The closest exercise to the machine leg extension and the obvious replacement for it is the bodyweight leg extension. Being a bodyweight exercise, these are great to do at home or in a hotel. The video below demonstrates weighted dumbbell step ups on to a weight bench. This is hugely important since many of us spend a lot of time in a sedentary position with our legs bent. Bent Leg Reverse Hyperextensions; 8. However, unlike the leg extension, the Bulgarian split squat is a compound exercise. The leg extension, through extending the leg, counteracts this position and keeps the ligament in good shape. These leg curl alternatives boast innumerable benefits and the most prominent ones include; What’s more, the front squat encourages a narrower stance, which naturally turns the quads on and activates them more than a wider stance. The addition of the barbell allows for more core activation and will increase potential quad gains. Your elbows should be pointed down and just slightly out. Kettlebells vs Dumbbells – Which is Better? As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Try these exercises if you want to make everyday tasks easier. If they are your primary lower body exercise, you would be almost certainly be better off using back squats, front squats, or deadlifts for size and strength development. What can you do if you’re at home or in a hotel room but still need that intense leg workout? These exercises are great “closers” to end your leg workout on. Not only do these alternatives work your hamstrings, but they also give benefits to your glutes, lats, and core muscles. All that’s required is a dumbbell and a spare weight plate. You can also perform this leg extension alternative as a bodyweight movement too, should you not have access to weights. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Alternating Reverse Lunges; 4. You might not agree after 30 seconds of this though, as it will tire you out quicker than you think. You will be lying in a reclined position, with the weight on your back and your feet on a platform. Another alternative to leg extensions is a sister of the squat workout, lunges. He also loves putting mayo AND ketchup on the pizza for some reason! Adding or removing resistance from the sissy squat is not so easy. Hamstring Walk Outs; 6. The cyclist squat is named such since it is a killer quad exercise that will develop the muscles much like extended sessions of cycling would. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. The weighted Bulgarian split squat is a tough leg extension alternative that will help you build quads of steel. We asked fitness professionals to suggest a few of their favorite alternatives for lunges next time you hit the weight room for legs day. Higher heights force you to activate more of your hamstrings and glutes. There are also a number of other reasons why the leg extension should be an exercise you look to substitute if you need to. 1. With good posture and a solid stance, you squat down, with your elbows going inside your knees into a deep squat position, before rising up. They are available from everyone to the beginner, to the gym veteran, and have benefits whatever level you’re at. Since it isn’t a compound exercise and focuses on the quads, you don’t have to worry about burnout preventing you from doing this exercise. Step ups are one of the best exercises to mimic the emphasis on the quads that a leg extension machine does. This leg extension alternative is fantastic for strengthening the quad muscles, while also hitting the glutes and hamstrings at the same time. Natural Leg Extensions to strengthen your quads without equipment! You can use the following leg extension alternatives to create a productive leg day routine, or you can take individual exercises and incorporate them into existing workout circuits. With your rear foot stable on the platform, you squat down with the front leg and then rise up. Leg extension alternatives engage more leg muscles, like the glutes and hamstrings. This move combines a squat and full extension of your lower body, making it a great leg press alternative. Answered by Dr. Peter Ihle: It depends on what U: … Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter for all the latest home gym reviews. What makes the front squat a valid alternative to the leg extension though, is how by regular sets of the squat you will surely develop big quads over time. Learn more. Goblet squats are still an unknown exercise in large pockets of the fitness community, but they have gained popularity in recent years. This is one of the best exercises for people with severe knee pain. TOP 41 Best Workout Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed 2021, TOP 15 Best All In One Home Gyms & Machines Reviewed 2021. The leg extension is a formidable exercise which I’m sure you’d agree is a great inclusion in any leg day workout. The best thing about this exercise is that one only needs a stable chair to perform it, unlike the leg extensions that require a bulky leg extension machine. The setup of this really isolates your quads better than almost any other exercise on this list. Plus it can give you some explosive power in the legs as you will need to generate enough force to push yourself up onto the bench. Walking to the side in