Leg Press VS Squat – Which Is Best?

In this article, let’s discuss in detail “Leg Press vs Squat”.

Leg training is a crucial part of workout for bodybuilders, athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

Leg day is the toughest and the hardest part of your workout. However, if you feel that it is the easiest then, probably you are not training hard enough.

Leg Press VS Squat

Everybody has their own style and type of leg training. It really depends on their form and comfort levels. But the most important thing is to maintain your strength, stamina and focus.

Some people prefer doing low reps along with heavy weights, while some people prefer very high intensity of training.

It does not really matter which type of training you like, leg press and squats are the most effective when it comes to building leg muscles.

Now we will tell you which one of these two you should do to achieve maximum benefit from your workout.

Leg Press VS Squat

Let’s differentiate between these two leg training workouts so that you can decide which is best for you.

Leg Press

The most important thing for doing leg press exercise is a leg press machine. It cannot be done without a machine.

The machine helps in maintaining your resistance levels. Usually you sit on a 45 degrees angle on a machine. Your back is supported by a padded backrest and you have to put your feet flat on the platform.

After that you have to unlock the machine. Then using your legs you have to press the platform. You can have your desired resistance level set on the machine.

Now all you have to do is just extend your legs to press the platform and then return back to your starting point. Repeat it for a few reps.

Leg presses are ideal for hamstrings, glutes, quads and even the core.

Although, leg presses are a great workout but some people prefer squats over it.

On the other hand we believe that both the types of exercises have their own benefits.

Leg Press

Leg Press Mistakes You Should Avoid

The most important thing before doing any kind of workout is to avoid making any mistakes because you do not want to waste your efforts.

Always use the leg press machine correctly. If you use the machine incorrectly then you might end up getting an injury.

Check out these common mistakes that people do and end up getting injured.

  • Lowering The Platform Incorrectly

The biggest mistake that people make while using a leg press machine is lowering the platform too far down.

In comparison to squatting, leg press machine has a less chance of injuring your back and the reason is that it has a back support.

However, this does not make your back injury-proof. Your back is actually supporting your entire body while performing this exercise and that is why if you do not do it correctly then it might cause an injury.

So, if you lower the platform too far then it will put a strain on your lower back.

While doing the exercise, your lower back will lift up slightly off of the backrest. This means it will not be supported anymore, hence making it vulnerable to injury.

This can actually result in a very serious back injury because your lumber discs can be affect by not doing the exercise correctly.

  • Locking Your Knees Fully

Often people make this mistake, they lock their knees completely while extending their legs. This can cause knee injury.

While doing leg press, never fully lock your knees while extending your legs because that can put extreme strain on your knees. This can even dislocate your knees or even snap your leg causing a brutal injury.

Leg Press Exercise

  • Doing Shallow Reps Only

One more very common mistake that people make is to do shallow reps.

Just as you do not do a quarter rep while doing bicep curls, you should not do shallow reps while doing leg press.

It is pointless to do this exercise if you are just doing shallow reps because it will not fulfill your training goals. Even if you use too much weight still the exercise will be pointless.

Your focus should be to complete the rep correctly with full range of motion so that you can get maximum results from your exercise.

You can try doing it with fewer weights to complete your reps. This will give you the required burn while protecting you from any kind of injury.

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  • Ego Lifting

Many bodybuilders and athletes push their limits sometimes to show-off and sometimes to satisfy their ego but this can actually cause serious injury.

There are many videos where bodybuilders do leg press with extreme amounts of weight. In fact, some even make other men sit on top of the machine and then do leg press but that can cause harm to your joints and ligaments.

The key to do a perfect leg press that only strengthens your leg muscles is to never show off or do ego lifting. You should only focus on your weight and posture.

Ego lifting can put your leg muscles at risk and that can cause problem in long-term.

When you do the exercise correctly, you will definitely gain muscles but if you do it incorrectly then you are just wasting your time and energy.

Leg Press Machine

  • Placing Your Heels Incorrectly on the Sled

One very common mistake that people make while doing leg press is that they do not place their heels flat on the sled.

The problem is that when you do not put your heels correctly on the sled, your quads get a lot of strain while doing the leg press. To avoid this you should never lift off your heels from the sled.

Also, doing it incorrectly can cause problems with your joints. So, if you want to avail maximum benefits from your exercise then keep your heels flat on the sled and do the exercise correctly.


As you already know about Leg Press, now let’s talk about Squats.

