How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh?

How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh

The leg press is a hugely popular exercise for leg day workouts. And you’ll find that your strength quickly increases to where you’re doing multiple plates on each side.

But how do you know how much weight you’re actually lifting on the leg press? The answer depends on the starting weight of the leg press and the design of the machine.

This article answers “how much does a leg press weigh” for various machine types and brands. So you’ll know exactly how much weight you’re lifting on every set!

What Is Starting Weight and Why Is It Important?

The starting weight of a leg press refers to the minimum amount of resistance you can have on the exercise. And it’s helpful to know for beginners using light weights or as a reference point for comparing different machines or exercises.

How Much Does a Leg Press Weigh?

The starting weight for most leg presses is 100-170 lbs (45-77 kgs). But the exact amount depends on the machine type and brand.

For instance, there are angled, pivot, and machine-style leg presses from brands like Cybex and Hammer Strength. So let’s look at some specific examples of leg press starting weights.

Angled Plate Loaded Leg Press

Most of you are familiar with this kind of leg press. It has a seat near the floor and a carriage or sled mounted on 45o angled rails.

You can increase the resistance by adding weight plates on either side of the sled. And some leg press sleds also have room for plates on top of the sled.

How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Angled Plate Loaded

How much does a plate-loaded leg press weigh?

The average commercial grade plate-loaded leg press has a starting weight of around 125 lbs (57 kgs). This is the weight of the sled without any plates added.

However, the exact starting weight varies by brand. So here is a list of some of the most popular leg press brands and their starting weights.

Table 1. Leg Press Starting Weight

Plate Loaded Leg Press Starting Weight
How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Life Fitness Life Fitness 103 lb (47 kg)
How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Hammer Strength Hammer Strength 118 lb (54 kg)
How Much Does A Cybex Leg Press Weigh Cybex 125 lb (57 kg)*
How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Precor Precor 136 lb (62 kg)
Leg Press Sled Weight Matrix Matrix 167 lb ( 76 kg)

Leg press starting weights based on the manufacturer’s specifications. *Cybex did not specify a minimum resistance so this is an estimated starting weight based on averages and my personal experience with various machines.

My gym has a Cybex leg press, so I checked all the machine labels and scoured the internet for the empty sled weight. I even tracked down a PDF of the owner’s manual! But it did not list the starting weight.

However, based on my experience using the Cybex leg press and other brands, I estimate its empty sled weight to be pretty average at around 125 lbs.

Pivot Leg Press (Squat Press)

The squat press or pivot leg press is another type of plate-loaded leg press. It is different because the foot platform is not on angled rails like a traditional leg press.

Instead, the platform attaches to lever arms that rotate around a pivot point to create a more natural movement path. Moreover, the pivot action results in variable resistance that feels lighter at the bottom and heavier at the top.

How Much Does a Squat Press Weigh

How much does a pivot leg press weigh (squat press)?

Unfortunately, pivot leg press manufacturers do not specify a starting weight for these machines. But the starting load is most likely around 5-30 lbs based on the design mechanics.

Most pivot leg presses have two arms connected to a single pivot point. And each arm is roughly the same length. As a simplified example, you could think of a beam balanced on a fulcrum.

The force required to balance the beam is equal to the weight loaded on the opposite end. Therefore it takes very little force to lift the pivot leg press if there are no weights on it.

Pivot Leg Press Force Diagram
Simple Lever Force Diagram

Of course, the diagram above is an oversimplification and the pivot leg press is not a perfect horizontal lever. But it makes the concept easier to understand.

In reality, the pivot leg press has a bent beam and the force of gravity isn’t perpendicular to the lever. So you only feel a fraction of the total weight and the amount of weight you feel changes as you move the machine.

Machine Leg Press

The leg press machine uses a weight selector stack and cables or belts to provide resistance. Most of these machines move horizontally or at a shallow angle.

Like other leg press exercises, you sit in the seat and push your feet against the foot platform to work your legs. However, often the seat moves on the machine leg press instead of the foot platform.