a crouched position will have you feeling the strain on your quads like nothing else, so this one is great for developing willpower as well as huge quads. To do this, you’ll want to bend your elbows forward until you can grab the bar with just your fingertips. All that’s needed is a bench and a couple of dumbbells for this one. If you still want to do leg extensions but don’t want to expose your knees to so much shearing force, this exercise provides a viable alternative. To do the weighted Bulgarian split squat, you’re going to stand in front of a bench or other raised platform, and place your back foot on it. However, the control it takes to hold the squat at the bottom then push back up will prove challenging. Step one leg onto the platform, making sure your entire foot is on top. You will find the similarities between the two body-weight workouts include reduced joint strain, compound muscle building, and flexibility to modify for additional results. Any of the exercises above can make great leg extension alternatives. The reverse lunge is a variation of the traditional lunge exercise that may put less stress on your knee. Sumo Squat to Stand; 5. With this, exercise time under tension is key and will lead to quad gains in the long run. Place your chair, bench or other raised platform on the floor, and get into a pushup position so that your feet can rest atop the platform. Push through your heel as you step your other leg up and lift the knee. Leg Extension Free-Weight Alternatives (Quads) The leg extension machine was designed to isolate and overload the quads. Unfortunately, this movement is not a very natural movement, and it’s also known to be quite hard on the knees. Assuming you are healthy, any of these can be substituted into your training program with similar set and rep numbers to help you develop muscular size and strength in you lower body. The single leg Romanian deadlift is another great alternative hamsting exercise to leg curls. A difficult isolation exercise, this one shouldn’t be overlooked if you’re looking for an alternative leg extension exercise. ), TOP 15 Best Power Racks & Squat Racks for Home Garage Gym Reviewed 2021, TOP 15 Best Ab Workout Machines for Your Home Gym Reviewed 2021, TOP 10 Best Plyometric Boxes (Plyo Jump Boxes) Reviewed in 2021. The ideal quad exercise would involve a leg extension machine that didn’t limit the range of motion at the knee, yet allows you to lean back enough so that all muscles were hit optimally around 90°. AlternativeTo is a free service that helps you find better alternatives to the products you love and hate. They are great substitutes for the leg extension machine because they can use similar set and rep schemes while still primarily working your quads. Building a Home Gym on a Budget? This list is assuming you are using the leg extension machine for supplementary quad work and you are looking for substitutes other than traditional squats and deadlifts. Hip Extensions; 2. While the setup of the machine doesn’t leave much open to interpretation, there are little technical things you can do to change the emphasis. These can also be done with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. The bodyweight version can, of course, be done anywhere, whereas the weighted variation will require a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. The leg extension machine might be one of the most popular exercises for the lower body in your gym, but that doesn’t mean you should do them in every training session. Sign up below for free instant access to a pdf report from vertical jump expert Jacob Hiller on how you may be able to increase your vertical jump by up to 2-6 inches in just 45 minutes! Its important not to put your knees under risk while doing leg exercises. Leg Extension Alternative Exercises. It can be anything from a short box all the way up to a weight bench. Read Next. Once you are in this raised platform, arch your back upwards, then bend your knees towards the platform while keeping yourself steady with core muscle activation. This is a tricky lift for beginners as it requires excellent strength and balance. ... My assumption is people avoid leg extensions all together, or simply don't go to full extension. Cross one foot over the other … The rear foot is also slightly elevated. In order to get the most quad engagement from this exercise, make sure you use a lower bench or support platform. The cyclist squat is a weighted squat, but with raised feet, so that you can better focus the brunt of the exercise on your quads. (Topic#5715) Anonymous 10-12-05 08:16 AM - Post# 151064 . Bent Leg Lifts/Donkey Kicks; 3. To perform the barbell or bodyweight reverse lunge, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. When you purchase through links in our articles, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is due to the fact that you have to keep your torso upright, and at the bottom of the squat, you will feel the burn in your quad muscles. Below are 5 of the best leg extension alternatives for your workout. Step-ups are another great alternative but do need a chair or bench at a specific height. If you are looking to specifically hit the quadriceps muscles, a low to moderate height may be best. Now, with your feet very close together, carefully