For years, the Horizontal Press has replaced the classic vertical press with a horizontal structure, capable of providing valid support for the development of the leg muscles, in a comfortable as well as effective way.
A tool that some think is less functional than the 45-degree press but which, however, represents valid fitness equipment used in thousands of gyms.
Horizontal Press Workout: Does It Really Work?
To work on certain muscles involved in training with the horizontal press, it will be necessary to use it within a structured exercise program for the lower limbs.
It is essential to already have a technical base that enables you to perform squat and complementary exercises, to be carried out progressively.
The strengthening of the leg muscles requires constant work, which can create different stimuli for the various muscles involved, varying the position of the limbs with different exercises on the horizontal press.
This machine will be able to guarantee firm legs, stimulating the muscles with exercises that tone the quadriceps, training for the buttocks, adductor muscles, and hamstrings.
The muscles involved in the exercise of the leg press or horizontal press are also those of the long head of the hamstring, those that govern the extension of the hip and its adduction, the extension of the knee. Furthermore, the leg press allows you to reach a group of muscles that are often not adequately developed, such as the peroneal, gastrocnemius, plantar, tibial, flexor (with the action of plantar flexion).
All these muscles stabilize the spine, hip, knee, ankle, and foot, in a training activity that is also beneficial for the shoulder and scapula.
It is important, however, to know that to obtain results, you must pay attention to the correct posture, so as not to suffer any repercussions on the joints:
- bend your knees slightly during each phase of exhalation
- bend your knees when descending from the machine
- do not fully extend the limbs when pushing.
How To Use The Horizontal Leg Press?
It is a tool in front of which, intuitively, you position yourself on the bench, with your feet resting on the platform, to start the basic exercise: the legs must be bent to the point of strength allowed by your muscles so that the quadriceps reach the torso.
From this position, you must return to the initial position by stretching the legs.
Regarding breathing, it is necessary to inhale during the bend and exhale during the effort of pushing the weight.
For each horizontal press workout, it is important to remember that the exercises vary according to the position of the feet, which will stimulate different muscles.
If in the basic workout you work the quadriceps (feet parallel to the center), in the case of a leg press workout where the feet are positioned high, you will develop the glutes and hamstrings.
To isolate the thigh muscles, it will be necessary to position the legs equidistant from the shoulders.
The distance of the feet between them is also a differentiator since moving them closer will stress the lateral internal quadriceps and abductors while moving them away and spreading them will work the medial internal quadriceps and adductors.
In addition, we work on the external quadriceps (vastus lateral) keeping the toes inwards while keeping them outwards we perform focused work on the vast internal quadriceps muscle.
The intensity of the effort and the duration are, as with any fitness exercise, fundamental values for defining the training work on the legs. To improve muscular endurance, weights can be placed on the horizontal press, chosen from those present on the side of the machine itself.
The consistency of the weight to be used is, of course, individual and must be designed in agreement with the personal trainer.
The Right Posture In Exercises With The Horizontal Press
The horizontal press always requires you to keep your back in a position of safety and strength, with the back in contact with the backrest, firmly in place. As well as for the buttocks, also these are in the correct posture of adherence to the back of the leg press.
The knees should not be pushed beyond the tip of the toes or squeezed, so as not to create muscle strains: remember to always keep your knees aligned with your feet.
It is often thought that the horizontal press is a safer method than the free squat, in which it is necessary to coordinate the hip-knee-ankle sequence in order not to get the wrong posture. If it is difficult to follow the squat exercise correctly, the leg press can benefit you and avoid back and knee problems caused by the squat.
The tendons and muscles that protect the joints must be stressed correctly: when we bend the legs, the quadriceps contract with forwarding thrusts, the so-called shear forces that the body cannot resist. For this reason, the brake, represented by the anterior cruciate ligament, intervenes to oppose the slipping of the tibia and the forward musculature.
By preventing sliding, muscles such as the hamstring and the other hamstrings must also be adequately developed.
The horizontal press has limits in soliciting these muscles and, therefore, training on the leg press that is able to develop them beyond the classic exercises must be envisaged.
Muscle synergy must be studied to involve the muscles that are usually activated with the back work typical of the squat, a practice that also manages to exercise the spine without relaxing the active tie rods of this structure.
To work best at the joint level, it is necessary for the personal trainer to create a safe path in the exercises of the horizontal press.
Exercises with the Horizontal Press
The machine allows a multi-joint training, which can include the most intense squat with the leg press, as already seen, or stretches to improve muscle elasticity.
A basic exercise can give you a first familiarity with the horizontal press, and then move on to a targeted and, in fact, articulated program.
- Squatting with your knees bent and your feet on the platform, keep your back firmly fixed on the backrest, along with your buttocks. The feet should be placed at the same distance from the shoulders, with a distance between 10 and 45 degrees, depending on the shoulders and your confirmation. If you want to develop the quadriceps stretch, bring your feet closer to the bottom edge of the leg press plate.
- Remove the safety catches and flex your legs, knees, and ankles at the same time, keeping your torso and head firmly in place.
- Extend your knees and hips as well as do plantar flexion – be careful not to take your heels off the footplate.
- Do not fully extend your knees and stop, then start the exercise again.
Horizontal Press And 45 Degree Press
The horizontal variant is easier to use since the head is not tilted down and the effort to be made in each training is less.
The horizontal work more with the quadriceps, while with the bench at 45 ° you can work better on the glutes and hamstrings. You just have to choose what level of training you have reached… to dare with a more inclined press!