John Phillips

If you have visited the Fitness Center then you are aware that some of the machines have been taped off limits. In some cases, this was a hard decision, in other cases it was simply a matter of where they are in the Center. One machine that became a little bit of a controversy was the leg extension.

The leg extension sits right outside of my office door, the hamstring curl machine is next to it. I figured since we had the leg press which is a quadricep machine that the hamstring curl machine would be more important to keep in operation than the leg extension. To keep the knees in alignment, it is important to keep the hamstrings strong and flexible, keeping the quadriceps from pulling to much in one direction at the knee.

A member came in and was really disappointed that the leg extension was taped off. I told her the leg press was available and she stated that the leg extension was a better piece of equipment for the quadriceps then the leg press. I tried to disagree as the leg press works all the muscles in the quadriceps and the leg extension was primarily the vastus medialis muscle and the vastus lateralis muscle. But, because of her background and insistence, I decided to do a little research.

Let me also give you a little history lesson on the leg extension. For a few years, not too many years ago, the leg extension was black balled by physical therapists and certain orthopedic surgeons as it was felt that when the foot Is raised under weight that it can cause too much of a shearing motion at the knee. Making the leg press the better option.

As I did my research, I discovered that sentiment has pretty much disappeared. The main difference between the two exercises is stability in the knee and is utilized primarily for definition of the muscle. The leg extension is basically training the knee muscles in an unstable situation. Meaning that you need to utilize the muscles around the knee to stabilize it as it is moving. The Leg press trains the knee in a stable situation by placing the feet on the foot pad this allows the knees to stabilize. The other main difference Is that the leg press utilizes many of the muscles in the leg including the glutes, calves and even a little hamstring, and is used for mass building and burning calories.

So, no matter which machine you prefer, they are both okay for the quadriceps and since we are still going through a little transition stage, please try to work with us during this time and hopefully soon we will have all the machines up and running.

If you have any questions regarding this article or any other fitness issues, please feel free to call or text me at 707-494-9086 or email me at wkuout2@aol.com.

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