as the entire length of the spine which will be substantially diminished when performing leg presses as opposed to doing squats.

What is the difference between leg press and squats? Plenty, but you would be hard-pressed to quantify how one is superior to the other. The one that works best for you is the one that you should be doing. If you are not a candidate for squats because of knee issues, hip issues, back issues, etc, you should consider working on a leg press. If these issues are not affecting you, then you are perhaps a candidate for squats. Whichever exercise you deem appropriate, be sure to use good technique, not too much weight, and pay very close attention to how your body feels not just throughout the range of motion, but after performing your sets. If you find squats are working for you, there is no reason that you can’t supplement them with some leg presses. If you find leg presses are going well, and your knees and hips are feeling good, it’s perfectly okay to try some squats, as long as you keep the weight light, and the range of motion on the smaller side, especially initially while you test the waters, so to speak.

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The Difference Between Leg Press And Squats
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The Difference Between Leg Press And Squats
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Longtime Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey outlines the difference between leg press and squats.
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Andy Bruchey-Complete Fitness Design
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Andy
My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.

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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270