The quadriceps are a group of four muscles located at the front of your thighs. They all involve extending or straightening the knee.
When you get up from the couch, climb the stairs, or kick a ball, your knee extends.
It is therefore logical that, in order to form the quadricepsyou would simply straighten your knee with moves like the quad extension.
What are leg extensions?
A single-joint movement that targets the quads, leg extensions (aka quad extensions) involve straightening the knee repeatedly under load. Most gyms have dedicated leg extension machines. You can also perform quad extensions at home with a resistance band or just your body weight.
Can quadruple extensions hurt the knees?
The quad extension is controversial because, being a single-joint exercise, it puts more pressure on the knee than multi-joint exercises such as the squat and lunge.
“But that’s probably not a problem if your knees are healthy,” says Trevor Thieme, CSCS, senior director of fitness and nutrition content at Beachbody. “Like most exercises, knee extension only increases your risk of injury if you have a pre-existing problem (in this case, with your knees) or if you perform the exercise with incorrect form or excessive weight. .”
If you have cranky knees, however, you should avoid this exercise, he says.
Unstable knees are more vulnerable to injury from shear stresses as opposed to compressive forces.
No matter how bad your knees are, performing leg extensions safely and effectively relies on good form.
How to Grid Extensions with Perfect Shape
If you use a weight machine:
- Align your knees with the axis of the machine.
- If the machine you are using has two pads, place the top one firmly on your thighs and the other against the front of your ankles. If the machine does not have a thigh pad, simply hold the handles or either side of the seat.
- With control (no swinging or using momentum!), squeeze your quads to extend your knees until they’re straight but not locked.
- Pause, then slowly bend your knees to return to the starting position.
If you are using a resistance band:
- Sit on the edge of a chair or sofa with a lightweight resistance band wrapped around one ankle and connected to a strong point directly behind the ankle, such as a furniture leg. Keep the band taut in the starting position.
- With control (no swinging or using momentum!), squeeze your quads to extend your knee until it’s straight but not locked.
- Pause, then slowly bend your knee to return to the starting position. Do equal reps on both sides.
What are the alternatives to leg extensions?
Whether or not leg extensions are right for you, work on some of the best quad exercises in your workouts.
For well-balanced strength, performance, and injury prevention, the key is to incorporate a variety of exercises into your routine.
- Stand straight with a pair of dumbbells by your side, feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward.
- Keeping your back flat and core strengthened, push your hips back, bend your knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You want to “sit down” in the exercise, pushing your butt back as if lowering yourself into a chair or bench. Never lean forward at your waist – this will only increase the stress on your spine and put you off balance.
- Pause, then push back up to the starting position.
- Stand up straight holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length at your side (palms facing in) with your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your chest up, shoulders back, core strengthened (imagine someone is about to punch you in the stomach), and back flat, take a big step forward with your right foot. Lower your body until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee bends 90 degrees (it should hover a few inches above the floor).
- Pause, then reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Repeat, this time stepping forward with your left foot. Continue alternating legs, performing equal reps on each.
- Stand up straight holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your side and place your left foot on a bench so that your hip, knee, and ankle are all bent at 90 degrees.
- Keeping your chest up and shoulders back, push your body up with your left leg until it’s straight (keep your right foot slightly elevated behind you).
- Pause, then return your body to the starting position under control. Perform equal reps on both legs.
4. Bulgarian Split Squat
- Stand facing a bench, holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your side. Place the toes of your left foot on the bench behind you.
- Keeping your torso straight, lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor (don’t let your left knee touch it).
- Pause, then push back up to the starting position. Do equal reps on both legs.