David is a writer and an avid fitness enthusiast who gained a muscular physique through resistance training.
Single Leg Press for Glutes
Are you trying to get a bigger, firmer butt? This article outlines why the one-legged leg press is a great glute builder. In addition, this article provides some tips regarding nutrition, different rep ranges, workout volume, and more.
Lunges and squats are two very common exercises that many fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers do to build the glutes and leg muscles. Many people, however, may not realize that the one-legged leg press is also a great exercise for building up the glutes. If you're already doing other glute exercises, that's fine, but it will not hurt to add the one-legged leg press to your workout routine.
The traditional two-legged leg press mainly works the quadriceps. The single-legged leg press still works the quadriceps, but the glutes are activated more.
Advantages of the Exercise
- More glute activation
- Less compression on the spine
- Less weight is required to get a good workout
- Can fix muscular balances by focusing on each leg at a time
- It's a compound exercise that promotes more muscle & strength
- Safer than barbell squats
Keep in mind, you will not be able to use as much weight when performing the single-legged leg press. In fact, you'll probably only be able to do about 50% of what you can normally leg press. Start with very light weights first, especially if it's your first time.
Sets and Reps
Although the glutes are a relatively strong muscle, very low rep ranges (3-5) are not necessary. Additionally, using heavier weight puts more pressure on the joints, and it's harder to maintain form & technique.
Generally, the ideal rep range is anywhere from 8-20. Performing absurdly high reps (30+) is not very conducive to muscle hypertrophy because more slow-twitch muscle fibers are involved. The rep range of 8-20 will involve more fast-twitch muscles that will lead to more quadricep and glute development. You will not get a bigger butt going too light! Challenge yourself!
Perform at least 3 sets with each leg when doing the single-legged leg press. If you're not doing many other exercises for your glutes, then you may want to increase the volume and do 6 or more sets for each leg. Make sure not to take too much time in between sets, as you will not stimulate the fast muscle fibers enough. You want those glutes and quads to burn! Rest around 1-2 minutes after each set for both legs.
Form and Technique
Make sure you're using a full range of motion. Some people end up using a restricted range of motion and do not work the quadriceps and glutes effectively. Lower your leg until your knee is just short of flexion, then extend your knees and hips. Repeat.
If you're having trouble feeling your glutes, push with your heels more. You can place your heels on the top edge of the footplate; the rest of your foot will be off the plate not pushing.
"Should I lock my knees out completely?" That is up to you. Some people don't like locking out; mainly because it may put more pressure on the knees.
In order to build muscle, you must either do more reps or more weight over time. It's called the principle of "progressive overload." Always strive to challenge yourself. Note, you don't have to progress every single week, but if you're doing the same weight for months, then that is a problem (unless you've reached your goal & just are maintaining). Building a bigger firmer butt takes time. Just remember, the glutes are the largest muscle in the human body!
Also, make sure you're getting enough macro-nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Eating too much will cause too much fat gain compared to muscle gain. Conversely, restricting your calories too much will cause a loss of energy and you will not build up your legs and glutes.
In conclusion, the single-legged leg press is a great exercise to add to your repertoire if you have not already. Both men and women can benefit from it.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Naomi Grindlay from Salt spring island on February 02, 2016:
Great article, I'm in the process of building glutes from nothing to great gains in one month, I didn't even think it was possible at my age! I'm definitely going to include your exercise into my routine, thanks!
Alexander John on April 28, 2015:
I am a cyclist and the info in your hub is very helpful and accurate :)