What Muscles Do Leg Presses Work?

You can’t spell legendary without leg day, and leg presses are a key part of that. Are you here to learn about the muscles involved in leg presses? Or you generally want to know why these are considered so important.

Leg presses work on multiple lower body muscles in your body. Although these may vary depending on the type of machine you are using, etc. Most commonly, it affects the thighs, the gluteal muscles, the hamstring muscles, the calves, and many other minor muscles.

Going through his brief fitness guide will teach you everything you need to know about leg presses. Remember to take a look at the benefits of this exercise at the end as well. It will help you understand why they always say, “Never skip a leg day.”.

What Is A Leg Press Workout?

Before we find out the details of the muscles involved in leg press workouts, you must first understand the exercise itself. The leg press is basically a resistance training exercise. It primarily targets your lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

It does not require any free weights or barbell-like squats. You perform it with the help of a machine. You have to push the weight away from the bodyfrom the body on this machine with the help of your legs.

Common Types Of Leg Presses

Usually, there is a simple and very common machine used for leg presses in most places. But there are also some other machines that help you perform this exercise with a little variation. There are some changes in your position that help you target certain areas of your body. Let’s take a look at some common ones among these.

  • Vertical Leg Press: The first and most common type is the vertical leg press. Here, you are lying down in a vertical position. It requires you to push the weight upwards against gravity. These machines are often compact and suitable for individuals with limited space.
  • Horizontal Leg Press: The next ones are horizontal leg presses. Here, you have a reclined seat and a platform positioned horizontally. You have to push the weight away from your body in a horizontal motion while performing this exercise.
  • 45-Degree Leg Press: The last type on our list is the 45-degree leg press, also known as the incline leg press. Here, the machine is set at a 45-degree angle. It offers both vertical and horizontal resistance. It challenges your lower-body muscles.

Muscles Involved In Leg Press Work

The leg press is renowned for its ability to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously. It primarily targets your lower-body muscles. Here’s a breakdown of the primary muscles involved in this exercise:


The most affected muscles during this exercise are the quadriceps muscles. These are located at the front of the thigh. These play a very important role in extending the knee joint and are essential for walking, running, and jumping.


The next muscle this exercise works on is the hamstring. These are situated at the back of the thigh. These are opposite the quadriceps during the leg press exercise.

Gluteus Maximus:

The next muscles affected by this exercise are the gluteus maximus. It is the largest muscle in the human body. The glutes are activated during the leg press in the pushing phase.


Another muscle this exercise affects is the adductor. It is located on the inner thigh. It stabilizes your legs during the leg press movement.


Although not directly, your calves are still working during this exercise. These are indirectly activated to stabilize the ankles and feet during this exercise.

Benefits Of A Leg Press Workout

Let’s close up this article with the benefits of a leg press workout. It is an amazing exercise for all fitness levels. Following are some of its key advantages:

  • Strengthens Lower Body Muscles: Leg press exercises target your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and other lower body muscles. It helps to improve strength, power, and endurance.
  • Builds Muscle Mass: The next benefit of this exercise is building mass. It does so by providing resistance to the lower body muscles. It is a very effective exercise for hypertrophy.
  • Improves Functional Movement: Another benefit of this exercise is that it improves your movement. Strong lower-body muscles are essential for everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, and lifting objects. Leg press workouts make all these functions easy for you and improve your quality of life.
  • Reduces Risk of Injury: The next amazing benefit of stronger legs is injury prevention. Strong knee and hip muscles can help prevent injuries such as strains, sprains, and ligament tears.
  • Versatility: The last special thing about this exercise is its versatility. Leg press machines come in various configurations. You can adjust the resistance and foot positioning to target specific muscle groups.

Final Words

Leg press exercises are considered a key part of lower-body workouts in gyms worldwide. It is a time-efficient and effective exercise to build strength, muscle mass, and functional movement capacity.

The best part about this exercise is that it is suitable for all individuals, whether you are a beginner or an old fitness maestro. So what are you waiting for to step on the machine and start your fitness journey today?