The best way of building strong thigh is by the use of the leg extension machine. The leg extension machine will help you build stronger quadriceps within a short time. If you are starting out in your workout or you are carrying out the exercises from your home, then the leg extension machine can be difficult to come across or buy. There are also sometimes when you get into the gym and realize the leg extension machine is already in use. So which is the best leg extension alternative?

There is probably so much information out there about the leg extension machine. Most of the people are avoiding the machine as they look for better leg extension alternatives. The leg extension machine has been accused of creating knee irritation at the joints by creating compressive forces at the joints which break down the joint surfaces.

In this article, we are going to help you with unique ways of tackling the above situations. If you do not have a leg extension machine or you avoid it due to the knee injury, you are in the right place. Stick with is to learn the leg extension alternatives you need to use.

Leg Extension Muscles

Leg extension is a popular work out in the gym since it moves all the leg muscles within your body. It is difficult to involve all the leg muscles when carrying out other sporting activities.

Both the knee squat and leg extension are exercises used to build stronger quadriceps. However, the difference between the knee squat and the leg extension is that the squat involves a movement carried out throughout the whole body. The leg extension will work on the muscles within your legs only and nowhere else.

The leg extension machine works solely on the leg muscles. So, it can be difficult to come up with the leg extension alternatives. Most of the bodybuilders are not aware of leg extension alternatives they can easily carry out at home.

Carrying Out Squats

Fit Woman Carrying Out Squats For LegsSquats is one of the best alternatives to the leg extension machine. The squats will target the hamstring, the calves, and the core muscles. It is difficult to target these muscles when using the leg extension machine.

How to Carry It Out

  • Take the barbell and place it across your shoulders. You can add the desired amounts of weight to the barbell. You can as well use the dumbbells for this exercise.
  • Take a shoulder width stance with the barbell or the dumbbells.
  • Bend at the knees and lower your butt. Keep the chest open and the torso upright when carrying out this exercise.
  • You can lower down your thighs until they are parallel with the floor.
  • Squeeze the quad muscles at the top and press the back up for a full extension.

Cyclist Squat

The cyclist squat can work the same way as the leg extension machine to build bigger quadriceps. You can carry out the cyclist squat with the lightweights and still achieve huge results from your regular workout.

Just as the name suggests, this exercise is used by cyclists to build stronger quadriceps.

How to Carry It Out

  • Elevate your heels by using a weight in the gym and you can as well use a barbell with weights or without weights.
  • Shift the angles of your exercise to make sure all the muscles on your legs are involved in the exercise.
  • When carrying out the exercise, try as much as you can to avoid any movements at the hips and let the change come at the knees.
  • Make sure you void locking at the top of the exercise since it can create difficulties when you are carrying out the exercise.
  • If you are looking for bigger quads, carry out the exercise with heavy weights and increase the number of reps.

Try to carry decent weights and aim to carry out around 15 reps. But don’t forget to keep the heels as high as possible. Thus you can stimulate your knees and keep them healthy.

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat

Man Doing The Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat For LegsIt is one of the best leg extension alternatives which has the ability to create stress on the quads and the posterior chain stabilizers.

The rear foot exercise works on the muscles in your lower body from the hips to the quadriceps. It is a great way of exercising practicing different positions apart from the conventional squat. You can carry out higher reps using the exercise as compared to the squats.

Stability should be a key factor when carrying out the exercise since leg extension alternatives should not only focus on the quad muscles but also the knee joints. It should always be focused on creating the right movement at your knee to avoid any knee injuries and create the needed stability.

Important Note

To get more out of this exercise, carry it out in a challenging manner. Make sure you challenge your muscles to move as they have never moved. Increase the range of motion in each of the exercises and this will ensure you get the best out of each of the reps you are carrying out.

Reverse Lunge

Accessibility is important for every exercise. Leg extension is a popular exercise for the athletes and the bodybuilders since it is easily accessible. The reverse lunge as a leg extension alternative is the best way of developing the quad muscles without any difficulties in the squat.

As a beginner, it can be difficult for you to carry out the leg extension exercise in the right ways. If you are a beginner, make sure you begin the exercise with the regular reverse lunge using the dumbbells and you can as well use the dumbbells when carrying out the exercise.

The exercise works the same way as the leg extension and as a beginner, you should carry out this exercise when looking to develop bigger quad muscles within your body.


It is a one leg exercise which can be used as an alternative to the leg extension exercise at home. One of the greatest challenges of performing the exercise is getting the necessary stability and carrying out the leg extension in the best way possible.

Make sure you carry out a full extension of the exercise The exercise can easily be carried out at home making it the best leg extension alternative at home. However, always make sure you are carrying out the exercise in the best way to get the results from the exercise. The greatest challenge when carrying working out at your home is carrying out the exercises in the wrong ways. You can get a gym trainer who will guide you on how you are supposed to carry out the exercises.

Carrying Out the Hack Squat

Man Carrying Out the Hack Squat For LegsIt is another bodybuilding exercise used to produce large quads in the gym. By using a sled weight when carrying out the exercise instead of carrying it without weights, the range of movement of the exercise will increase accordingly as compared to the regular squat.

To get the best out of the hack squat, increase the number of reps and increase the number of weights. It is advisable, to begin with, light weights when beginning the exercise and increase the weights as you increase the intensity of the exercise.

The exercises can be carried out with a wide range of weight and there is easy loading of the hack squat. It makes it easy to load the boost the development of the quads when you are carrying out the exercise at 45 degrees.

Important Note

The sled weighted machines are important since it is through them you will improve the count of the reps and carry out the necessary muscle drops to increase the growth of your muscles. If you have plans of increasing the volume of your training, make sure the posterior chains are not overused since it will move way your emphasize from the quad muscles.

The hack squat exercise also works on your thigh.  It is difficult to work on your thigh when carrying out the regular squats. This is due to the support provided by your spine and the ability of the trainer to balance using the sled weights helping you reach the maximum movement of the knees. It can lengthen the range of movement of your exercise.

Carrying Out L-Sits

If you are worried about the equipment to use in your leg extension efforts, then the L-sit should be the best alternative for you. This exercise is the best leg extension alternative at home since it requires no equipment.

The only thing you need to do to get the best out of this exercise is carrying it out in the appropriate manner. The movements which have been discussed above can be tried when carrying out the L-sits.

It is an isometric exercise which is used to strengthen the connective muscles on your legs. It relies on your ability to hold your legs by the use of your hips and the quads. Make sure you build upon this exercise and raise your legs slowly to build stronger quad muscles.

Carrying Out Sissy Squats

There are different from the regular squats. It is a great way of focusing on the development of your quad muscles. This exercise cuts out on your hips. It also helps you keep the same knee angle when carrying out all the exercises.

The only thing you need to do when carrying out the exercise is extending your knee. It will help all the hips within your body to shoot up. Since you are not carrying out an extension on the hips, the weight will not be transferred to the glute muscles.

The exercise is not common and it will take time for you to get the right movement. However, the exercise is so close to the leg extension exercise and it works on your quadriceps muscles. The exercise can also be used to exclusively target the quad muscles.

Bottom Line

It can be difficult to replace the leg extension exercise due to different reasons. The exercise has a unique movement pattern of the knee which is not found anywhere. The knee is not extended when carrying out the exercise. However, you only need to control the hips when carrying it out. Such a movement can be difficult to carry out using any creative ways. You will be spending your time to replicate the movements in the exercise. In some instances, you will be carrying out the wrong thing. Finding the best leg extension alternative can take time. However, by trying the above-mentioned leg extension alternatives, you will find the best exercise which will work on your quad muscles.