Should seated leg press be avoided?
https://www.t-nation.com/training/4-most-debilitating-exercises advises against using seated leg press:
Unless you're an 86-year-old grandmother rehabilitating a total knee replacement or Brach Warren working on showcasing another vein through his left VMO, you have no business on the seated leg press. It simply hurts people!
These are not the type of injuries that people get over in a few days. The leg press has the ability to cause massive structural damage to the spine that's likely to haunt your functionality for the remainder of your skinny-legged life
Let's break down the mechanics of this movement from a practical standpoint.
The seated position, more specifically the 45-degree seated position, places the lumbar spine in a forward flexing position before your legs even begin pushing through that torturous 8-inch range of motion. This is the equivalent position to squatting with your chest facing the ground – I wouldn't recommend it if you want to remain ambulatory.
The accentuated deep flexion of the hip joints not only causes some heavy compressional forces shooting through the hips that cause joint irritation and degradation, but it also causes a dysfunctional compensation pattern in the lumbar spine, bringing it into further flexion as each segment buckles. Remember, this piss poor posture is just in the setup!
Adding a dynamic component to this setup is where this exercise becomes downright outrageous. Sure it's easy for some uncertified newbie personal trainer to program it because you just sit and push, similar to a bathroom break in the office.
The simplicity of this movement is what keeps it continually being brought back to life in an industry of alleged experts that are just as confused as the clients they're being paid to coach. The simplistic nature of little-to-no stability throughout the spinal column and hips is what intrinsically makes this the most debilitating exercise in the gym.
Bottom line, protecting the spine must be a primary focus at all times during any activity, not just weight training. The seated leg press not only lacks the ability to protect the spine, but also flaunts an unstable, maximally loaded nature that's a powder keg waiting to blow.
Does this mean that no matter what precautions and position we take when using seated leg pres,s one always incurs the risk of low back injuries?