T Nation

Nautilus Leg Presses

Like many people, I tend to fall into habits, especially when it comes to training. A leg press to me, has been the one available at the gym in question. Here, a favorable mention goes to the Nitro leg press, which I have always liked.

Now, I have recently started visiting yet another gym of the chain of gyms in my town - which provided me with no less than three options of Nautilus leg presses! I started out with the Nitro, before curiosity (and my right knee) headed me in the direction of finally trying the others. That being said - a leg press is not a leg press!

Nautilus Nitro Leg Press

Nautilus Leverage Leg Press

Nautilus Angled Leg Press

Which one is my new favourite? The leverage leg press!

The angle relieves stress to my knees, and I was able to go much deeper in hip flexion, which enabled me to go heavier than ever with excellent control - and feel. The only negative aspect I can think of is the manual loading (but the plates were close - and made it easy to load up with 440 lbs). I also felt the leverage was more evenly distributed, even though the Nitro is a smooth piece of machinery.

It will be interesting to see whether this machine provide some new leg development (curious how much weights I can add over time - come to think of that video on Youtube where the guy loads the leg press with every weight available in the gym, making body english, and barely lifting it off the hooks before finished LOL).

Which one is your favorite? Any other honorable mentions of brands/models?

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I train at home (basement gym) and have been using a leverage leg press since 2014. It’s made by TDS and was sold by New York Barbell. I really like it and it’s smooth as butter. Sometimes I do calf raises on it too. Yeah, loading the plates and then taking them off is a nuisance, but it’s worth it - and it doesn’t take nearly as many plates to get enough resistance compared to the traditional leg presses. The seat also has a lot of adjustment to get enough range of motion.
leg press

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Looks nice! It must be great to have the space for a home gym. Many people go for a barbell and weights for starting their home gyms. I would actually opt for a good leg press machine first (and let the indirect effect build the rest LOL).

Recently I almost bought a gym setup of Nautilus machines for a bargain (with nowhere to put them). I backed out since there was no leg press machine, also realizing the cost of transportation.

What else have you got there?

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I have not used a large variety of leg presses. But of those that I have used, my favorite was the Cybex Squat Press. It is similar in design to the TDS model that heavyhitter32 owns.

The two pluses:

  • Very smooth and low in friction. No belts, chains, pulleys, or cams to get in the way. Had more the feel of a free weight.

  • Noticeable ascending resistance curve (due to the nature of the lever, the resistance rises as you extend your legs). In practice, then meant that the sticking point was further out in the movement, instead of at the start, where you are “coming out of the hole”. I think this is what makes it possible to get into a deeper position at the start, without risking injury to your low back.

Main negative: because of the leverages, you had to add a lot of plates to get a high level of resistance. I’m not a particularly big or strong guy, and yet I was putting up to 630 lbs of plates (7x45 lbs per side) of the thing, and getting 8 to 10 full range reps. Big strong guys could use a lot more. The designers seemed to understand this, because the weight horns were very long - I think you could put 12 or more plates on each side. But it got tedious loading and unloading the thing.

It looks like the Nautilus leverage design avoids the issue of inefficient weight utilization by using an extra long lever arm for the weight horns (relative to that used for the foot pad). The angle of the weighted lever also starts at a flatter angle, so it probably has a somewhat different rate of ascent for the resistance.


The king of 'em all, y’all, is the leg press on the classic Nautilus Compound Leg Machine. It can leave you too wiped out to get out of the seat for a few minutes (and it will if you work hard enough on it) – even if you don’t do the presses right after doing the leg extensions on that machine. And to put in a plug for the leg extension part, it has the most extensive range of motion of any leg extension machine that I know of; you can really get a lotta travel out of every rep. The monster machine.

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A proper SuperSlow leg press accompanied with resistance bands, and preexhausted with static abduction/adduction will dig a recovery hole deeper than 7 days off can fix

I see a Powertec lever gym in the background. Between that and the leg press, your basic needs would be well met. However the foot print for both machines is considerable. Much more space than I have.

Lots of versatility with much less space and cost for free weights. Just not ideal if you are big on training to failure.


