Today was glorious leg day at the gym, my all time favorite gym day of the week. Not sure if you could sense the sarcasm there, but it was there! Well actually I have tried to have a better attitude about leg day lately. It has to be done, right? So might as well not complain and get it done. After all, some day I am hoping to actually grow some calves and they aren’t gonna grow skipping leg day!
It was week #2 of my YRT Trainer today, and one of the items on the agenda was leg press. This included five sets of various reps ranging from 10-30. I usually plant my feet on the leg press in the same position every time. I use a wide stance and put my feet far up on the weight plate, usually where my toes meet the end of the plate. My feet are usually about shoulder width apart, or a little wider than hip width if that is easier to contemplate for legs. The reason I have the foot position high up on the plate is because it seems to give my knees the greatest relief. When you have your feet planted low on the leg press plate, your knees are subject to much greater stress. Being a guy who has squatted for years, my knees can injure fairly easy. Keeping my very feet high on the plate does not hurt my knees at all, so this is what I always do.
As I was doing my first set of 30 reps, I thought to myself, “What if I bring my legs close together and do a narrow stance leg press?”. So my next set which was 25 reps, I used a vary narrow stance with my feet about eight inches or so apart from each other. I still kept the same high placement of my feet on the leg press plate, however, so my knees would be protected. Clearly, I could feel my outer quads working more than when I was doing my traditional wide stance. So I alternated both narrow and wide stance each set, and got one kick ass leg pump.
So to sum it up, unless your knees are made of steel, if you want to prevent knee injuries always keep your feet at a high position on the leg press. If you don’t experience knee pain with a lower stance, then by all means go for it, but still be careful. To work the outer sweep of your quads more, use a narrow stance. To work the inner sweep more, use a wider stance. You can also do in between variations of this as you progress through your sets. I will be mixing up my stance now when doing leg press and you should be, too if you are not already!
P.S. – Let me know what leg press stance works best for you in the comments below!