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Quadricep Exercises - Leg Extensions


Exercise Name:
Leg Extensions

Purpose: To develop the thigh muscles.

Target Muscle Group(s):

The primary muscle targeted in this exercise is the quadriceps, specifically:
  • the rectus femoris (top of the thigh); 
  • the vastus lateralis (thigh muscle located on the outer side from the center thigh muscle); 
  • vastus medialis (thigh muscle located on the inner side from the center thigh muscle); and 
  • vastus intermedius (muscle located on the side of the leg).
The are no secondary muscles that are worked in this exercise.

leg extensions

Instructions: Proper Leg Extension Technique

1. Adjust the ankle pads of the leg extension machine so that the pads touch your ankles. 
2. Adjust the backrest so that the edge of the seat touches the back of your knees.
3. Sit on the leg extension machine and grab the handles.
4. Use your quadricep to lift the weight .
5. Squeeze your thigh muscles hard at the top of the movement.
6. Lower the weight back to the starting position.

Additional Comments And Tips:  

1. Exhale while raising the weight, and inhale while lowering the weight.
2. This is an excellent exercise for beginners. It enables beginners to safely build up their leg strength before attempting more advanced leg exercises such as squats.
3. Just to clarify, leg extensions is not the same as the leg curl. People sometimes make this mistake. Leg extensions work the thighs, while leg curls work the hamstrings.


Also Known As: Quadricep Extensions, Quad Extensions
Exercise Type: Strength Training, Weight Loss, Toning, Sports Training
Force: Push
Exercise Level: Beginner
Mechanics Type: Isolation Exercise

Leg Extension Variations: Use one leg at a time (also known as unilateral training).

Safety Precautions:

1. Use a weight that you can perform with strict form. While using very heavy weights it's easy to want to swing or rock your upper body back and forth. Anytime you swing or use momentum injuries can occur, so it's not recommended.
2. Compared to more advanced quadricep exercise such as squats or hack squats, the leg extension places less stress on the knees. 


Alternatives/Substitutions: List of Thigh Exercises
  • Hack Squats
  • Leg Press
  • Lunges (Barbell and Dumbbell Variations)
  • Squats (Barbell and Dumbbell Variations)


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