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Leg Press Curl Holds - Improve Your Core Strength While Doing Machine Leg Presses

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If I had to say what the biggest drawback of the leg press is in terms of it's value as an exercise compared to squats, it would be that you place basically NO direct load on the upper body.

This really limits it's effectiveness as a total-body type of exercise. Sure, it can work the legs very effectively, but you'll never get the total metabolic boost from it that you get with squats. But what you can't do squats (e.g. for balance or past injury reasons) or if you just don't feel like doing squats on a training session but still want a challenging total-body type of exercise?

Simple...you're going to make your upper body support weight as you're doing the leg press! Now the examples I'm using in the pictures and video show the Reverse Leg Press exercise.

This exercise is available in the full membership site in much greater detail. Basically, you are using a regular leg press, but instead of placing your feet on the foot plate and your back on the seat, you set your back on the foot plate and your FEET on the seat. I use a folded towel for cushioning.

The reason I'm using the Reverse Leg Press for this exercise is that I find it to be a more effective variation of the leg press. Instead of anchoring your body and just pushing the weights, you move yourself AND the weight. This makes it more similar to the squat in that you're moving your body through space.

But this technique will work very well for normal leg press, too! The way you do it will be exactly the same.

First, grab two dumbells (I usually set them on the floor on either side of the leg press so I can just reach down and grab them). Start with moderate weight the first time you do these. You'll want to be able to hold them up for the duration of your leg set.

The only modification you'll have to make if you're doing this exercise on a 45 degree Leg Press sled where the weight starts at the top is that you'll need to unrack the weight at the top first, THEN reach down and pick up the dumbells. Because if you're holding the dumbells, you won't be able to use your hands to unrack the weight - pretty easy to figure that one out!

Leg Press Curl Holds - Improve Your Core Strength While Doing Machine Leg Presses

Get them up into the top of the curl position and HOLD them there.

Leg Press Curl Holds - Improve Your Core Strength While Doing Machine Leg Presses

Now do the leg press, straightening out your legs!

Leg Press Curl Holds - Improve Your Core Strength While Doing Machine Leg Presses

This exercise challenges not only the core but the shoulders and entire upper body as well! You'll find this to be the hardest at the bottom of the press, when your legs are bent. It'll really teach you how to activate your core properly with a leg press movement. You won't be able to push out you belly to get the weight moving at the bottom because if you do, the dumbells won't be supported anymore!

You can hold the dumbells in the hammer curl position (palms facing each other) as well, if you find in the regular curl position, you're not able to hold the dumbells up long enough:

Leg Press Curl Holds - Improve Your Core Strength While Doing Machine Leg Presses

So give this technique a try in your next leg workout! It'll make your leg pressing MUCH more challenging and change it from a lower body exercise to a full body exercise!



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