The Leg Extension exercise develops the Quadriceps muscle group, which is located on the front of your thigh.
It should not be done with heavy weights and if you have any knee problems, should not be done at all.
How to Do Leg Extensions:
Sit in a Leg Extension machine with the pads over the top of your ankles and your back against the back pad. Your upper calves should be about half an inch from the seat pad and your knees even with the pivoting cam of the machine. Extend your legs up (straightening them), and squeeze at the top.
As you bring the weight back down, do not allow your knees to go past 90 degrees of bend. This will minimize knee stress.
This exercise should be done slowly and deliberately, allowing no momentum or explosive force to come into play. Using explosive force or momentum may lead to injury.
Tricks for Performing Leg Extensions:
To work the outer quadriceps (Vastus Lateralis - runs along the outside surface of the thigh), lean back, turn your toes out slightly and point them.
To work the teardrop or inner quadriceps (Vastus Medialis - is located a little above the knee on the inner thigh), lean over forward, curl your toes back and turn them slightly in.
Common Errors in the Leg Extension Exercise:
1. Not squeezing at the top
The best part of this exercise occurs at the contraction when your legs are straight. To get the most out of it, hold the contraction at the top for a few seconds then lower the weight.
A good alternative exercise to the Leg Extension is the Barbell Cursing Lunge. It targets the peak contraction of the quads, just like the Leg Extension but without the knee stress.
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