13 July 2020

In Need of a Leg Press Alternative? Try These!

Leg press exercises are excellent for strengthening the quads and glutes, creating a tight, toned physique. This article will explore the benefits of adding a leg press to your workout, and how you can do them at home without a machine or pricy gym membership.

Here's a preview of our favorite alternative exercises for leg press:

  • Squats
  • Reclined Resistance Band Press
  • Lunges

What is The Leg Press?

Traditionally, a leg press is done on a special machine. You sit in the chair and place your feet on the footplate directly in front of you, and your knees are bent. The weight can be adjusted depending on your level of strength. As you exhale, you straighten your legs, pushing the footplate away from you. Leg press exercises build muscles in the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

How Can I do Leg Press at Home Without a Machine?

Any resistance exercises that work the leg muscles can be used as leg press alternatives. Our three favorites are:

1: Squats

That's right; good old fashioned squats are a simple leg press alternative. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointing forward. Keeping your spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and chest lifted, lower as if you were going to sit on a chair.  Aim your thighs parallel to the floor. Exhale as you push back to the starting position. To increase the intensity, try weighted squats using a barbell or two hand weights.

2: Reclined Resistance Band Press

This is a great leg press alternative. You only need a resistance band to perform this exercise. It is easy to vary the intensity based on your level of fitness and strength. If you are a beginner, go for a lighter band, and if you are intermediate, you can choose a thicker band. Lay on your back and bend your knees into your chest. Hook the band over your flexed feet, holding onto the ends of the band. Holding on tightly, straighten your legs, pushing the center of the band away. Return to the starting position.

3: Lunges

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward and drop your hips so that your knees come to 90 degrees. Keep lowering until your back knee hovers above the mat and the front thigh becomes parallel with the floor. Keep the front knee in line with the ankle. Return to the starting position and repeat on the left side.


Perform three sets of each exercise, with 8-12 reps in each set. Once you get used to the movements, you can make them harder by adding weights to the squats and lunges and using a thicker resistance band for the reclined leg presses. Another variation is to perform the lunges as walking lunges, moving forward with each lunge. There are many variations on these foundational leg press alternatives, ensuring that you won't get bored while sculpting your legs and lifting your glutes.

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