The Leg Extension - Isn't as simple as you may think....

The Leg Extension

For a quadriceps isolating burn, there is nothing quite like the chair of death that is the Leg Extension machine. Whilst this may have been one of the first machines you’ve used, are you actually doing it correctly?

There are 2 key mistakes that people often make with the leg extension.

The first is that they do not complete a full range of motion from trying to lift a weight that’s too heavy. The leg extension is the only exercise in the entire gym that’s safe to lock the joint out under tension - This is because the load is disengaging the joint, not putting it under further strain. So, slow down the movement and control it up to a full lock out.

Secondly, many people have incorrect foot position on the roller pad. Most people through years of running, cycling, sports and other movements become disproportionately strong and tight through the lateral (outside) part of the quad. The vastus lateralis muscle and the iliotibial band become dominant muscles, causing the outside of the quad to want to do all the work. This disproportionate strength on the outside of the quad can cause issues with the knee, with such things like patellar-femoral syndrome, or maltracking of the knee.

The easiest way to identify whether this is an issue is the foot position on the roller. If your feet are turning in, your entire leg is turning in. So keep your toes straight at an absolute minimum, or if anything, roll them outwards slightly to target the medial part of the quad!

Leg extension foot position.PNG

So, next time you hit those quads remember, lift as high as possible, and don’t let those feet turn in!

Shaun Ahearn
Head Coach BVPT