First ever Classic Physique Olympia champion, Danny Hester shares the ultimate guide for the perfect leg press.
Sometimes bodybuilders and aspiring bodybuilders get so caught up in finding the ultimate leg press workout tactics that they miss out on the basics. The reality is that what we consider to be basic, such as how to perform specific exercises, can be improved in ways that have huge results. Exercise variations and perfecting tips and tricks can in the long term lead to more focused muscle development. That’s why Danny Hester is here to provide an in-depth breakdown during his leg day workout. In our latest GI Exclusive, Danny Hester explains how to do the perfect leg press and the most effective variations to improve leg development.
When lifters or aspiring bodybuilders ask questions regarding techniques for the ultimate bodybuilding workout, they usually ask what exercises to do, what splits to do, and how many reps vs how much weight. But it would be foolish to look past the actual act of performing each exercise movement. If a bodybuilder or lifter glosses over the actual details of each rep – they are losing out on huge longterm improvements that can make or break a pro physique.
That’s why we visited Danny Hester during one of his leg day workouts to breakdown the key elements of his routine. He doesn’t break down the reps or sets of his workout. Instead he breaks down the minute details on how to perfect each movement and the variations that can take you to the next level.
How To Perfect The Leg Press
Danny Hester recommends starting out with low weight and increasing your weight capacity with each rep for his leg press sets. He usually does a minimum of at least six sets – mostly because he will only count the reps that “feel” right. What he means by this is that he will only focus on sets that truly work the muscles. If they are too easy it should not be counted. That being said – warming up with light weight helps with getting the form perfected for later sets. By his final set he’s doing 100% his max capacity of weight lifted.
Danny Hester explains that what is most important is to focus on hitting all of the angles (that’s where the variations will come in later).
To start, Danny Hester does a wide stance (aka sumo stance) which brings the most circulation through the legs. This also hits the majority of the muscle groups we are focusing on with the leg press. He places his feet medium to high on the plate.
When performing the movement, Danny Hester explains to push off your heels and to keep your knees aligned with your foot position. Don’t let your knees turn out wide as this can cause injury in the long term.
When lowering the plate, you want to go down to a 90 degree position, then push out. You can go lower than 90 degrees but this is not recommended for beginners. If you go too low, this will place strain on your lower back. When performing the leg press movement, always make sure to have your stomach pulled in and squeeze on ever rep. This ensures that you are activating the muscles most effectively.
While performing the leg press, Danny Hester likes to make sure he focuses on the outer sweep of his upper legs. He admits that you can even get away with smaller calves if your quads and outer sweep look impressive enough. This brings out the X-frame and creates the illusion of a smaller waist.
Leg Press Variations
- Wider leg press stance: Knees wide with toes out. Push off toes. This puts more focus on the glute/hamstring tie-in. Start light weight and increase with each set until maxed at 100% your personal capacity.
- Single leg press stance: Use this to pick up your lagging muscles. For nearly all lifters, there will be a dominant leg or muscle when lifting traditionally. Doing single leg variations will help focus and perfect lagging areas. Turn your foot and body inward and push off your heel. This will also put more focuses on your quad outer sweep.
You can watch Danny Hester explain as he performs the leg press exercise in our GI Exclusive exercise guide video above. Watch it once and then try to follow along. By perfecting these movements and variations, you can maximize the effectiveness of each and every rep.