How to build a leg press machine

Written by jeffery keilholtz
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How to build a leg press machine
Runners use leg presses to build muscle. (muscled runner legs image by jimcox40 from

Leg press exercises help build a strong lower body and increase flexibility. Quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and gluteal muscles constrict and expand during a leg press. With a standing leg press machine and a weighted barbell over your shoulders, you can execute a press by squatting and returning to a standing position. As the knees bend and the lower body dips, leg muscles tighten. As you stand back up, the force releases the pressure in the muscles, causing the muscle fibres to burn and grow. Building your own leg press device at home will help you create a healthy body and save money on costly equipment.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood
  • 1/2-inch bolts
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Safety glasses
  • Level

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut two 24-inch long boards and two 36-inch boards from 2-by-6-inch wood. Measure and cut four 4-by-6-inch blocks of wood. Position the wood in a rectangle so each 24-inch piece is your front and back brace and each 36-inch piece is a side brace. Place a 4-by-6-inch block at each corner. All frame wood should stand vertically; the corners flush against the blocks of wood. Drill and bolt the wood together, using a 1/2-inch bolt at each end of every frame.

  2. 2

    Measure and cut two 6 1/2-foot long boards using 2-by-6-inch wood. These pieces will be the stands for the leg press. Drill and bolt the bottom of each board on the inside and at the back of the side frames. Stand straight up. Measure and mark how high your shoulders reach along each stand.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut two 8-inch long boards using 2-by-6-inch wood. These pieces will be the arms to hold the barbell. Trace a 1-inch curved dip, 3 inches from the front of each arm. Use a hand saw to cut out these curves. The curves will be the place to rest your barbell.

  4. 4

    Drill and bolt the arms at the shoulder markings on the inside of each stand. Use two bolts to secure each arm and be sure the curved ends are facing out and up. Rest a barbell between the arms. Place a level on top of the barbell to ensure the measurement is even. Adjust as necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • Use safety glasses when drilling to protect your eyes from sawdust.

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