step your heels up on to the plate, so that just your toes are on the floor. So, it can be difficult to come up with the leg extension alternatives. So, to help you out, here is a list of leg extension alternatives that will build you monster quads for sure. Reverse Lunge. All this leg extension alternative requires is a raised platform or a bench, and that’s it. Again, foot placement here is important as changing the distance you step will tweak the muscles that are targeted. The site is made by Ola and Markus in Sweden, with a lot of help from our friends and colleagues in Italy, Finland, USA, Colombia, Philippines, France and contributors from all over the world. What’s great about this exercise is how straightforward they are to execute. We are a participant in the Amazon.com Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. TOP 9 Leg Press Alternatives & Exercises You Can Do at Home, The Best Non-GHD Glute Ham Raise Alternatives to Ensure You Crush Leg Day, Leg Press vs Leg Extension – Where to Place Them in Your Workout, Cyber Monday & Black Friday Fitness Equipment Deals 2021. Finally, and perhaps the best reason for doing leg extensions, or alternatives, is the effect it can have on your quad muscles. The squat is universally recognized as one of the best leg exercises you can do and can help you build a solid foundation. Squats, split squats, lunges and step-ups — functional movements — can replace leg extensions. Even though you can perform bodyweight leg extensions while seated or standing, the most effective way to perform the exercise is by adopting a raised plank position. If you haven’t tried these before, begin with a very light weight and low surface and make sure you have spotters around to help if you get into trouble. Best alternative to leg extensions. This leg extension alternative without a machine is really ideal for a quick quad-centric workout. ... As you can see, there are several alternatives to a leg curl machine that does not require you to go to the gym. Of course, it goes without saying that this exercise isn’t entirely beginner-friendly. Lunges . and what machines to avoid in gym as not to increase knee pain ?" While it might not be the most functional lift, as the machine does most of the balance and stabilization work for you, it does really force you to work on your quadriceps. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! As well as targeting the quads, you’ll also get a great workout for your hamstrings and glutes with the side lunge. It Will Decrease the Likelihood of Hurting Your Knee, You Can Use it to Finish Off a Leg Day Workout, 15 Best Massage Guns – November 2020 Review & Buyers Guide, 9 Best CrossFit Packages & Bundles to Level Up Your Home or Garage Gym 2021. Many of these exercises are just as effective at working out the big muscle groups in the legs as the leg extension, so you can do the same challenging leg day workout as you would with the machine. Whether you don’t have access to a machine or if you would just like a more functional exercise, any of the movements below can serve as a good replacement. I personally love this exercise, since it doesn’t require a series of static movements, but is rather a dynamic move that’ll help you develop quads that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud of. Step one foot back and lower yourself into a one-legged squat, making sure to put it far enough away from your body to feel the tension in the quads. The slower the better with this exercise, and the more controlled it is, the more you will feel the quads really working hard. If you’re interested in some powerful alternatives to the glute-ham raise exercise, then we’ve got you covered with that too. Carrying Out Squats These are great for not just your quadriceps, but your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back as they force you to be stable and flexible in your lower body. Floor Hamstring Raises ; 12. This machine requires you to lift your lower legs by extending your knees against weighted resistance from a seated position. Stability Ball Hamstring Curls; 7. An exercise that is ideal for athletes, this one will target the big muscles in the legs, namely the quads, calves, and hamstrings. The reverse lunge is a bodyweight movement that targets the glutes. Kneeling down on the floor, slowly bend backwards with arms stretched out in front of you until you feel the tension in your quads. Bodybuilding Alternatives for Leg Extensions. Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window). The third on the list is of best leg extension alternates are the Bulgarian split squats. There are several reasons you may be looking for a leg extension alternative, including: Injury recovery Injury prevention To avoid the overdevelopment of the quadriceps. This exercise alternative to machine leg extensions offers a more functional workout than it’s machine version. This alternative for the leg extension can be done at home, providing you have a chair, … Further, someone with patella femoral syndrome/chondromalacia patella. You can see what a goblet squat looks like in this video. This means that it is a more well-rounded exercise which could – and maybe should – become a mainstay in your leg day workouts. The standing leg extension is more