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Leg Extensions - Muscles Worked & Benefits

Exercise Type: Single joint
Primary Muscles Worked: Quads

Leg Extensions define and shape the front of the thigh without the risk of losing mass. The exercise is particularly beneficial in shaping the area around the knee and achieving deep definition in the thigh. Another benefit of Leg Extensions is less resistance at the start position, reducing stress across the kneecap when the knee is bent.

Leg Extensions - Exercise Workout & Technique

  • Be seated in the Leg Extension machine with your feet anchored under the bar just above your ankles. Ensure that your back is touching the back seat rest.
  • Exhale and extend your legs as far as they will go. Contract and hold the weight.
  • Inhale as you return the weight close to, but not touching the weight stack.
  • Repeat this exercise for the specified amount of repetitions.

Leg Extensions - Tips & Safety

  • Keep your body anchored to the machine at all times to prevent you swinging the weight and cheating. The back of your knees should fit snugly around the front edge of the seat, with your thighs fully supported. Try not to raise your glutes from the seat when lifting.
  • The arc of motion should be approximately 90 degrees. Fully contract the quads at the top when the knees are completely straight. To avoid excess stress on the kneecap, do not bend beyond 90 degrees.

Leg Extensions - Alternatives

  • Adjusting your foot placement from wider to narrow on the training pad will vary what areas of the thigh will be targeted.
  • Try training each leg in isolation in order to achieve equal resistance between each leg or aiding in rehabilitating an injured leg.
  • Having a partner hold out their hand where you want your feet to reach can be helpful in ensuring you reach full extension.
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