Cutting Edge Fitness - Trainer Tutorial

Leg Extension Machine

Introduction for new clients: The Leg Extension machine targets the muscles on the thigh that extend the knee, primarily the quadriceps - commonly called the quads - consisting of the four muscles noted below.

Targets Quads: Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedius, and Vastus Medialis


  1. Set the weight pin.
  2. Adjust the seatback and foot pad positions, and seat the client. Be sure to use the second seatback pad that rests on the seat bottom - there must be no gap between the back of the buttocks and the seatback.
  3. For a new client:
  4. Tell the client to pull the seat belt snug. Leaner clients may need to insert a towel or other thin pad between the belt and the crest of the iliac. A tight seat belt holding the thigh down is important when moving heavier weights.
  5. Install the head cushion behind the client's head and remind them to keep the head neutral and the neck relaxed.

Machine Use and Cues

  1. For newer clients, review the movement pattern: Use your quads to extend your leg. Then resist with your quads while lowering the weight to the starting position. When you reach maximum contraction the third time, squeeze hard for a couple of seconds before beginning to lower the weight. Do not turn your head to look at the weight stack - approach bottom-out slowly (I will tell you when you are close), touch lightly and immediately begin raising the weight.
  2. Stand to the side where you can see the weight stack and the client's full range of motion.
  3. Count down and begin.
  4. Cues:
  5. When the client can no longer move the weight smoothly, optionally provide resistance:
  6. On the workout log, note the total time, any weight adjustments for the next use of the machine, and any other significant points or observations.

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