There are many different types of squats that you can perform. For example –  Bodyweight squats, Hindu squats, Weighted Squats and many more.

You can modify your squats according to your needs and your body’s capacity. On a leg day if you skip doing squats then you are just wasting your time.

Some bodybuilders believe that Barbell back squat is the ultimate exercise for legs. It requires strength, stamina, motivation and also focus to perform this exercise.

Squats help in toning your overall leg muscles like the hamstrings, calves, glutes and quads.

There are many different variations on squats that can give you the ideal leg workout that you need.


So, now let’s compare both these types of exercises – Leg Press vs Squat.

Squat Mistakes You Should Avoid

Similar to leg press mistakes, people often make squat mistakes. It is important to learn how to avoid making these mistakes.

Before performing a barbell squat or any other type of squat you should know how to do it correctly.

Do remember, whatever exercise you do, you should avail 100% benefit from it. Yes, the benefit should not be just 99%, it should be full 100%.

So, unless you do the exercise correctly, you cannot avail that benefit.

When you perform squats correctly, you avoid you chances of getting any injury and your muscles become stronger and bigger.

Here is a list of some common mistakes that people make while doing barbell squats.

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  • Lifting Too Heavy Weights

When you try to lift weights that are just way to heavy and your body is not trained enough to lift them, then you can get an injury.

There are many videos online that show people getting seriously injured because they push their limits while lifting weights.

While squatting all the strain is on your knees, lower back, ankles and hips. If you put too much pressure on your body by lifting extremely heavy weights then you can get a serious injury.

Sometimes, the injury can be so fatal that you can even be on bed-rest for months.

When you squat, if you are unable to control the weights then you might end up injuring your knees, back or ankles.

Never squat with weights that you cannot control. Do the exercise safely so that you can avail the maximum benefits.

Barbell Squat

  • Squatting without a rack or cage

If you want to squat with heavy weights then you should always use either a rack or a cage. This is for your own protection.

Take this for an example, you are squatting with heavy weights and you squatted to a point that you have achieved before. But, when it comes to lifting or standing up, you find yourself struggling.

At that moment, you can just let go the barbell and the safety bars can catch it, while you can stand up without any problems.

This will protect you from getting injured.

If however, you do not use a rack or cage and you cannot handle the weight, then the barbell can injure you.

Also, if the barbell falls down on the floor, it can damage the floor of the gym and then you will have to pay for the monetary losses as well.

  • Not Squatting Deep

One very common mistake that people make is not squatting deep enough.

When you squat, you do not go down deep enough to finish the squat. As a result, you do half-a-squat only and obviously that will not give you your desired result.

According to fitness instructors, while performing a squat your knees should form a 90-degrees angle because that reduces the unwanted strain on your knees. However, if you can go deeper while maintaining your balance and not straining your knees then that is also good.

Squatting Exercise

When you squat deep down, a lot of your leg muscles get involved in that exercise. This results in strengthening your muscles and improving your resistance and stamina.

On the other hand, if you do not squat down low enough then you miss your chance of involving more muscle groups in this exercise and that means you are not targeting those areas.

But we will still recommend you to not push your limits. If your body does not allow you to squat too low, then listen to your body.

Staying healthy and avoiding all risks of getting injuries should be your first priority.

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  • Curving or Bending Forward

One more very common squatting mistake is bending or curving forward.

Many people lean forward while squatting down in order to maintain their balance but it is extremely important to avoid this mistake.

Always keep your back straight as much as your can so that your lower back is not strained and you do not get the risk of getting slipped discs.

Do remember a back injury can be very fatal. If you get a back injury then you cannot get back in the gym for months. So, avoid making this mistake while squatting.

Squat Mistakes

So, finally let’s see the conclusion of comparing Leg Press vs Squat.

Leg Press VS Squat – Which is best?

If we compare the results between leg press vs squat:

Squats are like an all round exercise. They help in building muscles and strengthening your legs. It is like a compound exercise

Leg Presses are like an isolation exercise and it also helps in toning, strengthening and building your leg muscles.

The truth is that both these exercises are equally good. They both target different muscles in your legs and help them get stronger and bigger.

Fitness instructors recommend combining both these exercise together for a better leg training session.

If you just focus on doing one of the exercise either leg press or squat then the chances are that you will get bored or muscles can get drained easily.

However, when you combine both the exercises then you can stay motivated for longer and also achieve your desired results faster.


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