Leg extension is, without a doubt, one of the most popular leg exercises in the world. It might not be as popular as squats, but it's definitely a workout that can enhance and strengthen the lower body.
If you have your own home gym and you're not satisfied with simple squats (which can be done without any tools), you might be interested in getting your own machine. But you shouldn’t get just any piece of equipment; you need the very best leg extension machine on the market that fits your budget.
That’s why I scoured the market in search of the very best leg extension and curl machines out there.
Table of Contents
- Leg Extension & Curl Machines Compared
- Leg Exercise Machines Explained (Curls & Extensions)
- How To Choose The Best Leg Exercise Machine For You
- 5 Best Leg Extension Machines Reviewed
- Are There Any Drawbacks Of Leg Extension Exercises?
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
Leg Extension & Curl Machines Compared
Weight of Unit
40" x 53" x 62"
45" x 23" x 15"
53" x 26" x 36"
49" x 42" x 37"
47.8” x 41.1” x 41.2”
Leg Exercise Machines Explained (Curls & Extensions)
The primary focus of leg extension is to train the quadriceps, which are the muscles located on the front part of the thigh. If you are a Latin language enthusiast, then the muscle names are rectus femoris and vastus muscles.
When done properly, the leg extension workout increases your quad muscle size and strength, therefore strengthening key attachments of the knee joint. If you combine this with leg curls, your quads can become stronger and more stable, which will help you run faster, jump higher, and stay on your feet for longer periods of time.
This is actually one of the very few exercises that works to fully isolate this muscle group. Want to learn more about leg exercises? Check out our guide on Leg Press Vs Leg Extensions.
How To Choose The Best Leg Exercise Machine For You
When buying any type of weight machine, durability and construction should always be something to look into. Even if the machine looks nice, it won't matter if the components start falling apart after a month of use.
For this reason, you want to find a leg extension and curl machine that is made of a solid steel frame and sits firmly on the floor surface. Wobbly, cheap machines are not only ineffective, but they can also be unsafe to use.
Next up, consider the machine's weight system. The best leg extension and curl machines come with stacked weight plates that cater to a variety of different strength goals and limitations.
Keep in mind that some machines don't come with weights, so you might have to purchase these separately. If you do, just make sure to use weights that are compatible with the leg extension machine.
Even if you're the only person who will be using this machine, adjustability is an important feature. Easy adjustability of the seat, back, and foot pad means that you'll be able to find the perfect position based on your height and leg length.
Comfort & Padding
The padding on the seat, back, and foot pads should be comfortable, but it also needs to be durable. Look for pads that are washable, comfortable and built to last. Vinyl covered foam rollers are a nice added touch because they are easier to wash than standard foam roller pads.
One of the best ways to get more bang for your buck is to find a leg extension machine that accommodates additional exercises. Some even allow you to do bicep curls while you do your leg extension reps, so you might be able to kill two birds with one stone.
Budget & Warranty
The best leg extension machines are all over the board when it comes to price. While you can find one for a few hundred dollars, there are also home gym options that resemble commercial-quality equipment, and these tend to break the bank.
No matter your budget, just make sure to look into the manufacturer's included warranty. The warranty policy for these machines often covers the frame for a certain amount of time (like 10 years) and the other components for a shorter time frame (like 1 year).
5 Best Leg Extension Machines Reviewed
Now that you're familiar with the basics, let’s see which of these machines is worth the asking price.
1. Body-Solid Pro Dual Leg Extension & Curl Machine
- QUALITY CONSTRUCTION: Continuous welded,...
- FEATURES: Pop-pin adjustable footpads to...
- COMPATABLE WITH: Works as a modular component...
- WEIGHT STACK: Not included, sold seperately
The top machine on our list is made by Body-Solid. I'll be looking at and reviewing the PRO DUAL version.
The main difference between the PRO Dual and GCEC340 (4th on our list and another great option from Body-Solid) is that this is mainly for commercial use and comes with its own weight system – so there's no need to purchase weight plates separately. The included weight stack is 210 lbs (95.3 kg), which is plenty for most people.
This machine has a large, biomechanical seat that comes with a back-pad with 12 adjustable positions for maximum comfort for users of all sizes. As the name states, the machine can be used for leg extensions and leg curls alike. Both have 7 different adjustable positions, which provides a really great range of motion for any user.
The main thing that separates the PRO Dual from the competition (besides the included weight stack) is the oversized 9” (22.9 cm) self-adjusting leg pad. There is also a pop-pin (adjustable) thigh hold-down pad for increased security and comfort.
The assembled dimensions are 66.9 x 39.4 x 23.6 inches (170 x 100 x 60 cm) and the weight (with included weight stack) is 505 pounds (229 kg). Aside from the price, the large size and heavy weight are the only real drawbacks to this machine.
2. Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Workout Bench
- 6 roll leg developer: Build and develop your...
- Rolled preacher pad isolate your biceps and...
- Adjustable safety spotters: Get a safe,...
- 600 pound weight capacity: With a 300 pound...
Our list of the 5 best leg extension machines continues with a solid piece of equipment manufactured by Gold’s Gym.
This particular machine's frame is made of steel and comes with the weight support of 600 lbs (136 kg) total, and 300 pounds for user weight. It has 6 inclined positions for complete comfort and the curl yoke (upper body bars) is removable.
It also comes with Olympic 2” weight adapter. That means you can use both standard and Olympic weight plates, which are not included and must be purchased separately. I really love that this machine includes 9.5" adjustable safety spotters. This allows you to get a safe, effective workout with spotters that support you during bench press and squat type workouts.
