A great alternative to squads and a good exercise to get started with lower body training – especially for beginners. Usually leg presses can be only performed in gyms since you need a machine for this exercise. Resistance bands change that and make it possible to do leg pressing at home. That’s a game changer, and we will show you how to get the most out of this exercise.
To get started you will be needing yourself and a resistance band – but we recommend getting a set of resistance band from the get go. You will be able to progress faster and have the right resistance level for every muscle in your body. In case you’re looking for a set – get this one: Resistance Bands Set – 5 Bands
First you will learn what basic steps to follow to get a perfect resistance band leg press. Straight after we will cover important Dos and Don’ts as well as ways of how you can adjust the resistance of a given band. In the second half you will find different leg press variations, background information to lower body training as well as a workout plan.
How To Do Leg Presses With Resistance Bands?
There is one very important step to any exercise you are doing with added resistance – the warm-up. By warming up you will prepare your body for the coming workout and lower the chance of injury significantly. This means faster progress and smart training.
Make sure to wear shoes and preferably also gloves. This way you will protect your skin from stress and irritation.
The best way to perform a leg press with resistance bands is in a lying position. You could also call it a lying leg extension. This position will make sure that you are stable and that you only have to focus on moving your legs. In this exercise you will use your body to anchor the band.
Follow these 6 steps to nail the leg press:
- Lie down on the floor with a straight back
- Wrap the band around your feet to prevent it from slipping
- Bring the band over your head and place it on your upper back
- Brace your core and extend your legs at an angle slightly lower than 45-degrees
- Squeeze your quads actively and then return to the starting position
- Repeat for reps
I don’t have a doubt that you will get the form down really quickly. It is not really complicated. Simply try the movement and use a lighter band in the beginning before going heavy. In addition, make sure to implement the following form tips to get the perfect leg press.
Nail The Exercise Form!
⓵ No Slack! – when you’re in the starting position of your leg press (bent legs), there shouldn’t be any slack in the band. The band should be already stretched before you start extending your legs. This will make sure that you have resistance throughout the movement. The best way to prevent slack in the starting position is shortening the band by wrapping it around your feet.
⓶ Press Forward Not Up – Don’t make the mistake and extend your legs towards the ceiling and not forward. This will give you way less resistance in the end position of the leg press and will also bring you in a less stable position
⓷ Brace Your Core – Actively brace your core. This means brace your abs and lower back muscles for more stability. In addition, this will give you the ability to move more resistance and therefore give you better results.
⓸ Place The Band On Your Upper Back – Make sure to place the band on your upper back and not around your neck. Your legs are strong muscles, and they can move quite a lot of load. You don’t want to have that stress on your neck. The upper back can easily handle the stress.
⓹ More Mistakes To Avoid – there are also some general mistakes to avoid when it comes to using resistance bands. This way you will be safe and become fitter faster. Check out our collection of The Worst Mistakes You Can Do When Training With Resistance Bands.
How To Adjust The Resistance
Resistance bands don’t have one single resistance. Each band has a range. Due to that fact it is really important to understand how you can adjust the resistance of a given band. This way you can progress much smoother and not grab the heavier band too quickly.
Doing that (jumping to the next heavier band too soon) can lead to bad exercise form and can even result in injury. Which is simply unnecessary and easily avoided. The following way of adjusting the resistance will help you to always have the right resistance.
Adjust the length of the band – The shorter you make the band the more resistance you will have throughout the movement. This is the case due to linear variable resistance characteristic of bands. For leg presses the best way to do that is wrapping the band around your feet (make sure to wear shoes).
Combine Bands – Your legs can move quite some resistance since you have the larges muscles in your lower body. You might reach a point where you will have to stack several bands together to reach the needed resistance for really stimulating your legs.
Slow it down – Increasing the resistance is not the only way to make an exercise harder. You can also increase the total time under tension by keeping the resistance the same but slowing down your reps.
Combine Methods – Keep in mind that you can combine all the methods above. Shorten the band and slowing down the reps or using two bands and wrapping them around the feet in addition.
Alternatives Ways To Do Leg Pressing With Resistance Bands
Unilateral Lying Leg Press – This is a great variation to focus on one leg at a time. A huge advantage is that you place the not working leg on the floor. This will give you additional stability. The general set-up stays the same as described above.
Unilateral Sitting Leg Press – The sitting version gives you one huge advantage compared to the other variations. This advantage is that you can adjust the resistance mid-set.
You will grab the band with both hands and place the band around one of your feet. Now you will be extending this leg fully and returning to the starting position for reps.
To adjust the resistance simply grab the band further towards your foot – this will give you more resistance. By letting it slip a little you will lower the resistance.
Can You Train Your Quads Effectively With Resistance Bands?
The answer is 100% YES. Some people still think that resistance bands are only suited for warming up, mobility work and for injury recovery. This is (and was never) true. By using resistance bands correctly you will have a tool which can generate more than enough resistance to stimulate your muscles and enable you to reach your fitness goals. In addition, bands even have several benefit to other way of resistance training.
Why Does Training With Resistance Bands Work
Everybody has that question in their head when first trying resistance bands. Bands are very light – so it is not like using weights where resistance is generated by gravity. Bands generate resistance within themselves due to their elastic characteristic. The good news are that your and my muscles simply can’t tell the difference. All muscles respond to is resistance. If this resistance is high enough and is present over an extended period of time the muscles respond to it and become stronger.
To get further detailed information on this topic – read our full article: Why Does Training With Resistance Bands Work
Benefits Of Training With Resistance Bands
Doing the leg press with resistance bands even has several advantages over using machines or going to the gym. Some are:
- No Cheating! You won’t be able to use momentum with resistance bands. This will automatically make your form better and reduce the chance of injury.
- Simple! Using resistance bands is much easier and simpler than free weights and machines.
- Joint Health! Using resistance bands for resistance training is much better for your joints and tendons.
- Anywhere – Anytime! Bands fit in any small backpack or bag. You will be able to work in any situation – business trip, in the office or on holiday. Of course, you will also have a full gym at home without needing a garage or dedicated room with expensive equipment.
Check out all the benefits of resistance band in this article: Benefits Of Resistance Band Training
What Muscles Are Used In A Resistance Band Leg Press?
In leg presses you are extending your legs and bringing your hips forward. The Quadriceps (short: Quad) is responsible for extending your leg. The Glutes move your hip forward. These two muscles will be doing the majority of the work in this exercise.
In addition, your hamstring will be involved as well. They will provide stability by being active throughout the movement.
Main Working Muscles:
Leg Presses are a great exercise, however only doing leg pressing is not gonna give you progress or better fitness. For a healthy body you need to train it. And this means every muscle and various movement patterns. Having a structured workout program is the best way to do that.
But writing a workout program yourself is a hassle, and you will need to collect quite some knowledge about this topic. That’s why we did all that for you, and we even created an app which lets you access all the material from your mobile. This way you will have all your workouts and exercises in your pocket at all times.
Find out more here: BIQ Training App