Along with squats. I consider the leg press a great exercise to do for full leg development.
Here are some the benefits as to why you may want to consider doing them too.
The leg press requires proper form, but it is not as complex as the squat, making it more beginner friendly. Machines in general can be advantageous for beginners due to the greater stability provided and the assistance with form. The leg press can provide more stability to the spine and the core, which are two extremely important areas to remain stable when lifting.
It Doesn’t Require Balance
Part of the reason the leg press gets so much hate (presumably) is the simplicity of the exercise. It’s almost seen as a lazy persons’ squat since you’re either sitting or supine during your reps. However, it’s the ease of use that, in part, makes the leg press such an effective movement.
For those who may struggle with balance, the leg press can be a good option to build leg muscles. The leg press machine assists with balance since you are in a seated position versus standing in a squat. Beginner lifters may lose balance when squatting due to issues with mobility and flexibility.
You Can Move a Lot of Weight
Most people can tolerate a pretty high volume of work in a leg press, as the quads do get a lot of exercise even in daily life, and there’s relatively little load on the back and core. The stability needed in a squat relies on your core and spine, whereas with the leg press, the stability is coming mostly from the machine. Therefore, a lifter can typically push heavier weights than they would a squat.
It Isolates the Legs Well
The leg press has you lay back on to a pad (or sit on a seat) and drive the weight using only your legs. Depending on how you position your feet on the footplate, the leg press lets you isolate the quads, hamstrings, and calves. Placing your feet lower will allow for more quad activation, whereas placing your feet higher will target the hamstrings.