Why You Should be Avoiding the Leg Extension

by Gary Matthews

Leg extensions are arguably one of the most popular leg exercises for strengthening the quadriceps (thigh) muscle.

These are done by using a leg extension machine and sitting in the seat with your feet hooked under the padded lever. Raise the weight with your legs until they are pointing straight out in front of you. Hold briefly, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.

Leg extensions are a potentially dangerous exercise because when only the shin is in motion, the exercise draws the patella back onto the femur increasing joint compression forces, which can damage the connective tissue and the ligaments supporting the knee joint.

It can also cause anterior knee pain so people with existing knee problems may aggravate them by doing this exercise.

For greater safety and equal effectiveness, try doing the Squat, Leg Press, and Lunge for safer and more functional use.

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