Leg Press Alternatives | Best Exercise Guide

Written by the Boostcamp staff
Last Updated: Oct 28,20227 min read

If you're looking for leg press alternative exercises, look no further! Here are some great options to build muscle and strength in your legs. Some alternative exercises require gym access, while others leg press at-home alternative exercises can be done at home.

There are a lot of different ways to leg press, but the basic idea is always the same: you're pressing against resistance to work your leg muscles. The resistance can be in the form of a resistance band, dumbbell, barbell, machine, or even your own bodyweight. Of course, how effective each exercise is depends on your current physical fitness level. Beginners can get excellent gains with simple bodyweight leg presses, but the stronger you get, the more you need to use external resistance like a dumbbell, barbell, or machine.

Leg Press Alternatives At Home

  1. Resistance band leg press: Bands can be used to mimic resistance like a leg press, though the amount of weight that you can use is limited to what you can hold with your arms. The pros of a resistance band leg press is that you can easily do this at home, or carry bands with you on vacation and do them in the hotel. The cons are that the weights you can use are limited, and if you can do too many reps (like 20+), then you're just doing leg cardio, not building real leg strength or muscle. This can work great for beginners, but not novice or intermediate trainees.

Strength Training at Home: Workouts With and Without Equipment | Strength  training routine, Strength training workouts, Leg press

  1. Pistol squats: Pistol squats are a great leg press alternative for those who want to build strength and muscle in their legs, without the use of any necessary equipment. They target your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. When it comes to bodyweight squatting, the pistol squat is one of the most challenging and impressive feats you can perform. This move requires a high level of strength, flexibility and coordination, and is definitely not for beginners. But if you're up for the challenge, the pistol squat is a great way to build lower body strength and power.

    Here is a quick overview on how to do it:

    1. Start in a standing position with your feet together.

    2. Raise one leg off the ground and extend it out in front of you.

    3. squat down on your other leg, keeping your extended leg straight and lowering yourself as far as you can go.

Pistol Squat GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

3. Box Jumps: Box jumps are a plyometric leg press alternative exercise that will really get your heart pumping. They target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. All you need is a box or platform to jump on and off of. Box jumps are a plyometric exercise that involve "jumping" onto and then off of a box or other raised platform. box jumps can be performed with both feet together or one foot at a time, and can be done for repetitions or for height. box jumps are a great way to improve lower body power and can be used as a plyometric exercise for both beginners and advanced athletes.

Build Explosiveness With Box Jumps | Fitness | MyFitnessPal

  1. Dumbbell Lunges: Dumbbell lunges are another great leg press alternative, especially if you don't have access to a leg press machine or a barbell. They target your quads and glutes, and can be done with a variety of angles and weights.

    To do a dumbbell lunge, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Then, take a large step forward with your right foot and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the ground. Be sure to keep your torso upright and your core engaged throughout the movement. Finally, press through your right heel to return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. dumbbell lunges are a great exercise for beginners and can be done anywhere with minimal equipment

Dumbell Lunge GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

  1. Bulgarian Split Squat: The Bulgarian split squat is another leg press alternative that you can do with bodyweight or a dumbell.

    How to do a bulgarian split squat:

    1. Start in a split stance, with your left foot forward and your right foot back. Place your left ankle on top of a bench or other elevated surface behind you.

    2. Keeping your torso upright, lower your body down until your right knee is close to the ground. Be sure to keep your left heel pressed into the ground throughout the entire movement

    3. Return to the starting position, and repeat for the desired number of repetitions. Then switch legs and repeat with your right foot forward and left foot back.

Bulgarian Split Squat GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Leg Press Alternatives At Gym

1. Barbell Squats: Barbell squats are a great leg press alternative exercise. They target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and back. There is a reason why they call barbell squats the king of all exercises. It is considered a key exercise in many sports, including football, weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding. The squat can also be performed with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell.

How to do a barbell squat:

1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides. If you're using a barbell, hold it across your upper back with an overhand grip.

2. Lower yourself down into a squatting position by bending at the knees and hips, keeping your chest up and back straight.

Back Squat GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

  1. Hack Squat: The hack squat is a leg press alternative that targets your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. You will need a barbell and a rack for this exercise. The hack squat is a great exercise for building strong legs, without overtaxing the core and lower back. It targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, and can help improve your squatting technique. Additionally, the hack squat can be performed with a variety of weights and intensities, making it a versatile exercise for all levels of fitness. You'll need a hack squat machine to perform a hack squat.

    Plate Loaded - Hack Squat GIF by Park Youngjin | Gfycat

  2. Smith Machine Squat: Smith machine squats are another good alternative for targeting your entire lower body. You will need a smith machine for this exercise. The barbell squat is considered to be a more challenging exercise than the smith machine squat, and it also allows you to use more weight. When squatting with a barbell, you have to balance the barbell on your shoulders, which can be difficult. The smith machine squat, on the other hand, is a bit easier because the weight is already balanced for you on the machine. Another difference between these two squatting exercises is the range of motion. When squatting with a barbell, you can squat lower than with the smith machine squat. This means that you can work your muscles more intensely with the barbell squat.

Smith Machine Squat: Muscles Worked & Technique – StrengthLog