You’ve taken a big step and installed a cardio machine in your home—a treadmill, say, or an elliptical trainer. So, what comes next? You may think your next home fitness piece should be one that works your upper body—maybe a multi-gym or a weight bench. Well, think again.
It seems counter-intuitive, but after your cardio machine, a leg press is the most important machine in your home fitness studio. That’s right, a leg press.
But wait, you say. Aren’t my leg muscles getting a workout every time I use the treadmill? Certainly, but here’s why a leg press is important in its own right: As the largest muscle group in your body (bearing the most weight and doing the most work) your glutes, hams, quads and hips are collectively the physiological equivalent of your house’s foundation. Building and strengthening your foundation with a leg press helps the rest of your house work better.
Plus, research shows that back and knee injuries could be prevented or alleviated by focusing specifically on exercises that strengthen lower body muscles.
But here’s why a leg press in particular is such a vital machine. First, a leg press enables you to work every muscle in your lower body—quads, hams, glutes, calves, hip flexors—in isolation or together, depending on your goals. A leg press also ensures that you’re achieving lower body compound motions, by working different leg muscle groups at the same time.
Your treadmill or elliptical—while key for overall strength and cardio health—only work a few of your leg muscles at a time; and even then, it’s only doing so in a linear manner. And for sport-specific training where glute activation may be an issue, relying solely on cardio training won’t entirely prevent or solve the problem.
Our Pick: The Cybex Eagle Leg Press
By far, the best leg press on the market today is the Cybex Eagle Leg Press. Not only is it built to handle the massive load demands of effective lower body training, but it also features patented technology designed to deliver an incredibly smooth (and forgiving) experience.
The Cybex Eagle Leg Press operates by keeping the resistance plate static; unlike other leg presses, you push yourself backwards on the carriage itself. That motion, based on thorough research at the Cybex Institute, moves you down and at an angle, which increases ham and hip activation and ultimately reduces stress on your patella and other joints.
Plus, the Cybex Eagle features a totally adjustable back angle. Instead of fixing your position, you control where on the spinal column stress will be taken—along with how open your hip angle is—which aids glute activation.
Finally, the Cybex Eagle is built so that you can’t out-speed the weight stack. For training where intense “ballistic” movements are required, this engineered feature means that your body moves seamlessly throughout the entire motion sequence—there’s no jerking or “bouncing” of the weight stack. The result is less stress on knees and joints, and a machine that delivers superior results even if you’re not perfectly centered on the machine.
Try the Cybex Eagle Leg Press and all our superior selectorized strength training equipment at a Gym Source showroom near you.