Leg and Knee Exercises: Leg Press

Side view of man using incline leg press.

The following exercise helps build strong, balanced leg muscles. Make sure to adjust exercise machines as instructed by your physical therapist. He or she will tell you how many times to do the exercise. Ask your physical therapist to show you how to do the exercise, if needed.

Note: To prevent injury, always warm up and stretch before your strengthening exercises. Stop any exercise that causes pain. Discuss it with your physical therapist or healthcare provider.

Here are the steps for the leg press:

  • Sit with your back and tailbone (sacrum) flat against the backrest of the machine, or as directed by your physical therapist.

  • Place your feet on the resistance plate with your toes pointing forward. Adjust your seat and feet to make sure your knees are at a 90-degree angle with your heels flat on the resistance plate.

  • Start with your leg bent so your knee is at a  90-degree angle. If needed, grab the handles to steady your arms.

  • Push with your leg until it is almost completely straight. Be sure not to lock your knee. Tighten your stomach muscles to stabilize your spine.

  • Slowly and steadily return your leg to its original position.

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