When it comes to leg workouts, one exercise that shouldn’t be overlooked is leg extension. The leg extension exercise primarily focuses on the quadriceps, with special attention to the muscle rectus femoris.
Leg Extension Benefits
As you raise and lower the padded bar against resistance, you can see your quadriceps flex and contract, providing immediate visual feedback of your muscle engagement. Quads are responsible for important movements like walking, running, jumping, and squatting. Neglecting these muscles can lead to imbalances and weaknesses in your lower body. Strengthening these muscles is vital for knee stability, hip flexibility, and overall lower body strength.
How to Do Leg Extensions?
1. Adjust the weight on the leg extension machine, starting with a lighter resistance to ensure proper form and engagement of your quads.
2. Position your leg under the pad and onto the rails of the machine for stability.
3. Slowly lift your legs as far as you can, exhaling as you do so.
4. Hold the fully extended position for two seconds, keeping tension in your quads without locking your knees.
5. Inhale as you lower the weight back to the starting position. Control the descent and avoid dropping your legs or going beyond a 90-degree angle.
How to Add Leg Extensions to Your Workout
Leg extensions are typically performed during leg workouts, after compound exercises like deadlifts or squats. However, you can experiment and find the order that works best for you. Some people prefer to start with leg extensions to target the quads early on, while others like to finish with them to ensure a final burnout.
Leg Extension Variations
You can sit on a chair and use ankle weights or resistance bands to create resistance for your quadriceps, just like the leg extension machine. These variations offer a similar effect and help maintain quad strength even without the specific machine.