The assembled dimensions are (L x W x H): 65 x 49.5 x 73 Inches (165 x 125.7 x 185.4 cm) and the weight is 60 lbs (27.2 kg). Because it's lightweight, this is an excellent choice if you're looking for a portable leg extension machine for your home gym. However, it's not the ideal choice for larger individuals, especially those who are close to 300 pounds.
3. Deltech Fitness Leg Extension (DF807)
The 3rd product on our list is made by Deltech and has been on the market for quite some time now. The DF807 Leg Extension machine is a top-seller, so it's time to find out why.
Let’s start with the frame. As you have probably guessed, it is made of heavy gauge steel tubing with a tough powder-coat finish. All the pads are made of high-density padding, including anti-sweat vinyl that is easy to clean after each workout.
The machine can be used for leg extensions as well as leg curls and it’s fully adjustable, so it will fit people of all shapes and sizes. The machine works with standard and Olympic weight plates, which need to be purchased separately.
The dimensions are 53 x 26 x 36 inches (134.6 x 66 x 91.4 cm) and the machine’s weight is 107 pounds (48.5 kg). The small footprint makes this a great choice if you're limited on space in your home gym. However, many people have found the leg curl attachment to stretch too far up, so if you're short, you might struggle with this.
4. Body-Solid Leg Extension Machine (GCEC340)
- HEAVY DUTY: Constructed of 7-gauge steel,...
- ADJUSTABLE: This leg exercise equipment is...
- COMFORT: The oversize rollers work your quad...
- DIMENSIONS: Measures 49 by 42 by 37 inches (L...
The 4th on our list is another machine manufactured by Body-Solid.
The frame is made of quality 7-gauge steel and since it’s fully adjustable, it will accommodate the majority of users. This machine can be used for leg curls in addition to the standard extensions, which is a huge plus. It works with weight plates, which are not part of the machine and need to be purchased separately.
The seat and foot-roller are made with DuraFirm padding, which provides maximum comfort along with durability. The easy-made pin-lock system makes it easy to make quick adjustments to your desired weight and adjustments. However, I found the weight loading are to be quite short, so I don't suspect that this can hold as much weight as the first Body-Solid machine I reviewed.
The assembled dimensions of the machine are 49” x 42” x 37” (124.5 x 106.7 x 94 cm) and the weight is 97 pounds (44 kg). The maximum support weight is not specified by the manufacturer, but considering the commercial-grade steel frame, I suspect it will be at least 300 pounds. Best of all, Body-Solid provides a lifetime warranty.
5. XMark Rotary Leg Extension Machine (XM-7615)
- 12-position adjustable thigh pad
- 20-position adjustable press arm and a fully...
- 11-gauge steel mainframe construction with...
- Ultra thick 3" Duracraft cushions offer firm...
The final model on our list of the best extension machine is made by XMark.
This particular machine comes with a thigh pad for maximum security and comfort, with a whopping 12 adjustable positions. The press arm provides 20 adjustable positions and the backrest pad is also fully-adjustable. The machine can be used for leg extensions and leg curls, so you have plenty of potential for lower body workouts.
The entire frame is made of 11-gauge steel with applied scratch-resistant powder finish. The cushions are made of ultra-thick 3-inches Duracraft material, along with double-stitched Duraguard vinyl. The vinyl-covered rollers are 4.33” in size, so they're quite large compared to many other models on the market.
The machine uses weight plates (which are not included), and both standard and Olympic weight plates can be used. One thing I find very odd is that the tightening screws for the weight adapters are not included with this machine. However, it's easy enough to find the right screws, so this isn't a huge deal if you ask me.
The assembled dimensions are 47.8” L x 41.1” W x 41.2” H (121.4 x 104.4 x 104.6 cm) and the weight is 136 pounds (57.15 kg). The machine is compact, but it's not necessarily fair to call it "lightweight", so keep that in mind if you want something that's portable.
Are There Any Drawbacks Of Leg Extension Exercises?
When it comes to these machines, it's not always a win-win situation. There are certain drawbacks to the exercise as well.
The main disadvantage is that leg extensions and curls apply tension on the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which is located in the knee. Therefore, if you have problems with the knees or have undergone a knee injury in the past, it is best to avoid leg extension exercises in general.
Another risk that goes hand in hand with ACL tension is lateral patellar deviation, which means the knee cap can slide to either side during extensions and curls. While this has never personally happened to me, I can imagine it to be pretty painful and a serious injury.
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People Also Ask (FAQs)
Are leg curls and extensions good for you?
As long as they're done using the proper technique, then leg curls and extensions can do a lot to strengthen the quads. There are a lot of benefits to owning your own machine, like reinforced knee joints, stronger thighs, and improved balance and stamina.
How much does a leg extension machine cost on average?
These machines can cost as little as $150 and as much as $1000+. That's why I recommend setting your budget first, then you can browse the different models that fit within your ideal price range.
How often should I perform leg extension exercises?
While you might be tempted to work out your quads every day of the week, this isn't recommended. It's important to give your muscles and joints a break so that they can recuperate, so every other day (every 48 hours) is a solid workout regimen for performing leg extensions.
That concludes our list of the best leg extension and curl machines on the market.
As you can see, the list is completed by only 5 machines, because quite frankly, the number of options is limited if you're looking for a home-gym option. However, I’m confident that each of these 5 models is worth every penny.
My personal favorite is the Body Solid Pro model at the top of the list, but it's best to consider your budget, your design preferences, and your available space before deciding on the one for you.