The leg extensions type of exercise is a great move for targeting the muscles of the front thigh called the quadriceps which include the vastus and rectus femoris. This exercise requires a lever machine that has a padded front bar which you will push upward as your legs extend.
Leg Extensions – Movement and setup
Start by sitting on the padded seat of the machine, hook your feet under the padded bar while adjusting the bar to rest comfortably at the lower end of your leg, above your feet. Next continuing adjusting the machine until you are able to bend at a 90-degree angle. You should not perform the exercise with anything less than a 90-degree bend knee angel, because this will place your knees beyond your toes, which in turn stresses your knee.
It is important to check that if the machine you are about to use in your gym does not have a leg length adjustment, it is preferably not to use it as a wrong adjusted position will apply force to the wrong places on your legs and knees.
Proceed to choose a weight that will enable you to extend your legs straight with a decent pull but not too much pull. Start off with lighter weights as you build your way up, you don’t want to injure your knee.
Grip the bars as you extend your legs, engaging the quadriceps to lift the weight of the bar. Try to pause while at the top of the extension for a while. Slowly return the weight back to your starting position and repeat the exercise alternating from both legs. You can do 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions per set of leg extensions.
Leg Extensions – Important points to note
While doing this exercise, make sure that your back is always pushed back firmly against your backrest, specifically at the base of your spine. You should also keep your neck and head still while performing the extensions, try not to wobble back, forward or to your sides.
Keep your body stable by using your hand grips. It is also important to remember adjusting the leg bar length well so as to avoid the padded bar being far up your shins. The pad is to rest against your lower leg, just above your feet as mentioned above.
Finally, if the exercise causes pain in your knees, consider not to perform it. Otherwise, it is a great way of building stronger legs.