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Leg Extension With Dumbbells For Effective Workouts

- Written By

Sana Farhan, MS Healthcare

Updated on

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leg extension with dumbbells

A quick and efficient free-weight exercise for building quad muscles is the seated dumbbells leg extensions. It serves as a decent substitute for a leg extension machine. Utilizing an exercise bench, you may perform it at home.


We've covered all aspects of leg extension with dumbbells in this article, including the muscles that are involved, how to do them, and their advantages and limitations etc.



Targeted muscles in seated dumbbell leg extensions


These are four muscles that are involved in seated dumbbells leg extension:

  • Rectus femoris.
  • Vastus medialis.
  • Vastus lateralis.
  • Vastus intermedius.

Steps for leg extension with dumbbell exercise

You’ll need a dumbbell for this workout, as well as a seat. Ideally a free weight bench that is movable and has a decline setting.

Step 1: Lie on a seat or bench, contract your abdominal muscles, and straighten your back. Your entire body is supposed to be set up very much like a typical leg extension machine.

Sana's Tip

During seated dumbbells leg extensions if your free-weight bench is flexible, put it to a low incline. But keep in mind that this tip is advanced for a reason. Most individuals should stay away from this extra stretch.

Step 2: Place the top of a single dumbbell on your shoelaces and squeeze it vertically between the arches of your feet. Lean back slightly and grip the bench’s sides right behind your back while maintaining a straight back.

Step 3: Contract your quadriceps to extend your knees and raise the dumbbell in front of you by keeping it in place between your feet with the help of your adductor (inner thigh muscles). Lean forward when your quadriceps are about to reach their maximum contraction. At the peak of the movement, pause and contract your quadriceps. Keep your knees from locking.

Step 4: Repeat the process for the appropriate number of times.

Related Article: Do Crunches On A Bench to Demonstrate The Six-Pack Abs

Advantages of leg extensions with dumbbells Exercise

Dumbbell leg extensions work well both for beginners as well as individuals who already possess strong quads yet prefer to get stronger. This can be beneficial because you can choose the right weight for you.

1) Core strength

During the exercise, you have to use your core, which helps improve core stability, which is linked to good stance and balance.

2) Leg Definition

By targeting your quadriceps and doing the workout regularly and consistently, you’ll tone your thighs and make the muscles stand out more.

3) Balance leg muscles

Your past workout might have worked on your hamstrings or glutes, so working on your quads is an excellent strategy for you to even out the muscles in your thighs.

4) Boosts muscle mass

Leg stretches will help you build up your quad muscles and make them stronger. If your current training program focuses on your hamstrings or hips, building up your quadriceps can help balance the muscles in your legs.

Related Article: How To Build Capped Deltoids With One Arm Cable Lateral Raise

Drawbacks of leg extension with dumbbells

The exercise does not work any additional muscles than the quadriceps. It is ineffective for increasing total leg strength.

It also puts a lot of strain on the knees, increasing the chance of damage. Furthermore, it is inconvenient since a particular machine is required.

Leg extensions can be replaced with other exercises. These options work not just the quadriceps but also other leg muscles. They’re also easier on the knees.


Ask with your physician prior commencing a new excercise plan. Your doctor can advise you about how you can workout safely.

 If you feel any pain in the knee or ankle, stop doing this exercise. When performing leg extensions, make sure to use appropriate technique and vary your quadriceps workout.

Professional Advice to Avoid Mistakes and Operate Effectively

Keep in mind these points while doing leg extensions with dumbbell. Such as:

1) Start with low weight

Try to perform low-weight, max-rep sets. Since utilizing a heavier dumbbell could impose stress on the knees. That could be detrimental in the long run.

2) Maintain correct form

Maintain a straight back during the whole movement.

3) Quick movements

Don’t move too quickly when doing this. Make sure to squeeze your quads hard during each rep.

4) Knee locking

At the top, don’t fully lock your knees.

Raise the dumbbell with precision. Never attempt to swing the load as hard as you possibly can. Once both of your legs are completely stretched, halt and press your quadriceps as tightly as you could. Then carefully drop the dumbbell down to its initial position.

Combine this workout with other leg movements like squats, lunges, and dead-lifts.

Limitations of leg extensions with dumbbells

In doing leg extension with dumbbells, you must train both legs simultaneously This exercise is really tough with only one leg. The dumbbell must be held perpendicular to your foot, with the grip resting on your shoelaces.

Balancing the weight while lifting your leg is an interesting trick, but I feel you’d have to use such a little dumbbell and concentrate so hard on balance that the method would be rendered useless.

People with weak knees or a history of leg injury should avoid dumbbell leg extensions. According to research, sitting leg extensions put the knees under persistent tension, increasing the likelihood of strain and injury in the future. If you wish to undertake this workout, you should visit a doctor or talk with your trainer beforehand.

Precautions and Security for performing seated dumbbells leg extensions

Consult your doctor, a trained physical therapist, or a strength and conditioning coach who specializes in weight training rehabilitation if you have a knee, ankle, or thigh injury. They may advise you to avoid using the leg extension equipment.

According to critics, open chain workouts such as leg extensions might harm the knees and that full-depth squatting is safer.2 The leg extension machine, on the other hand, is a wonderful method to increase volume to your quad workout without the systemic and other muscle fatigue that squats and other compound activities cause.

If you feel any discomfort in your knee or ankle, stop doing this exercise. When performing leg extensions, make sure to use appropriate technique and vary your quadriceps workout.

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