One strength training exercise that is frequently done incorrectly is the leg press. Here are a few mistakes and how to fix them to maximize your efforts!
1. One common mistake is bringing the feet too close together (pictured bottom left). The feet should be shoulder-width apart in order to relieve less stress from your knees. With your feet shoulder-width apart you should push the weight through your heels, do not push through your toes. This will ensure you are not putting any more strain on the knee joint.
2. Do not allow your knees to hyperextend! (Pictured top left). When you lock out your knees completely on the leg press you are putting pressure on the ligaments in your knees and leaving them vulnerable. We want to keep the muscles in our legs engaged throughout the whole exercise. Instead, keep a soft bend in the knees as you extend your legs.
3. Place your feet at the proper height. Ideally your legs should be parallel to the ground (pictured right). If you place your feet too high on the foot pad you end up shifting attention to your glutes instead. However placing your knees too low on the leg press will cause extra stress on your knees because the weight shifts to your toes.
Overall in order to get the most out of the leg press exercise make sure that your feet are at the proper height, shoulder-width apart and maintain a soft bend in your knees when you straighten your legs. Happy exercising!