Thursday, January 6 2022

Unlike squats, leg extensions isolate your quadriceps, helping you build greater strength in those muscles.

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Want to squat harder or climb the stairs more comfortably? Your quads can certainly help you. And a sure-fire exercise that will build that large muscle group is leg extension.

  • In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.What are leg extensions?This is a seated leg lift exercise where you straighten up and then bend the knee against resistance, according to Caroline Araujo, CPT, a certified personal trainer based in New York City.
  • In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.What Muscles Do Leg Extensions Work?This movement focuses on the muscles in the front of your thigh, also called the quadriceps or quadriceps.
  • In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Who can do this exercise?This exercise is safe for people of all ages. However, if you have knee pain or mobility issues, it is best to leave this movement out of your workout routine.
  • In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Are leg extensions as good as squats?Like squats, leg extensions will strengthen your quads, says Araujo. But they isolate those muscles, whereas squats move multiple joints and muscles at once, building strength throughout your lower body.
  • In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Can we do leg extensions at home?You can ! You can do this exercise at home without a machine – all you need is a chair and a resistance band (more details below).

Ready to strengthen your quads without gym machines? Here is everything you need to know about this exercise.

How to do leg extensions at home

Resistance Band Leg Extension

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Resistance band workout

Part of the body


  1. Start seated with a mini resistance band (, $ 10.95) looped around your ankles with both feet planted on the ground.
  2. Root your right foot in the ground.
  3. Lift your left foot towards the ceiling, straightening the knee.
  4. Reverse the movement with control and bring the foot back to the ground.
  5. Repeat the movement on the other side.

Show instructions


While doing this exercise, sit up straight with your spine as flat as possible. If necessary, you can swap for a chair with backrest.

3 benefits of leg extension

1. It makes you stronger in the gym

The main benefits of seated leg extension are an increase in the strength and size of the quadruple muscles, according to Araujo. These muscles play a big role in the appearance of your legs but also help you in other exercises.

Squats and lunges (to name a few) are quad-dominant exercises that demand a lot of strength from your legs. By building these muscles, leg extensions can help you perform these movements better.

2. It improves daily movement

Aside from the gym, daily movements, like walking, running, or climbing stairs, use up all of your quads. Adding leg extensions to your workout routine will help make those daily tasks a little easier, says Araujo.

3. It helps prevent injuries

Your quads are responsible for helping your knees move and bend properly, depending on the Cleveland Clinic. They also help keep your knee joint stable in your daily movements. But if your quadriceps are weak, they limit the movement and strength of your knees, increasing the risk of injury.

2 common leg extension errors

If you find yourself swinging your legs while doing this move, you’re probably not doing them with good form, says Araujo. When you use momentum, you take the work out of your muscles, so you don’t build up as much strength.

Fix it

Raise and lower your legs with as much control as possible. When using a leg extension machine at the gym (more details below), increase the weight if you are unable to control your legs.

2. Lock your knees

While you want to straighten your leg at the top of the movement, you still need to maintain a slight bend in your knees, says Araujo. When you fully lock your knees, you are putting unwanted pressure on the joint, which can increase your risk of injury.

Fix it

As you straighten your legs, pause the movement before fully locking your knee joint, she says.

Chances are your gym has a leg extension machine, which is a great option if you want to lift more weight, says Araujo.

You can operate this machine by sitting on the seat and placing a padded lever on your shins with your knees bent 90 degrees. Using the pin on the side of the machine, adjust to the desired weight. Then straighten your legs against the resistance of the lever.

As a modification of leg extension, you can adjust the machine to shorten the range of motion, Araujo explains. The more you bend your knees, the more difficult the exercise becomes. But you can adjust the machine to minimize how much you actually bend your knees.

2 leg extension progressions to add to your lower body workout

If you are looking for other ways to make this four wheel exercise more difficult, try these progressions.

1. Eccentric leg extension

Slowing down the lower part of an exercise (the eccentric part) can promote growth by keeping muscle work (aka under tension) for longer, depending on the American Council on Exercise (AS).

To increase the muscle building benefit of this movement, lower your leg for 4 seconds.

Like the gym machine, you can also do this exercise at home with both legs, says Araujo. Swap your mini band for a long loop and anchor one end around the back legs of a chair. Place the other end of the band around your ankles and repeat the exercise lifting both legs at the same time.


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