The Proper Strategy to Do Leg Extensions for Robust and Meaty Quads

Final month, I talked about how I’ve reincorporated weight machines into my strength-training exercises to good impact.

This yr, we’ll be doing a little articles on the best way to use varied weight machines correctly. One of many advantages of utilizing machines is that they’ve a a lot simpler studying curve than lifting barbells. However there are some things it’s best to learn about utilizing every so as to keep away from ache and damage and use them most successfully for constructing measurement and energy.

First up in these tutorials is the leg extension machine, which targets your quadriceps and your quadriceps alone. 

There may be some folklore on the market that the leg machine could cause accidents and places an excessive amount of stress on the knees. However this isn’t borne out by analysis, which has discovered that leg extensions are protected, together with for ACL rehabilitation

There’s additionally a fantasy that leg extensions aren’t useful. However quad energy interprets to all the things from strolling to operating, and notably to explosive actions like leaping and reducing. Additionally, as a result of folks typically use compensating muscle groups when doing different leg workouts (particularly in the event that they’re coping with accidents), leg extensions, by isolating the quads, may help appropriate energy imbalances created by these compensating methods. That is helpful in stopping new accidents, in addition to re-injuries, notably a second ACL tear

Not solely are leg extensions a protected strength-building train, additionally they assist offer you outlined and meaty legs, so you possibly can confidently put on your shorty shorts round city. And, because you’re solely transferring a single joint, they carry out this operate with out requiring the form of restoration you want after doing the squat or leg press. 

However since leg extensions, like all workouts, are solely protected to do should you do them proper, let’s get into the best way to carry out them correctly.

Setting Up the Machine

My residence fitness center, plate-loaded leg machine doesn’t have as many adjustment choices as one you’ll discover in a industrial fitness center, so I couldn’t dial in my place as a lot as you would possibly be capable to, however this a typically good set-up place.

The leg extension itself is an easy motion. The massive factor you must take note of is organising the machine earlier than you begin doing them.

There are a number of changes to make to the machine earlier than you start this train to make sure ergonomic consolation, maximization of strength-producing, hypertrophy-creating power, and the prevention of undue ache and pressure in your joints: 

Weight stack/plates. There are completely different colleges of thought on what weight it’s best to use for leg extensions. One is that it’s best to go along with decrease weight since you’re solely utilizing a single joint to maneuver the load, and also you’re not in a position to exert that a lot power with out kind breaking down. To get the hypertrophic stimulus with decrease weight, you’ll have to do excessive reps within the 15-20 vary. In case you’re going to go the excessive rep route with leg extensions, carry out them on the finish of your exercise, so that you don’t fatigue your self for the principle leg train just like the squat.

The opposite college of thought is that so long as you possibly can carry out the reps with good kind and with out ache, you possibly can stick with the standard 8-12 rep vary prescribed for hypertrophy and go heavier.

Experiment and discover what works for you.

Seat again distance. The seat again might be adjusted forwards or backwards. Positioning it appropriately will reduce undue pressure in your knees and mean you can produce most power. You wish to transfer the seat again in order that once you sit down, your knees will not be too far in entrance of the sting of the seat’s base, nor too far again. Your knees ought to align with the leg bar’s pivot level. The creases on the backs of the knees ought to sit towards the sting of the butt pad. 

Leg pad top. The pad that may sit on high of your decrease legs can typically be adjusted up or down. The pad ought to relaxation the place the ankle flexes. Not up in your shins or down in the direction of your toes.

Leg bar vary of movement. The leg bar might be adjusted in order that it sits kind of below the seat’s base. The additional again it sits, the higher the vary of movement that will likely be doable in your leg extensions. Alter the leg bar to full depth to maximise the vary of movement. 

There may be typically additionally a pad that may be adjusted over the thighs to lock them down. As your butt/legs shouldn’t come up should you’re positioned appropriately and do the train correctly, this pad isn’t crucial. 

When you’ve bought all these changes in place, you could wish to make a remark someplace of the numbered positions of every piece, so the following time you utilize the machine, you received’t need to spend time fiddling round and making the changes by means of trial and error.

Doing Leg Extensions

Now that the machine is about up proper, it’s time to do a correct leg extension: 

Sluggish and managed. The massive mistake folks make with this train is bouncing/swinging the leg bar up, utilizing momentum, and letting it drop again down. As a substitute, you wish to elevate the bar up and convey it down in a gradual and managed method. Sluggish and managed is the trail to hypertrophy.

Raise the bar. As you increase the leg bar, you’re not lifting your butt and hips up. You’re not rocking forwards and backwards; solely your legs are transferring, not the higher half of your physique. Butt stays involved with the seat’s base pad; again stays involved with the seat’s again pad. Lean again slightly. Grip the handles to maintain your butt down.

Steadily convey the bar up till you attain full knee extension/peak contraction. Pause for a second throughout this high maintain. Squeeze. Really feel and relish the burn.

Decrease the bar. A lot of hypertrophy occurs in the course of the eccentric section of a elevate, so decrease the bar in the identical gradual and managed method that you just lifted it — its descent ought to take a full one to 2 seconds. 

Slightly than slamming again down, the load ought to simply gently contact the load stack because it returns. When you hear it frivolously clang, elevate the bar up once more and do one other rep.

Toe place makes little distinction. Preserving your toes straight forward versus angling them slightly inwards or outwards can create small variations by which elements of the quads get labored. However until you’re an elite bodybuilder, this isn’t one thing you might want to fear about. Preserving your toes straight or tilted barely in is ok. Do no matter feels most snug for you, as this may make it easier to produce most power. 

Go for full vary of movement. Go all the way in which up and all the way in which down with every rep. In case you can solely elevate the leg bar midway up, the load is simply too heavy.

Go arduous. Don’t simply mindlessly crank out leg extensions, tacking them on to the tip of your exercise with out giving them a lot effort. Simply going by means of the motions received’t construct muscle. You need to be doing units that convey you inside one to 2 reps of failure.

Positive it hurts, but it surely hurts so good, child. 

Leg extensions might be executed utilizing only a single leg at a time, which might be helpful for addressing energy imbalances.

As a result of leg extensions solely work the quads, they need to be executed in a program that features different leg workouts like squats, leg presses, and lunges. 

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