T Nation

Leg Press/Leg Curl Form Questions

I was wondering I could bounce some ideas off, or get some ideas on technique.

I’m about less than a year of a sacro-iliac problem which is mostly healed.

  1. I’m wavering on how low to go on the leg press (45 degree incline). I can’t seem to get my knees close towards my chest without feeling my tailbone tuck unless I cut the ROM. I’ve been stretching and doing mobility exercises and working on the ‘third world squat’ which has helped my squatting a lot and I’ve felt some transfer to the leg press.

Another problem is that when I press the load forefully up, my ass kinda of jumps forward from the back pad. The only way to prevent this is if I put on some more plates, but can’t afford to get my tailbone to tuck under with the extra weight. I can’ tell if I am going too deep or if I am wussing out.

  1. On the single leg curl where you bend forward, I notice several people curling until their knee is 90 degrees. At rare times when I go above this I get some slight uncomfortable clicking on the lateral side of my knee.

I am not sure if this is some slight overuse of the knee flexors because I am trying to bring my legs up or if I’m doing this machine w/ a poor ROM.

Any help/feedback or experience would help a lot.

It sounds like you’ve got some biomechanical issues that you need to correct. The first is that clicking on the lateral aspect of your knee, I would just about guarantee you that is your IT Band and that it needs foam rolling and possibly myofascial release up at the TFL. Also, Leg press is one of the worst exercises you can do if you have sacroiliac worries since your hips have no room to move.

Also, the problem is, in one way or another, your flexibility. I’d also look into your Psoas and possibly even rectus femoris doing soft tissue work and very light stretching twice a week. I’d also guess that your glutes are not working very well as a result of the tight hip flexors on the front side. For now I would entirely ditch the leg press and work on split squats or Bulgarian squats for awhile.

Is there any other way to get the glutes firing more on that note? I am not sure if doing supine bridges on the floor for 3x10 to prep into squats? Would this even be considered an activation drill?

[quote]earthquake wrote:
Is there any other way to get the glutes firing more on that note? I am not sure if doing supine bridges on the floor for 3x10 to prep into squats? Would this even be considered an activation drill?[/quote]

Low cable ‘Pull Throughs’ would be an alternative to bridges.
Why couldn’t bridges be activation?

Always a small chance I’m off in left field.

So getting your glutes going is for the most part, a two pronged attack. On the one hand, you have to make sure your hip flexors are not inhibiting your hip extension. If they are you need to fix that NOW. Almost always there will be a hip flexor inhibition issue if you cannot get your glutes working.

Supine bridge are probably the best glute activation exercise. Instead of looking for another exercise, realize that it is you, not the exercise that is the problem. The first step is to realize how weak your glutes are. Now they may not be actually weak, but if your bodys ability to recruit glute is inhibited they are basically very very weak. So while you are working on soft tissue/flexibility of the front side, you need to work on recruiting glute with supine bridges. You need to go very slow, and only go through the ROM which you can feel your glutes working. If you take the exercise past the point where your glutes are doing the work in some misguided attempt to hit a full ROM, you are only going to ingrain your poor motor control by using hamstring and lower back.

As your going supine bridges get your butt as close to the floor as possible and squeeze your glute tilting the front part of your pelvis toward your head. Reverse motion as you go back down. Im telling you bud, the first, most important thing is to take stock of your problems and work on them honestly, it can be a bit humbling but thats what you need to do.

I tried to do the supine bridge with the squeezing and my legs/hips were shaking like hell and my hamstrings weren’t flexed. This is where that weakness you say is coming in I think.

Just on a side note, do people without biomechanical issues usually go knees to the chest on leg press? Or flex the knee past 90 on the standing leg curL?

Thanks so much for your help guys. I really appreciate it.

Lay on your stomach, bend your leg (one at a time) to 90 degrees, lift your heal towards the ceiling flexing only your glute. Do a few sets of these before glute bridges as a pre-activation. I over 9000% guaranty you will feel the bridges working better.

Also, do 2-3 sets of pull thrus EVERYDAY. I’ve had major hip and lower back problems, and these 2 exercise alone have worked wonders for my posture, deadlifts, and knee/hip pain.

If your glutes are shaking like that doing supine bridge you should be just fine, that is a very good sign, and will only occur when you have pretty good control of your glutes. I would do some soft tissue work on the front side and see if you have any major problems there, that and the IT Band.

Also, are you able to feel that shaking all the way up to full hip extension, or is there a certain point when it stops and you dont feel your glutes as much? I was definitely wrong about your body it works a bit better than I thought, keep doing those supine bridges until you’ve strengthened a good bit and then you can switch to one leg bridge which will really show any problems or weaknesses.