Tag Upper thigh

Leg extension

Leg extension


Muscle group:   The leg muscles

Trained muscle:   Thigh front

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Machine exercises


 

Leg extension is an exercise that trains the front of the thigh quite intensely. We either work out on the leg extension machine or on the cable machine. A familiar exercise are the straight leg raises.

Leg extension machine

The exercise on the leg extension machine can already be performed by beginners. Take a seat and adjust the machine to have the rotating axis in one line with your knee joints . Your complete back should sit tightly on the back rest. The resistance cushion should sit on the lower part of your shank right above the ankle joint. Extend your legs in a controlled movement. When you do so the kneecaps should point right up. Neither rotate your legs outward, nor inward to protect your knee joints.

Leg extension on the machine

Leg extension on the machine

 

When we work out leg extensions the thigh backside is not activated, as it would be with squats or leg presses. This causes instabilities of the knee joint what can lead to complaints or injuries if the exercise is not executed properly. The exercise can also be performed one-legged.

Leg extension on the cable machine

Leg extensions on the cable machine should just be practised by advanced and experienced athletes. There are two different ways. We adjust the lowest position of the cable and fixate the cuff around the ankle of the training leg. The standing leg bends slightly. Stabilize your body with both hands on the machine and by tensing your abdominal muscles.

  • From that position we could either raise the training leg in extension. Bring it back to the starting position to complete one repetition. The movement here would be quite similar to the straight leg raises in standing position.
  • Or we raise the thigh to the horizontal line in front of our body (bent hip joint). From here we extend the knee maximally in a controlled movement and bring it back to the starting position.
Leg extension on the cable machine

Leg extension on the cable machine

 

Both versions can be intensified with small movements in the area of highest muscle tension (raised leg in extension).


Antagonist: Thigh backside

Stretching: Front thigh stretches

 

 


Leg press

Leg press


Muscle group:   The leg muscles

Trained muscle:   Thigh front

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Machine exercises


 

Leg press is one of the most effective exercises for the front of the thigh. On a much lower rate some versions work out the back of the thigh, the butt, and the lower back as well.

Leg press

The leg press is performed on the machine or rack. Here, we can find various types that allow us to train different variations. On the leg press machine we usually have the platform for our feet right in front of us. Here, we overcome the resistance on the horizontal line. But the back rest can be adjusted at different angles, so we either exercise sitting or lying. Beginners could already work out on the machine. On the leg press rack the weight moves freely. We usually work on an inclined line pushing it upward. Only advanced and experienced athletes should work out on the rack.

Leg press on the machine

The seated leg press on the machine is the basic version of the exercise. We sit in the machine. Our complete back rests on the cushion. Set your feet with the entire sole shoulder wide on the platform. Your knees pull slightly to the outward to have them in one line with the feet. In the beginning the knee angle should not be below 90°. Experienced athletes of good physical health and with a very clean execution can choose lower angles as long as the lower back remains on the cushion. It is recommended to not work out below 70°. Tense your abdominal muscles and grab the handles on the sides with both hands to stabilize the body. Start to extend and bend your legs alternately. In the end position never extend your leg maximally. The soles of your feet remain on the platform completely during the entire exercise.

Seated leg press

Seated leg press

 

The execution of the horizontal leg press is similar to the seated version. Due to the lying position and the resistance cushions on our shoulders some athletes could feel uncomfortable to their lower back or shoulder. If so, please continue with the seated leg press.

Horizontal leg press

Horizontal leg press

 

Leg press on the rack

Leg presses on the rack also work the same way. Here, we have to be careful with the weights. Once we release the holders the platform moves freely what causes the risk of crushing body parts. Also, be careful with your lower back. Just bend your legs as far as you can keep the complete lower back on the rest. Raising the lower back could cause complaints or injuries.

Incline leg press

Incline leg press

 

Also work out squats.


Antagonist: Thigh backside

Stretching: Front thigh stretches

 

 


Heel press

Heel press


Muscle group:   The leg muscles

Trained muscle:   Thigh backside

Fitness level:   Beginner, advanced, experienced

Type of training:   Own body weight exercises


 

Heel presses represent a quite effective isometric exercise for the muscles of the back thigh that can be practised by beginners as well as experienced athletes.

Heel press

Heel presses can be performed in lying or standing position. Lying we start in supine position with both hands crossed under our head. The knees are bent at an angle of approximately 90° and the heels press into the floor. The tiptoes pull upward. Our lower back pulls toward the floor by tensing the abdominal muscles. We now press our heels strongly into the floor without raising the pelvis. On top of the pressure into the floor we can actively pull the heels upward to our body (without changing the position) to intensify this exercise. The intensity can also be increased by extending the distance between heels and buttocks.

The heel press in standing position is performed one-legged. The trained leg is being elevated on a chair, bench, or similar. The tiptoes point upward and the heel presses downward. Tense your abdominal muscles and increase the pressure with your heel.

Please note that in the one-legged standing version we don’t tend toward a hollow back as much as in the two-legged lying version. But we also activate the hip flexors significantly. So please be careful with your lower back when you perform heel presses.


To increase the intensity level you could also work out familiar exercises, like the stiff man and glute bridges.

Antagonist: Thigh front

Stretching: Back thigh stretches

 

Heel press lying

Heel press lying

 

Heel press standing

Heel press standing