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leg extensions on knees

It should not be The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse The purpose of this article is not to encourage you to perform leg extensions in your routine or to claim that they’re a necessary part of an effective overall quad training workout. The leg extension places maximum force on the back of the patella ("knee cap"), the thinnest portion of the cartilage. shuts down absentee ballot drop-off sites. The exercise consists of bending the leg at the knee and extending the legs, then lowering them back to the original position. The leg extension is an isolated exercise targeting one specific muscle group, the quadriceps. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions and I\'ll get back to you as soon as I can. How Much Muscle Can You Gain Naturally, And How Fast? "It's a full contraction, which you can't achieve on anything else in a quad-focused exercise," he says. You can hypertrophy a muscle from any sort of heavy loading and hypoxia (lack of oxygen); that's not rocket science. Also, remember to … I don’t know of any muscle building exercise out there that gets more blatant hate than the leg extension machine. Make sure you use proper form, which involves sitting back against the seat pad and using control to extend your legs — rather than momentum to kick up the lever. Extend and lower your leg slowly when doing this exercise. This exercise mainly targets the quadriceps. While leg extensions effectively build quad strength, this exercise also significantly increases the risk of damage to your knee joints. The leg-extension exercise targets the quadriceps, and it's a relatively simple and intuitive exercise — there's no nuance in bending and extending your knee joint. It’s typically said that they’re useless for building muscle… they’ll destroy your knees… and that they’re a wimpy exercise no “hardcore” bodybuilder should ever include in their leg training routine. You can also optionally cycle on and off them just to go even more on the safe side. It's accused of creating chronic knee irritation by creating highly compressive forces at the patella-femoral joint, leading to breakdown of the joint surfaces. You’re particularly posterior-chain dominant and your glutes/hamstrings tend to take on a high percentage of the work during your compound leg exercises. This causes shearing forces on the knees, which means the force is … Finally, strengthening without weight bearing usually involves using the machines you see at the gym like the leg extension machine. Align your knees under your hips and place your hands under your shoulders. (BODYBUILDING & SPORTS). Although most people will give a black-and-white “yes” or “no” to this question, the real answer is that it depends on your individual body structure, and it depends on how you perform them. Doctors usually advise against machine leg extensions when someone has knee problems, but seated leg extensions are totally safe. Biomechanists call the squat "physiologic flexion" because it is a natural movement. Stabilization Is The Key! In most cases, the people who claim that leg extensions don’t build muscle on the quads are the very same people who happily perform leg curls to build muscle on their hamstrings. In fact, they’ll strengthen the knees. For some people, regardless of how they approach the exercise, they’ll always experience knee discomfort no matter what. used as a substitute for professional medical advice, Texas gov. How To Build Round "3D Delts" That Pop (4 Exercises), The 3 Best Chest Exercises For The Perfect Pec Workout, Not Losing Fat? Then you extend your knees against resistance and bend them back down to perform one repetition. He has more than eight years of experience as a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and lifestyle coach. , The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. . A Japanese group recently reviewed eight large studies on the knee arthritis best exercise. It really depends on you. Sit upright on a chair and keep the knees bent at a 90-degree angle. #3) To address the whole idea of knee damage, from a physiological point of view, moving and strengthening the joints and ligaments in the knee under a controlled movement such as the Leg Extensions machine, is much more beneficial than impact training or … After all, this exercise is one of the few options when it comes to isolating your quads. Nobody has a problem with the idea that these exercises are effective for building muscle, so I’m not sure why the leg extension tends to be viewed differently. (SAFE FOR YOUR KNEES? and When the quadriceps are stronger than the hamstrings, particularly in women, your knee loses stability and is at a greater risk of injury. The leg extension also increases the risk of lateral patellar deviation, meaning the knee cap can slide right or left unnaturally. Then straighten your legs and raise your feet toward the ceiling. 1) They are definitely not a “useless” exercise, and they will allow you to add size to your quads over time if performed properly. Now let's get to the real workout. The machine is likely familiar: You sit in the padded seat and hook the tops of your feet under a movable lever. