19 May, 2008

Ask the coach: Exercise of the week: Duck leg press

pictureAn often overlooked piece of equipment at the gym is the leg press. While the squat is much more effective for increasing leg strength, a leg press can help the body release large amounts of growth hormone to allow you build more muscle.

Muscle, in turn, will burn off more calories and therefore fat. It is important to use a model that does not put pressure on your back. We will target the often overlooked muscles on the inside of the thighs by turning our thighs outwards.

Note: If you have high blood pressure I would not recommend this exercise as most leg presses are on an incline which involve lifting your legs above your heart. Here are some tips:

1. Place your feet hip distance apart, knees above your ankles. Turn your toes outward.

2. Slowly bend your knees and lower the weight until you squash your calves. If your back rounds as you lower you have exceeded the level to which your flexibility allows.

3. Work within a range where you can keep your body in position to reduce pressure.

4. Extend legs back out but do not snap and extend your knees. Keep them soft.

5. Changing your foot positions wider or narrower enables you to use different muscles.

6. You may get a burning feeling in your legs but the quadriceps on the front of your thighs can handle large repetitions.

Sets: two-four, start with two sets, building up to four.

Repetitions: 15-20, depending on your training goal.

Tempo: 3011, lower down in three, extend knees to soft bend, pause at top and repeat.

Rest: 90 seconds, if used on its own alternate with abdominal curls and a shorter rest.