Leg presses are a go-to for building muscles in your legs and buttocks. Specifically, the exercise develops your hamstrings, quadriceps and gluteus maximus, or glutes. Your glutes are large muscle groups that contribute to the shape of your buttocks.
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Leg presses are effective, so expect some soreness after your workouts. If you are new to exercise, particularly strength training, or used a weight that's far heavier than usual, you're likely aching for the next few days.
Read more: Muscles Involved in a Leg Press
What Soreness Means
The dull pain you feel in your buttocks after performing leg presses might be due to delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. Exercise tears your muscle fibers. This stress, combined with the increased circulation and cell activity required to heal it, makes you feel achy and sore — so sitting may even be a challenge.
Your body repairs the tears and adds extra muscle tissue, leaving you stronger than before your workout. If you’re just starting an exercise program, chances are you'll experience significant post-workout soreness. If the pain is severe and accompanied by redness or swelling, discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine if you’ve torn or otherwise damaged a muscle.
The pain in your buttocks might begin 12 to 48 hours after the workout that included leg presses. It might fade within the next day or last for a week. A massage soothes some people, but stretching won’t ease the pain of sore muscles.
Even though the soreness makes you want to sit still, choose movement. A heavy lifting session with repeats of the leg press isn't the answer. But, walking, cycling or another light cardio movement that flushes out the muscles of your butt and legs is warranted.
Prevention and Treatment
Allow your body at least 48 hours between resistance workouts to rest and rebuild. Wait to perform the leg press until the soreness has mostly subsided. The key to minimizing post-workout soreness is regular moderate exercise. Increase the intensity of your workout sessions gradually. Start with light weights to ensure you don’t overwork your muscles and allow adequate rest between workouts.
Before doing the leg presses, warm up with some light cardio and dynamic stretches such as lunges. After your workout, lengthen your muscles with some static stretches. If you exercise regularly, incorporating leg presses and a wide variety of other exercises, your physique will develop. Eventually, only intense workouts will cause significant soreness.
Read more: Is the Leg Press a Good Machine to Use?
If you’re new to exercise, hire a personal trainer to help you perfect your leg press form. Many varieties of the exercise exist, including stand-up and seated versions. Choosing a different form of leg presses might provide adequate exercise with less ensuing soreness.
If you experience shooting or severe pain during your workout, stop immediately and talk to your doctor.