How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh?

Written By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPT, BSEngUpdated: October 5, 2023

As you progress in your training, it becomes more important to know how much weight you’re putting on the leg press. The starting weight of a leg press is typically 100-170 lbs (45-77 kgs).

However, the exact weight of the leg press in your gym depends on the machine type and brand.

How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh

This article answers “How much does a leg press weigh?” for various machines so you can accurately track your progress and know exactly how much weight you’re lifting on every set.

What Is Starting Weight and Why Is It Important?

The minimum amount of resistance on a leg press is referred to as the starting weight, and it represents the weight of the sled without any additional weight plates.

This information is useful for beginners who are using light weights, as well as for comparing different exercises or machines.

How Much Does a Leg Press Sled Weigh?

The sled weight for leg presses usually ranges from 100-170 pounds (45-77 kilograms), but this can vary depending on the machine’s type and brand.

Some leg press models include angled, pivot, and machine-style designs from brands like Cybex and Hammer Strength. Next, we’ll look at a few examples of starting weights for specific leg presses.

Angled Plate Loaded Leg Press

You’re likely familiar with the angled leg press machine. It usually has a seat that’s close to the ground, and a carriage or sled that’s mounted on rails that are angled at 45 degrees.

To increase resistance, weight plates can be added on either side of the sled or on top of it for some machines.

How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Angled Plate Loaded

How much does an angled leg press weigh without weights?

The starting weight of a commercial-grade plate-loaded leg press machine is typically around 125 lbs (57 kgs), which only includes the weight of the sled without any additional plates.

However, it’s worth noting that the specific starting weight can differ based on the machine’s brand. Below is a list of some popular leg press brands and their corresponding 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.

Nonetheless, 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 also called the pivot leg press, is a type of plate-loaded leg press that has a foot platform attached to lever arms that rotate around a pivot point.

This gives a more natural movement path compared to the traditional leg press where the platform is placed on angled rails. As the pivot action creates variable resistance, the load at the bottom is reduced while it increases at the top.

How Much Does a Squat Press Weigh

How much does a pivot leg press weigh (squat press) without plates?

The starting weight for pivot leg presses is not provided by the manufacturers. However, based on the design mechanics, it is estimated to be around 5-30 lbs without weight plates.

These machines typically have two arms of similar length connected to a single pivot point. Simply put, it’s like balancing a beam on a fulcrum. Balancing the beam requires a force equal to the weight loaded on the opposite end.

Hence, if there are no weights on the pivot leg press, it requires very little force to lift.

Pivot Leg Press Force Diagram
Simple Lever Force Diagram

As a mechanical engineer, I designed the diagram above to offer a better understanding of the pivot leg press weight. While the diagram is a simplified version, it still serves as an excellent tool for explaining the basic mechanics of the machine.

Remember that the machine’s beam is bent, and the force of gravity doesn’t act perpendicularly to the lever. As a result, you only feel a portion of the total weight, and the amount of weight you feel shifts as you move the machine.

Machine Leg Press

To work your legs using a leg press machine, you will typically sit in the seat and push your feet against the foot platform. The machine is equipped with a weight selector stack and cables or belts that offer resistance, and it may move horizontally or at a shallow angle.

It’s important to note that in some machines, the seat itself moves instead of the foot platform, which means your body weight can add to the resistance.

How much does a leg press machine weigh

How much does a weight stack machine leg press weigh?

When using a machine leg press, the weight can vary depending on the initial resistance of the seat or foot platform and how low the weight stack goes. Generally, this is around 20-30 lbs, but it will vary.

Additionally, keep in mind that a certain percentage of your body weight also contributes to the resistance on leg press machines where the seat moves on slightly inclined rails.

Hack Squat

The hack squat is essentially an upside-down angled leg press with the foot platform at the bottom and the back/shoulder pads 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 without plates?

The hack squat starting weight is typically 80-105 lbs, slightly less than an average angled leg press starting weight. 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, adding to the difficulty.

Actual Leg Press Weight

It’s important to remember that the weight you load onto the leg press machine is not the actual weight you lift. This is because some of the load is supported by angled rails.

To help you better understand this, consider a 25lb box on a smooth table. Lifting the box requires 25 lbs of force, but it takes very little force to slide it across the table.

Similarly, pushing a weight up an incline requires less force than lifting it straight up. For instance, with a 45-degree angle, the force you exert on the leg press is only 70% of the total weight.

Therefore, the initial weight on the leg press should be 70% of the sled weight, which is roughly 88lbs on an average machine. Again, I put on my engineering hat to create the illustration below showing the variables involved.

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?

You don’t always have to count the weight of the leg press sled, particularly if you don’t know exactly what it is. In addition, many weightlifters don’t count the sled weight because it can be challenging to add it in their heads.

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 generally feels lighter than an angled leg press because it provides a mechanical advantage. Its design balances the weight of the carriage, so the starting weight is less.

Also, the pivoting action means the resistance changes as you lower the weight, making it feel lighter at the bottom than 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 on the angled leg press. To illustrate, here are videos of my 8 rep max on the pivot leg press and standard leg press.

My YouTube channel has dozens of videos showing you how to do a variety of bodybuilding exercises. You’ll learn how to target and build specific muscle groups in 90 seconds or less. Click HERE to subscribe, or click on the button below!

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?

According to multiple studies with resistance-trained individuals, most people should be able to leg press about twice as much as they can barbell squat. 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.

More Leg Machines & Bar Weights

These articles will surely provide helpful information if you’d like to learn more about leg exercise machines.

15 Leg Exercise Machines & How to Use Them In Your Workout

Curl Bar Weight By Type: How Much Does Your Curl Bar Weigh?

How Much Does A Deadlift Bar Weigh? (Hex, Trap, Olympic, Powerlifting)

EZ Bar Weight By Type, Size, & Brand: How Much Are You Lifting?

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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By |October 5, 2023|Workouts|0 Comments
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