Leg day is something that we all might be tempted to skip at the gym, however, it is an integral part of your regular workout.
So how can you make it fun, track your gains accurately and start to notice some sizable improvements in your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles?
Well, having your own leg extension machine in your house is one way of doing all these things. A leg extender promotes isolated exercises as opposed to compound exercises such as running, in that they hone in on certain muscles during intense exercise.
Using a leg extender, like any other piece of gym equipment, will allow you to isolate and focus on the weaker muscles that might be underdeveloped because of postural issues or injury.
It will be worth having a rudimentary knowledge of what's going on in your leg before embarking on using a leg extender - such as knowing that the thigh is made up of three hamstrings and four quadriceps whereas the calf is composed of two main muscles. Knowing which muscles to focus on and which exercises to perform is the best way of developing muscle quickly and efficiently.
Leg extenders are also a great way of keeping you safe when exercising, as a lot of them have built-in safety mechanisms that won’t allow your knee or ankle joint to overextend themselves, which might result in injury.
So where can you find the best leg extenders on the market? What features and capabilities does a leg extender need to give you the most from your leg workout? How much will a decent leg extender be looking to set you back in terms of price?
Well, fans of leg day won’t have to worry, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the best leg extenders currently on the market. We also have a buyer’s guide that will help you determine what to look for in a great leg extender, along with some frequently asked questions given by leg stretching enthusiasts.
So what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of gym shorts and let’s do a deep dive into our list of the best leg extension machines currently available.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first leg extension machine is one that is very simple and easy-to-use, so it won’t be too intimidating for newcomers to leg day.
It is also extremely affordable, quick to assemble, coming in just a few moving parts - introducing Marcy Steel Adjustable Weight Bench.
This bench is ideal for the taller person, with an adjustable seat that you can set to six positions, so you can get the leg bar in a place that you feel comfortable with.
This is also a very compact unit that you can store in most spaces, which is ideal for people who live in apartments or one-bedroom flats.
Aside from some slight wobbling in some of their constituent parts, this is a great machine if you don’t heavy load it.
If you’re looking to keep those leg muscles nice and toned, this machine will keep you secure and stable from the beginning to the end of your exercises.
- Adjustable - this machine can be set to 6 notches, so you can take it nice and easy if you’re a beginner or hit the leg extender hard if you’re a more experienced exerciser.
- The price - this is one of the cheaper units on this list, perfect for those beginners who want to go easy on their wallets as well as their legs.
- You can store this extender very easily, making it perfect for users who have less storage space.
- It is very easy to assemble, with instructions and fewer moving parts, so you can get it up and running in a matter of minutes.
- This bench does tend to shake and wobble, which might put off users who want that solid and stable exercise.
Our next machine is one that is made by the very reputable brand TDS, with hundreds of positive reviews being a testament to its quality.
This is another machine that is ideal for taller people, with fewer components and less nuts and bolts, so it will be very easy to use for people of all different abilities - introducing the TDS Pro Leg Curl Extension Unit.
You can set this up in your garage or even a larger bedroom if you’ve got the space, with the leg curling component being detachable. This gives you the freedom to extend your leg and engage in more complex extensions.
The build quality is solid steel, so you can be sure that it will not rust or corrode easily, which might be an issue if you are storing your equipment outdoors or in the garage.
The adjustability of this machine is also very impressive, which will be important if you want to upscale your workout over time.
- This machine is very simple to use, coming in a one-piece construction that has very few nuts and bolts and can be installed quickly.
- The solid steel body is very resistant to rust and will last over years, possibly decades, of use.
- This is made by a very reputable company, known for manufacturing exercise equipment of great quality and functionality. They look pretty cool too.
- This is one for beginners who want to transition into more intensive exercises, with different positions that will give your exercise a lot more of a dynamic range.
- This machine has more detachable parts than some of the others, so it might take a little longer to assemble.
This next leg extender again comes from a very well-known company that markets exercise equipment to those who want to isolate certain muscles rather than work on a few at the same time.
This is a great extender for anyone who is looking to rehabilitate their muscles after an injury - introducing the XMark Rotary Leg Extension and Curl Machine.
The padding in the seat is very thick and makes for a comfortable sitting position, which is especially important if you’re thinking of doing numerous reps. The design of the seat and leg extender is adapted especially for isolating key muscles.
The packaging identifies what parts need to go where making it easy to set up and get working straight away.
The look of the machine is very industrial and it will be able to cope with heavy loads and repetitive straining, which will be very useful if you’re planning on using this it numerous times a day.
- This has extra thick padding in the backrest and seat, which will help cushion the lower spine and be very important if you have any injuries such as sciatica or piriformis syndrome.
- The seats are also double stitched which prevents the fabric from breaking and increases the overall durability.
- This piece of apparatus also has storage for extra weights, which will be particularly appealing to people who want to build muscle and increase their load over time.
- The look of the machine is also sleek, the leather covers can be wiped down easily after use, which will be important to stop the fabric from perishing.
- The price - this unit will probably set you back a few dollars more than some of the other units, which might dissuade beginners who don’t want to spend much on their first machine.
