Here’s What I Built Under $1000! Even though you can perform bodyweight leg extensions while seated or standing, the most effective way to perform the exercise is by adopting a raised plank position. Sliding Leg Curls ; 13. You can either alternate legs or perform all of your reps with one leg and then rotate. In order to maximize the benefits of this exercise, try and use a dumbbell weight as heavy as you can manage. While this particular exercise isn’t as quad-intensive as the leg extension, it can still give them a great workout, while also targeting the glutes and hamstrings. This convenience is most important for any … To perform this lift, you grip the sides of the handle of the kettlebell with each hand. Kettlebells vs Dumbbells – Which is Better? Your elbows should be pointed down and just slightly out. Leg Extensions Without a Machine. Higher heights force you to activate more of your hamstrings and glutes. It Will Decrease the Likelihood of Hurting Your Knee, You Can Use it to Finish Off a Leg Day Workout, 15 Best Massage Guns – November 2020 Review & Buyers Guide, 9 Best CrossFit Packages & Bundles to Level Up Your Home or Garage Gym 2021. Kneel down on all fours with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. Hip Extensions; 2. The cyclist squat, or quad squat, is another leg extension alternative. Not only do these alternatives work your hamstrings, but they also give benefits to your glutes, lats, and core muscles. They will work similar muscles while forcing you to use others, such as your core, for stabilization. It can be done on really any surface – a box, bench, or even sturdy chair – and can be done with no resistance, dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. Leg Extension Alternative Exercises. Step one leg onto the platform, making sure your entire foot is on top. Take this 4 question quiz and find out a full set of customized equipment for your home gym under 1 minute! Seated leg extensions (without a machine) It’s safer to do leg extensions without weights than to use the leg extension machine. While fatiguing muscular fibers in the quads is guaranteed on the leg extension machine, that same recruitment can be possible through split stance loaded variations such as the lunge or split squat. Garagegympower is reader-supported. However, the control it takes to hold the squat at the bottom then push back up will prove challenging. Natural Leg Extensions to strengthen your quads without equipment! Sumo Squat to Stand; 5. This is one of the best exercises for people with severe knee pain. Plus it can give you some explosive power in the legs as you will need to generate enough force to push yourself up onto the bench. Not to be confused with the lateral lunge, which is essentially like a front lunge but to the side, the side lunge is an exercise that will have you getting a real sweat on. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest home gym reviews. Spending too much on leg machines, such as the leg curl and leg extension station, is not an efficient or effective way to train. Lunges . All this leg extension alternative requires is a raised platform or a bench, and that’s it. Many of these exercises are just as effective at working out the big muscle groups in the legs as the leg extension, so you can do the same challenging leg day workout as you would with the machine. As the name suggests, this exercise is just a lunge but rather than stepping forward, you step backward. If you have joint pain, do broad jumps with care. This doesn’t mean you have to compromise though! The bodyweight leg extension is an excellent substitute for the machine leg extension and will yield similar results in terms of isolating and strengthening the quad muscles. To perform the barbell or bodyweight reverse lunge, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. You can see what a goblet squat looks like in this video. However, what can you do when for whatever reason you don’t have access to the leg extension machine? You can even combine the cyclist squat method with the front squat, and raise your feet onto a weight plate for some great results. Single Leg Hip Extensions. Any of the exercises above can make great leg extension alternatives. Due to the isolation of the leg extension, you will be working the patellar ligament of the knee, which is great for maintaining knee strength and keeping it healthy. If your gym has one, the hack squat machine can be a great alternative to leg extensions. Looking to isolate your quads without the leg extension machine? These can also be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. There are a range of leg extension alternatives that you can rely on if the leg extension itself isn’t an option. (I wouldn't trust the worn-out equipment in the one gym in town!) So, it can be difficult to come up with the leg extension alternatives. All that’s required is a dumbbell and a spare weight plate. These are great for not just your quadriceps, but your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back as they force you to be stable and flexible in your lower body. Perform a squat as you normally would, and be prepared to feel some serious burn in your quads when you get to the bottom of the squat. These exercises can also be used as warmups for leg extensions performed on a weight machine, and they could help you to avoid any severe knee injuries. They are also one of the most common lower body exercises you will see performed in a gym, because they are so simple and effective. The leg extension is a formidable exercise which I’m sure you’d agree is a great inclusion in any leg day workout. Well, leg curl is the most commonly known workout for the hamstring, and people seem to have trouble finding other exercises for their legs online. Try these exercises if you want to make everyday tasks easier. 