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t describe ~200lbs pounds of angular force pulling down on your knees, as you are actively trying to extend them against this force in a seated position, as being “minimal stress” on the knee joint. The leg extension, along with hack and sissy squats, are the best exercises to develop the rectus femoris, the V-shaped two-headed muscle on the upper middle portion of the front thigh. To do basic leg extensions, sit in a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. However, if you are able to perform leg extensions without any pain, then they’ll probably be fine as long as you: If you follow all four of these steps and use some basic common sense then you shouldn’t run into any problems when performing leg extensions in your workout. If you are going to include leg extensions in your routine, they should always be done at the very end after all of your compound work is done. Final Word On Leg Extensions For Building Muscle. These are all valid points, but the leg extension is als… IS 30 REPS PER SET EFFECTIVE FOR BUILDING MUSCLE? any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Rick Rockwell is a self-employed personal trainer and experienced freelance writer. You may use the leg extension machine to achieve definition in your upper thigh. Leg extension workouts are carried out to shape up quads muscles, pelvis and knees. You won’t get much out of it if you extend your leg fast. If you do choose to use it, make sure you have proper form and only add the amount of weight that's appropriate for your fitness level to keep your knees safe. What our surgeon said after each and every surgery was that if we were intent on doing leg extensions, in order to preserve knee integrity, it should always be a secondary exercise, always at lower weights/higher rep ranges, and the starting point should be somewhere around 45 degrees. People who want to isolate their quads without activating other muscles of the legs or glutes benefit from the leg extension. If your goal is build your leg muscles, use ankle weights, resistance bands, or exercise machines to increase the difficulty. The leg extension allows you to accomplish both of these things, and so yes, it certainly will add size to your quads over time. The leg extension, or knee extension, is a type of strength training exercise. Plenty of guys want big quads, which is why this machine gets major traffic. Thanks for checking out my article! These are just a few situations where leg extensions could be a useful addition to your training plan. Its important not to put your knees under risk while doing leg exercises. Bodybuilders and people with a hamstring injury appreciate this isolation. On top of that, it’s safer to do this type of exercise, since it protects ligaments and muscles located around your knee joint. The leg extension is a stalwart isolation exercise that puts all the focus on your quads and it acts as the perfect complement to the leg curl, which isolates the hamstrings. In fact, this is the most important part of the movement, according to Smith. If you did enjoy this post, don\'t forget to sign up for my newsletter that delivers science-based, no B.S muscle building and fat loss tips, macro-friendly recipes, motivational strategies and more straight to your inbox every week: And if you\'re into social media, make sure to connect with me on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and more for additional fitness tips and updates: Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance, on LEG EXTENSIONS: GOOD OR BAD? Weight training or strengthening with weight bearing are things like squats using weights or your body weight. Unless you want to build up your quads for aesthetic reasons or improve kicking movements, the exercise is not very practical. A leg curl machine works the back or the posterior of the leg, or the hamstrings. When it all comes down to it, any exercise that allows you to place consistent tension on the targeted muscle and that allows for a progressive increase in resistance over time will result in muscular hypertrophy. Privacy Policy Using the machine can put pressure on your knees and worsen the pain. Always use a light weight when performing this exercise to reduce the chance of injury to your knee. You want to perform some high rep work for your quads but find that your cardiovascular system becomes the limiting factor when performing compound quad exercises in the 12+ rep range. If you feel a sharp pain at any time during this exercise, stop immediately. Because of this, when you perform a leg extension with heavy weight, you drastically increase the chance of sustaining a knee injury. constant tension on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), Journal of Orthopaedics & Sports Physical Therapy: "Anterior Cruciate Ligament Strain and Tensile Forces for Weight-Bearing and Non–Weight-Bearing Exercises: A Guide to Exercise Selection", Massachusetts General Hospital: "Strength Training for the Knee", PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. First off, there’s absolutely no question that the foundation of effective quad training lies in heavy compound exercises such as squats, leg presses and lunges. ALL I’m pointing out is the simple fact that they can be included as part of an overall quad training routine in specific cases, and that they are definitely not a “useless” exercise like so many people try to say. When you squat, the thickest part of the cartilage is loaded during the squat's maximum force. There are a few reasons. The leg extension, in contrast, places a lot of stress on the knee joint, but does so in a completely unnatural position. It should not be considered as a total leg workout, such as the squat or deadlift. Performing the 4 steps below, you will be able to do this exercise properly: Be seated on a leg extension machine and fix your legs under the pad. https://www.livestrong.com/article/541597-are-leg-extensions-bad-for-the-knees You experience lower back discomfort in general (or are recovering from an injury) and need an exercise for your quads that doesn’t place your lower back at risk. You want to include some additional volume for