If you want to have a strong and toned lower body you simply can’t skip squats and deadlifts. With that being said, you also shouldn’t neglect isolation exercises for your lower body. Two great exercises to make your lower body training complete are Leg Curls and Leg Extensions. The Leg Extension is the topic of this article. You will target the front of your thighs – the quads. Usually you can only perform this exercise by going to a gym and using the leg extension machine. Resistance bands change that. Now you will be able to perform leg extension anywhere.
We recommend getting a set of resistance bands from the beginning. This way you will be able to effectively progress through different resistance levels and also train every muscle in your body. In case you still don’t have a set, check out our set right here: BIQ Resistance Bands Set
In this article you will not only learn the basic steps of a leg extension with resistance bands. We will also show you how to get into a perfect set up as well as methods how you can adjust the resistance. In the last section you will have the chance to get some background information on resistance band training in general as well as a workout plan for your lower body.
How To Do Leg Extensions With Resistance Bands?
One of the biggest mistakes you can do when it comes to resistance training is not warming up beforehand. By getting your muscles prepared for the heavy work you will get better performance and therefore better results in the long run, not to mention that you will stay injury free.
There are a lot of versions out there how to perform the leg extensions with resistance bands. We tried all of them and none of them were really satisfying. That’s why we came up with our own version to conquer all the disadvantages of the other versions and make it a real alternative to machine work.
In 6 steps you will reach the perfect leg extension!
- Wrap the band around one of your feet to keep the band from sliding
- Step on the band with the other foot (put the loose end of the band around your other knee)
- Grab the working leg with both hand under your knee
- Extend your leg until reaching full extension
- Return slowly to the starting position (resist against the pull of the band)
- Repeat for reps (Don’t forget the other side!)
I’m sure you will get the hang of it quite quickly. When you’re first doing this movement be patient and start with a lighter band to get used to it and really get the right movement pattern down. Also, make sure to read the following section to get the form 100% correct.
Nail The Exercise Form!
⓵ No Slack! – If there is slack in the band it means there is no tension. Without tension there is no resistance which your muscles have to work against. When setting up the leg extension make sure to set up the band in a way that there is no slack or just minimal slack in the bottom position of your working leg. If you can’t extend your leg completely without having a minimal level of slack in the bottom position you need to switch to a lighter band.
⓶ Grab Your Leg – The best way to get into the position to start doing the leg extension is to grab your leg with both hands. Simply intertwine your fingers at the back side of your leg slightly above your knee. And extend your arms to really lock the leg in place. Don’t move your knee around throughout the movement.
⓷ Wrap The Band Around Your Foot – This is important to prevent the band from slipping while performing the exercise. Simply wrap the band around your foot (a couple of times) and then set up the rest as described above.
⓸ Control Each Repetition! – When using resistance bands it is very easy to simply let the band do the work on the negative part of the exercise. But this is the most important part for progress. Work actively against the pull of the resistance band and really control your negative movement.
When starting out with resistance band training there are quite some common mistakes to avoid. This way you will keep making progress and keep the chance of injury very low. We collected all the common mistakes in an article. Make sure to check it out: The Worst Mistakes You Can Do When Training With Resistance Bands
How To Adjust The Resistance
Contrary to weights, resistance bands don’t have a fixed level of resistance. Depending on the stretch a resistance band has more or less resistance output. This is due to the linear variable resistance characteristic of bands.
Often people switch way too quickly to a heavier band without using the full potential of the previous resistance band. This can lead to form breakdown and even injury. We don’t want that. With the following methods you will be able to avoid that!
Adjust the length of the band – Making a band shorter is the most basic way to increase the resistance. When it comes to leg extension the best way to achieve that is by wrapping the band around your foot.
Combine Bands – Only by having a set of bands with different resistance levels you will be able to adjust the resistance with this method. Simply add one of the lighter bands to the band you’re currently using to work your legs.
Slow it down – This is my favorite when doing leg extensions. Simply by slowing down your reps you will increase the intensity drastically, and therefore you will be able to use a lighter band and still make huge progress. A little isometric hold in the top position and really squeezing the quads is also a good idea to bring it to the next level.
Combine Methods – Don’t forget that you can mix and match all the methods for adjusting the resistance. This way you can really get the most out of resistance band training.
Alternative Ways To Do Leg Extensions With Resistance Bands
To get some variety in your training it is great to look at alternative ways to perform a given exercise. Let’s have a look at some together:
Standing Anchored Leg Extension – For this version you will need to anchor your band somewhere. The best way is using a door anchor like this one: BIQ Door Anchor. The standing version is great in a lot of ways. For once, you won’t have any problems to eliminate slack in the starting (bend leg) position. This will guaranty tension on your quads throughout the whole range of motion.
The second thing is that you can adjust the resistance simply by changing the distance to the anchor point. Take a step forward and you will have more resistance – take a step backwards and it will be easier.
Alternating Leg Extensions (Mini Bands) – This is my favorite variation with mini bands. Why? Because I can work both legs in one set and therefore can finish my workout faster.
How to do it:
- Step inside the loop with both legs and place it around your ankles
- Sit down on the floor, bend your legs to a 90 degree angle and place your hands behind you for stability
- Extend your right leg forward and up to full extension
- Return slowly to the starting position (resist against the pull of the band)
- Repeat for reps
Can You Train Your Quads Effectively With Resistance Bands?
Of course, you can. Resistance bands can generate a huge amount of tension and therefore resistance for our muscles to work against. Simply using them for warm-ups and mobility is a waste. But only doing leg extension for your quads is not a good idea. Leg extensions are a great isolation exercise, but the foundation of your leg workouts should be heavier compound exercises like squats and deadlifts.
Why Does Training With Resistance Bands Work
The reason is quite straight forward. Our muscles don’t know the difference between the load of weights in combination with gravity or elastic tension in resistance bands. They only know how hard they have to work. If it is hard enough and over an extended period of time the will increase in size and your strength will also go up.
If you want to learn more about this topic – read our full article: Why Does Training With Resistance Bands Work
Benefits Of Training With Resistance Bands
There are actually quite a lot of benefit using resistance bands to work out over traditional training with weights. Some are:
- No Cheating! Momentum is not an option with bands, and therefore you won’t be able to cheat your reps like many people do when working out in the gym.
- Joint Health! Using bands is way softer on your joints and tendons.
- Mobile! Bands fit in any small backpack or bag. You can work anywhere and anytime.
Check out all the benefits of resistance band in this article: Benefits Of Resistance Band Training
What Muscles Are Used In A Resistance Band Leg Extension?
The leg extension is an isolation exercise for the front portion of your thighs. The Quadriceps (or in short: Quad) will do all the work in this exercise. This muscle is responsible for extending your leg and is the counter player to the hamstrings on the rear side of your legs.
Main Working Muscles:
We mentioned a couple of times that leg extensions are good to isolate your quads but shouldn’t be the main exercise for your lower body. To really train your body effectively with resistance bands you should have a structured workout routine you can follow.
Drafting a workout program yourself is a hassle, and you will need to collect quite some knowledge about this topic. That’s why we did all that for you, and we even created an app which lets you access all the material from your mobile. This way you will have all your workouts and exercises in your pocket at all times.
Find out more here: BIQ Training App