Squats are king of the leg exercises. No other exercise even comes close to matching the effectiveness of squats. But, if you have back issues or just want a change of pace, the leg press machine is a good alternative.
I researched machines for quite a while before choosing the Body Solid GLPH 1100 leg press. I found a few different models on craigslist but they were sold before I could try them out. I finally found the GLPH110 in a fitness store showroom. The sled went up and down smoothly; it had a good-sized footplate; and I liked the way the back pad just flipped up out of the way for hack squats.
The fitness store wanted $1199 plus tax for it. I knew from my research I could find one on eBay for $979, with no sales tax or shipping, but I found an even better deal. I ended up paying $629 for a brand new model, with no tax or shipping!
At the time I was looking for a leg press, Jesupgym an eBay seller, advertised the Body Solid GLPH 1100 leg Press/hack squat machine for $629 plus another $300 for shipping. I ended up calling them and they suggested buying it through their gym in Iowa, then picking it up at the Body Solid headquarters in Forest Park, Illinois, saving money by avoiding any sales tax or shipping. Forest Park was just over a one-hour drive for me, so this was a done deal.
The Body Solid leg press came in five different sized boxes of varying weights and lengths. They barely fit into my SUV truck, and I could see why every seller was charging at least $299 for shipping.
Assembly was somewhat of a challenge. The owner's manual/assembly instructions aren't the greatest and the illustrations were hard to follow. You can download the manual here. I ended up finding a photo on the internet that helped me with assembly.
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The first thing to do is to make sure you have all of the parts and hardware needed for assembly. The hardware came in plastic containers and was easily identifiable. It's always best to use the correct metric wrench; however a standard 3/4" wrench will fit the nuts and bolt heads.
Most of the hardware was correct, except I received two 1/2" x 3 1/4" long bolts instead of two 1/2" x 3 1/2" bolts, so I just left off the two 1/2" flat washers and then the shorter bolts worked. You also needed two different sized Allen wrenches and I received two that were of the same size. I have plenty of Allen wrenches so this wasn't a big deal, but for someone that doesn't have a well-stocked tool box this could have been a problem.
In step two of the assembly manual, it shows you how to assemble the sled, but the sled came fully assembled. This is a really easy step, huh?
Step three was the hardest part of the assembly process: you have to lift up the two side pieces of the leg press with the sled lying loose inside, while at the same time attaching the main support of the leg press. Easy to do with two people, but I had no help at the time.
In step four, make sure you slide the handle into the welded ring before bolting the support ring onto the side channel.
The rest of the assembly steps were somewhat confusing, so I took some close up photos to help you out:
The whole assembly process took about 5-6 hours. The sled assembly does have a little up and down play inside the side channels, but you notice this more doing hack squats rather than using the leg press option. Speaking of the hack squat, my feet tend to slip on the diamond foot plate. This plate has to be at a ninety degree angle when doing hack squats and even then there's some slippage. Wear shoes with good traction when doing hack squats.
The leg press works like a dream. The quad track roller system operates smoothly, the diamond footplate is big enough, there is easy access to load plates, there are three lockout positions for safety, it's solidly built, and the footprint is only 56"H x 83"L x 34"W, making this unit compact enough to fit inside most home gyms. AND, the back pad/footrest has a quick flip and lock mechanism that can be set to do calf raises. This feature isn't even mentioned on the Body Solid web site!
Foot plate in calf press postion
Five different positions can be selected.
Body Solid claims this unit has a capacity of 1000 pounds, which I don't doubt. However, what they fail to mention is that you'll need to buy 100-pound Olympic plates to reach this capacity.
The Olympic plate holders under the sled are 12" long. My 45LB Olympic plates are 1 1/2' thick, meaning I can only put eight on each side, for a total of 16 plates. Sixteen 45-pound Olympic plates equal 720 pounds and Body Solid tells me the sled weighs 108 pounds, so if you're doing the math you can only put 828 pounds on this machine, unless you buy 100-pound plates.
Now, if you are doing the leg press correctly with a FULL range of motion, you won't be able to do 828 pounds for quite a while unless you're Tom Platz.
Final word: Buy the Body Solid GLPH 1100 leg press You won't regret it.
Using the Body Solid leg press machine
The leg press machine works the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Placing the feet low against the foot plate isolates the quadriceps; placing the feet higher on the foot plate calls on the gluteal muscles and the hamstrings.
Going deep is very important when doing leg presses. There's a guy at every gym who loads up a leg press machine with 1000 pounds, then moves the load a whopping six inches. For maximum muscle gains, a full range of motion must be used.
Make sure your back is flat against the backrest. Inhale and release the safety bars, then bend the knees completely so that the thighs touch or nearly touch the torso. Drive the weight up with force and exhale at the top of the movement. Don't lock out your knees at the top. This will keep constant tension on the muscles.
Repeat for reps.
Read COMMENTS or jump down to leave one.
Barry C. Do you have this leg press? How do you like it?
Gary Hi there, I read your Body Solid leg press review and have one myself. Overall I am happy with it but I find the bottom wheels lifting up and down off the track during hack squats to be really distracting. I thought maybe my unit was defective or put together wrong, but I guess not. Any chance you've figured out any way to minimize this? Or will I just get used to it? Thanks for your help!
Barry C. Yes, I guess we'll have to get used to it. But, I'm going to do a google search and see what I can come up with.
Gary I contacted Body Solid and they said "thats normal for this unit". Not sure how that got through product testing.
Kelly Angel I looked seriously at a Body Solid leg press when I first considered purchasing one. The only problem I saw were the short plate bars. I can't see spending $1200 on a leg press like this. The quality just was not there (in my opinion).
