Leg extensions is an isolation exercise for a complete quads workout. Quadriceps are composed of four muscles, and all four are worked with this exercise.
I usually like to use the leg extension machine after doing squats.
I do squats first for the simple reason that I want to be completely rested when I do it.
If I did other exercises before I would probably be too tired to do squats (or other compound exercises for legs) properly or with the max weight that I could use in rested conditions.
Leg Extensions Details
PRIMARY MUSCLE: Quads
SECONDARY MUSCLES: None
EQUIPMENT: Leg Extension Manchine
This is a very concentrated exercise for quads only. There are not many exercises that don't use secondary or accessory muscle, but this one is one of those...
INITIAL POSITION: Sit on the machine with your back fully in contact with the back support. Slide it forward enough to allow you to perform a full extension of your legs. Set the desired weight and grab the side handles to avoid lifting your body when you lift the weights. Position your feet behind the pads, with pads just above your ankles.
MOVEMENT: Extend your legs completely and after a moment of contraction return to the initial position, slowly.
BREATHING: Exhale when you extend your legs and inhale when you lower them.
TIPS and ERRORS: The only errors that you can do at this machine is not to keep your back in contact with the back support (if you sit too much forward) and to extend your legs too much (if you push up with no control) and damage your ligaments.
This exercise works all your quads muscles, although changing the orientation of your toes you can focus more on certain areas:
- Tip toes pointing outside: you isolate the work more on the internal part of your quads
- Tip toes straight: in neutral position you work your quads equally
- Tip toes pointing inside: the workout is more focused on the external part of your quads
One Leg at the Time
Some machines have a longer pad that covers both your feet, like the one in the picture above. My gym, and hopefully yours too, is equipped with a second machine that has two separate pads which allows you to extend each leg separately.
Using the machine with one big pad made me notice that my right leg was way more tired than the other one.
This made me switch to the machine with two pads so at least I can work both legs equally.
Have you experienced the same?
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