If you’ve ever read my awesome origin story on here about how I really got into fitness, (if not, you can read it all here!) you might recall how I said something along the lines of leg extension machines being the devil and to never use them. Now, the main reason I said that was because in high school I screwed up my knee using one. I had to miss a few weeks of cross country practice while my knee healed.
I’ve seen a lot of hate towards the leg extension machine, some of it coming from me. I’ve heard/read trainers saying how terrible it is for your knees and how you should never ever do them!
I mostly agree with them… but…
I remember reading something a while back about machines that you DON’T lift heavy with. I really wish I could remember where I read that, because it had some great information. I want to say it was either on bodybuilding.com or livestrong.com. It talked about the controversial leg extension machine. I can’t remember exactly what it said, but it talked about how it’s okay to use that machine… if you don’t try to go too heavy.
That made sense to me.
When I hurt my knee, I wasn’t going super heavy. I had definitely lifted more on there than I was at that time, but I think over-use made it vulnerable.
So, swallowing a bit of my pride and going back on my word, I used the leg extension machine last week. (Gasp!). Twice. And I used it again last night.
And do you know what? I use almost the lowest weight possible on there, but it works. I still feel it. This doesn’t mean my legs are weak and that I can’t lift more on that machine, it just means that I’m being smart about it.
Remember, I’m not a professional or expert, but I think with the way the leg extensions work your quads, I think it’s one of those things you do when you really want to focus on your quads. Does that make sense? Most machines are designed to isolate certain muscles, and this certainly does that. I don’t think this is going to add bulk to your muscles, but I think it will add definition.
I’m sure over the years I’ll go back on my word about many different things that I said I would never do. This is a great example of that! It doesn’t mean I’m a flip flop, it just means I’m learning and growing. It’s a process!