How much does a leg press machine weigh

How much does a machine leg press weigh?

The starting weight of a machine leg press is usually about 20 lbs. but this depends on how low the weight stack goes and the initial resistance of the seat or foot platform.

Hack Squat

The hack squat is essentially an upside-down angled leg press where the foot platform is at the bottom, and the back/shoulder pads are at the top.

The benefit of the hack squat machine is that your back stays relatively upright during the movement. And that results in less hip bend and more knee bend, making it better for targeting your quads.

Some machines are a combination leg press and hack squat where the foot platform and backrests are interchangeable. This conversion allows you to do both exercises on one machine.

How much does a hack squat weigh

How much does a hack squat weigh?

The hack squat starting weight is typically 80-105 lbs, slightly less than the starting weight for an average angled leg press. Still, the hack squat feels heavier because you must also lift more of your body weight compared to the leg press.

In addition, the hack squat places more load on the quads while reducing the involvement of the larger glute and hamstring muscles.

Actual Leg Press Weight

It’s important to realize that the weight you put on the leg press is not the amount of weight you’re lifting. In reality, you only lift a fraction of the weight due to the angled rails that support some of the load.

To illustrate, think of a 25 lb box sitting on a smooth table. It takes 25 lbs of force to lift the box off the table. But it takes almost no force to slide the box across the table.

Similarly, pushing a weight up an incline only requires a fraction of the force required to lift it straight up. For example, with an angle of 45o, the force you feel on the leg press is only 70% of the total weight.

Therefore, the accurate starting weight on the leg press is 70% of the sled weight, which is about 88 lbs on an average machine.

Leg Press Force Diagram

Leg Press Weight FAQ

Now you know the starting weight for the most common leg press types and brands. But I know some of you still have more questions. So here are some quick answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding leg press weight.

Should I count the weight of the sled?

No, you don’t have to count the weight of the leg press sled. Most weightlifters don’t count the sled since the weight is not always known. And because it’s often a number like “123 lbs,” which is not easy to add in your head.

Does the starting weight of the leg press matter?

The starting weight of the leg press really only matters if you’re a beginner or if you’re using a different machine and need to know how much weight to add compared to another machine or exercise.

If you’re using the same leg press each week, what matters more is being consistent with the weight you add and using progressive overload.

Why does the pivot leg press feel lighter than the angled leg press?

The pivot leg press feels lighter than an angled leg press because it provides a mechanical advantage. Basically, the pivot design balances out the weight of the carriage. So the starting weight of the pivot leg press is less than the angled leg press.

Also, the pivoting action means the resistance changes as you lower the weight, making it feel lighter at the bottom than it does at the top. This variable resistance means you can lift more weight.

In practical terms, you can probably lift about 25% more on the pivot leg press than you can on the angled leg press. To illustrate, here are videos of my 8 rep max on the pivot leg press and standard leg press.

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Why does leg press feel lighter than squats?

The leg press feels lighter than squats because the angled rails reduce the weight by about 30%. At the same time, you don’t have to lift your entire body weight as you do with squats.

Finally, the leg press is a more hip dominant movement that recruits the larger glute and hamstring muscles. And this can help you push a little heavier weight compared to squats.

Leg Press vs Squat Body Mechanics, Muscle Activation, & More

How much weight should I leg press compared to squats?

Most people should be able to leg press about twice as much as they can barbell squat according to multiple studies with resistance-trained individuals. But this conversion varies depending on the number of reps performed.

Leg Press to Squat Calculator

How Much Does A Smith Machine Bar Weigh?

Now you know how much weight you’re lifting on the leg press. But other machines in the gym have undefined starting weights as well.

For example, the Smith machine has a barbell that doesn’t weigh the same as a free-weight bar. So you probably don’t know how much weight you’re lifting on Smith machine exercises!

Click here to see how much a Smith machine bar weighs based on equipment type and brand.

How Much Does A Smith Machine Bar Weigh
Smith Machine Bar Weight

With this information, you can now leg press with confidence and build a better lower body. Check out some of these other helpful articles to keep learning more!

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