DIY Leg Press
Like many people I wanted to keep my legs strong and wanted variety from just doing heavy squats. I missed having access to a leg press machine so I built my own. Included are both versions of it. The original was a incline DIY Leg Press. Later came the flat DIY Leg Press which is the one I have chosen to stick with. Both versions I have successfully used with up to 200lbs. I am unsure of just how heavy either versions can really go.
The incline version used a heavy duty wooden frame I made from scrap supplies. Rolling up and down the frame is a modified version of a wooden movers dolly I already had. The weights are contained inside a large plastic tote with a secure locking lid. I did it this way so that if the leg press failed and fell towards me (which was a huge fear of mine) my hope was that the lid would keep the weights from breaking loose. Cinder blocks are stacked to allow the wood frame to be propped up on to create the incline.
Front view. Notice the block of wood attached to dolly to keep the tote from falling off towards you when using this. To use this simply put your feet on the black portion of the tote (or the front portion of the yellow lid) and push straight up.
View showing this elevated.
Pictured above is that frame with the modified dolly on it. Notice there is a track to keep the wheels going in proper place. To make this roll better I replaced the wheels since they would turn with new heavy duty wheels from Lowe’s that only go straight. The plastic tote with weights sits on top of the dolly.
Listed below is the flat leg press.
I used an old pallet to start with and then added weight bars and weights to it. I of course reinforced the pallet first. My original idea for this came from an awesome YouTuber* that I stumbled upon who’s version is much nicer and portable. Included at the bottom of this page is a link to his video. I found that in my gym it was too difficult to keep removing it like he does since I do not have that much room to get around the sides of my workout cage. Also cost was an issue so I used what I had rather than building it from scratch like he did.
You can combine it with a combination of both weight plates and sand filled weights like I did. I tried several locations to use this in and ultimately permanently placed it under my scaffold (as shown above).
Numerous precautions were used to try to remain as safe as possible when using this. I used 3/4″ hollow steel pipes with T- Connectors create a frame that I anchored behind this to the wall. The entire structure sits under a heavy duty Scaffold (with the wheels removed). Ratchet straps are used to tether this leg press machine to the scaffold. The scaffold also has ratchet straps to secure it to the wall and other heavy duty structures in the garage. The bar at the other end of this leg press has weights on it too in order to create some balance and reduce this entire workout machine from lifting up off of its steel frame that it hinges up from.
A 2×4 lays under this as a plan b in case falls and the safety ladder (rated up to 300lbs) were to fail to support this. It is not likely the 2×4 will be able to support this but it cannot hurt to have it there. The main reason for the 2×4 is so if you remove excess weight you can lift the leg press up with your hands and put the 2×4 on a higher rung on the sides of the scaffold. This allows for this leg press to double up as a makeshift hack squat machine or simply for increasing arm strength when lifting it up.
I use a mat to lay on the ground with and place my feet on opposite ends of the foam that is attached to the bar that is attached to the leg press when using this as a leg press.
I do not claim responsibility for your safety so be mindful of testing with gradual weight increases to determine how much they can safely hold. Also be sure to regularly inspect all gym equipment before using it to be on the lookout for obvious safety concerns. This includes tightening the ends of weight bars to ensure weights do not fall off and cause injuries.
*Here is the link to the “Kurt Press” on YouTube that I mentioned that gave me the inspiration to modify and make my own flat leg press from. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLXIpr_ZflA