T Nation

Thoughts on Leg Extensions

After years of adding and dropping these from my leg routines, I think tonight I’ve finally decided to just drop them except for very, very light weight at the end of leg day.

I’ve done them heavy, I’ve done them light.

I’ve done them for high reps, I’ve done them for low reps.

I’ve done them scooched way up and scooched way back.

I’ve done them with the leverage low on my legs and with the leverage high on my legs.

I’ve done them 2-legged, I’ve done them 1-legged.

I’ve done them partial motion high, partial motion low, full ROM, less than 90 deg, more than 90 degrees.

I only feel them just above my knees, not in my quads. I don’t know what it is, but this movement has just never felt right.

Anyone else have issues with leg extensions or any suggestions to try that might make these things work for me?

What kind of machines are you using? You might have one with a bad resistance curve.

A well-designed leg-extension machine makes all the difference for me.

Most poorly designed leg extensions make me feel like I’m fighting myself on the exercise.

I personally have found that using one leg at a time has made a big difference in the quality of the exercise, and I now begin every leg workout with single-leg extensions.

They hurt my knees, especially the left one, unless worked pretty light and for me personally I don’t have a reason to make them work. I think I got more out of em when I was younger.

Leg curls on the other hand are a staple of my leg routine.

I like them at the end of a session to just finish everything off. Have you tried using like a medium weight and doing say 12 reps with a 2 second pause at the top? That really gets the middle of my quad, if I Just go up and come back down it feels like all teardrop.

It depends on the machine, but I usually have good quad workouts on Cybex and Nautilus leg ext.

As previously stated, the design of the machine is critical but they add very little to a quad workout anyway so dont worry. I use them precontest for static holds and as part of giant sets only. As part of pretty much any leg routine, i wouldn’t bother. There are so many superior exercises regardless of your goal.

Lock

[quote]waylanderxx wrote:
I like them at the end of a session to just finish everything off. Have you tried using like a medium weight and doing say 12 reps with a 2 second pause at the top? That really gets the middle of my quad, if I Just go up and come back down it feels like all teardrop.[/quote]

I second what king dong says here, try a pause at the stop, kills my quads

Depends on the machine and how you do them. I notice a big difference when I extend hard and contract, then slowly let the weight down. My entire quads burn like hell.

I think they have a place, like leg curls, as ancillary work. When you’ve done sets of squats, RDLS, Leg Presses, etc…it’s a good physical break to just go do some leg extensions to finish. It’s one of those things where your legs can still go if you isolate, but your body is getting to the point where metabolically you couldn’t really handle another compound movement with any sort of form.

You could always try Platz/Abel style…25 reps 2 sets. If you want real high reps you could do:

2 sets of 50 squats
2 sets of 50 leg extension
2 sets of 50 leg curl

The key, as with anything, is intensity. Not the load on the bar but what you are putting into it. Going for 25 reps trying to extend as hard as possible with a relatively light load…is something different. Do the above and tell me what you feel like in the morning.

Between the 2 gyms that I go to, there is a Body Masters and Nautilus L.Ext. machines

Mr. Pop: I’ve also found that doing them one-legged is the most comfortable option (best of the worst). What rep range do you use?

Waylander: I’ve found that 12 reps is the minimum set I can do to find any benefit from them-- that is where I actually feel the quads fatiguing versus pain in the knees. Having said that, the pause is necessary, and I don’t let my leg bend more than 90 degrees on the eccentric.

I think I just need to relegate them to last leg exercise of the day, 1-legged, high reps, just to pump some blood in there, it’s just frustrating because I know that it’s a good exercise for growth (for some).

lock_solid: Your leg routine looks like it’s working for you! (I’m assuming that’s you in your av)

I’ve been nursing a frustrating knee joint issue for the past month, so squats are out.
I began doing leg extensions in earnest in their place (along with RDLs).

My leg extension unit is a Body Solid brand, and its cam has holes completely around it so I can put the pin in any of them and find JUST the right curve/tension for me.

I do them single leg, and then the next workout will do the both legs.

They’re just holding me over until this knee joint issue heals… whenever that will be.

[quote]SteelyD wrote:

Mr. Pop: I’ve also found that doing them one-legged is the most comfortable option (best of the worst). What rep range do you use?
[/quote]

Always 15-20 reps.

Going much below that I not only encounter some knee pain, but I also feel it would be less effective for building the quadriceps anyway.