STARTING POSITION: Sit in the machine, positioning your back and sacrum (tailbone) flat against the machine's backrest. Place your feet on the resistance plate, toes pointing forward and adjust your seat and foot position so that the bend in your knees is at approximately 90 degrees with your heels flat. Lightly grasp any available handles to stabilize your upper extremity. Contract (“brace”) your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine, be careful to avoid movement in your low back throughout the exercise.
Slowly exhale while pushing the resistance plate away from your body by contracting your glutes, quadiceps and hamstrings. Keep your heels flat against the resistance plate and avoid any movement in the upper extremity.
Continue extending your hips and knees until the knees reach a relaxed, extended position, with the heels still pressed firmly into the plate. Do not hyperextend (lock-out) your knees and avoid lifting your butt off the seat pad or rounding out your low back.
Pause momentarily, then slowly return to your starting position by flexing (bending) the hips and knees, and allowing the resistance plate to move towards you in a slow, controlled manner. Do not allow your upper thighs to compress your ribcage. Repeat the movement.
Exercise Variation: Single-leg press.
Repeat the same exercise, but use each leg independently
Improper technique can lead to injury. Control the extension phase by keeping your heels in contact with the plate and avoid locking out your knees. During the return phase, control the movement and avoid compressing your upper thighs against your ribcage.