How To Do Single Leg Press (Unilateral Leg Press)

Single Leg Press Exercise

Single Leg Press targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus and calf muscles.

As its name suggests, Single Leg Press is a unilateral movement in that you are working one leg at a time.

This increases your focus and connection between your mind and the muscles being worked out.

Single Leg Press is a good exercise to use if you are recovering from injury and want to utilise specific movements for rehab purposes.

This is also valuable for sports that use many lunging movements such as badminton, tennis, boxing and fencing.

Single Leg Press How To

  • Position yourself in a 45 degree Leg Press machine. Make sure there are equal plates on both arms of the machine.
  • Place both feet high on the leg press platform so that the push will come through the heel and not from the toes.
  • Brace your lower back against the pad of the leg press seat. Make sure your lower back does not round or come up at any time during the movement especially on the descent.
  • Take a deep breath then exhale to press up the weight by pushing through your heels. Disengage the catches on both sides.
  • Take away one foot from the platform then move the other closer to the center for better balance. Make sure your lower back remains firmly pressed against the seat of the leg press.
  • Inhale then bring the weight down slowly and under control. You have reached the bottom position when your upper thigh is in contact with your ribcage. It is important that your knee does not go past your foot. If it does, adjust your foot position higher up on the platform.
  • Exhale then press up by driving through your heels. Do not lock out at the top position. Always keep a slight bend to reduce shearing forces on the knee.
  • Repeat the movement until you have completed the targeted number of reps.

Form and Technique

You can shift the focus of the Single Leg Press simply by adjusting your foot position.

Higher up the platform will work the hamstrings and gluteus muscles more than the quadriceps.

Lower down the platform will develop the quadriceps more.

Depth and constant repetition are keys to getting the most benefit from Single Leg Press.

It is not advisable to lift very heavy weight because of the position of your hips and you have to place greater emphasis on balance.

Use a higher rep range when doing this exercise.

Variations: Bulgarian Split Squat, Barbell Step Ups, Kettlebell Lunges

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Single Leg Press