How to Do the Angled Leg Press

A Leg Exercise Alternative to Squats

angled leg press
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The angled leg press is a version of the standard leg press, with the seated angle is tilted away from the horizontal, usually at 45 degrees. That gives it the alternative name of the sled 45 degrees leg press.

One possible advantage of the angled leg press for more serious trainers is that you can push more weight on it. Various muscle groups are worked depending on the position of the feet — quadriceps (bottom of plate), hamstrings and butt (top of plate), and adductors (widespread on the plate).

As for all exercises, don’t lift too heavy to begin with and stop if the pain is felt. Remember to breathe during the effort phase; don’t hold the breath.

Body Position

  • Sit on the machine with your back and head against the padded support.
  • Place feet on the foot plate about hip-width apart, ensuring the heels are flat. The legs should form an angle of about 90 degrees at the knee with a little variation either way as long as the heels sit flat on the plate.
  • The knees should be in line with the feet and neither bowed inward nor outward.
  • Your bottom should not be raised from the seat platform. If it is, and the legs are at too sharp an angle, then you need to adjust the seat back until the correct position is enabled. You can recognize this poor position when the knees seem to be in front of your eyes and you feel cramped.
  • Grasp the assist handles.


  • Brace the abdominal muscles and push the platform away with heels and forefoot by extending the knees and hips and pushing them back into the seat pad.
  • The heels should remain flat on the footplate and the front of the foot or toes should not be used exclusively to move the pad forward.
  • Do keep the head steady and back against the seat, and don't lift the lower back or butt from the pad.
  • Don’t lock out the knees in an explosive fashion but do express a full range of motion.
  • Return the foot plate to the starting position by allowing the knees to bend under control while maintaining the feet flat on the surface. Repeat the exercise.

Muscles Worked by the Angled Leg Press

The angled leg press primarily works the quadriceps at the front of the thigh. As a compound exercise, it also exercises the gluteus maximus muscle of the buttocks, adductors of the inner thigh, and the soleus calf muscle. The hamstrings at the back of the thigh and gastrocnemius of the calf act as stabilizers to the movement. The angled leg press is a push exercise.

If you need to, check out the top ten list and review the basic training and safety information.

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