Add strength and definintion to your lower body with the vertical leg press machine.
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There are countless exercises and machines that can be used to target your legs and hips. One machine you may not see very often is the vertical leg press machine. While it's not as common as the angled leg press or hack squat machine, there are several advantages for choosing the vertical leg press machine to strengthen and define the muscles of your lower body.
The Right Moves
To get all the advantages of a vertical leg press machine, you have to be able to perform a vertical leg press correctly. Begin by lying on the back pad with your hips positioned beneath the weights. Place your feet on the platform and press upward to lift the weights. Disengage the lock then grasp the handles. Engage your abdominal muscles then flex your knees to slowly lower the weights until your knees near full flexion. Push through your heels to extend your legs and press the weights back up to the starting position.
The vertical leg press allows for stance variations to target specific muscle groups more intensely. A narrow stance requires strong use of the quadriceps while a wider stance will put more emphasis on the inner thigh muscles. Vertical leg presses have the potential to also strongly work the gluteal muscles. There is significantly more leg and hip flexion on the vertical leg press machine versus a standard squat. According to a study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," the greater the depth, or flexion, of a squat, the greater the activation of the glutes.
One of the most important advantages of a vertical leg press machine is the support your back receives throughout the exercise. This makes it ideal for someone who is recovering from an injury or who suffers from back problems. During a standard squat, your back must support the entire load you're lifting. Even during an angled leg press, you may find you have a tendency to engage your back muscles. The horizontal position of your back during a vertical leg press allows you to keep your back almost completely relaxed during the exercise.
Safe for Solo Missions
As is the case of most exercise machines, a vertical leg press machine is advantageous in the sense that it can be used without a spotter. This allows you the freedom to work out alone at home or avoid having to ask someone to help you out at the gym. Use the vertical leg press machine to lift as heavy as you want and still be able to re-rack the weight yourself.