Looking to build leg muscle and improve your lower body strength? If so, then you may be wondering what the best way to achieve your goals is. Should you be doing squats every chance you get for a rockin’ lower body or are you better off hitting the leg press machine at the gym instead? Ultimately, it depends on your current health and fitness levels, along with a few other factors. Still, by understanding the potential advantages and drawbacks of each exercise, you can make the decision that’s right for you.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LEG PRESS MACHINE AND SQUATS
LEG PRESS MACHINE
PROS: In terms of advantages, a leg press machine is a great way to target specific muscle groups in your legs, such as the quads, hamstring, and calf muscles. At the same time, these machines allow you to adjust your resistance so you can gradually increase your strength and see your progress over time. And because a leg press is a targeted exercise, there’s less strain on other areas of the body when compared to squats.
CONS: On the other hand, leg presses aren’t as versatile or convenient; most people don’t have access to leg press machines aside from at their gyms, and the equipment itself can be quite bulky.
PROS: Many people swear by squats, and for good reason. Not only are they effective in training the muscles in your thighs and hamstrings, but they’re also a great way to achieve a firmer tush. Not to mention, you can bust out a set of squats just about anywhere, with no special equipment needed. This provides a convenience factor that leg presses simply cannot. Squats are also super versatile; you can always add resistance as desired by incorporating dumbbells or a resistance band into your squat workout.
CONS: On the other hand, squats can be difficult to perfect. Without the proper form, while performing a squat you could end up missing out on the benefits or even injuring yourself. And because squats put some strain on your spine, they’re not ideal for those with back problems.
AT A GLANCE, WHICH IS BEST FOR YOU?
Whether squats or leg presses are right for you will vary based on your goals and lifestyle. Here is a quick glance at the Pros and Cons of both squats and leg presses again:
- Squats Pros: Convenient. No equipment required. Great for your glutes.
- Squat Cons: Spinal compression. More difficult to perfect. Your form is EVERYTHING.
- Leg Press Pros: Target specific muscles. Less strain on your back. Gradually adjust your weights.
- Leg Press Cons: A leg press machine is hard to come by.
Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between the squat and the leg press, you can ultimately determine which exercise is best for you!