How To Leg Press For Glutes

Written By: Jeremy Fox, CPTUpdated: December 13, 2023

In this 1-minute video, I demonstrate how to target your glutes on the leg press. For more detailed tips, check out the article below.

The leg press is a popular workout machine that is present in almost every gym. It is an effective tool for building strong, athletic, and well-defined legs. However, not many people know that you can also use the leg press to grow your glutes.

In this article, you will learn how to use the leg press for glutes. With a few simple adjustments, you can make your butt do most of the work, which in turn will lead to the desirable booty gains.

Can You Build Glutes On The Leg Press?

The leg press machine is a great way to work out your lower body, just like barbell squats. But, the leg press has certain differences that allow you to focus on training your glutes more effectively. 

The leg press puts more emphasis on your hips, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as a hip sled. Moreover, the glute muscles are responsible for extending or straightening your hips, so the leg press helps you work on those muscles. 

To make the most of the leg press for targeting the glutes, you need to position yourself correctly on the machine. This will help create more hinging at the hips and increase the activation of your glutes. We’ll discuss some ways to do this next.

Leg Press For Glutes and Hamstrings

7 Tips For Glute-Focused Leg Press

The position of your feet on the leg press machine determines which muscles are targeted during the exercise. The width of your stance, the angle of your feet, and where you place your feet on the platform all play a significant role in this.

Additionally, the angle of the backrest, range of motion, and weight lifted are variables to activate more of your glutes while performing the leg press. Here are the best tips for hitting your glutes on the leg press.

  1. Place your feet high on the platform
  2. Use a wider stance
  3. Raise the backrest
  4. Go deep with a full range of motion
  5. Lift heavy weight
  6. Aim for the hypertrophy rep range
  7. Try single leg or other variations

Next, I’ll explain each of these seven factors in more detail so you can blast your glutes on the leg press.

1. Place Your Feet High On The Platform

When targeting your glutes on the leg press, it is generally recommended to place your feet higher on the platform. The higher you place your feet, the greater the hip bend and glute activation you will achieve.

On some leg presses, your feet may still be somewhat low on the platform. However, on other leg presses, you may need to place your toes off the top edge, as shown in the example below.

The exact placement of your feet will depend on the type of leg press you are using. Just remember that you should feel the exercise more in your hips (glutes) than in your knees (quads).

Leg Press For Glutes Stance

2. Use a Wider Stance With Toes Slightly Out

In addition, space your feet shoulder-width or a little wider to activate your glutes more. This stance results in more external hip rotation, which triggers your glutes more than a narrow stance.

Related: Wide vs Narrow Stance Squat Muscle Activation

Also, it’s typically better to have your toes pointed slightly out, which helps you flare your knees while externally rotating your hips. Remember, everyone’s body proportions are different, so play around with the stance that helps you feel your glutes the most.

3. Raise The Back Rest

Many leg press machines come with a backrest that can be adjusted. This feature allows you to change the angle of the machine to your liking, making it shallower or steeper.

It’s recommended to adjust the backrest to the most upright position to focus on your glutes. This angle tilts your upper body forward in relation to your legs, creating a hip-hinging movement that engages your glute muscles more effectively.

4. Go Deep for Full Range of Motion

It’s essential to consider the range of motion when doing leg press exercises. To fully activate your gluteus maximus muscles, try to go as low as possible without lifting your hips off the seat. Ideally, your thighs should touch your chest or come very close to it, as illustrated below.

Leg Press For Glutes Form

5. Lift Heavy Weight

Did you know that the glutes are the largest muscles in the human body? This means that they have the potential to generate a lot of power. If you want to grow your backside, using heavy weights on the leg press is important.

However, it’s important to remember that “heavy” is a relative term. Specifically, it means using a weight you can manage for low to medium reps.

6. Aim for Hypertrophy Rep Range

Hypertrophy training is a workout program that aims to promote muscle growth. One key factor influencing muscle growth is the number of reps performed during each exercise set.

To maximize glute gains, targeting 8-12 reps on the leg press is recommended. This means selecting a weight that is heavy enough to fail within that rep range. Alternatively, if you’re aiming for strength and size, you should aim for the 5-10 rep range.

Hypertrophy vs Strength Training

7. Try a Single Leg

To target the outer glutes and hips, you can try using a single leg. For this variation, you can turn your body to the side. When performing the single-leg leg press for glutes, make sure to turn your body away from the working leg.

This position will isolate the outer glute and hip on the same side. Some leg press machines are designed to work with 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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Targeting Glutes on Other Leg Presses

In the examples, I’ve shown you how to work your glutes on a standard 45-degree angled leg press. But it’s important to realize that different leg press machines may require technique modification to work your glutes.

Seated Leg Press Machine

On a seated leg press, either the foot platform or the seat can move, and the movement is usually more horizontal. Also, the resistance is typically applied by cables or belts.

Most seated leg press machines have a somewhat upright backrest, which can be beneficial for targeting your glutes. As with other leg presses, you should also put your feet higher on the platform and use a wider stance to work your glutes more.

Seated Leg Press for Glutes

Pivot Leg Press

The pivot leg press, also known as the squat press, has lever arms that move around a pivot point, resulting in a more natural movement path than the traditional leg press machine. In my experience, the arching motion seems to activate the glutes well.

However, the pivot action of the machine creates variable resistance, which means that the load at the bottom is reduced while it increases at the top. As a result, the pivot press often feels lighter than the angled leg press.

When using the pivot leg press for glutes, you should still place your feet high on the platform and use a wide stance. Then, lower the weight as far as you can without your lower back rounding.

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More Leg Workout Guides

The leg press is an excellent exercise for building your glutes and hamstrings. Plus, you can also change your foot position and form to target your quads.

Here are some more articles on the leg press and other leg exercises that I know you’ll find informative.

How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh Without Plates (Sled Only)?

14 Hip Thrust Alternatives for Your Glute Workouts

Leg Press vs Squat Mechanics, Muscle Activation, Calories Burned & More

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

Leg Press Calf Raise Foot Placement & Proper Form

7 Best Smith Machine Squat Variations For Glutes & Quads

Leg Press Variations For Quads

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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By |December 13, 2023|Workouts|0 Comments
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