I too am a big fan of the nautilus leverage. I also find the 1 drawback of having to load plates. I prefer my duo squat tho. Would possibly replace it with the og Nautilus leg press. Loved that one too

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That angled Leg press looks absolutely identical to the Star Trac angled leg press at my gym.

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You know what? You are onto something here. Very observant of you! Hold on to your hats nerds - here we go!

The XPload 45 degree Leg Sled

NP L1141 Angled Leg Press

The version at my gym looks like the rounded tube framing (the base) of the Xpload Leg Sled - with a single weight rod/basic sled like the NP L1141! A mix that I am unable to find a picture of on the net! Could it be that the sled had broken and that they replaced it with the NPL1141 version as a spare part? Provided compatibility. I may have to correct myself here, if memory slips. Will get a photo from the gym next time I’m there.

I wouldn’t be surprised to find Nautilus manufactured a no-name model (NPL1141) to be used by other brands - or if the opposite is at hand here?

Is there any Nautilus leg press machine experts out there, who can clarify this? @strengthmaster

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Thanks! When I bought my home in 2004, I decided to start training at home out of convenience and saving time (last thing from my mind was a pandemic one day, but this couldn’t have worked out better in that regard). I had trained in various gyms for almost 15 years prior. I started with a Bowflex Ultimate machine, but wasn’t happy with it and sold it off. I added some dumbbells and eventually bought the Powertec Multi-station (in yellow). It’s leveraged based and incredibly smooth as well using Olympic plates. Blows away the Bowflex. I added a more traditional 45 degree leg press, but it had too much friction and I think put a little too much stress on my knees. So I sold it off and purchased this leveraged one. The only other machine I kind of want is a good row machine and maybe something for lower back to simply to lower back raises.

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If I didn’t have the space, I would simply buy an adjustable bench and PowerBlocks (or some sort of weight selector dumbbells). I still do one-legged squats/lunges with DB.

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Body Solid also makes a leveraged leg press almost identical to TDS. I strongly considered this one, but I got a slightly better deal through a dealer on the TDS and it also weighs 100 pounds more which I figured maybe adds a little sturdiness.


pettersson, There used to be a company that sold equipment call FLEX. They made both selectorized and plate-loaded machines. That company was purchased by and merged with Star Trac, who up until then had only sold treadmills. Then the Star Trac brand was purchased by Core Health and Fitness who also bought the NAUTILUS commercial brand, along with StairMaster and Schwinn. CHF sold the XPload line for a while, then merged it with the Star Trac line of plate-loaded equipment and called it NAUTILUS LEVERAGE. They have discontinued all of the XPload designs, with the exception of the Deadlift/Shrug machine. Most all of the plate-loaders are the Star Trac designs (which were originally FLEX). They did come up with the new Glute Drive machine and a new design of the Abdominal Crunch machine.

So, my guess is this machine is a transitional piece between the XPload and Star Trac designs. Probably had XPload machines or tubing left over and made some with tubes to use it up. Or changed their mind on which rails they wanted on the machine. Too bad, the XPload machines (especially the non-sled leg press version) are all better than the Star Trac designs the company sells now. Hope that helps.


What made the XPload leg sled different was the foot plate pivoted as you raised or lowered the weight. This allowed the knee to remain in alignment with the ankle, thus reducing shearing force on the knee. Best sled version I ever used.

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I only used it 3 times, but it’s my favorite leg press

Xforce leg press…the foot plate pivots and the weight increases 40% on the negative

If I lived closer to the xforce facility I would definitely be a member

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Trained one time on the X-Force machines. They are great. But, I believe the cost of them means they will never be prevalent in the US. What are there, like 5 places in the US that have them? 3 in Florida, 1 in Philly, 1 at another location in PA. Those are the only ones I am aware of.

Strengthmaster! Thanks for clarifying/confirming my suspicions. You should consider changing your username to Nautilusmaster… Indeed, you must have had insight in the Nautilus production. How lucky we are to have you here!

Yes they are very expensive…they will not become popular in the USA because of it…it’s too bad, I trained at the one in South tampa