5 Leg Extension Alternatives Exercises You Should Try

Leg Extension Alternative Exercise

If you’re looking for a physical activity that can help improve your flexibility, look no further than the leg extension Alternatives. As we all know, the leg extension exercise is an excellent option for a strength training exercise. It is an excellent exercise for strengthening the quadriceps (located in the front of the upper legs). 

We also know that leg extension machines are meant for leg extensions. To do leg extensions on the machine, you have to sit on it and place a weighted pad on the top of your lower legs.

After that, you have to repeatedly stretch your knees and lift your lower legs to complete the process. Leg extension has the power to isolate the quads in a better way than any other exercise. 

But if you have a situation in your gym or home where you don’t get access to a leg extension machine and still wish to work it out on the lower body and strengthen your legs? That’s what this article deals with today. You will learn about the alternative exercises that you can try out yourself.   

Worked Upon During Leg Extension Alternatives Routine

The main targeted area by the leg extension exercises is the quadriceps femoris. These are the same muscle groups present in the front and side of the thighs. 

For many who don’t know this, quads are the most significant muscle in the whole human body. These muscles help with the extended movement of the knees.

These targeted muscles include: rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, and vastus lateralis. 

Five Leg Extension Alternatives Exercises You Should Try Out

By doing these exercises instead of leg extensions, you’ll not only get a different type of workout but also increase your flexibility and range of motion. So read on to find out more about these awesome alternatives.

1. Squats Leg Extension Alternative

A woman is showing squats leg extension alternatives pose


Squats are a bodyweight exercise and the first alternative on this list. It is the best exercise that can target the quads well. It is also proven to engage the essential muscles like the core, hips, butt, and lower legs. You can even add kettlebells or dumbbells to your squats to make them challenging and more energetic. 

How to Do It:

  1.  Begin by standing on your feet at a shoulder-width distance. 
  2.  Then turn your toes a bit outward.
  3.  Now clutch your hands together and pull down your shoulders a little. You can even place them separately by your sides.
  4.  Next, try to engage your core and straighten the back.
  5.  Now push back the hips and bend your knees.
  6.  Now, slowly lower your hips and get into a position where your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  7.  Ensure to keep your knees exactly above the ankles.
  8.  Then push into your heels slowly without putting pressure on other muscles and stand up.
  9.  You can start this exercise with 2 sets of 10-12 reps.

2. Sissy Squats Leg Extension Alternative

Sissy Squats Leg Extension Alternatives

Are you looking for an effective way to increase your leg strength, without having to do squats? Check out these sissy squats’ leg extension alternatives. It is an exciting and effective alternative for leg extensions, as its primary target is the quads. It is also a home workout exercise and an underrated bodyweight exercise.

People who don’t like to buy much gym equipment can surely do this in their exercise routine. But it does not include a lot of hip flexion or bending, which ignores the glutes for sure.

How to Do This:

  1.  Begin by positioning yourself shoulder-width apart.
  2.  Then hold onto an object about hip height.
  3.  After this, push your knees forward.
  4.  Now when your knees move forward, you should lean backward.
  5.  Now at the bottom, heels should rise a little from the floor, in a position where you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
  6.  Lastly, push through the balls of your feet and move your chest forward to stand up.

3. Reverse Lunges Leg Extension Alternatives

 Reverse Lunges Leg

Looking for a low-impact exercise that can help tone your legs and butt? Look no further than the reverse lunges. Here are reverse lunges leg extension alternatives that you can try out today. This exercise targets many body parts in a single go. They strengthen and tone the quad area and activate the glutes, hamstrings, and core. 

Reverse lunges are also known to improve muscle imbalance, reduce hip and knee pain, build glute muscles, and increase stability along with the core. They can easily replace the leg extension and get on the “alternate list”.

How to Do This:

  1.  Start by standing with your feet side by side.
  2.  Then step back your right foot and lower your right knee to 90 degrees.
  3.  Put pressure on the right foot to return to your initial position.
  4.  Now repeat the same process with your left foot.
  5.  You can begin with 2 sets of 10-12 reps.

4. Bulgarian Split Squats with Dumbbells

Bulgarian Split Squats is Leg Extension Alternatives

Looking for an alternative to the Bulgarian split squats? Check out these extension alternatives. This alternative exercise helps to promote the strengthening of leg muscles, especially the hamstrings and quadriceps. 

This exercise focuses on the single leg and forces you to engage your core. It is an excellent all-rounder exercise for building a sturdy base while working out. 

It is a low-impact movement that pulls a large amount of pressure and force from the back of the muscles and advances the integration of leg muscles.

How to Do This:

  1.  Begin with standing in a relaxed position 
  2.  Then hold a pair of dumbbells beside you and in front of the bench 
  3.  Now lift your foot and place it on the top of the bench that is behind you
  4.  Then lower yourself slowly and ensure to maintain a strong core 
  5.  Pause for a while when you are at the bottom of the movement 
  6.  Lastly, return to your initial position comfortably
  7.  You can do 2 sets of 10 reps on each side 

5. Cyclist Squats

Cyclist Squats is a Leg Extension Alternatives

Check out these cyclist squat leg extension, By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you’ll be able to increase your squatting strength while also improving your cycling performance. Cyclist squat is also known as quad squats. Here you have to place your feet close together and your heels raised. This position helps you move your hips straight down, resulting in better quads work. 

It would help if you had a weight plate or curb (about 3 inches).

How to Do This:

  1.  Begin by standing on your feet side by side 
  2.  Now rest your heels on the plates or curb
  3.  Incur to keep your hands together and head straight 
  4.  Hold your core strong 
  5.  Then bend your knees 
  6.  Slowly lower your hips like a deep squat until you are in a position where your hamstrings are touching your calves 
  7.  Now slowly stand up and return to your initial position 
  8.  You can easily start with 2 sets of 10-12 reps

Leg extensions mainly focus on the quads and do not strengthen the other muscles. In contrast, the alternative exercises involve more muscles than leg extensions, which results in a more functional workout.

Even though these exercises might look easy, you should always consult a professional trainer for proper guidance. They can help you with the exercises ensuring safety. 

And if you want to know more about the benefits of this exercise, then don’t forget to check out our other article on the Benefits of Leg Extension.

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