The Inclined Plate Loaded Leg Press is primarily a quadriceps exercise, as the knee is the only joint that goes through a full range of motion, assuming the feet are in the right place on the platform and the knee bend to 90 degrees. The hip joint is involved, however, it does not extend completely, to fully contract the glutes. The glutes do experience a pretty good stretch, in the bottom position, as the knee bends closer to the chest, but NOT a full contraction.
Over the last few months, I have been watching people, at my gym, do a One-Legged Leg Press with the pelvis and lumbar spine twisted (see photo in red). Usually the upper back is in a hunched over position, too. This is a lower back injury waiting for a place to happen. Why? Because the pelvis is supported on one side and the spine is not in a neutral position. There is nothing wrong with training one leg at a time. This can actually be beneficial, if one leg is stronger than the other, but why not place your spine and pelvis in a safer position to do this (see photo in green)? Safety first!
Often, when I see the twisted version of this exercise, the foot that is pushing is placed too high on the platform. This reduces range of motion (ROM) at the knee. Short ROM decreases flexibility at the joint and cheats the individual out of the development he/she may be looking for in the upper thigh.
When I am teaching new clients the basics of resistance training, I always teach them to pay attention to their posture & position before they start to move the weight. We start with light to moderate loads, so they can learn to stay in position and develop good movement patterns. Too much weight, too soon, can be a distraction and promote injury. I give them postural cues, like; “Align your ears over your shoulders, lift your chest up & open and pull your navel to your spine.”
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