Why Do People Go So Heavy On Leg Press?

ego leg press
August 16, 2022 0 Comments

Table of Contents


In this article I will be answering the question “why do people go so heavy on leg press?”. The leg press is a very popular lower body exercise and you will see a leg press machine in every commercial gym.

Anyone who has ever used the leg press knows that it is possible to use a very large amount of weights on it. I will explore this topic in detail in this article. 

Why Do People Go So Heavy On Leg Press?

The leg press is a movement that uses the very powerful muscles of the lower body. As such it is possible to load up the leg press with very heavy weights.

However, many people ego lift on the leg press and utilise weights that are far too heavy for them. The main reason they do this is to show off and try to impress others. Sacrificing form for the sake of moving heavier weight is never a good idea.

Leg Press Allows For Heavy Loads

Generally there are two different leg press machines that you will see in most gyms. The first is the 45 degree leg press and the second is a horizontal leg press machine.

With the 45 degree leg press you can use a lot more weight. The angle of the inclined seat means that you are only lifting 70% of the actual weight.

Therefore you can load this movement heavy. The horizontal leg press is harder and therefore you can’t handle as heavy weights. 

The leg press allows you to handle weights that are far greater than your best squat. This is because the legs are working solely to complete each rep. With the squat, you have to control the weight a lot more and other muscles can be the limiting factor in improving your squat strength.

>> Are One Leg Leg Presses Better Than Lunges?

heavy leg press

Ego Lifting 

Ego lifting is a big problem in the majority of gyms. It doesn’t just happen with the leg press but it is very obvious to see on this exercise.

Very often you will see someone with 6 or 7 plates on both sides of the leg press and you stop to watch their set. The majority of times you will be disappointed with what you see.

Shallow reps and some people even put their hands on their knees to generate extra force! I believe that the main reason people ego lift is to show off and impress others.

In reality, they are not impressing anyone. It is a lot more respectable to see someone leg pressing a light weight but going through a full range of motion. The same is true with exercises like the squat and bench press. 

Ego lifting also increases the risk of injuries as you don’t have proper control of the weights that you are using. There are no benefits to training in this way.
ego leg press

Relative Strength

Whist the squat and the leg press are completely different movements, there is a loose correlation between them. Let us take two people – person A and person B.

If person A has a max squat of 100kg and person B has a max squat of 200kg, it is safe to say that person B will be using a hell of a lot more weight on the leg press than person A. 

I have also found that as my leg press gets stronger my front squat also gets stronger. As much as some people look down on the leg press, the leg press has its place in building bigger and stronger legs. 

Importance Of Good Technique

As with anything, good technique is fundamental. When the weight gets heavy on the leg press you must ensure that you complete each rep with solid form.

Too many people slap on plate after plate on the leg press and then barely move the weight down 1/4 inch. I have even seen some videos online where people use the highest safeties on the leg press to bounce the weight off on each rep.

There is a good article on shape.com which goes into detail on the different leg press variations and common mistakes. You can view this article here


Final Thoughts

In this article, I have answered the question “why do people go so heavy on leg press?”. There are many reasons that I have expanded on.

Firstly, the leg press is designed to be an exercise that you can use lots of weight on. People with a good squat will also have the capacity to leg press large amounts of weight.

Unfortunately, there are many people who leg press weights that are far heavier than they are capable of handling. These people are the ego lifters and need to learn to check their ego in at the door.

The reason why those people go heavier than they can actually handle with good form is to impress others. The funny thing is that no one is impressed!

If you have any questions about this topic please leave them in the comments.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training! 

>> RELATED: How to get bigger and stronger legs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.