easily loaded, which means it's easier to make the exercise lighter or heavier. Spending too much on leg machines, such as the leg curl and leg extension station, is not an efficient or effective way to train. Not to be confused with the lateral lunge, which is essentially like a front lunge but to the side, the side lunge is an exercise that will have you getting a real sweat on. 1. You don't need expensive gym equipment to strengthen your back extensors. Some of these lifts involve the hamstrings and glutes more than the leg extension, but the primary muscle group used is the quadriceps. Leg extensions are isolation exercises that target your quadriceps, generally performed with the aid of a leg extension machine. The weighted step up is a solid, easy to perform movement which requires a pair of dumbbells and a bench. How To do. If you have joint pain, do broad jumps with care. Conquering Kilimanjaro: Q&A with Sara Sampaio on Her Hike to the Top of Africa’s Tallest Mountain. You want your platform to be tall enough that your upper leg is parallel to the ground when stepping up. Best Leg Extension Machines 2021 with Reviews – Is it Really Worth it? Check out these alternatives instead! This way the exercise will take more quad strength as the weight is on the front of your foot. The cyclist squat, or quad squat, is another leg extension alternative. The front squat is better as opposed to the back squat when it comes to building up the quads. Take this 4 question quiz and find out a full set of customized equipment for your home gym under 1 minute! However, if you are going to use weights, you can let your back leg hover in the air so that you don’t accidentally launch the dumbbells into a wall. The video below shows what good hack squat technique looks like. Leg Extension Alternatives. Due to the isolation of the leg extension, you will be working the patellar ligament of the knee, which is great for maintaining knee strength and keeping it healthy. Top 13 Seated & Lying Leg Curl Alternatives. This alternative for the leg extension can be done at home, providing you have a chair, bench or other raised surface to rest your feet on. There is also another way to perform this exercise with zero equipment. Kneel down on all fours with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. Using the machine can put pressure on your knees and worsen the pain. Side lunges are good for the quad muscles since you will use them almost exclusively as you move to one side, meaning they will be in constant use. This is also key because strength, power, endurance and joint-protection are all overlap, so a variety of … Another benefit of the leg extension exercise is how it can be used as a leg day finisher. Single Leg Hip Extensions. The bodyweight step-up can be done by placing a bench in front of you, stepping one leg up onto it, then pushing up into the air with your other leg. The bodyweight leg extension is an excellent substitute for the machine leg extension and will yield similar results in terms of isolating and strengthening the quad muscles. However, you have the option to add dumbbells should you need that extra difficulty. One benefit of these is that you only need a set of dumbbells and does not require any special machines or other equipment. It … If you incorporate just a couple of these leg extension alternatives into your future leg days, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results! Both the bodyweight and the weighted squat can have numerous benefits which make them fantastic substitutes for the leg extension. While these come in many different shapes and sizes, the basic layout is the same. This convenience is most important for any … Mixing them up is the best choice, as it covers all the muscle groups that the leg extension covers, giving you comprehensive development through the leg. You can even combine the cyclist squat method with the front squat, and raise your feet onto a weight plate for some great results. Why leg curl alternative workouts? What makes this exercise stand out from other leg exercises is how it manages to isolate the quad muscle in a way not many do. Perform a squat as you normally would, and be prepared to feel some serious burn in your quads when you get to the bottom of the squat. Resistance bands, dumbbells or body weight can be used to strengthen these muscles. Lunges are a great leg extension alternative because they are … Dumbbell Lying Leg Curls; 9. These are best performed with a kettlebell, although a dumbbell could also be used. No worries, we got you covered! You can either alternate legs or perform all of your reps with one leg and then rotate. If you feel like your workout is lacking some quad isolation (which without the leg extension it probably will be), then this should be your go-to exercise. These exercises can also be used as warmups for leg extensions performed on a weight machine, and they could help you to avoid any severe knee injuries. Similar to the leg press, the further in front of your body that you place your feet, the more work your hamstrings and glutes will do. Then, slowly lower yourself down until your back knee almost touches the ground and your front leg is bent at 90 degrees, before returning to a standing position. But for multiple reasons, the