Leg Extensions - Quadriceps

Leg Extensions - Quadriceps

In this lesson you will learn how to do leg extensions. The leg extension is an exercise where you sit on a chair-like machine and extend your legs against a resistance. Leg extensions work the quadriceps (front side of the leg muscles) and should be done after barbell squats or (with little weight) as a warm-up for heavy squats. For more leg exercises, check out weight training main.


  • Sit into the leg extension machine and hook your ankles under the leg pads. To avoid that you elevate your hips when you extend your legs, grasp the handles or the bottom seat. Most leg extension machines have adjustable leg pads. Adjust the pad according to the length of your legs. Note: When you sit on a leg extension machine, you knee should be aligned with the machine's knee. Bad alignment -> Bad for your knees.
  • Extend your legs slowly and concentrated until your knees are fully extended and your quadriceps are fully contracted. Exhale at the same time and pull yourself down with your hands to avoid that you elevate your hips. Don't create momentum as you extend your legs.
  • Then bend your legs back down and inhale. The down-motion should be slightly slower than the up-motion. Stop when your shins reaches vertical level and don't let your calves touch the seat. Then extend your legs again and do another repetition.


  • Extend and bend your legs slowly and concentrated.
  • Don't elevate your hips. Use the handles.
  • Do 2 or 3 sets with 10 to 12 repetitions.
  • Leg extensions are not designed for heavy weights. If you want to lift heavy weights, do barbell squats.
  • Don't only train on the front side of your leg muscles. If you only work out one side of a limb, sooner or later you will suffer joint problems.
  • Superset recommendation: Barbell Squats + Leg Extensions
  • Stretch your quadriceps between sets and exercises.