I ended up purchasing a Maxicam off of Craigslist. The machine holds over 2000 pounds of 45 pound plates. The disadvantage is that the particular model I purchased does not have the hack squat option (no big deal to me - a leg press is a leg press - not a multi-tool). The cost was about $400 less than I would have spent on the Body Solid, and it's stout! It weighs about 500 pounds, and holds a bunch of Olympic plates. The machine new costs about $3200, but I picked it up for $900 from a gym that was closing down.
Have patience and purchase nice equipment - you will be happier in the end.
Barry C. Kelly, You are right about the short plate loading bars on the Body Solid leg press. I ended up buying two 100 pound plates so I could increase the capacity. What I really like about the Body Solid is it's narrow and it fits in my workout area, where a commercial leg press wouldn't. Sounds like you got a good buy, though. I sent you a few emails to your yahoo address. Did you get them? If not, check your spam folder.
Ben Hi I used link for manual and went to body solid site with no success can anyone email me manual for this machine. Thanks
Barry C. Try the link now (refresh the page)...they changed the link on me!
Ben Thanks Barry ur a life saver!
Roberto May be you can suggest solid body to put 2 more adjustable wheels that should roll on the upper part of the rails inside. Thats what I did and it works.
daniel could you please tell me how to do this? because i would like to purchase this unit. some reveiws i read talk about this problem.if it simple to fix i will buy it
Roberto You have to adapt one more pair of wheels to the sled, if you send me your e-mail I will send you a pic. roberto201010 hotmail
Barry C. Roberto, upload the pic here
Barry C. Roberto from Peru built his own version of this leg press with added wheels. He writes: "I have a workshop so watching pictures, the assembly manual and reading the technical specifications I made my own machine.
Doing the maths and physics I could notice that up and down play, that play exists because the value of the diameter of wheels cant be the same than the value of the height inside of the side channels (the same values wouldn't let wheels roll), so when the sled start going upwards you feel a little jump because when the sled go downwards the bottom wheels roll on the lower part of the channels and when you push to make the sled go upwards the bottom wheels roll on the upper part of the channels.
What I did was fixing 2 more wheels to the bottom of the sled, they roll contacting the upper part of the channels as you can see in the pictures." Best regards. Roberto from Peru.
Barry C. Roberto, you have some skills my friend! Keep liftin'.
daniel is that your e-mail Roberto
Roberto I made a mistake, my mail is email@example.com. As you can see, I adjusted an extra pair of wheels, they role on the upper part of the rails
Pam I have this leg press and am happy with it. Unfortunately, I need to move it downstairs and around a tight corner. Does anyone have tips on how I can disassemble it to move it? I want to leave it as whole as possible to avoid the struggle of putting it back together.
Barry C. I don't see a way to move it without disassembly.
Pam Thanks Barry. I was hoping you wouldn't say that. It took me about 8 hours to put it together initially.. because I had no help and I'm a petite female. I'll at least get some help this time.
Jeff I bought this and received the assembly instructions, but no operating instructions. The sled came in hack squat position with the back rest down. Can anyone tell me how to convert it to the leg press position.
For those considering purchasing this item, my overall feeling about this machine is I'm thoroughly disgusted. I have lots of tools & I've assembled mechanical/electronic/furniture items together for many years, but this item is the worst regarding the instructions and ease of assembly. Also, you can't get your hands in areas to easily put this item together. A number of things don't line up. What adds to the frustration is there are no user manual instructions to tell you how to use it (i.e. convert to hack squat, leg press, calf press/raises). This is beyond belief and I've been working out for a long time. I'd give this company a negative 10 (-10) on a scale of 1 to 10. If I could return it without much trouble and cost, I definitely would. If the owner spent time assembling and trying to figure all this out, I'm sure it would be much different. I don't recommend this item. I wish I had seen the feedback from the writer above.
Pam I agree that this was very difficult to assemble. The instructions leave a lot to be desired. There are pictures, but it's easy to assemble in the wrong order. I did that in a few places and had to disassemble and retry. It involves trial and error, but worked out in the end.
Ron Just bought this leg press after thinking about it for quite some time! I finally pulled the plug when Fitness Factory did its Black Friday sale. Just received the pallet of 5 or so boxes weighing approx 350 lbs. Will post a review, if I have anything to add that hasn't already been said, later.
Andreas Konig I really liked your review and am thinking about getting this machine. I could get it used for about 600€. I have 2 questions though: (1) Body-Solid never answered to my question about the maximum user height, and there's no dealer close by. I am 6'4" with exceptionally long legs. Would I be too tall for the machine? (2) what do you think about buying this machine i a used condition? Reading the troubles when assembling the machine in all those comments makes me uncertain if it's really worth dis- and reassembling the unit
Barry C. Andreas, before dis-assembly can you try the machine out to see if works for you? My guess is it will be ok for your height issues. I'm not sure what you are paying used, but here in the USA $300-$400 would be about right for used.
Andreas Konig Too bad you're not my height :-) Maybe you have a friend who is 6'4" or taller...? Unfortunately, the seller and the closest shop where I could try it out are about the same distance. With fuel prices in Europe, just driving there to check that would make the machine much more expensive. I couuld get it for about 650€ including transporter rent and fuel costs. Since it would cost about 830€ new here and the owner inherited from his father in a barely used and mint condition, that would still be a decent price. Also, I haven't seen another used one in months.
terry Did I make a bad purchase with this machine? I have not received it yet, so I can still cancel it. Please advise if you know something I should.
Barry C. I still use this machine at least once a week. I can't use the hack squat (hack squats kill my knees) but the leg press and seated calf press are great.
Gregg I need a leg press machine, and have tight space so the dimensions of this machine are perfect. Are there any other 45 degree leg press"s that is even in this leg press's machines class? Is there anything to compare it to with the same dimensions (price wise is there anything better) Should I buy this?
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