Back 2 Basics: Leg Extension Tips
When doing a leg extension, try this trick. You know those handles by the seat? Yeah, you know the ones that you normally rest your hands on. Those are the key to making the leg extension an awesome exercise for your quads.
Grab the handles and pull yourself down onto the seat. Pull hard too! In fact, the more weight you use, the harder you will have to pull. The more you pull, the more powerful your quads will be. You will definitely “feel” it in your quads. Not only that, you might come out of it breathing a little heavy because all your muscles will be working harder.
Also, as you perform the exercise, take your focus away from moving the shin pad up and down. Instead, think about building tension in your muscles. Don't attack the pad! Work on gradually building up tension, so it moves smoothly (instead of a jerking motion). As you get about half way, think about flexing your quads as hard as you can and smashing the back of your leg into the seat (again, instead of thinking about moving the input pad).
If you do it correctly, even light weights will feel hard. However, don't be afraid to up the weight as long as you can keep your butt from bobbing up and down. It must be held perfectly still. This is why it's so important to maintain focus on pulling hard on the handles.
It's a lot to think about isn't it? Just goes to show you that even a "simple" machine is not so simple!
I've done this exercise with all my clients and many times, it takes a few attempts (as in different workouts) to get it right. Once they figure out how to do it correctly, it always blows their minds! I guarantee you'll notice a difference in the strength of your quads and find that it's a more exhausting exercise because of it.
Try it out and let me know how your experience was.