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Leg Extension vs Squat

Most bodybuilders do the squat as the main exercise for the front thighs (quadriceps femoris muscle group). The squat, although an excellent exercise, has shortcomings. Notably, its main developmental phase is coming out of the down position. As you complete the ascent, when your legs are almost straight, the #quadriceps# are still involved but not as strongly. For all practical purposes, you can say that the exercise is over once you get past the midpoint.

At the top position you never lock out your knees because of the tremendous compression forces on the #joint#. Because of this, you never get full development of the vastus medialis (the inner side of the quadriceps). Strength in this portion of the muscle is very important in preventing chondromalacia, a common knee ailment with many bodybuilders.

Also, in order to do the squat safely and to get its maximum effect, you must have excellent flexibility in the hip and knee joints and a strong back. If you are lacking in any of these areas, you will be doing the exercise incorrectly, which could cause injury, especially to the spine.

To eliminate these problems, you should do leg extensions (knee extensions). In this exercise you lock out the leg so you get maximum contraction of the muscles. Not only is this effective for the medial side, but for the total muscle to develop greater definition. To do this exercise you must use a leg extension machine or attachment. One of the most effective machines is made by Keiser. It allows you to do the exercise at different speeds and with varying intensity on both the concentric and eccentric contractions. However, basic execution is the same on all machines.

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