Leg extension is bad, isn't it? Dangerous and useless? Well, not that quickly.
Leg extensions are not only not dangerous, they also have a positive effect on the general strength and performance of the lower body. Studies show that leg extension in the rectus femoris produces a much higher level of activation compared to the squat. (1) Other studies show that the rectus femoris seems to grow faster compared to the other three quadriceps through machine-based single-joint training. (2)
When it comes to strengthening the quads, there are a number of studies showing better quad strength gains (even in patients after ACL reconstruction) when doing exercises with an open kinetic chain such as leg extension with exercises with a closed one kinetic chain can be combined like squats and lunges with only exercises with closed kinetic chain. (3)
Okay, cool, but what if you don't have access to a leg extension machine? Just do the band inverted leg extension. In fact, there are eight options here, from the least difficult to the most difficult version.
Note: You can do this with a normal band, but I use my NT loop because it is more comfortable and stable. [1
Level 2 – Single-ply tape with raised feet.
This increases the range of motion and places higher demands on your abdominal muscles and shoulders.
Level 3 – Two-layer tape (more tape tension).
Level 4 – double-layer tape with raised feet.
Level 5 – single leg with single layer tape.
This is more difficult since you are now demanding that one leg do the work of two. Although it's not exact math, you essentially double the load on each leg.
Level 6 – single leg with single-ply band and raised feet.
Level 7 – single leg with two-layer band.
Level 8 – single leg with double-layer band and raised feet.
This progression assumes that you are using the same band. So if you only have one, you can find the appropriate level for your strength. However, if you have multiple resistance bands with different voltages, you can switch to a heavier band instead of creating a double layer of a lighter band.
With the single-layer versions, you can choke or choke. The band depends on how much tension you want to work against. Just make sure you keep the band under tension to start each rep. The extra game in the band stays between your hands.
Setup and coaching tips
- Place the band (for the single and double-layer version) standing directly behind your knees. Then kneel on the floor and keep your legs and feet hip-width apart.
- Place your hands flat on the floor, about shoulder width apart, while keeping the tape securely anchored under your hands.
- From all fours Position your hips back so that your knees are bent over 90 degrees. Slide your hands on the floor away from your knees to begin tensioning the band. The further you put your hands away from your knees, the more tension is created with each repetition.
- If you are running the version with raised feet, place your feet on a chair, couch or bench with your feet shoulder-width apart. Depending on your height and the height of your feet, your knees may not touch the floor.
- Push up against the tape on each repetition until your knees are completely straight.
- When holding your knees just above the floor at the end of each rep. Don't let your knees rest on the floor until you've completed the set.
Not dangerous! 4 wrongly accused exercises
4 days of minimalist training
- Ebben, W. P., Feldmann, C. R., Dayne, A., Mitsche, D., Alexander, P. & Knetzger, K. J. (2009). Muscle activation in the lower body during strength training. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 30 (1), 1-8.
- R. Ema, T. Wakahara, N. Miyamoto, H. Kanehisa & Y. Kawakami (2013). Inhomogeneous architectural changes in the quadriceps femoris through strength training. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113 (11), 2691-2703.
- Treubig, D. Why you should use knee extensions after ACL reconstruction. Retrieved in 2018 from themanualtherapist.com