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Leg Press & Squat Machines

In order to build thick, strong legs, you’ll want to add a leg press machine or a squat machine to your gym’s arsenal. These bad boys can withstand a ton of weight and allows you to safely pack on the pounds for your lower body exercises. Whether it’s your quads, glutes, hamstrings, or calves, these pieces of equipment can help you build them during strength training.
Leg press machines come in three typical varieties:
  • Plate-Loaded Leg Press Machine Normally found in commercial gyms, a press machine loaded by plates -- known also as a leverage leg press machine -- has you sit in the seat that’s close to the ground and lift multiple 45-pound plates with your leg squats. These machines can also be used for weighted calf raises.
  • Selectorized Weight Stack Leg Press Machine This machine is more horizontal than diagonal, including a chair that’s at regular height and a weight stack for you to adjust the load. You don’t need any plates for this machine, and it’s relatively safer than it’s plate-centric cousin.
  • Vertical Leg Press: Though it might look a little odd, these machines can mimic a full-blown weighted squat while keeping your back and neck completely safe. Instead of crushing your spine with a loaded barbell, you can stack plates on the top of this setup, get underneath the machine, and squat straight up into the air. Make sure you’re limber; that way, you can do this exercise safely, without worrying about getting stuck at the bottom of a rep.
However, you can also get a squat machine to better emulate a traditional squat. There are a couple kinds of squat machines you can get:
  • Squat Press Machine or Front Squat Machine: Equipped with an angled platform and padded shoulder rests and backrests, a squat press machine offers supreme comfort. At the same time, you can lift heavy, packing on the plates, while getting an optimal angle of movement with your squat. With this machine, you lean back into the machine, taking the pressure off your spine, and let your legs do all the work.
  • Leverage Squat and Calf Machine: This machine has you standing straight up, with padded shoulder rests and either a weight stack or a place for plates. And while all of these machines can double as a calf raise machine, nothing beats this machine for giving you the best calf workout of your life. By providing a thin platform to put your toes on, the leverage squat and calf machine allows your heels to go past parallel at the bottom, giving you a nice stretch of the calves.
  • Sissy Squat Benches:These interesting little pieces of equipment allow you to perform sissy squats safely. The sissy squat is a typically unweighted movement, where you lean backwards as you squat down to the ground. With a sissy squat bench, you can do this while protecting your knees and removes the need to balance. You’d have to focus a lot of your effort in balancing if you simply do sissy squats without a bench. With a bench, all you have to do is squat.

All of these dual-threat workout machines (leg press/squat and calf raises) are terrific additions to your exercise equipment arsenal. If you want thick, sturdy, muscular legs from waist to toe, get one of these machines and get repping.