How Much Does A Leg Press Weigh?

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Still not ready to squat heavy…are you?

It’s okay; the leg press is still an incredibly effective piece of equipment and is, in all honesty, one of the best “machines” at any gym (maybe not the horizontal leg press variation…but…most of the others).

…but…how much does a leg press weigh?

Whether you have used it before or are gearing up for your first rodeo with one of these beasts, it is incredibly important to know the different weights of leg press machines because, as you might imagine, you should really want to know the leg press weight of your sets!

So, let’s cut to the chase and discuss what the leg press machine “is” (that’s actually a misnomer…there are lot of leg press machine variations) and how much it weighs.

…then…remember…you still have to actually use the machine if you want to get stronger…just a reminder before we get going!

What is a Leg Press Machine?

So…you want to know more about leg press machines…arguably the kings for working the leg muscles and leg exercises?

A random, albeit reasonable inquiry.

As you can probably guess, leg press machines are specially designed pieces of workout equipment designed to target the lower body. These machines help to strengthen and build the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves via an, at times somewhat extreme compound movement. 

Leg press machines come in a variety of forms, but they all have one thing in common: a platform or sled that you push away from your body using only your legs. The resistance in a leg press machine generally comes from one of two sources – a weight stack or the sled itself.

Weight stack machines are pretty straightforward. They use a stack of weight plates, and you adjust the weight by moving a pin or lever. The higher the stack, the heavier the (potential) resistance. This type of leg press machine is common in the “machine area” of gyms and offers a controlled, consistent resistance that’s suitable for most users.

On the other hand, sled machines have a slightly different mechanism. The sled’s weight itself provides the resistance, as you push it up a track or a ramp at an angled position. The weight of the sled can vary significantly based on the manufacturer, ranging anywhere from 65 lbs to 125 lbs, with some common models around 100-118 lbs. With sled machines, you can add extra weight plates for additional resistance. These are oftentimes found or near the “free weight” section of the gym.

Remember those angles? Leg press machines come in different angles, such as 45-degree leg presses and vertical leg presses. A 45-degree leg press places you in a reclined position, with the sled at a 45-degree angle (imagine that!) This is a common and more comfortable choice for users of all levels. In contrast, a vertical leg press places the user below the sled, requiring them to push it up vertically. While this position works your muscles differently, it can be a bit awkward and challenging, especially for beginners.

What Are Factors That Affect Leg Press Machine Weight?

As you can probably imagine, not all machines are created equally…or have equal weights. Let’s look at some of the factors that contribute to the different machine starting weights.

First up, machine design.

Different leg press machines are built with varying purposes in mind, which directly impacts their weight. For instance, some machines are designed to work your muscles through a particular range of motion, while others focus on providing maximum (potential) resistance. These design differences can cause the weight of the machine to vary.

Another factor involves weight plates. Of course, the weight plates do not contribute to the base/starting weight of the machine, but the total weight of the leg press machine (while performing working sets) is affected by the number of and weight of the plates you use.

Finally, there is weight capacity to consider. Leg press machines have a maximum load limit, which is the maximum amount of weight that the machine can safely handle. You may notice that on some machines, the weight capacity is higher, making them sturdier and usually heavier. 

Obviously, a weight stack-style leg press machine with a yuge stack is going to weigh more than one with plates going up to, like, 100 pounds.

..,Again, How Much Does a Leg Press Weigh? There isn’t too Much Weight on that Sled for you…right?

I admit, there has been just a little bit of beating around the bush. However, knowing the factors that contribute to different leg press machine weights helps to better contextualize why these machines weigh as much as they do.

…and without further ado…

The average compact leg press machine weighs around 200 lbs, while commercial leg press machines can have a starting weight of between 100 to 200 lbs (not count the weight stack or added plates…we’re just talking about the machines themselves). Home leg press machines may start at a lower weight range of 50 to 100 lbs. 

How to Use the Leg Press Machine

You really thought you could just, like, get some tree trunk legs just by reading about the specs of the angled leg press, seated leg press, or some other types of leg press sleds …

…didn’t you?

Unfortunately (fortunately?) you’re actually going to have to put in a bit of work and actually perform some leg press exercises.

Who could have guessed?! 

Hey, this is Jeff! Don’t be like Jeff!

