Single Leg Extension Exercise

Single Leg Extension is an isolation exercise that targets the quadriceps muscle.

This is used primarily to bring out the details of the muscles on the front thighs. It can also be used to rehab a recently injured knee.

The Leg Extension Machine places shearing forces on the side of the knees therefore it is never advisable to use a lot of weight when doing extension movements.

Single Leg Extension should always be done with light weights, using a high number of reps, constant tension especially on the eccentric part of the movement and a hard contraction at the top.

This exercise can be used to improve knee and leg strength for soccer, tennis and the martial arts.

Single Leg Extension How To

  • Adjust the settings on the leg pad and back pad of the Leg Extension Machine.
  • The ideal position is your knee must be in line with the pivot point of the machine and the back of your knee must be braced firmly against the edge of the seat.
  • Place the right leg under the leg pad. For the left leg you can either keep it outside the seat or under the leg pad. A better option would be to bring your left leg up and place your left foot on the edge of the seat for better stability. At this position, your left knee is braced against the left side of your chest.
  • Make sure your right foot is pointed up, hold the handle tight, take a deep breath then extend your right leg.
  • At the top position, contract the right leg as hard as you can and hold for a count of “one”. Slowly bring your right leg down to the starting position. That is one rep.
  • Repeat the movements until you have completed the targeted number of reps for the right leg.
  • Switch legs, place your left foot under the foot pad, lift up your right leg and place your right foot at the edge of the seat pad with your right knee braced against your right chest.
  • Repeat the movements until you have completed the targeted number of reps for the left leg.

Form and Technique

You can get the maximum benefit from Single Leg Extension by applying the principle of time under tension in every rep.

On the descent or during the eccentric part, deliberately slow down the pace of the movement.

If the descent takes you 4 seconds, this time bring the weight down in 8 seconds or longer.

In addition to being a safer technique, time under tension improves flexibility of the thigh muscle.

Some studies have shown the deliberately slowing down the eccentric movement yields better flexibility results than stretching.

Variations: Leg Extension

Routine for Strength: 3 sets x 12-15 reps

Routine for Muscle Gains: 4-5 sets x 6-8 reps

Single Leg Extension

How To Do Single Leg Extension