Basic leg extension exercises performed on leg extension machines are likely to spark heated debates. Done with the right technique, coaches and doctors disagree on whether the benefits for the quadriceps are commensurate with the force placed on the knee joint. For this reason, if you have a problem with your knee, give this machine a pass. However, another variation of this exercise still targets the quadleg extension machinericeps while reducing stress on the knee joint.
Foot Extension Machine
The traditional weighted leg extension uses a leg extension machine. You sit in a reclining chair with your knees bent and your feet under the platform attached to the weights. You raise your leg to a straight position. Since the heavy load is focused on your ankle, a high amount of torque is focused on your knee joint.
Leg Extensions With Ankle Weights
The leg extension does not require the use of a machine. Ankle weight is an effective substitute and allows you to work one leg at a time. The smaller amount of weight reduces the pressure on the knee while the quadriceps are still working. Sit on a chair with your back straight. Attach weights to your ankles. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends starting at 5 pounds and increasing to a maximum of 10 pounds. Tighten your thigh muscles and slowly straighten your left leg. Before returning to original position, hold it for 5 seconds. Repeat this step with the other leg.
Standing Leg Extension
This exercise uses resistance bands instead of weights. Anchor one end of the cable to the anchor and the other to your left ankle. Stand with your feet hip-width apart so that the anchor location is behind you. You must stand at a distance that does not create tension. Bend your left knee back. As you exhale, slowly straighten your legs and stretch them forward as far as is comfortable. Keep your hips from tilting back. Return to starting position slowly while inhaling your breath. Complete repetition of 10. Change to the right leg.