So, let’s set up. Foot placement is crucial for ensuring proper muscle engagement and preventing injuries. Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the sled, with your toes pointing slightly outward. This position will help you engage your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves while performing the exercise.

Sit comfortably on the padded bench with your back firmly against the support. Maintain a neutral spine during each rep. Your body should form a right angle at your hips and knees, ensuring you’re engaging the targeted muscle groups and promoting good joint biomechanics.

Ready to press? Make sure to follow this technique:

  1. Extend your legs: Push through your heels, straightening your legs while keeping your feet flat on the sled. Avoid locking your knees at the top of the movement.
  2. Lower the sled: Slowly and with control, bend your knees to return the sled to the starting position for full range of motion.

When using the leg press machine, never completely lock your knees during the press or let your knees collapse inward. Locking your knees can lead to injury, and letting your knees collapse can cause too much strain on your hip and knee joints. Additionally, go easy on the weight, at least in the beginning. I know you’re impressed by the insane videos of the late, great, Pat Robertson pressing, like, 10x body weight … 

…but your best off increasing the weight gradually as you build strength and become familiar with the proper form.

Frequently Asked Questions

I get it.

The leg press is a the type of machine that attracts a lot of questions. Here are a few more that might be relevant to your needs and interests.

As a general guideline, you can use the following ranges of weight based on your goal:

  • For building muscle, use 70 to 85% of your one-rep max (the maximum amount of weight that you can lift for one repetition) for 8 to 12 repetitions and 3 to 4 sets.
  • For increasing strength, use 85 to 100% of your one-rep max for 1 to 6 repetitions and 3 to 5 sets.
  • For rehabilitating injury, use 50 to 70% of your one-rep max for 10 to 15 repetitions and 2 to 3 sets.
  • For burning calories, use 60 to 80% of your one-rep max for 15 to 20 repetitions and 4 to 5 sets.
  • For increasing endurance, use 40 to 60% of your one-rep max for 20 to 30 repetitions and 5 to 6 sets.

Ultimately, though, the weight for leg press exercises you choose to perform will be largely based on your goals, experience, and current strength level

To estimate your one-rep max on the leg press machine, you can use the following formula: one-rep max = weight x (1 + (reps / 30)), where weight is the amount of weight that you can lift for a given number of reps, and reps is the number of reps that you can lift that weight for. For example, if you can lift 200 pounds for 10 reps, then your one-rep max is (roughly!) 200 x (1 + (10 / 30)) = 266.67 pounds.

Keep in mind, this formula is used for providing a rough estimate of your leg press max. When I used a similar calculator to find my bench press max back in the day, it gave me a result that was...rather ambitious to say the least!

To vary the leg press machine to target different muscles, you can change the position of your feet on the foot platform, such as:

  • For targeting the quadriceps, place the feet lower and closer together on the platform, and point the toes forward.
  • For targeting the hamstrings and glutes, place the feet higher and wider apart on the platform, and point the toes outward (and check out our article devoted to this very process!)
  • For targeting the inner thighs, place the feet wider than shoulder-width apart on the platform, and point the toes outward.
  • For targeting the outer thighs, place the feet closer than shoulder-width apart on the platform, and point the toes inward.

Leg Day Will Never be the Same…

Regardless of where you’re at on your leg press journey, we hope that you have a bit more clarity in regards to calculating leg press machine weights.

Hey, this is Andrew! Don’t be like Andrew!

If you’ve been wondering how much weight you’ve really been pressing during your leg pressing endeavors, I hope that you have at least at little bit more clarification and feel confident about announcing your leg press PR to the world.

On the other hand, if you’re new to leg pressing and still find the whole process of finding out what the leg press sled weight is…well…that squat rack is always open (unless some dork is using it to curl in) and beckoning to you to throw on a plate or two.

…and if you’re sick of leg day and you’re just ready to blast your gunz for a bit, check out our article on the best arm machines in the gym.

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AUTHOR

Tom, CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, ISSA-CPT, PN1-NC, DPA, CAPM has been CrossFitting for over 10 years. He has participated in a number of team and individual CrossFit competitions across Europe and the United States. He was the 2012 Chick-fil-A Race Series champion (North Georgia Circuit) and has put together a few gnarly garage and basement gyms in his time!

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