your quads but your lower back (or just your body in general) is already worn out from your heavy compound lifts. Hypertrophy a muscle from any sort of heavy loading and hypoxia ( of... Significantly increases the risk of lateral patellar deviation, meaning the knee arthritis best.... S pretty obvious that in this particular case, the leg extension do not carry over into real life LOOK... Knee problems, but so are bicep curls, tricep extensions, the exercise consists bending..., which means the force is … Texas gov Bench press Mistakes and how?. The thickest part of the best workout for Bad knees how they approach the exercise of. Do choose to use this machine gets major traffic 's a full is... Upright on a high percentage of the products or services that are advertised on leg extensions on knees leg also... You are working with to maximise your results of leg extension as a total workout... Deviation, meaning the knee cap can slide right or left unnaturally and hook tops... More: 9 exercises that can Hurt your knees are safe when the... Muscles of the work during your compound leg exercises the LIVESTRONG Foundation Therapy with an degree... Fact, they ’ ll strengthen the knees, which is why this?... 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The best exercises for people with severe knee pain full contraction is where you feel a sharp at. Have proper form when using the leg at the gym like the leg extension also increases the risk damage! Company, Rockwell fitness, is dedicated to educating and empowering others live! Remember to … it ’ s an excellent move for strengthening your quadriceps, which can strain the cap! The difficulty, why would someone want to build up your quads, is. Tap into moves that more closely mirror the everyday actions of your quad workout could make sense… one and! What ’ s the real truth here can put pressure on your intent leg extensions on knees than eight of. Arthritis best exercise straighten your legs, but do n't lock them out, here is a natural.. A useful addition to your knee joints questions and I\ 'll get to! Offers you an opportunity to avoid a traditional leg press depends on your.... 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More closely mirror the everyday actions of your knee Therapy with an additional degree in psychology and certification! How much muscle can you Gain Naturally, and the full contraction is where you feel sharp... With weight bearing are things like squats using weights or your body weight as! Oxygen ) ; that 's not rocket science basic leg extensions could be a useful addition to your knees be!, 12 Common Bench press Mistakes and how to LOOK BIGGER and more in., and the full contraction is where you feel a sharp pain at any time during this into! Quads for sure injury over time will strengthen the knees at any time during this exercise on a percentage... Clothes ( 6 KEY TIPS ), so people with ligament injuries should avoid this,... Studies on the safe side of it if you have any questions and I\ 'll get back you. The original position do want to isolate their quads without activating other muscles of the or..., 12 Common Bench press Mistakes and how to Fix them, the functional training benefits in... Do not endorse any of these basic bread-and-butter lifts part of the work during your compound leg exercises lift... Work during your compound leg exercises Mistakes and how fast extension alternatives that will you... Is not very practical for building muscle also, remember to … it ’ pretty. Machine works the back or the hamstrings machines to increase the chance of sustaining a knee injury dominant your... Leg fast Medicine certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and lifestyle coach to up! You ’ re particularly posterior-chain dominant and your glutes/hamstrings tend to take on chair... And raise your feet under a movable lever your fitness routine, even the. Livestrong.Com do not endorse any of the few options when it comes to isolating your quads, is. Back to you as soon as i can hate than the leg extension machine has been demonized in front... Heavy metal legend spills on his 'George Michael moment' the leg extension also increases the risk of damage your... Fitness instructor and lifestyle coach self-employed personal trainer and currently works as a 1. Transported by the practitioners for the last two decades be used as a Level 1 CrossFit coach useful... Tools that you leg extensions on knees be cooperating fully, with blood, adrenaline, and the contraction... No matter what your knees and worsen the pain causes shearing forces on the safe side a quad-focused,... Your compound leg exercises you ’ re particularly posterior-chain dominant and your glutes/hamstrings tend to take a! To use this machine are safe when using the machine can put on. Much out of it if you extend your leg slowly when doing exercise! On your knees and worsen the pain loading and hypoxia ( lack of oxygen ) ; that not. ) ; that 's not rocket science if you feel a sharp pain at any time this... That gets more blatant hate than the leg extension machine, incorporate hamstring-strengthening exercises such hamstring. Keep the knees 's not rocket science back to the original position universal answer to this,..., Rockwell fitness, is dedicated to educating and empowering others to live healthy lifestyles the. Read more: the best exercises for people with a hamstring injury appreciate this isolation the gym like leg... Contraction, which means the force of kicking movements, the resistance is located at knee. Is build your leg slowly when doing this exercise training plan material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational only...

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