There are specific weight benches with a leg extension and leg curl function. Find out how to use these equipment options for optimal results.
You can describe these pieces of fitness equipment as weight benches with a steel attachment at the end. This steel attachment has three rollers to anchor your thighs, feet, and heels behind.
How do you use a leg extension on a bench?
To do this exercise you obviously need a good weight bench with a leg extension or an actual leg extension machine.
You could make something work with a flat bench and equipment options like dumbbells or ankle weights but these are typically less convenient and effective.
That being said, take the following steps to use a leg extension function on a specific weight bench for this purpose:
- Put the desired amount of weight plates on the dedicated sleeve. If possible, adjust the weight bench settings so that you can easily complete the next steps.
- Sit down at the edge of the bench with the insides of your knees on the medium-height pads. If needed, move slightly forward so that your legs can go through a bigger range of motion. This is generally good for muscle growth.
- Anchor your shins behind the lowest pads.
- Slowly raise the weights by extending/stretching your legs as far as comfortable.
- Lower your legs back into the position of step 3 in a controlled motion.
Something to note is that it is generally smart to warm up before your serious sets. This will help you avoid injuries and improve your performance.
How much weight and how many repetitions you need
Resistance training is not only about what exercises you do. How many leg extensions you do with how much weight will influence your results a lot.
To build bigger legs with leg extensions you want to do about 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 15 repetitions with a weight where you can barely complete these amounts.
If you are more interested in improving strength in your quadriceps, you want to do more something like 4 to 8 sets of 5 leg extensions. Again, with a weight where you are barely able to do these ranges.
Besides that, how often you should do leg extensions depends on your training goals, body, and exact workout plan. For most people, one or two times a week will be enough to see nice results.
How to use leg curl on a weight bench
Many of the weight benches with a leg extension function can also be used to do a leg curl.
You do want to keep in mind that some models only have a limited range of motion for the leg curls. This is generally suboptimal for hamstring muscle growth and strength progress.
That being said, take the following steps to use a leg curl on a specific weight bench:
- Load the sleeve with how many weight plates you need. Some weight benches also allow you to adjust the height of the pads. If this is possible and makes the next steps more convenient, you can definitely do this.
- Lie down on the weight bench on your stomach. Put your front thighs on the medium-height pads and your calves/heels behind the highest pads.
- Raise the weights in a controlled motion by folding your legs as far as comfortable or as far as the bench safely allows you to.
- Slowly lower the weights again by extending your legs.
When it comes to sets, reps, and weights, the same principles from the leg extensions apply.
You could also do leg curls on a regular weight bench with ankle weights, a dumbbell, or resistance bands but these tend to be less convenient.
What are the leg things for on a weight bench?
The static pads on most weight benches are for anchoring your feet behind during decline exercises. There are also weight benches with a leg extension and leg curl function where these leg pads can be moved as an exercise.
How do you do a leg lift on a weight bench?
To do leg lifts on a weight bench you simply lie down on a weight bench, reach behind you with your arms to hold the bench or any pads there, and lift your legs.