Curious about the starting weight of a leg press machine, before you start to stack the plates? So was I. It is hella’ annoying that each leg press machine has a different starting weight, and it makes it very difficult to track how much weight you are able to lift.
So for those looking for a quick answer, here is the starting or “default” weight of a leg press machine:
The most common leg press machines, such as those made by Star Traq and Gold’s have sleds weighing between 100 lb and 118 lb. This varies wildly when going from brand to brand, and some sleds can go as high as 125 lb while others can go as low as 65 lb.
So, how do you figure out how much the sled on your gym’s leg press machine weigh, and to determine how much you are actually leg pressing, we need to take a look at:
- The brand of machine that’s installed at your gym.
- The angle you are leg pressing at.
- The type of leg press machine you are using.
Don’t worry, it's not complicated, and you won’t have to do any real math, other than simple addition.
Each leg press machine has a different “default” weight
After scouring the internet, the truth is there is simply not a lot of information regarding this topic. After quite a bit of research I managed to track down the weight of the two most common leg press machines:
- Star Traq – 100 lb
- Gold’s Gym – 118 lb
- Hammer Strength 80 lb
- Legend Fitness – 80 lb
In both these cases, we are talking about the weight of just the sled without any plates. In other words, the weight of the platform you press against and the rest of its assembly.
And no, this is not the weight of the actual leg press machine. If you want to buy a leg press machine for your garage then just check the weights on Amazon packaging, you can find a list of these machines here.
The angle is more important than the weight
The flatter you press, the easier it becomes. Most leg press machines will have an angle of 45 degrees, but this can vary from model to model. You don’t have to be a mathematician to realize that the steeper the angle, the heavier the press will feel, or the flatter the angle the easier it becomes.
You are working against gravity when you press directly upwards, whereas when you press forward, you only have to overcome inertia and friction. So, unless you need to use a horizontal leg press machine for health reasons, I would recommend that you get a normal, angled leg press machine. It works your legs harder, and is more compact for home use.
Looking for Leg Press/Hack Squat Machine?
A few interesting types of leg press machines
During my research, while trying to find the standard/default weight of leg press machines, I managed to stumble upon quite a few interesting facts.
#1. Unilateral/Bilateral Leg Press
Firstly, did you know that the leg press machine comes in a unilateral, or bilateral variant? Yes, you can buy a leg press machine that has a place for two feet.
These machines also typically have a much higher default weight, as each sled typically weighs around 70 lbs. You can check the price and specs of the one made by Live Raptor (shown in the picture above) here.
#2. Hack Squat Hybrids
Many modern leg press machines can also be transformed into Hack Squat machines. Below is a picture of a machine that can be considered a leg press/hack squat hybrid.
You can read all about the hack squat in our in-depth hack squat guide.
#3. Calf Raises
Finally, some leg press machines also allow you to adjust the sled so that you can also do calf raises. This is accomplished by tilting the plate which your feet are pressing against forward, as shown in the picture below.
Note that these hybrids typically cannot carry the same amount of maximum weight as a dedicated leg press machine, but this is only a concern if you are pressing over 500 lbs.
You may have noticed that some of the pictures above look very similar - that's because it's the same machine. It's called the Body Solid Leg press/Hack Squat Machine. Although It's quite expensive, if you are building a home gym, I would really recommend getting it.
Does the default weight really matter?
As long as you use the same machine, it does not matter how much the sled on your leg press machine weighs. Getting stronger is all about progressive overload, and as long as you are eating well, getting enough sleep and letting your muscles recover, you should be able to go up in weight and add more and more plates to your leg press.
If you are struggling to see gains with your leg press, check out our guide on how to use a leg press machine effectively.
A few words for all the haters
To end things off, I want to say that I am not one of those the powerlifters who look down on those doing leg press, saying that it bloats your ego since you can lift far more weight that you would be able to squat.
I think the leg press machine has its place in the gym since any small injury to your back or shoulders prevents you from squatting or deadlifting, but often you can still leg press a fair amount of weight. And so what if it makes you feel good about yourself, that’s why we go to the gym in the first place!
However, do not let leg press become a substitute for squats or deadlifts, squats should form the cornerstone of every weightlifting program. Years of studies show that the three big compound exercises, Squats Deadlift and Benchpress will give nearly all people (women included) the most bang for their buck during their workout.
If you want to read more about Best of luck in the gym and remember, friends never let friends skip a leg day!