The Average Weight for Leg Press Exercises

Girl doing the leg press
Are you average? (Image: Creative-Family/iStock/GettyImages)

Many are competitive by nature and like to know where they stand compared to other gym goers. Know the average weight used on the leg press so you can see where you stand.

The average amount of weight a person can lift is measured two ways. One average range is based on your body weight and the other is based on your one repetition maximum. Both of these methods are necessary because people who are lighter will be able to lift significantly less on average than heavier people.

Average for Body Weight

The average person should be able to lift 1.8 to 2.2 times their body weight for a 1RM. Your 1RM, or one-rep maximum, is the maximum amount of weight you can lift once with correct form. If you compensate or need assistance from a spotter, then the weight is too heavy and doesn't count.

For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, you should be able to do one leg press with 180 to 220 pounds on average. Less than this amount means your ability is below average. Accomplishing a 1RM of 2.5 times your body weight or more is above average. But if you use this math and then try to lift the amount you calculate using this formula, you could injure yourself if your strength is below average. Only attempt to lift very heavy weights with a spotter present to help if necessary.

Test for Your 1RM

An easy way to estimate your 1RM is to perform five to 10 reps of a leg press with the most weight you can handle and then use a weight load calculator to estimate your 1RM. This method offers a range of weights so injury is less likely.

If you use a weight that you think you can lift 10 times and you actually become fatigued with fewer reps, you can simply use the number of reps you actually can perform for the calculation.

If you can do a leg press with 100 pounds for five reps then your 1RM is 120 pounds, according to the free online weight load calculator from the American Council on Exercise. However, if you can press 100 pounds 10 times, then your 1RM is 141 pounds.

Average 1RM Percentage

Knowing if you fit into the average of a 1RM for a leg press is a useful test, but this doesn't tell you how much you should lift for a multi-rep set. The average amount of weight that a healthy person should be able to lift for at least one set of eight to 12 reps is 60 to 80 percent of his 1RM.

A range of eight to 12 reps is an effective range for strength and muscular conditioning gains. Simply figure out your 1RM and multiply that by 0.6 and 0.8 to discover a starting range of what to lift.

Leg Presses are Unique

The leg press allows you to lift heavier weight than many other exercises for the thighs and glutes, such as the squat. During a squat, stress from the exercise extends not just to your legs and hips, but also to your back and shoulders. This limits how much weight you can use.

The leg press exercise only places stress on the targeted muscles of the lower body as the upper body rests against the backrest of the machine. Therefore, do not try to lift the same amount of weight you can press with your legs when you do a squat, lunge or leg extension.

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