Which is better – Leg press or Squats?
Each of us engaged in sports with weight performs exercises that different experts consider useless or traumatic. A list of such exercises is big and continues to grow. Flat Bench overhead, bench press, lifting dumbbells laterally, forward bends with the barbell on the shoulders, twisting, barbell curls – all of these exercises once was proclaimed useless.
Leg press also is often subject of discussion between experts in the field of training. As, this exercise is non-functional and simply cannot be helpful.
Do not make such categorical statements. Although many studies has shown that Squats are more effective for athletic development, there is evidence that for stimulation of muscle hypertrophy and strength development in the lower part of the amplitude – Leg press can be very useful exercise.
Leg Press benefits
To perform correctly Squats with weight is harder than the Leg press. The heavier weight is, the more accurate should be mechanic of movement. Everything here plays an important role, from staging feet and weight distribution and ending position of the shoulder.
Leg press is much more simple exercise. It can be done by both experienced athletes and beginners. In addition, in this exercise is easier to apply such methods to increase the intensity as drop-sets, rest-pause and eccentric reps.
Leg press can be used in rehabilitation exercises. For example, a man who underwent surgery on the knee joint, it is recommended to perform Leg press with one foot with a weight equal to 10% of his body weight. This exercise will help muscles learn to work together with each other, without causing any significant load on the joint.
Another advantage of the Leg Press is the development of hip muscle strength in the lower part of the amplitude when the legs are fully flexed. Range of motion when performing Squat is usually from 0 ° to 90 ° – 120 °, depending on the mobility of the joint, if talking about the range of movement in the Leg press then it is from 90 ° from the top point of the amplitude and to 120 ° -150° at the bottom, again , depending on the mobility of athlete joints.
As you can see, the movement is performed in a completely different range. Therefore, if you alternate Squats and Leg press then your hip muscles will develop perfect.
Rather than attempting to describe the benefits of Leg press, let’s try to disprove some of the most common arguments against this exercise.
The 1st argument: the motion occurs in a fixed plane, and does not require maintaining equilibrium.
Of course, when you sit in the simulator and squeeze with leg platform, which moves in a straight line, the plane of motion is limited compared to Squat or Squat on one leg, in which you have to maintain a dynamic balance in all three planes of motion.
But if the goal is to maximize muscle development, then unnecessity of keeping balance will only help activate at maximum muscle and use the maximum weight. This means that to build muscle leg press is the best exercise.
The reduction in stability, even minor, will make you to reduce weight, and this fact influences the mechanical adaptation of muscles, hormonal response and endurance.
Take the example of Squats on a rocking board.
As decrease stability decreases ability to produce effort. This means that performing Squats on an unstable surface, you will be forced to limit the working weight. In order, by increasing the stability increase working weight and this has an effect on hypertrophy and strength develop. For this reason, you can see in the videos, how Ronnie Coleman perform 900 kg leg press, but world record in the Squat is very far from this result.
The 2nd argument: dysfunctional movement.
Goldenmusles.com can’t say that multiple squats with the bar on the back are really functional movement. Except then the goal of squats is to improve the performance of this movement.
Exercise for the legs can be considered functional if in the course of its implementation there is movement in all three joints – the hip, knee and ankle. The leg press meets these criteria.
The 3rd argument: the only advantage of the Leg Press is the opportunity to work with a very heavy weight.
No matter how cool is to move weigh from point A to point B, the exercise should be first of all useful, and after that to bring pleasure of working with heavy weights. Anyone who has ever performed Leg Press with a heavy weight knows that this exercise forces cardiovascular system.
In a study conducted at the University of Alberta, was measured blood pressure during the exercise. The aim of the experiment was to measure the blood pressure coming out of the heart muscle while performing Leg press with a maximum load. It was found that systolic blood pressure increased by 2 times, and diastolic increased on average 2.5 times as compared to a state of rest. It is suffice to say that during the execution of cardio exercise diastolic pressure rises insignificantly or not change at all.
Leg press for muscle hypertrophy
If your goal is to increase muscle mass, Leg press allows you to implement these techniques of increasing the intensity as drop-sets, rest-pause and forced negative reps.
In the drop-sets you perform an exercise many times as possible, then assistant removes some weight and again you perform to failure, etc.
Rest-pause: set a weight 90-95% of your 1 rep max, then fix the platform, rest for 20 sec and then perform another 1-2 reps, etc. In sum, try to do 10-12 reps. This technique allows to extend the approach performing time, at the same time maintaining a high intensity.
Goldenmuscles.com noted that any of these methods perform better only if you do not plan to use actively your feet in the next three days.