Leg Extensions

Looking to add some resistance training into your exercise routine? Leg extensions are a great way to do just that while improving your lower-body strength. 

This exercise will help target your quadriceps and can greatly benefit your overall strength and stamina!

Where Leg Extensions Came From

The first real leg extension exercises came about as a result of a machine invented by Swedish doctor Gustav Zander. Zander brought his invention to the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, where his leg extension exercise machine won a gold medal. 

The machine didn’t really enter the mainstream until the 1970s, though, when Nautilus came out with a leg extension machine that quickly became popular with weightlifters. 

The Facts On The Leg Extension 

This exercise involves resistance weight training that is designed to focus on the quadriceps. Though not considered a total leg workout it is considered a great way to build strength in the upper legs. 

The user sits on the weight machine and, through a system of pulleys and cables, lifts a set of weights with their legs via a padded bar. 

Your Leg Extension Workout Prep

Getting ready to start? 

  1. Make sure that you have the proper equipment. Most gyms will have a leg extension machine at hand. 
  2. Determine the amount of weight you’d like to start with, and adjust the machine accordingly. 
  3. Sit comfortably on the machine with your legs under the pad to begin. Remember to keep your legs at a 90-degree angle throughout the exercise. 

Doing The Leg Extension Correctly

Once you’ve chosen your weight: 

  1. Hold the side bars with your hands. Make sure that your feet are pointed forward, and that the padded bar sits just on top of your lower leg. 
  2. With your quad muscles, extend your legs out straight. Keep your body still on the seat, and hold for a few moments. 
  3. Carefully lower the bar and weights back into position, taking care not to bring your legs past 90-degrees. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the desired number of reps. 

The Great Benefits Of Leg Extensions 

This exercise is a great one for beginners who are just starting out using machines, and is also good for rounding off the rest of your lower-body exercises. 

The weight training can help strengthen the quadriceps attachment for the knee, therefore supporting and strengthening the knee joint. At the same time, the quads get a great workout! 

Leg Extension Variants And Supplements

There are a few things that you can do to vary your leg extension exercises: 

  • Use different foot positioning to focus on specific parts of your thighs. Keep in mind that your foot position should not affect the angle of your legs. 
  • For more focus on side, try using only one leg to lift. 
  • If you don’t have access to a leg extension machine, consider using ankle weights or a resistance band to get a similar workout. 

Start Working The Thighs

This quad-focused exercise is great for both the beginner and the expert in strength-training. With multiple variations and a straightforward technique, this can certainly become a staple of your lower-body routine!