What is the ideal squat to leg press ratio? (Explained!) (2023)

I know for a fact that a lot of people are wondering what their ratio of squats to leg presses should be.

I think you want to get an idea of ​​how well you're doing both exercises compared to each other.

Also, I would guess that there might be a big difference between squats and leg presses.

So I want to give you an idea of ​​how much you should potentially squat and do leg presses.

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Ratio of squats to leg presses

Most people will generally do 2-3 times as many leg presses as they can squat. However, there is no specific ratio you should aim for. First, they're two different exercises, even though they work many of the same muscles. Squats are usually limited by your core strength rather than your legs. Also, the leg press provides extra leverage that makes the movement much easier. So you should be able to do the leg press twice as high as your squat, if not more.

1. Should you compare squats and leg presses?

So, as I mentioned earlier, you should be able to press 2-3 times as much weight on your legs as you squat.

In truth, however, one should not really compare the exercises with one another.

Yes, I agree that both moves work the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

But that's where the similarities end.

TheSquat is a compound exercise that also works many stabilizing muscles.

Whereas the leg press is more of an isolation exercise that primarily targets the quads.

Granted, you can focus more on your hamstrings andGlutes with the leg press, although this largely depends on foot position.

That being said, squats are actually limited by your core strength, as opposed to your legs.

(Video) Stop Doing Leg Presses Like This! (8 KEY MISTAKES)

What is the ideal squat to leg press ratio? (Explained!) (1)

We all think of squats as a fantastic leg exercise, but not experiencing leg growth usually indicates a weak core.

Speaking of your core, the number one limiting factor in squats is actually going to be your lower back.

So if you don't have adequate core strength (especially your lower back), it's harder to maintain a neutral spine, which means you're not squatting as much weight as you possibly could.

However,When it comes to the leg press, your lower back is taken out of the equation as long as you perform the exercise correctly.

In fact, the leg press is an indication of pure leg strength because it's more of an isolation exercise.

And that explains why you can generally do so much more leg press than you can squat.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't squat if you want to increase leg strength and size.

I mean, we all know what a fantastic lower body workout the squat is and how good it can increase the size and strength in your legs.

However, as your core strength tries to "catch up" with your leg strength, you'll never squat as much as you hope.

This is also an explanation when you find yourself able to more than double your squats.

Your legs are strong but your core is weak.

2. You squat more than you think

Okay, are you ready for something you've never thought of?

As the subheading above states, "You squat more than you think."

When you do a barbell squat, you're actually lifting your own body weight as well as a loaded bar.

As an example, a 180 lb person with a 225 lb barbell on their back is actually squatting 405 lbs.

(Video) Leg Press Vs. Squat For Lower Body Gains

And NO, until you get all excited you can't say you squat 405 pounds.

However, your body weight is involved in the movement, and this is especially true when you're powering your way out of the hole below.

Think in this way that those who are new to the practice can do thisBuild both muscle and strength by doing only bodyweight squats.

And even as an experienced lifter, if you did 100 reps of bodyweight squats in one set, are you telling me you didn't feel a thing?

So, although you can't add your own body weight to that of the bar and then claim you squat that much.

You have to remember that you are actually squatting with your own weight as well.

If you look at it that way, there isn't that much of a difference between squats and leg presses.

3. You press less leg than you think

Just to make things a little more interesting, you also don't push your feet as much as you think.

Well, I don't want to overcomplicate things, but this involves some basic physics and math.

More specifically, if you're using the 45-degree leg press, you need to take this into accountCosine formula for angles.

I'm not here to give you a trigonometry lesson, however, but let's just say you're not really putting all that weight on the machine.

Also, even with the leg press, you're not lifting your own body weight.

Using the cosine rule (don't worry, I won't add long lists of formulas here), a weight of about 350 pounds on the leg press is more or less our 225-pound squat weight.

But again, you're probably pushing your legs a lot harder if you're able to squat 225 pounds.

However, this again depends on the leverage exerted by the leg press, plusYour core, and especially your lower back, doesn't get involved in the leg press.

Leg press is actually the “easier” exercise. Even when we factor in things like bodyweight, core and stabilizer muscles, leverage, etc., you should still be pushing more weight onto your legs than you are squatting.

(Video) 7 Leg Press Mistakes and How to Fix Them

4. The different types of leg presses

You've probably noticed at least a few leg press machines at your gym.

Overall, however, there are typically three different leg presses.

And the amount of weight you can press with each machine can differ significantly.

I've focused on the 45-degree leg press for the purposes of this article because that's usually the most weight you'll be pressing

The horizontal or seated leg press is a common practice in the gym.

However, this uses a system of pulleys and cables and you're probably limited in terms of the weight you can use.

In fact, I know that the seated leg press at my gym doesn't go over 150kg, while I regularly use the 45 degree machine for at least double that weight.

Finally, there's the vertical leg press, which is the most difficult of the three.

Basically, you're lying with your feet in the air and you're also working against gravity.

So if I really want to go into the ratio of squats to leg presses, it would be different for each of these machines.

Personally I think the leg press machines are great and a great way to increase leg size and strength.

And that's especially true if your squat is constrained by a weak core.

I believe there is a place fordo both squats and leg presses.

But I don't think you should worry too much about the "squat to leg press ratio" because they're not really comparable movements.

How to use the leg press and seated leg press

Final Thoughts

So, as you can see, there is no "ideal" ratio of squats to leg presses.

However, most of us are able to push onto our legs 2-3 times the weight we can squat.

(Video) Hack Squat | Exercise Guide

That being said, you could almost consider squats more of a core exercise than legs since it's your core that is the limiting factor on how much weight you use.

With the leg press, this problem doesn't exist because your stabilizing muscles are taken out of the equation.

So the leg press is a test of pure leg strength.

In addition, when you squat, you also lift your own body weight.

However, the leg press provides extra leverage to make the movement easier than squats.

Also, you don't have to take your own body weight into account.

So you should always be able to do more leg presses than squats.

If you're looking to take your leg development to a new level, then I've got just the thing for you. In fact, this is an exercise program that can transform your entire body. Interested? Then look into mineReview of the mastetic muscles.

What is the ideal squat to leg press ratio? (Explained!) (2)


Hello, I'm Partha, the owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the Register of Exercise Professionals, UK. I've been going to the gym regularly since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My goal is to help you achieve your body composition goals.


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