The Med Ball Leg Extension

The Med Ball Leg Extension

The leg extension is a machine you’ll find in virtually any gym, considered a staple in almost all training programs. People use it to carve the ‘teardrop’ into their quad, but it has its drawbacks.

If performed poorly and excessively, it can put unwanted stress on the knee and the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament). The ACL is one of the main ligaments functioning to stabilize the knee, and studies have shown the leg extension produces far more strain on the area than a squat does - even despite utilizing a much lower weight! 

There is a lot of debate about the leg extension machine within bodybuilding and strength communities but its Med Ball alternative is accepted by both parties as a safer alternative. 

The Med Ball Leg Extension 

If utilized properly, the medicine ball is a great tool that can be used by athletes, bodybuilders or those new to the gym. No one is above a medicine ball.

Performing the med ball leg extension requires you to place the ball between your ankles and feet, saddling it lightly. Hoist yourself up onto a surface tall enough to enable your legs to dangle down. 

Bracing yourself with your hands either side of you, raise/extend your legs in a controlled fashion, squeezing at the top before slowly lowering back down. Look maintain the time-under-tension throughout the set.

The nature of this exercise enables greater muscle activation over the traditional leg extension machine because you physically grasp the ball with your legs. The quads, calves and inner thighs are all activated with the movement, and there is no auxiliary force being placed on the ligaments of the knee. 

Med ball leg extensions are great as both a warm-up or a finisher on leg day, and no one will deny the burn they produce even with a low weight!

Beynnon, B. D., Johnson, R. J., Fleming, B. C., Stankewich, C. J., Renström, P. A., & Nichols, C. E. (1997). The strain behavior of the anterior cruciate ligament during squatting and active flexion-extension: a comparison of an open and a closed kinetic chain exercise. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 25(6), 823-829.
Beynnon, B. D., & Fleming, B. C. (1998). Anterior cruciate ligament strain in-vivo: a review of previous work. Journal of biomechanics, 31(6), 519-525.
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