2) Vary Your Foot Placement During Leg Extensions And Curls
Where your feet are placed during leg extensions will vary the tension on the quads. If you have been doing leg extensions with your feet perfectly aligned your entire life, you’ve been missing out.
I hear many people complain about pain in their knees caused by leg extensions, or so they think. This is often caused by a muscular imbalance in the quadriceps. Usually, the medialis is overdeveloped or underdeveloped, which can cause the kneecap to be pulled to one side. Balance is important not only to how your legs look, but to the health of your joints. To achieve balance, you need to train the quads properly.
Simple adjustments can make all the difference in the world. If you want to train the tear drop hard, turn your foot out like a duck and do 3/4 reps with a pause at the top. Hit the vastus lateralus by pointing your toes inward. You’ll feel that sweep on your outer quad like you never have before.
Both of these movements will be much more effective when performed one leg at a time.
If your goal is to work on the rectus femoris, set the seat a bit farther back and perform the extension with your foot pointed forward. Before beginning the rep, flex at the hips and pull your legs up as if you’re doing a knee tuck. This will engage the muscle where it starts at the hip flexor and inserts at the knee joint. You’ll notice that you’ll have to work with substantially less weight and concentrate on your hips.
We can emphasize the different portions of the hamstrings in the same fashion. Pointing your toes out will place the workload mainly on the biceps femoris, while pointing your toes inward places more stress on the semimebranosus and semitendinosus (medial hamstrings).
It’s much easier to manipulate your leg angle if you do this exercise on a standing leg curl machine.