TOP 9 Leg Press Alternatives & Exercises You Can Do at Home

Jeff Baldelli
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What’s So Good About the Leg Press?

The leg press is a weight training exercise that utilizes the weight of the body to press weight away from the body. It follows a unique movement pattern where the knees are bent nearly to 90°.

The lower body works primarily in the concentric or positive portion of the lift, while the upper body works mostly in the eccentric or lowering portion. Simultaneous activation of the quads, hamstrings, and glutes occurs during leg presses.

This exercise also allows you to lift heavy weights, work multiple muscle groups, maintain proper form, and get quality repetitions in for your legs.

So there are definitely a lot of reasons why so many people love the leg press. But because it’s so easy to do and it allows you to lift heavy weights in relative safety, it’s also the exercise that is most likely to cause an injury.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, it’s important to talk to your doctor before doing this exercise. If your leg press is causing you pain, stop doing it. You can’t fool yourself into ignoring an injury and hoping it goes away. Let your body heal.

Leg Press Alternative Exercises

If you are looking to add some leg press exercises to your overall leg workout routine, but you do not have a leg press machine at home, or you simply do not have access to a gym, worry not. You can still get a similar, intense leg workout at home with a few simple household items.

One of the most important things for people to do is to find a leg press alternative, especially if they do not have enough money to buy a home leg press machine. They can easily get a workout with a leg press product in a store, but if they do not have the funds, they can certainly get the same intense workout in their home.

Below, we will go over the top 9 leg press alternative (and inversion) exercises you can do at home which will work your legs much more than just walking around while doing your daily chores.

Facing the Stairs

You will need:

  • 1 Chair
  • 1 Table

What You Need To Do:

Position the chair with the base facing towards a table with high legs. Place the table anywhere between mid to low torso height.

Stand with your feet under the table at one end of the chair.

Now, put your hands on the chair back and squat down into a sitting position. You should have your back facing the direction of the stairs.

Resistance Band Leg Press

A resistance band is a flexible piece of strong material that stretches when you put weight on it. It’s great for leg presses because you can easily grip it. You can either clamp the leg press on a bench or use a chair with it.

For added resistance, attach extra bands to the bottom of the chair.

Resistance band leg presses are great because they don’t take up a lot of space, they can be used virtually anywhere, and they can be done quickly.

You don’t need a lot of weights and equipment to do resistance band leg presses.

Additionally, you can customize the resistance and target different muscles by varying grip width, stance width, and band tension. This makes the resistance band leg press a very versatile exercise.

However, the resistance band leg press does have a few downsides. The first is that your body weight has to be supported by the band. This means that as your body weight goes up, the band might not be able to support the weight.

Resistance Band Broad Jumps

These are an awesome exercise that you can do anywhere, even at home. They are an excellent option for your leg workouts. The resistance bands work in the following way. And since you’ll only be performing one leg, you can always switch them to work on the other leg.

Make sure your resistance band is tight, but not too tight. This will allow you to perform the next set of exercises.

Standing perpendicular to the band, place it around your left foot.

Place your right foot on top of a chair, stool, or any kind of support that will be sturdy when you perform the exercise.

At this point, you will put your hands on your hips.

In this position, you lower your hips into a squat position. This is done by bending at the knees.

This is the part where you go from a squat to an upright position. As a way to prepare for this, place your hands on your knees. Then, leap into a broad jump. This will get your muscle working. You should do this to warm up before going to the last part of the exercise.

As you go from one leg to the other, hold the band with both hands.

Return to the squat and repeat.

Barbell Step-ups

Type: Step Up

Target Areas: Glutes | Quads

Advanced Variation: Dumbbell Step Ups

Type: Step Up

Target Areas: Glutes | Quads

Advanced Variation: Barbell Lunge

To get a killer leg workout, that includes the lower and upper body, try Barbell Step-ups.

You can do Barbell Step-ups on a platform or raised platform.

The platform should be high enough so that your body is nearly parallel to the floor when your foot is on it.

To do the Barbell Step-up, hold a barbell with both hands and step up onto a platform with one foot.

Then step down with the other foot.

Alternate feet with each step.

You can do this exercise on two legs or one. If you are doing this exercise on two legs, start with one leg.

Make sure to keep your knee behind your toes throughout the exercise.

Type: Step Up

Target Areas: Glutes | Quads

Advanced Variation: Dumbbell Step Ups

To get a great lower body workout, try Barbell Lunge.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell with both hands.

Single Leg Weighted Step-ups

Not everyone has access to a gym or maybe you just simply don’t want to wait for a leg press machine to free up. No worries as you can perform this exercise using a machine, using a barbell or using your own body weight.

