leg press instead of squats?

Since I would normally not have a spotter I was wondering if I can substitute regular squats with leg presses..

Leg presses seem to be a lot safer.. any opinions on this?

Thanks

Of course you can substitute them. A better question is should you
substitute them. The answer is NO!

Why is that?? and I suppose I could alwys do regular squats with dumbbells instead of the bar going across you back.. My main concern is saftey of course...

"couldnt you just squat in the power cage?"

I may give that a try to see how it feels.. thanks for the advice!

I don't see the real safety issue. If you are going to fail, just let go of
the bar and step slightly forward. It will just fall on the floor behind
you. Olympic lifters squat heavy with no spot often.

If you are still worried, use the squat rack as suggested.

I always squat in the cage but enjoy finishing out squat day with a few sets of heavy leg presses. You can't really screw up the form on a leg press so (i think) it helps you add some extra leg work in when other wimpier muslce groups might hold you back.

Certainly no replacement.

Poz wasn't there something posted here recently that the leg press puts undue strain on the patellar tendon.

Shit I've killed too many brain cells.

I can't remember if it was here, T-Nation, or the Crossfit message board.

Ah well I recommend squats but if you won't do them then leg presses will have to be good enough.

Or you could do trap bar deads if a trap bar is available or conventional deads or hell even zercher squats.

Shite do anything but the leg press for your primary leg exercise.

Leg presses make the baby jesus cry.

I'm recovering from a dislocated shoulder so for me squats are not a great idea now, although I'm almost back to normal with it. instead I've been doing squats, lunges, and step ups (??) with dumbells, it's good as they work your grip, back and traps as well. I also do BW squats and sometimes hit the leg press.

I often train legs using just squats in a power rack and leg presses.

But,

NOTHING BEATS FREE WEIGHT BARBELL SQUATS!

Sometimes I will work my way up to a heavy weight in the power rack then I will finish my legs with a 1 set to failure on the leg press of 30 to 50 reps.

Other times I will start with the leg press and finish with high rep squats.

And I often train on my own without a spotter.

As for what Mule said about leg presses putting undue strain on the patellar tendon, I agree in part.

And if you have bad knees the last exercise I would recommend is the leg press, (although foot position can ease the strain on the knee)

But if your knees are fine you shouldn't have any trouble with the leg press, but I'd stick to the squat as the primary leg exercise.

deadlifts IMO.

There seems to be a substitute squat for those with injuries in areas of the upper body like shoulder and biceps injuries. I saw it on the net at IronMind. It was called a hip squat belt. It read there that Magnus Samuelson (forgive the spelling errors if there are any) used it to keep his leg strength up to par or to keep them from atrophy during recovery from an arm injury.

I have used something like it and while it's no sub for barbell squats, it still make more sense to do them before considering the leg press.

If your going for a Personal Record in squat then get
a spotter, preferrably two spotters, three spotters
would be even better. I have been doing a lot of
snatches and overhead squats (thats with the bar
raised over my head with arms locked straight) and
when I tried the back squat it was really easy. Not
only that but my the weights I'd been using went up a
bit.

I actually try to do the snatches and overhead squats
4 or 5 times a week. Obviously NOT going to failure.
I'm also trying to get the pistol (one legged squat).

Your decision mainly rests on what your goals are?

"NOTHING BEATS FREE WEIGHT BARBELL SQUATS! "

This is incorrect info. Deadlifts are very much the same movement if done correctly and they also incorporate the upper body. Many well known strength trainers/researcehrs will tell you this and back it up with research and experience. If you really think about it, it makes sense. And, you do not require a spotter!!

DEADLIFTS!!!

Something I've always wondered is why do people do sqats with a bar crushing their spine, when a deadlift also has the same leg movement. I don't know much about S&C, so why do ppl do both? Are both deadlifts and squats needed?

Why would squats/deads put less stress on the patellar/knee than the leg-press?

Answers please...

I layed off squatting for a while after my shoulder surgery because of the lack of flexibility.  Finally I found the Top Squat from Dave Draper's website.  It allows me to squat pain free and provides good control for the bar.

Top Squat

"Why would squats/deads put less stress on the patellar/knee than the leg-press?"

I think it has to do with foot placement and how far forward your knee slides beyond your foot.

When doing barbell squats/deadlifts, because the bar isn't in a fixed position on a track (like a Smith Machine or legpress machine) it travels with your body in a more natural movement, making it harder to cheat by letting knees move too far forward, putting stress on the patella tendon.

It's hard for me to put into words, but think of doing squats on a Smith Machine with its fixed track. When you squat, the bar moves perfectly straight up and down and your body has to try and compensate this unnatural motion resulting in stressing certain joints (ie patella tendon) but doing a free barbell squat, the bar is able to follow the slight forward and backward movement of your body during your full range of motion. It's not a lot of difference in motion but it makes a big difference in the long run imo. Squats and other free weight exercises create more natural movements that stress the joints less than machines.

I always stick to squats and deadlifts for lower body development and I've tried all the machines. Yeah it's nice to be able to load up the leg press with a ton of plates, but you'll get a lot more out of doing less weight in squats (and deadlifts) in the long run.

Oh yeah, and back to the original question, as others have said, just squat in the cage and you'll do great.

Shooter34 I was refering to exercises for the legs, when I said that "NOTHING BEATS FREE WEIGHT BARBELL SQUATS! "

But I would like see the info you have on the squat vs the deadlift for overall strength development of the body, and also with specific focus on the quads/glutes/hams and spinal erectors.

I'm not trying to be a smart arse, I'm just curious.

"Shooter34 I was refering to exercises for the legs, when I said that "NOTHING BEATS FREE WEIGHT BARBELL SQUATS! "
But I would like see the info you have on the squat vs the deadlift for overall strength development of the body, and also with specific focus on the quads/glutes/hams and spinal erectors.

I'm not trying to be a smart arse, I'm just curious."

You could start by reading alot of Ian King's writing's. T-mag has alot of articles he has written. While I can't rmemeber where I read it, I believe Tudor Bompa is also an advocator of the deadlift....

http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=483907

I realize you are not being a smart ass. As I said though "If the deadlift is done correctly" you will hit all of the areas you specify as well as some upper body, lats for example....the jist is, keep your ass down and drive the legs through the floor, I know alot of people do not do this and figure it is all lower back but the lower back does not become active until the last part of the lift....anyway, hope this helps.

EDIT: As an adder, I am unable to do effective squats which is why I did more reading/research/trial and error on dead's. They definitely wipe me out much moreso than squats but only when I learned how to do them correctly. And when I did, my strength on this lift definitely improved.