How To Leg Press For Glutes

The leg press is a machine found in nearly every gym. And it can be instrumental in building strong, athletic, and defined legs.

But did you know you can also use the leg press to grow your booty? This article shows you how to use the leg press for glutes.

With a few minor adjustments, your butt will be doing the brunt of the work. And that’s what leads to those always desirable booty gains.

Leg Press For Glutes

What Is A Leg Press?

If you’re a gym newbie, the leg press is an exercise machine designed to target your lower body. Essentially, it’s the machine version of barbell squats.

But unlike the squat, the leg press doesn’t strain your lower back. And it’s more versatile in terms of which muscles you can target.

Leg Press vs Squats for Building Glutes

Types of Leg Press Machines

It’s important to realize that there are different leg press machines. Some are plate-loaded, and others are cable or belt-driven.

Standard Leg Press for Glutes

A standard leg press is a machine consisting of two main components: a seat and a sled. And resistance is provided by adding weight plates to the sled.

The seat on a standard leg press is located near the floor and has a reclined appearance. In comparison, your feet go on the sled on rails at about a 45-degree angle to the floor.

Plate Loaded Leg Press

Seated Leg Press for Glutes

A seated leg press is usually a cable or belt-driven machine. The cable or belt connects the foot platform to a weight stack to provide resistance.

With the seated leg press, either the foot platform or the seat itself may move. And the movement is generally more on the horizontal axis.

Seated Leg Press Machine

Does Leg Press Work Glutes?

As a compound exercise, the leg press works all the muscles in your upper legs, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and hips.

However, you can emphasize your glutes more by adjusting your body position, so your hips bend more than your knees.

Leg Press For Glutes Muscles Worked

Leg Press For Glutes Body Mechanics

It’s important to realize that the function of the glute muscles is to extend or straighten your hips. To illustrate, think of your body as a hinge that folds at your hips. Then your glutes are the force that opens the hinge.

Therefore, you need to set up the leg press exercise to create more hinging at the hips. And there are a couple of ways to do this as I’ll explain below.

Leg Press For Glutes Foot Placement

Foot Placement on Leg Press for Glutes

Regardless of the leg press you use, foot placement significantly affects the muscles targeted. Specifically, where you put your feet on the platform, how wide a stance you use, and how you angle your feet.

Feet High Leg Press for Glutes

When targeting glutes on the leg press, you should generally place your feet higher on the platform. The higher you go, the more significant hip bend and glute activation you get.

On some leg presses, your feet might still be somewhat low on the platform. In the example below, I had to put my toes off the top edge!

So the exact placement depends on the leg press you use. Just remember that you should feel it more in your hips (glutes) than your knees (quads).

Leg Press For Glutes Video

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Feet Wide Leg Press for Glutes

In addition, use a stance of shoulder-width or a little wider to hit the lower part of your glutes and the upper part of your hamstrings. Also, keep your toes pointed straight ahead or slightly out.

Leg Press For Glutes Stance

Feet Close Leg Press for Glutes

On the other hand, you can also target your glutes on the leg press with a close stance. You hit more of the outer glutes and hips with your feet together.

For this variation, your toes should be straight ahead or slightly angled in.

Single-Leg Leg Press for Glutes

Another way to target the outer glutes and hips is by using a single leg. With this variation, it’s possible to turn your body to the side.

When doing the single-leg leg press for glutes, turn your body away from the working leg. This body position isolates the outer glute and hip on that side.

Some leg press machines are designed to work one leg at a time. However, it’s best to perform this variation on a cable or belt-driven leg press machine.

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Tips For Targeting Glutes on Leg Press

Along with foot position, you can adjust some other variables to activate more glutes on the leg press.

Back Rest Position for Glutes on Leg Press

Most leg press machines have an adjustable backrest. This adjustment allows you to make the angle shallow or steep.

You should adjust the seatback to an upright position to work glutes. This tilts your upper body forward relative to your legs and creates more of the hip-hinging action that recruits your glute muscles.

Range of Motion For Glutes On Leg Press

Another important factor is the range of motion you use. In other words, how low you go.

For maximum gluteus maximus activation, go as deep as you can on the leg press without lifting your hips off the seat. Usually, your thighs should touch your chest (or come very close).

Leg Press For Glutes Form

Weight To Use on Leg Press for Glutes

The glutes are the largest muscles on the human body. That means they can generate some serious power. As such, you should use heavy weight on the leg press to grow your backside.

But heavy weight is a relative term. More specifically, it means a weight you can do for low to medium reps.

Rep Range for Targeting Glutes on Leg Press

Hypertrophy training is a workout program designed to maximize muscle growth. And one of the critical variables for growth is the number of reps you perform during each exercise set.

You should target 8-12 reps on the leg press for maximum glute gains. In other words, choose a heavy enough weight where you fail within that rep range.

On the other hand, shoot for the 5-10 rep range if you’re going for strength and size. Click here to learn more about hypertrophy training vs strength training.

Hypertrophy vs Strength Training

Workout Frequency for Glute Focused Leg Press

Lastly is how often you train your glutes. Again, if the goal is maximum glute growth, then you should perform glute-focused exercises at least once but up to twice a week.

More often and you can easily overtrain, resulting in diminishing returns. But train less often, and you won’t see a noticeable response to training.

Of course, you don’t have to do leg press for glutes in every workout. You can also use exercises like squats and glute hip thrusts.

Leg Press for Quads

The leg press is an excellent exercise for building your glutes. But you can also use this versatile machine to target your quads.

With some minor changes in foot position, you can completely change the exercise mechanics. So click here to learn more about leg press foot placement.

With this information, you’re well on your way to building bigger booty muscles. And if you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of my other great content below!

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