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How to Do a Single-Leg Leg Extension

Oh My Quad! This Leg-Toning Exercise Is Good


Tina Turner has some of the best legs to walk this earth (so good, they're reportedly insured for $3.2 million). What exactly makes them great? The definition that is apparent from her quads all the way down to her calves. The four muscles that make up your quadriceps are the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. They start at the top of your pelvis and thighbone, then come together in a tendon surrounding the kneecap and attach to your shinbone.

Taking up a majority of your leg muscles, the quadriceps are not only nice to look at, but are an essential muscle group used in everyday activities like running. A great way to train your quads is by doing single-leg leg extensions.

Here's how to do it:

  • Select your desired weight on the weight stack and insert the pin. A good weight to start with for beginners is five pounds. If you're more advanced, try 10 to 17.5 pounds.
  • Start in a seated position on the machine with your back flat against the backrest and your legs underneath the pad. Make any necessary adjustments to the pad so that it's right above your ankle.
  • With your right leg still bent at a 90-degree angle, grip the side handles while maintaining a relaxed upper-body position.
  • Using your left quadriceps, begin to extend your left leg until it is fully extended. Hold for one second.
  • Slowly lower back down to your start position.
  • That's one rep.
  • Repeat for three sets of eight for each leg.

*To modify this exercise, extend both legs at the same time and increase the weight to 20 to 30 pounds.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett
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