How To Do Seated Leg Extension Properly

The seated leg extension is a great lower body  strength training exercise. It mainly works your quadriceps which are located at the front of your upper leg.

You will only need a leg extension machine in order to perform the exercise. However, different variations of the exercise may require different leg extension equipment or none at all.

The move is fit for anyone with beginner level physical fitness and experience. You only need to sit on the machine and raise a padded bar with your legs using your quads.

HOW TO DO SEATED LEG EXTENSION

Here are the steps for performing the exercise.

  • Start by sitting on the leg extension machine. Place your lower legs under the pad at your ankles.
  • Your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Choose a comfortable weight.
  • Hold the side bars with your hands. This will be your starting position.
  • Exhale while lifting the weight by maximumly extending your feet. Ensure you back is kept straight and knees unlocked.
  • Hold at the top of the movement for a few seconds.
  • Inhale as you lower your weight back to the initial position. Ensure you do not exceed the 90-degree angle.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

SEATED LEG EXTENSION MUSCLES WORKED

As discussed, the seated leg extension exercise primarily works the quadriceps femoris. They are found in the front and side of your thigh.

The quads are the largest human body muscle and include the: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius

This muscle group is responsible for extension of your knees.

SEATED LEG EXTENSION BENEFITS

BUILDS THE SIZE OF YOUR QUADS

The movement builds the size and strength of your quads. As an isolation exercise, it is particular in building the pure size of these muscles.

Additionally, training your quads means also training the hamstrings or the glutes and balancing out these muscles.

BEGINNER-FRIENDLY

Using the leg extension machine makes the exercise easier and fit for beginners. It helps in getting the correct form, posture and generally the right way of doing the movement.

TRAINS THE QUADS IN ISOLATION

The seated leg extension is a great open-chain kinetic exercise. It effectively isolates and targets your quads.

If you want to get a more-defined upper leg muscle or to work around a hamstring injury, train your quads in isolation. There are not many isolation exercises for the quads.

INCREASES ATHLETISM

Strengthening your quads can improve your force in kicking, which is beneficial in soccer and martial arts. They also help in walking, squatting, and maintaining a good posture.

ACCESSORY TO OTHER WORKOUT

Strong quads result in greater extension of knees. Consequently, strong quads are essential to exercises that rely on knee extensions like squats.

This will improve your general performance during leg day.

SEATED LEG EXTENSION ALTERNATIVES

BODYWEIGHT LEG EXTENSION

Body weight leg extension lets you train the quads without any added weight. This means you can do leg extensions while sitting on a chair.

It is convenient for those with knee problems as it is less stressful on the knees.

STANDING LEG EXTENSION

The standing leg extension offers similar benefits as its seated counterpart. It strengthens your core and quads while challenging your balance and coordination.

SQUAT

The squat is a common and popular lower body bodyweight exercise. It primarily targets your quads while engaging the core, glutes, hips, and lower legs muscles.

REVERSE LUNGES

The reverse lunges are similar to the seated leg extension in that they strengthen and tone your quads. It is quite dynamic as your glutes, hamstrings, and core are activated as well.

BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT WITH DUMBBELLS

The Bulgarian split squat is an excellent alternative as it works similar muscles. These are the glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads.

You will need a dumbbell and a bench of knee-height to perform this exercise.

STEP UPS

Step ups are also work your quads, glutes, and hip flexors muscles. By strengthening these muscles, they improve balance and hip mobility.

To perform the exercise, you will need a bench or box of knee-height.

CYCLIST SQUAT

The cyclist squat is also known as the quad squat. It is also a great alternative as it targets the quads as well.

Place your feet close together with your heels raised on a three inches high weight plate or curb. This will ensure that your quads work even harder when you lower your hips straight down.

SEATED LEG EXTENSION MISTAKES TO AVOID

HEAVY LIFTING

Do not attempt low-rep, high-load strength conditioning. Maximum lifting is not for this exercise.

You will risk knee ligament strain. Use any comfortable weight and maintain proper form to be safe.

HIGH REPS

If you are using moderate load, do not attempt to do more than three sets of eight to twelve reps. This is because it is unnecessary to do endurance sets with high reps on the machine.

GOING TOO FAST

If you are doing the exercise quickly, it means you are relying more on momentum instead of muscle engagement. Therefore, your quads will not get the required tension they need.

LOCKING THE KNEES

Do not lock your knees at full extension because this can strain your knee joint.

SEATED LEG EXTENSION RISK

The exercise, like other leg extensions, can be bad for your knees. This is because it places a lot of force on the back of your knee cap and forces the tibia towards your femur.

Not only is this painful, but also damaging to your knee joints.

Additionally, this isolation exercise does not engage your hamstrings. As a result, the damaging stretch of the anterior cruciate ligament in your knee cannot be minimized.

However, this can be avoided by using the correct form, right weight load and proper technique. It can also prevent injury all together by improving your knee joints.

CONCLUSION

Alternate this  quad workout with other compound exercises for optimal results and a more functional workout. Knee injury is common with this exercise so always use the correct form and weights to minimize the risks.