One modification I like to use is a narrow stance, a close grip and a weighted plate held behind the head, which may not be as easily performed using a machine.

It may be more difficult, but better yet, because you are focusing on the front of the thighs, you will greatly challenge that area and help to improve the look.

By using your own bodyweight, you can focus on the anterior chain, which is great for lifting.

Smith Rack Squats

This exercise is often left out when one is taking about doing squats. However, it is a great exercise to do at home, if you don’t have access to a Smith machine rack.

I like to do this exercise if I am pressed for time, or if my back is feeling sore. It allows you to perform squats in a way that is a little more forgiving to the lower back. To perform this movement:

Place your feet shoulder width apart The toes should be pointed straight ahead Hold dumbbells in the hand opposite the direction you are going to squat Lift the weights straight from the ground in front of you and let them rest on your thighs Step back with your other foot so you have an equal amount of space behind you for each foot Line your feet up with your shoulders and the dumbbells and keep them pointing straight ahead Bend your knees, getting as far down as you can, while holding the dumbbells in constant place Lower yourself as far as you can, returning to the starting position in a smooth, controlled movement.

Weighted Bulgarian Split Squats

If you have access to a squat rack and/or a bench, you can do this variation using dumbbells or an olympic barbell.

Grab a pair of dumbbells or an olympic bar and hold one end of each weight in each hand, both resting on top of the inside of one of your shoulders. Stand tall and place your outside foot inside the plate on the inside of the rack (the outside foot should be stationary), and place your other foot on the outside plate.

Your inside foot should be about a foot in front of the other leg and both feet should be turned out slightly. Keeping both knees slightly bent, perform a squat by dropping the hips straight down so that both knees end up slightly in front of the toes. Both heels will stay in contact with the floor. As you reach the lowest portion of the squat, the front knee should be bent at about a 45-degree angle and the back leg should be straight (this is the leg that will be doing all of the work since it’s further away from the bench).

Once you reach the bottom of the squat, reverse direction and rise back up. Make sure that you’re only pushing through the heels and your weight stays centered over your foot and hips. Be sure to keep your chest up and maintain a tall posture throughout the entire movement.

Barbell Hip Thrusts

You can perform hip thrusts with a barbell to add weight to the movement at the top of your leg press reps. This simulates the top part of a leg press movement, which works your glutes from the side of your hip. Mount the barbell on a rack or on the supports of a squat rack at a safety height from the floor to use it as a hip thruster.

Lie on your back on the floor with your hips and knees bent at 90 degrees, and your feet flat on the floor. Place the barbell over your hips with the weight resting on the floor. Drive up through your heels and your upper back, and maintain a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Your ass should not move at all. Lift the barbell until your body is straight and your knees form a 90-degree angle while your hips rise up from the floor, and hold for a beat. Lower the barbell down to the floor under control until your hips and lower back are slowly lowered to the ground. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Weighted Walking Lunges

Place the bar across the back of your shoulders and go for a walk. Make sure to bring some leg weights to make it an intense workout.

You can do long or short walking lunges, depending on how far you strain. Keep your core tight by firmly pulling your belly button in and fixing your shoulders back.

Calf Raises

This exercise can be done at home with as little as a five pound dumbbell. Simply heel raise your leg and lower it back down, for as many times as you can. Make sure to keep your elbow bent, so your full body weight isn’t in your hand.


You don’t always have to be in a big gym to do a squat. When you’re at home, just stand close to an object and squat down. This looks weird, but it’s a great workout.

If you want to go bigger, bring that barbell with you and squat. Just make sure you wear your wrist wraps. They’re extremely important when you’re going heavy on squats.

Doing squats at home with heavy weight is the best way to get fit.

Weighted Wall Sit

The weighted wall sit is a very effective and easy to do exercise that can improve strength considerably and can even be performed without much equipment.

A wall sit is an exercise that uses your own body weight as resistance but by holding a bar or a weight in front of your body.

It is a very effective exercise that can improve your strength considerably and also can be done without much equipment.

On the other hand, the wall dip is a variation of the wall sit transferred to a bench, usually in a gym.

This bench can be fixed to the wall to pursue security.

In addition to strengthening your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings, back and arm muscles, wall squats are also very good for your core, improving posture, and helping you stabilize to use correct form.

The wall sit can be a simple exercise which aims to develop your quadriceps.

By holding yourself up against a wall (or similar surface), you will improve the quality and length of your quadriceps.

In this exercise, you will literally know how the quadriceps are.

As a result, you will improve your posture and your quadriceps will also be at length.