Our next leg extender comes at a slightly more reasonable price, with a sturdy frame and compact design, so you can store it easily in a smaller space.
The padding in the seat and back is extensive and you can be sure that it won’t aggravate existing conditions such as sciatica or lower leg pain - introducing the Valor Fitness CC-4 Leg Extension Machine.
This machine certainly is value for money - saving your precious dollars as well as your floor space. It’s certainly one in the eye for those who say that you need a small fortune and a palatial level of floor space to get into great shape.
Due to the affordability of this unit, you can pick this one up if you want to rehabilitate your leg muscles after an injury.
Often, if you are suffering an injury and want to regain strength, chances are you won’t want to fork out too much money for a machine to help you get back on your feet.
- The action on this leg extender is smooth and not too jerky. If you are experiencing chronic pain, having a machine that gives you maximum control over your weight lift is very important for safety.
- The price - this inexpensive unit will be perfect for people who are on a budget. Often, these high-end extenders can overcharge you for what are essentially a few simple functions.
- This machine is easy to operate, with plenty of adjustable nodules that allow you to set your machine from easy to hard. It is suitable for both exercise junkies and people who want to elevate their heart rate just a few times a week.
- The seat can also be adjusted to accommodate numerous heights, so it won’t punish you for being taller than most.
- The installation of this machine will be slightly longer than some of the others on our list.
Our final leg curler is another very affordable option, with quality padding in the seat and lower back and a durable steel frame underneath.
You can incline the bench to whatever angle you feel most comfortable, adjusting the weight level at your discretion - introducing the Deltech Fitness Leg Extension Machine.
This machine also has a very smooth action, giving you maximum control over the pull of your arcs, avoiding that jerkiness that can cause quite severe injuries.
This is an ideal machine for everyone, whether beginner or expert weightlifter.
- The bench angle design is very durable, with premium-grade cushions and stitching, you can tug and shift on these pads for years without any wear and tear.
- The washer on the pivots can be easily slid into the grooves to give you a secure hold in several different positions, perfect for people who want a guarantee that they’ll remain safe and secure.
- The steel that makes up the body of this extender is solid and will hold firm to the floor even during the most rigorous of workouts.
- The action of the leg extender itself is very smooth and will give you the utmost control over your leg swings.
- You have to buy the weights separately for this model, which might put off users who would prefer not to spend the extra money on items sold separately.
Best Leg Extension Machines Buying Guide
When picking up a leg extender, you’ll need to know the intensity of the workout you’re planning on doing, as well as what area of the leg you want to focus on.
Most extenders are adaptable to all quadrants of the leg, although some are more flexible than others.
Here are a few things you should bear in mind before buying your leg extension machine:
What Will You Be Using Your Leg Extender For?
If you are a beginner to the world of compound or isolated exercise, you’ll probably need an inexpensive machine at first. These are usually more lightweight and easier to store.
However, if you want to shape your body or build more muscle mass, then you’ll want something that can accommodate additional weights.
Smooth action is also very important to engage with all the deep tissue surrounding those muscles and getting the most thorough workout.
How Easy Will It Be To Get Components?
With a lot of these leg extenders, you’ll have to purchase additional weights separately, which will require time to research and cost a little extra too.
If you are serious about your weight training and have the spare cash, then find a machine that you can add to.
However, if you are just planning on some casual weightlifting, you might want to buy a set of weights and a leg extension unit all in one.
Things like anchors, Olympic plates and holding pins are often sold separately from the main unit, so you might want to check this before purchase.
What Brand Are You Buying?
Brands are very important when it comes to reliability and trustworthiness.
Going with a brand that has been established and comes with plenty of high ratings on Amazon will be an easy way to determine the quality of a product.
You want a company that uses good quality steel and fabric for the cushions.
Newer manufacturers might skimp on the quality of the stitching or the steel components of your leg extender, so make sure that these are coming from a reputable source.
How Easy Is Your Leg Extender To Set Up?
This will be very important for those who are suffering from mobility issues or having existing back pain that they don’t want to exacerbate.
You certainly don't want to be in pain before you've used your machine!
Some leg extenders can be very complicated to use, so make sure that they come with instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can A Leg Extender Cause Damage To The Knees?
Leg extenders damaging the knees can all depend on whether you are using your machine incorrectly or not.
Very often, they are designed with specific safety mechanisms that should limit the amount of injury you can cause yourself.
Make yourself familiar with how to use the equipment first beforehand. If you have trouble understanding the diagrams in the instruction manual, then consult a few Youtube videos of people using a similar machine.
What Results Can You Expect To Get From A Leg Extender?
Once you start using your leg extender, even if it’s on a relatively low setting, you can expect to feel aching or tenderness within the first week of use.
However, once you get used to the routine, these painful feelings should subside and you’ll find exercising much easier.
Within 2-3 weeks, you should start to notice that your muscle strength has increased, making the workouts themselves a lot easier.
Aside from the inner changes, after 4-5 weeks of continuous workout, you should notice a difference in the size and definition of the muscles in your thighs and calves.
They should be a lot more toned and significantly larger than before, although this will all depend on the intensity of the workout that you are doing.