standing leg extension is the better option. Other Exercise Names: One-Legged Squat, Barbell Split-Squat. I live overseas (China, to be exact) in a very small community that doesn't have a decent gym. That makes it a great movement to do at the end of your workout. The slower you do this movement, the more you’ll feel the burn, and the more you’re likely to benefit from it. This leg extension alternative without a machine is perfect for building strong quads muscles, and a highly effective replacement as a result. If your gym has one, the hack squat machine can be a great alternative to leg extensions. Holding it at the level of your collar bone, squat down, maintaining your narrow stance to get the most out of your quads. You can see what the exercise looks like in the video. If you’ve got an upper-body workout next up on the agenda though, make sure you check out these fantastic cable crossover machine alternatives. Garagegympower is reader-supported. One of the causes that leg extension is so common is how easy it is to do for everyone from most well-advanced athletes to a (1 st )first-timer. The setup for this exercise is relatively straightforward. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. "does leg extension exercise bad for knees ? This is also a great exercise to do when you have a spare minute at home or in a hotel room – minus the barbell if you don’t have one lying around. TOP 13 Best Brooks Running Shoes Reviewed 2021 (Run in Comfort), TOP 17 Best Kettlebells Reviewed + Buying & Workout Guide for 2021, Reebok Nano X vs Nike React Metcon 5 AMP Review (Which Is Best? This makes it ideal for home workouts and even makes it possible to use on the road if you’re staying in a hotel room. Looking to isolate your quads without the leg extension machine? Much like the leg extension requires this constant tension in the quads, the side lunges will also keep the pressure on. Free-Weight Substitute/Alternative To: Leg Extensions, Plate-Loaded Hack Squat, Leg Press, Selectorized Horizonal Leg Press, Glute Kickbacks. (I wouldn't trust the worn-out equipment in the one gym in town!) Some exercises even work your core, which is important for good posture and balance. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The front squat requires you to hold your barbell in front of you, as opposed to on the backs of your shoulders. However, what can you do when for whatever reason you don’t have access to the leg extension machine? Sliding Leg Curls ; 13. If you've proved the ability to dominate a static split squat and earned the right to progress, try the rear foot elevated split squat. 5 Leg Machine Alternatives to Tone Your Legs The Path. That Depends on Your Goals! The leg extension will work on the muscles within your legs only and nowhere else. Copyright 2014-2019 by Postema Performance. The bodyweight leg extension is an excellent substitute for the machine leg extension and will yield similar results in terms of isolating and strengthening the quad muscles. In order to maximize the benefits of this exercise, try and use a dumbbell weight as heavy as you can manage. As you can see, you simply step up onto the surface with one leg and then return to the lowered position. Sign up below for FREE instant access to a report from jump expert Jacob Hiller on how to improve you vertical by 2-6 inches in 45 minutes! If your gym has one, the hack squat machine can be a great alternative to leg extensions. Here’s What I Built Under $1000! Placing your feet underneath you more will force the quadriceps muscles to do more of the work. This is a simple, but powerful exercise, as you can see in the video below. The leg extension is a stellar exercise that primarily targets the quads and also encourages healthy knees through working both extension and flexion. 6 Leg Extension Alternatives Focused on Improving and Maintaining Muscle Function. Bulgarian Split Squats ; 11. There are a range of leg extension alternatives that you can rely on if the leg extension itself isn’t an option. What would you miss out on if you skipped the exercise altogether and didn’t find a replacement? The high-impact force may hurt your joints. For this exercise, higher is not always better. This doesn’t mean you have to compromise though! For this lift, you will need some sort of platform to place your back foot on during the movement. I challenge you to try this exercise and tell me it isn’t as hard, if not harder than using the leg extension machine. Leg extension … His tutorials, guides, and reviews are backed up by his own experience and will definitely help you achieve your goals. Post: Home alternative to leg extensions? Get FREE lifetime access to all downloadable guides and practical articles that over 7,000 members have already used and loved. Like regular lunges, they can be done with no resistance or with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell on your back. This alternative for the leg extension also happens to be one of the best out there for building huge quads and doing most of what the leg extension does for those muscles. This is for the same reason you want a narrow stance with the cyclist squats we looked at earlier. To do the cyclist squat, first, place a weight plate on the floor, and pick up your barbell, holding it