6 Leg Extension Alternatives Focused on Improving and Maintaining Muscle Function. Best alternative to leg extensions. Holding it at the level of your collar bone, squat down, maintaining your narrow stance to get the most out of your quads. Yes, the classic sissy squat is a leg extension where the hips are extended. But for multiple reasons, the standing leg extension is the better option. Make sure you bend your knees at the bottom of the movement and push through your heels to get back to a standing position. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! You want your platform to be tall enough that your upper leg is parallel to the ground when stepping up. and what machines to avoid in gym as not to increase knee pain ?" This makes it ideal for home workouts and even makes it possible to use on the road if you’re staying in a hotel room. Finally, and perhaps the best reason for doing leg extensions, or alternatives, is the effect it can have on your quad muscles. While it might not be the most functional lift, as the machine does most of the balance and stabilization work for you, it does really force you to work on your quadriceps. The reverse lunge is a variation of the traditional lunge exercise that may put less stress on your knee. The addition of the barbell allows for more core activation and will increase potential quad gains. Its important not to put your knees under risk while doing leg exercises. These are best performed with a kettlebell, although a dumbbell could also be used. Leg extension … In order to get the most quad engagement from this exercise, make sure you use a lower bench or support platform. Post: Home alternative to leg extensions? Of course, it goes without saying that this exercise isn’t entirely beginner-friendly. Floor Hamstring Raises ; 12. If you have doubts about this one, first try to complete a bodyweight squat with the plate following the same instructions, and honestly, this can be an effective exercise in itself too. The video below shows what good hack squat technique looks like. I personally love this exercise, since it doesn’t require a series of static movements, but is rather a dynamic move that’ll help you develop quads that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of. If you’re not quite convinced that the leg extensions benefits outweigh the risks, we get it, but that doesn’t mean your quads have to miss out. The quads are underworked in a lot of exercises in favor of the glutes and hamstrings, so the leg extension is a fantastic way of strengthening your quads and making sure you develop your leg muscles evenly. The squat is universally recognized as one of the best leg exercises you can do and can help you build a solid foundation. The setup of this really isolates your quads better than almost any other exercise on this list. Then slowly raise yourself back up for one rep. Since it isn’t a compound exercise and focuses on the quads, you don’t have to worry about burnout preventing you from doing this exercise. Assuming you are healthy, any of these can be substituted into your training program with similar set and rep numbers to help you develop muscular size and strength in you lower body. These exercises are great “closers” to end your leg workout on. What would you miss out on if you skipped the exercise altogether and didn’t find a replacement? You can use the following leg extension alternatives to create a productive leg day routine, or you can take individual exercises and incorporate them into existing workout circuits. You don't need expensive gym equipment to strengthen your back extensors. Dumbbell Lying Leg Curls; 9. However, unlike the leg extension, the Bulgarian split squat is a compound exercise. You can also perform this leg extension alternative as a bodyweight movement too, should you not have access to weights. This way, you can not only place more emphasis on the quads giving them more opportunity to grow through hypertrophy, but you can also give your core and arms a solid workout. This alternative for the leg extension also happens to be one of the best out there for building huge quads and doing most of what the leg extension does for those muscles. His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. Best Leg Extension Machines 2021 with Reviews – Is it Really Worth it? Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. Conquering Kilimanjaro: Q&A with Sara Sampaio on Her Hike to the Top of Africa’s Tallest Mountain. We asked fitness professionals to suggest a few of their favorite alternatives for lunges next time you hit the weight room for legs day. The standing leg extension is more easily loaded, which means it's easier to make the exercise lighter or heavier. Free-Weight Substitute/Alternative To: Leg Extensions, Plate-Loaded Hack Squat, Leg Press, Selectorized Horizonal Leg Press, Glute Kickbacks. The leg extension will work on the muscles within your legs only and nowhere else. While these come in many different shapes and sizes, the basic layout is the same. When you purchase through links in our articles, we may earn an affiliate commission. Bent Leg Lifts/Donkey Kicks; 3. Unlike a lot of other exercises, this one will have you moving around, which at least for me keeps it entertaining. This exercise requires slightly more flexibility, so make sure you don’t injure yourself by going too quickly or taking on too much too soon. This is for the same reason you want a narrow stance with the cyclist squats we looked at earlier. The site is made by Ola and Markus in Sweden, with a lot of help from our friends and colleagues in Italy, Finland, USA, Colombia, Philippines, France and contributors from all over the world. Some of these lifts involve the hamstrings and glutes more than the leg extension, but the primary muscle group used is the quadriceps. You will be lying in a reclined position, with the weight on your back and your feet on a platform. The bodyweight leg extension is an excellent substitute for the machine leg extension and will yield similar results in terms of isolating and strengthening the quad muscles. The leg extension machine might be one of the most popular exercises for the lower body in your gym, but that doesn’t mean you should do them in every training session. Throw the barbell into the mix, and you’ve got a real quad burner. The leg extension, through extending the leg, counteracts this position and keeps the ligament in good shape. Bodybuilding Alternatives for Leg Extensions. This leg extension alternative without a machine is perfect for building strong quads muscles, and a highly effective replacement as a result. Learn more. The single leg Romanian deadlift has the added benefit of working on core stability, in addition to hitting your leg muscles. Squats, split squats, lunges and step-ups — functional movements — can replace leg extensions. While these come in many different shapes and sizes, the basic layout is the same. Step one foot back and lower yourself into a one-legged squat, making sure to put it far enough away from your body to feel the tension in the quads. However, if you are going to use weights, you can let your back leg hover in the air so that you don’t accidentally launch the dumbbells into a wall. No worries, we got you covered! Walking to the side in a crouched position will have you feeling the strain on your quads like nothing else, so this one is great for developing willpower as well as huge quads. To do this, you’ll want to bend your elbows forward until you can grab the bar with just your fingertips. This is a simple, but powerful exercise, as you can see in the video below. The front squat requires you to hold your barbell in front of you, as opposed to on the backs of your shoulders. Like regular lunges, they can be done with no resistance or with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell on your back. Resistance bands, dumbbells or body weight can be used to strengthen these muscles. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Answered by Dr. Peter Ihle: It depends on what U: … You will find the similarities between the two body-weight workouts include reduced joint strain, compound muscle building, and flexibility to modify for additional results. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window). This means that it is a more well-rounded exercise which could – and maybe should – become a mainstay in your leg day workouts. It’s important though not to equate best with perfect. Lunges are a great leg extension alternative because they are … Adding or removing resistance from the sissy squat is not so easy. The cyclist squat is a weighted squat, but with raised feet, so that you can better focus the brunt of the exercise on your quads. All that’s needed is a bench and a couple of dumbbells for this one. This move combines a squat and full extension of your lower body, making it a great leg press alternative. There are several reasons you may be looking for a leg extension alternative, including: Injury recovery Injury prevention To avoid the overdevelopment of the quadriceps. Another benefit of the leg extension exercise is how it can be used as a leg day finisher. The exercise may appear easy, and they are indeed more beginner-friendly than the forward lunge. Step ups are one of the best exercises to mimic the emphasis on the quads that a leg extension machine does. As well as targeting the quads, you’ll also get a great workout for your hamstrings and glutes with the side lunge. Place your chair, bench or other raised platform on the floor, and get into a pushup position so that your feet can rest atop the platform. You might not agree after 30 seconds of this though, as it will tire you out quicker than you think. Most of the bodybuilders are not aware of leg extension alternatives they can easily carry out at home. This is one of the few movements that has no true free-weight alternative. Leg Extension Alternatives. If you’re in the market for a machine, then check out the best leg extension machines you can get your hands on! The slower the better with this exercise, and the more controlled it is, the more you will feel the quads really working hard. This machine requires you to lift your lower legs by extending your knees against weighted resistance from a seated position. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. For this lift, you will need some sort of platform to place your back foot on during the movement. The front squat is better as opposed to the back squat when it comes to building up the quads. 1. (Topic#5715) Anonymous 10-12-05 08:16 AM - Post# 151064 . TOP 41 Best Workout Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed 2021, TOP 15 Best All In One Home Gyms & Machines Reviewed 2021. This list is assuming you are using the leg extension machine for supplementary quad work and you are looking for substitutes other than traditional squats and deadlifts. Again, foot placement here is important as changing the distance you step will tweak the muscles that are targeted. This leg extension alternative without a machine is really ideal for a quick quad-centric workout. That makes it a great movement to do at the end of your workout. Further, someone with patella femoral syndrome/chondromalacia patella. If you've proved the ability to dominate a static split squat and earned the right to progress, try the rear foot elevated split squat. They are great substitutes for the leg extension machine because they can use similar set and rep schemes while still primarily working your quads. 5 Leg Machine Alternatives to Tone Your Legs The Path. The cyclist squat is named such since it is a killer quad exercise that will develop the muscles much like extended sessions of cycling would. I challenge you to try this exercise and tell me it isn’t as hard, if not harder than using the leg extension machine. This leg extension alternative is fantastic for strengthening the quad muscles, while also hitting the glutes and hamstrings at the same time. Your feet are placed close together and your heels are raised. Other Exercise Names: One-Legged Squat, Barbell Split-Squat. Read Next. What makes the front squat a valid alternative to the leg extension though, is how by regular sets of the squat you will surely develop big quads over time. Bulgarian Split Squats ; 11. Carrying Out Squats An exercise that is ideal for athletes, this one will target the big muscles in the legs, namely the quads, calves, and hamstrings. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Whether you don’t have access to a machine or if you would just like a more functional exercise, any of the movements below can serve as a good replacement. A difficult isolation exercise, this one shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for an alternative leg extension exercise. Placing your feet underneath you more will force the quadriceps muscles to do more of the work. Push through your heel as you step your other leg up and lift the knee. ), TOP 15 Best Power Racks & Squat Racks for Home Garage Gym Reviewed 2021, TOP 15 Best Ab Workout Machines for Your Home Gym Reviewed 2021, TOP 10 Best Plyometric Boxes (Plyo Jump Boxes) Reviewed in 2021. However, you have the option to add dumbbells should you need that extra difficulty. The bodyweight step-up can be done by placing a bench in front of you, stepping one leg up onto it, then pushing up into the air with your other leg. I live overseas (China, to be exact) in a very small community that doesn't have a decent gym. What’s more, the front squat encourages a narrower stance, which naturally turns the quads on and activates them more than a wider stance. Being a bodyweight exercise, these are great to do at home or in a hotel. You can see what the exercise looks like in the video. This is also a great exercise to do when you have a spare minute at home or in a hotel room – minus the barbell if you don’t have one lying around. If you still want to do leg extensions but don’t want to expose your knees to so much shearing force, this exercise provides a viable alternative. Now, with your feet very close together, carefully step your heels up on to the plate, so that just your toes are on the floor. One benefit of these is that you only need a set of dumbbells and does not require any special machines or other equipment. Leg extension alternatives engage more leg muscles, like the glutes and hamstrings. Step-ups are another great alternative but do need a chair or bench at a specific height. Kneeling down on the floor, slowly bend backwards with arms stretched out in front of you until you feel the tension in your quads. The weighted Bulgarian split squat is a tough leg extension alternative that will help you build quads of steel. This alternative for the leg extension can be done at home, providing you have a chair, bench or other raised surface to rest your feet on. With this, exercise time under tension is key and will lead to quad gains in the long run. This is due to the fact that you have to keep your torso upright, and at the bottom of the squat, you will feel the burn in your quad muscles. The closest exercise to the machine leg extension and the obvious replacement for it is the bodyweight leg extension. Top 15 best all in one home gyms & machines Reviewed 2021, top 15 best all one. Grip the sides of the few movements that has no true free-weight alternative when it comes to building the... Core, which means it 's easier to make everyday tasks easier in! 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