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Do you want to strengthen and sculpt the front of your legs? You can do so by working out the quadriceps femoris muscle, also called quadriceps or quads. It is called quadriceps because it’s subdivided into four muscles (rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius). This muscle group is located on the front of the thigh and covers the front and sides of the femur. The quads help during knee joint extension, hip joint flexion, and kneecap stabilization.  They are essential for walking, running, jumping, and squatting.

There are several exercises that you can perform to strengthen and sculpt the quads. For instance, you can do squats, goblet squats, Bulgarian split squats, hack squats, front squats, and front lunges. However, these exercises also work the hamstrings, gluteus, and calves.

If you want to isolate the quads, you are better off performing leg extensions or knee extensions. Leg extensions are done on a leg extension machine. You do leg extensions by sitting on the machine, placing the weighted pad on top of your lower legs, extending your knees (lifting your lower legs) until your legs are straight, and lowering the lower legs. You can repeat the movement 8-15 times.

Alternatives to Leg Extensions

Even though the leg extension is a great quad isolation exercise, not everybody has access to a leg extension machine or gym. The good news is that you can perform that same movement without a machine and target those quads effectively. You can do leg extensions at home.

The following are some exercises that you can perform when you do not have access to a leg extension machine:

– Standing Leg Extensions

Besides isolating the quads, standing leg extensions stimulate your core and allow you to work on your balance and coordination. This is how to do standing leg extensions ⤵️

  • Stand up with your feet hip-width apart, back straight, shoulders back, and core tight.
  • Raise your right foot off the floor.
  • Extend your right leg in front of you until it is straightened.
  • Lower the leg down to the starting position.
  • Perform 12 – 15 reps.
  • Repeat with the left leg.
  • In order to add some resistance, you can put an ankle weight on your feet or strap a resistance band. Feel free to grab on a chair or wall if you feel you can’t balance on your own.

– Bodyweight Leg Extensions

You can perform leg extensions while sitting in a normal chair or bench. This is how to do bodyweight leg extensions ⤵️

  • Sit in a chair or bench with your back straight.
  • Extend your right knee to lift your right leg until it is straightened.
  • Lower the leg down to the starting position.
  • Perform 12 – 15 reps.
  • Repeat with the left leg.

– Leg Extensions with Resistance

You can also challenge yourself more by adding resistance to the body-weight leg extension. You perform the exercise in the same manner but you can incorporate an ankle weight, a resistance band, or even the head of a kettlebell. Check out my video below to see how to do all exercises mentioned above, as well as how to introduce resistance into your leg extension exercise without a machine.

How to Do Leg Extensions Without a Machine

Leg Extensions at home without Machine

As you can see, there are many alternatives to the traditional leg extension exercise. You can still sculpt and strengthen your legs by doing leg extensions without the need for a leg extension machine. You can do leg extensions at home and get great legs.

To a Healthier Fitter You,

Adriana Albritton

The Fitness Wellness Mentor

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