Many gym-goers tend to gravitate towards the leg press machine when leg day comes around. The leg press is also a pretty popular choice for those suffering from a little bit of lower back pain-- which is kind of strange when you really think about it. Why? Because even if you had impeccable form, the constant tension and shortening of the hip flexors combined with the lack of hip extension is a surefire recipe for lower back issues.
Leg presses involve pushing your feet against a certain amount of resistance weight on a leg press machine -- the heavier the weight, the more challenging the movement. It primarily targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. These three powerful muscle groups can be effectively targeted through other exercises -- all from the comfort of your very own home.
Yup, you read that right—no need to hurt your back on a leg press machine or spend money on personal training sessions. With the right equipment, a little guidance, and a positive attitude, you can build unbelievable leg strength without the use of a gym.
Ready to learn how? Keep reading.
Why Leg Strength Is Important
Before we dive into some of the best at-home ways to replace a leg press machine, you might be wondering why building strength in your legs is so important in the first place. Well, believe it or not, having strong legs is beneficial in more ways than one. Here are some of the top reasons to strength train your legs:
It Can Help You Burn Off More Calories
Some of the biggest muscles in the body are in your legs -- including your quadriceps (front of your thigh), your hamstrings (back of your thigh), and your gluteus maximus (butt). The larger the muscle, the more blood is needed to get oxygen and fuel to the muscle during exercise. These powerful muscles are also located further from your heart than the muscles in your upper body, so your ticker must work harder to get blood sent to them. Both result in your body burning more calories when you’re strength training your legs.
It Can Improve Performance and Overall Quality of Life
Strength training your legs will help with many different activities that you do from day to day throughout your life, such as picking up something off the ground, walking up the stairs, as well as sitting down, and standing up. It can also improve your overall balance.
And for our athletic friends who participate in sports, strengthening your legs will help with many skills such as running, jumping, and other powerful movements that are of vital importance to your performance.
It Can Correct Muscle Imbalances and Aid in Injury Recovery
Adding effective leg exercises to your workout routine allows you to focus on muscle groups that get underworked and neglected during your daily life, sports, and other exercises. Strengthening these muscles can help you to combat imbalances. If you already have an imbalance or an injury that you know of, adding specific leg exercises can do wonders to help counteract that imbalance or injury, ultimately helping to strengthen and stabilize the body part affected.
Leg Press Alternatives You Can Do At Home
We could go on all day about the incredible benefits of strengthening your legs, but we’ll save that for another day. Right now, let’s dive into some of the best ways to replace a leg press machine at home.
For the exercises below, we use GEAR 1 from HYGEAR—a smart system designed for your home. It comes with two high-performance bands with adjusters and smart sensors, two ergonomic handles, ankle and wrist straps, a door anchor, and a carrying bag—everything you need to perform tons of leg exercises from the comfort of your home.
With this innovative resistance training system, you’ll never need to step foot in a gym or pay for pricey personal training sessions again. What’s not to love?
GEAR 1 Donkey Kicks
Donkey kicks are a beloved exercise to firm and build your booty. Since GEAR 1 bands provide more resistance as you stretch them further, you’ll get more resistance at the optimal point of your reps. Better buns ahead!
How to do it:
Start by slapping on the ankle straps and connect to a low anchor point. Face the anchor and get on all fours with both knees under your hips and both hands under your shoulders. Kick your right leg up, making sure to keep your foot flexed and knees bent. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds.
Return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching legs.
Reverse Lunge With Bands
Work your thighs and bum to the extreme by doing a banded reverse lunge. This slight variation to the classic lunge forces you to push harder from your heel to move away from the anchor point to bring yourself back to the starting position. Sore glutes are guaranteed!
How to do it:
Begin by attaching your GEAR 1 to the door anchor and fasten securely to the bottom of a sturdy door. Grip a handle in each hand and stand up tall roughly three to four feet away from the door, facing the door. Now, position your arms so that your hands are at chin height and elbows are back. Start with your head straight, back tall, chest up, and feet hip-width apart.
Next, lunge back with your right foot, hovering your knee just a few inches off the floor, making sure to really push from your left heel to move away from the anchor. Engage your core, tighten your leg muscles, and return to the starting position.
Repeat for 10 to 15 reps before switching legs.
Lying Hamstring Curls
Feel the burn in your hamstrings with lying hamstring curls. This exercise might not look super challenging, but don’t let it fool you -- after just a few reps, you’re sure to feel it in your legs.
How to do it:
Begin by strapping on the ankle straps and securing the band to a low anchor. Facing away from the anchor point, lie flat on your stomach. Curl your leg backward, bringing your foot as close to your butt as possible. You should feel a strong contraction in your hamstring. If needed, you can adjust the difficulty by lying either further forwards or backwards.
Repeat for 10 to 15 reps and then swap legs.
A Final Word
No need to head to the gym just so you can wait in line for the leg press machine. With GEAR 1, you can perform tons of effective exercises to build strong legs, burn fat, and gain muscle, all from the comfort of your own home.
Ready to take your workout up a notch? Check out HYGEAR today, and start building the legs of your dreams tomorrow!