Chloe Gray next to a lying leg press

How to set up a lying leg press for a killer lower body workout

Posted by for Workouts

Learn how to set up a lying leg press with this video tutorial from Strong Guides. 

If you want to build stronger quads, hamstrings and glutes, you can’t go far wrong with a leg press. The machines are designed to help you move heavy weights in order to increase muscle mass, engaging your leg muscles to push a loaded plate as you extend your knees away from your chest. 

Research shows that using a leg press can reduce stress on the lower back that you might get with free weights. You can also change the emphasis of the move by choosing different stances: opt for a sumo stance to engage your glutes, go single leg to work on unilateral strength or do pulses to work your calves. 

Most gyms have a seated leg press, which only requires moving the seat forwards and backwards to use. A lying leg press, otherwise known as a 45 degrees press, can be a little more complicated. Not only do you need to set it to the right height for you, but you need to load on your own plates and get fiddly with the safety handles. 

Given that there are already so many barriers to entry when it comes to getting into the gym, we don’t think that kit set-up shouldn’t be another. That’s why we’ve created Strong Guides, our step-by-step tutorials on how to use common fitness equipment. Today, we’re looking at how to set up a lying leg press so you work your lower body with confidence. 

Lying leg press
Lying leg press: step-by-step guide to setting up the lower body machine

How to set up a lying leg press

  1. Adjust the backrest by pulling out the pin at the back of the chair and lowering the headrest up or down. 
  2. Place your weights on both of the metal racks on either side of the machine, making sure the weights are evenly distributed. 
  3. Sit in the chair and lift your feet onto the footpad.
  4. Gently push the pad away to lift the bar off of the safety hooks. 
  5. Ensure your feet are in your desired position, your back is flat against the backrest and your abdominals are braced.
  6. Slowly bend your legs to bring your knees towards your chest.
  7. Squeeze your glutes as you press the pad back to the starting position, making sure not to lock your legs at the top. 
  8. Once you’ve completed your desired amount of reps, push the pad back to the top and pull the safety hook bar back up. 
  9. Slightly bend your knees to place the leg press machine back onto the hooks. 

For more How-To’s, visit our video library on the Strong Women Training Club 

Share this article

Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).