The dumbbell leg extension is a perfect exercise to work your quadriceps. It is a form of an isolation exercise.
You will require a dumbbell and a bench/ chair for this exercise. Ensure that you select a weight that fulfills your fitness needs and your endurance level.
How to do the dumbbell leg extension:
- Start by sitting on a chair or bench. Place a dumbbell in between your feet. Secure it vertically on your feet so that it does not fall. The top of the dumbbell should rest at the top section of your feet.
- Ensure that your knees bend at 90 degrees. Lean back slightly and maintain a straight back. Position your hands on the sides of the chair. Position your feet slightly above the ground so that the dumbbell does not touch the floor. This is your starting position.
- In a slow and controlled motion, lift your feet so that your legs can fully extend. Ensure that your legs are almost parallel to the floor.
- Pause for a while then lower your feet to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times for 3 sets.
WHAT MUSCLES DOES THE DUMBBELL LEG EXTENSION WORK?
The dumbbell leg extension mainly targets your quadriceps. The quadriceps are located on the side and front of your thighs.
They are the largest muscles in your body since they are comprised of rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and vastus intermedius.
The quad muscles help in extending your knees. Therefore, the exercise builds and strengthens your quads. As a result, you develop good posture and your squatting technique improves.
DUMBBELL LEG EXTENSION BENEFITS
BUILDS YOUR QUADS
If you want to build stronger and bigger quads, this is the exercise to include in your workout routine. Bigger and stronger quads improve your physical appearance. Moreover, toned quads compliment your glutes and hamstrings.
Using weights to work out can be intimidating and challenging to beginners. However, the dumbbell leg extension is more friendly to beginners.
This is because you can perform the exercise with the lightest dumbbell. Alternatively, you can start with no free weights that gradually progress to lightweights.
This helps you to get the proper posture and form of performing the exercise.
As mentioned earlier, the dumbbell leg extension is an isolation exercise since it focuses on working your quads. This is because the exercise is an open-chain kinetic workout.
Training our quadriceps in isolation is effective for enhancing the definition of your upper legs.
ENHANCES YOUR PHYSICAL AND ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
The exercise enables you to develop strong quads, which enhance your athletic capabilities. For instance, you can perform sports such as football and run, with minimal strain. Besides, your performance at the gym significantly improves.
For instance, you are able to do leg workouts, such as squatting, effectively. Generally, your physical performance improves since you are more active and fit.
STRENGTHENS YOUR KNEES
The technique plays a vital role in strengthening your knee joints. This exercise is ideal for individuals with knee problems.
This is because you execute the exercise while sitting, hence you feel less impact on your knees. However, it is advisable to start with lighter weights before progressing to heavier ones.
ALTERNATIVES TO DUMBBELL LEG EXTENSION
The lunge is a great alternative since it strengthens your quads. However, it is not an isolation exercise. You can perform the lunges with or without weights.
How to do lunges:
- Start with a hip-width stance and place your hands either on your sides or waist.
- With one foot, take a huge step forward and lower your body. Ensure that you bend both knees at 90 degrees. On your front leg, ensure that your thigh is parallel to the ground and your foot firmly pressed on the ground. Your back thigh should be almost perpendicular to the ground and your back heel should be above the ground.
- Pause for a while then return to your starting position.
- Repeat the procedure with the opposite leg.
- Perform your desired repetitions but do not overdo them.
STANDING LEG EXTENSIONS
The standing leg extensions work your quads and core. Moreover, it helps in promoting coordination and balance. You do not require any equipment to perform this exercise.
How to do the standing leg extensions:
- Start by positioning yourself at a hip-width stance. Keep your shoulders straight and engage your core. Place your hands on your waist for stability.
- Raise your left leg a few inches from the ground but it should not go beyond your hip region.
- Bend your left knee then direct your left foot backward. This is your starting position.
- Straighten your left knee by extending your left foot forwards.
- In a slow and controlled motion, return your left leg to the starting position.
- Repeat 10 times then switch to your right leg and perform the same repetitions. Perform 3 sets.
DUMBBELL LEG EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID
Getting into proper form is essential to perform the exercise successfully. Furthermore, it minimizes the risk of injury. Bending your knees at less than 90 degrees while sitting strains your knee joints. Instead, bend your knees at 90 degrees.
OVEREXTENDING YOUR LEGS
Overextending your knees while performing this exercise can strain your knee joints. Additionally, you are likely to develop injuries. Ensure that you do not lock your knees while performing the exercise.
HOLDING YOUR BREATH
Proper breathing plays a vital role in promoting the success of the workout. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, exhale while extending your legs and inhale while lowering them to the starting position.
LIFTING TOO HEAVY
Lifting a heavy dumbbell can strain your ankles and feet. Moreover, it prevents you from extending and lowering your legs properly. Instead, use a lighter dumbbell that is in line with your endurance level.
The dumbbell leg extension is a great exercise to incorporate into your leg day routine. Performing the routine correctly and consistently will reward you with bigger and stronger quads.
Consult your gym trainer so that you can achieve a proper form. If you are working out from home, you can read material or watch videos online on the correct technique of performing the exercise.