When it comes to leg day exercises, you have quite a few options to choose from. Being the biggest muscle group the body, it can seem challenging at first to find your staple exercises and routine. Leg extension is a common and effective leg day training exercise, that isolates and stimulates your quadriceps. We’re going to talk about how to execute ideal form and the benefits of leg extensions to help you build bigger stronger legs.
What Are Leg Extensions
Leg extension is an isolated strength training movement designed for improved leg definition and muscle gain on the anterior or front of the thigh. Leg extensions as with many other isolated exercises, are designed to for specific muscular development and may be beneficial if your goals are more aesthetic oriented.
Leg Extensions Muscles Worked
Leg extensions work the front of your thigh, also known as your quads. They elicit higher quadricep activation, especially during the eccentric or lifting phase of the movement.
Your quadriceps or quadriceps femoris, are a group of muscles at the front of your thigh. Together, they contain more mass than any other muscle group in your body. They are used for a variety of functional movements, such as running, jumping, cycling, and walking.
They consist of four distinct muscles: the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis, the vastus intermedius, and the vastus medialis.
Leg Extension Benefits
Leg extensions target the thighs or the front of the quadriceps. The benefits associated with leg extension are similar to other isolated exercises and have descended from bodybuilding. You won’t find a leg extension machine at the CrossFit box or in your HIIT classes. Leg extensions are rooted in Bodybuilding.
1. Building More Muscle Mass
Isolated movements such as the leg extension, is considered as an open-chain kinetic exercise, as opposed to a close-chain kinetic exercise. The difference is that in open-chain exercises, your legs are not stationary as they work, which you find in a leg movement, like the squat. When you squat, the body part you are working, your legs, are anchored to the ground, not a padded bar.
Bodybuilders utilize leg extensions for a specific aesthetic purpose, as opposed to performance. A well-rounded set of quadriceps is crucial to an overall good physique. And pushing more blood flow, oxygen, and stimulating one specific area of the body, to failure, will build more mass with little assistance from other muscles.
2. Increasing Strength
With any resistance training movement, you will inevitably build more strength. No matter if you use a plate loaded bar, bodyweight, bands, or cables your body will adapt and build more strength as it resists external forces, for any future resistance it may encounter. Adding leg extensions to your training program, or bodybuilding split will help with more strength and muscle development.
3. Muscle Development
Rooted in bodybuilding, leg extensions will build more muscle and assist in better muscle development. The leg extension isolates your quads, and if your goal is adding more size to your legs, you will definitely want to start using the leg extension.
How To Do Leg Extensions
Using a leg extension machine, sit in the seat and hook your feet under the padded bar.
Extend your legs out to the maximum, making sure you do not lift off the seat, grip the side handles, and make sure the padded roller sits just above your shins.
Extend your legs in front of you pushing up the padded bar until they are near fully locked, while engage your core. Extend for maximum range of motion and full contraction of the quads.
Pause for a second the top of the movement, then slowly bring your legs back to starting position.
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