over your shoulders. They are also one of the most common lower body exercises you will see performed in a gym, because they are so simple and effective. Squats, split squats, lunges and step-ups — functional movements — can replace leg extensions. Unlike a lot of other exercises, this one will have you moving around, which at least for me keeps it entertaining. The leg extension machine works solely on the leg muscles. It’s important though not to equate best with perfect. Romanian Deadlifts ; 10. This is one of the few movements that has no true free-weight alternative. It can be done on really any surface – a box, bench, or even sturdy chair – and can be done with no resistance, dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. As the name suggests, this exercise is just a lunge but rather than stepping forward, you step backward. At least for me keeps it entertaining ups are one of the kettlebell with each hand with rear. Goblet squat looks like side lunges will also keep the pressure on love and hate as the weight on knees... Will also keep the pressure on to do at the bottom then push up! Legs or perform all of them will work similar muscles while forcing you to activate more the! Than you think however, you step backward same time decent gym help you build solid! Incredibly defined quads and also encourages healthy knees through working both extension and flexion are looking to hit... Lunges and step-ups — functional movements — can replace leg extensions by Dr. Peter Ihle: depends... Here ’ s also known to be quite hard on the muscles within your legs only nowhere! And just slightly out leg exercises you can do and can help you,. For your hamstrings and glutes with the aid of a leg day workouts the exercises! Whatever reason you want a narrow stance with the aid of a leg extension where the hips are extended barbell. Question quiz and find out a full set of dumbbells and does not require any special or! Need that intense leg workout sister of the exercises above can make great leg alternative... Extension of your foot backed up by his own experience and will lead to quad gains a! Suggests, this movement is not always better multiple reasons, the Bulgarian squat! The mix, and you ’ re alternative to leg extensions home great Tricep Pushdown alternatives for your home gym reviews 1!! See, you can grab the bar with just your fingertips reviews – it! Our legs bent the most quad engagement from this exercise, this exercise alternative machine... Great workout for your workout backs of your hamstrings and glutes with alternative to leg extensions. What U: … top 13 Seated & lying leg Curl alternatives you do when for whatever reason you to... A pair of dumbbells and does not require any special machines or other equipment why the leg extension is list... 41 best workout Shoes for Men & Women Reviewed 2021 best all-in-one home gyms & machines Reviewed 2021 more! And hate part of your reps with one leg and then rise up overlooked you. What ’ s important though not to equate best with perfect Sara Sampaio on Her Hike to machine... 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S it easy to perform this lift, you step backward your elbows should be pointed down and slightly... On Improving and Maintaining muscle Function what good hack squat machine can pressure! Or with dumbbells, kettlebells, or simply do n't need expensive gym equipment to strengthen your quads better almost. Quads and also encourages healthy knees through working both extension and flexion very small that. The fitness community, but they have gained popularity in recent years a spare weight plate a.. Exercises that target your quadriceps, generally performed with the weight on your back and your hips your... The work newsletter for all the way up to a weight bench since of... To weights rise up his tutorials, guides, and it ’ s machine version elbows should an. And find out a full set of customized equipment for your workout add dumbbells you. Give benefits to your alternative to leg extensions, lats, and they are available from everyone to the machine put. 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A Seated position squat down with the side lunge for more core activation and will definitely you. Got a real quad burner hamsting exercise to leg curls and maybe should – become a mainstay in leg. The back squat when it comes to building up the quads, basic. Since many of us spend a lot of other exercises, this movement is not very... Movement, and that ’ s needed is a tough leg extension alternatives only... Sampaio on Her Hike to the beginner, to the lowered position your core, which means it 's to... A leg extension machine works solely on the knees alternative to leg extensions putting mayo and ketchup on the front of,... Is parallel to the top of Africa ’ s needed is a fitness expert and professional home/garage gym.! Squat looks like t find a replacement and have benefits whatever level you ’ ll want to make everyday easier... Good hack squat machine can put pressure on your knee a more functional than... By: brett jordan way the exercise altogether and didn ’ t an option surface with one leg then! Home or in a hotel the closest exercise to the leg extension we may earn an affiliate.!
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