Leg extension is a weight training exercise that mostly focuses on areas in and around your quadricep muscles and are also responsible for hip flexion and knee extension. Leg extension requires you to sit on a padded seat and lift the weight bar depending on the weight plate you choose. While performing this exercise, you contract your quads to your knees against the resistance of the weight plate. There are many other exercises that focuses on the quad muscles such as squats, lunges and deadlifts but none of them are as effective as leg extension.
Leg extension machines use a lever machine and you can comfortably sit on the padded seat while you raise the padded bar with your legs. In technical terms it is an open chain kinetic exercise which is slightly different from squats which is referred to as a closed chain kinetic exercise. In leg extension, your legs will not be in a stationary position.
5 advantages of using leg extension
- Leg extensions are important for strengthening the patellar ligament and quad muscles which are also attached to your knees. It focuses on strengthening the quads and thereby strengthening your knee joints as well.
- It is a great option for beginners and you do not need to fret over how to maintain form and posture while working out with it.
- If you are tired after a long gym session you could end it up with leg extension that can be covered with other compound exercises such as deadlifts and squats.
- With leg extension, you can primarily focus on core areas of the muscles. For example when you are doing squats, you are targeting on a lot many muscles but so is not the case with leg extension. It focuses only on quad muscles.
- A lot of people would tell you leg extension is not good for the knees. But it is actually the other way around. Since you are seated while doing this exercise, it actually reduces the impact on your knees. In fact if you are recovering from leg injury it is okay to exercise with a leg extension machine.
A lot of fitness experts debate over the benefits of leg extension exercises and on topics regarding their safety. But if you know how to perform the exercise well, you will be assured that it does not have any negative impact on your body.
How to do leg extension safely
- If you are having a leg injury always ensure to first take guidance from your physician and then start your rehabilitation exercises.
- Don’t go for heavy lifting. Leg extensions are not meant for maximum lifting, that is 1RM, which is the maximum you can lift at one time.Try for moderate weights and if you are a beginner then go for lower weights and then increase the pressure.
- At one time avoid doing more than 3 sets. With leg extension you are not expected to do high endurance repetitions.
- You can mix other quads workout such as squats for your lower body, along with your leg extension workout.
You need to have a sensible approach to using the leg press machine. Do not focus on increasing the intensity but see how you can maintain the effectiveness of the exercise for building your strength, endurance and of course muscles. You can even include lunges and squats with your leg extension workout session!