Muscle-Building Technique: Leg Extensions for Quads

While you might think that all you need are squats and leg presses to build a great set of quads, some of the best bodybuilding minds have known for decades that isolation exercises like Sissy squats and leg extensions just seem to hit a little different. While squats do a great job at activating three out of four of your quadriceps muscles, they fall a little short when it comes to activating your rectus femoris. This is because unlike your other quadriceps muscles, your rectus femoris acts as both a knee extensor and hip flexor, and so heavily influenced by any exercise that involves a bending of your hips (like squats and leg presses). Studies have shown that leg extensions activate this area greater than squats (1). If you want more “complete” quadriceps growth then leg extensions performed correctly are the perfect addition to your workouts.

Related Article: Are Leg Extensions Bad for You?

Leg Extensions Technique

Common Mistakes

  • Not paying attention to the degree of hip flexion or remaining upright throughout.
  • Using too much momentum and often too much weight.
  • Not focusing on the squeeze and contraction at the top.
  • Not locking yourself down into the seat hard enough – Try using grip supports like Versa Gripps to anchor yourself down using the handles. Game-changer!!
  • Often not getting enough range of motion at the bottom of the lift.

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  1. Ebben WP et al. Muscle activation during lower body resistance training. Int J Sports Med. 2009 Jan;30(1):1-8. PubMed 2.

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