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 definitely well-known. If you have your own home gym and you are not satisfied with just squats (which can be done without any tools), you might be interested in getting your own machine. But you shouldn’t get just any one, but the very best leg extension machine.
That’s why I scoured the market for nearly six hours to come up with the very best ones. But, before we dive onto the list, let’s talk about the benefits and drawbacks of the exercise.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Leg Extension Exercise
- Drawbacks of Leg Extension Exercise
- Okay, I get it. So Which Machine is the Best?
Benefits of Leg Extension Exercise
The primary focus of leg extension is to train quadriceps muscles, located on front part of the thigh. If you are a Latin 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 things will be more stable and stronger, which will help you run faster and also stay on your legs for longer periods of time.
It is actually one of the very few exercises when you can fully isolate quads.
Drawbacks of Leg Extension Exercise
But it’s not just a win-win situation. There are certain drawbacks to the exercise as well. The major of them is that the exercise applies tension on the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), which is located in the knee. Therefore, if you have (or often have) problems with knees or knee injury, then it is recommended to avoid leg extension exercise in general.
Another risk which goes hand in hand with the ACL tension is lateral patellar deviation, which means the knee cap can slide to either side. While this has never happened to me, I can imagine to be pretty painful and serious injury.
Okay, I get it. So Which Machine is the Best?
Now that we are familiar with the basics, let’s see which of these machines are worth the asking price.
1) Gold’s Gym XRS 20 Olympic Workout Bench
Our list of the 5 best leg extension machines starts with one manufactured by Gold’s Gym.
This particular bench’s frame is made of steel and comes with the weight support of 300 lbs (136 kg). It has 6 inclined positions for one’s preferences. The curl yoke is removable and it also comes with Olympic 2” weight adaptor. You can use both, the standard and Olympic weight plates, which are not included and must be purchased separately.
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). The warranty is 90 days.
Our rating: 4.7 / 5
2) Body-Solid Leg Extension Machine (GCEC340)
The 2nd on our list is the machine manufactured by Body-Solid.
The frame is made of quality 7-guage steel and since it’s fully adjustable, it will accommodate all kinds of users. This machine can be used for leg curls as well, 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 DuraFirm padding provides maximum comfort along with durability. Easy-made pin-lock provides simple way quick adjustments.
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). Maximum support weight is not specified by the manufacturer, but considering the commercial-grade steel frame, I suspect it will be 300 lbs plus, hover, I’d suggest double-checking this with the manufacturer.
Body-solid also provides lifetime warranty.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
3) XMark Rotary Leg Extension Machine (XM-7615)
Third fella 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 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.
The entire frame is made of 11-gauge steel with applied scratch-resistant powder finish. 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. The machine also uses weight plates (which are not included). Both, standard and Olympic weight plates can be used. The entire construction is marked as commercial-grade.
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)
Our rating: 4.3 / 5
4) Deltech Fitness Leg Extension (DF807)
4th product on our list is made by Deltech and has been on the market for quite some time now.
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.
The machine can be used for leg extensions and leg curls as well and it’s fully adjustable, so it will fit all sizes and shapes. The machine work 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).
Our rating: 4.6 / 5
5) Body-Solid Pro Dual Leg Extension & Curl Machine
Last, but not least machine on our list is also made by Body-Solid, but this time, we are looking at the PRO DUAL version.
The main difference between PRO Dual and GCEC340 (2nd on our list) is that this is mainly for commercial use and comes with its own weight system – so no need to purchase weight plates separately. The included weight stack is 210 lbs (95.3 kg).
Large, biomechanical seat 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 as well. Both have 7 different adjustable positions, which provides a really great range of motion.
What mainly separates PRO Dual from the competition (besides included weight stack) is the oversized 9” (22.9 cm) self-adjusting leg pad. There is also 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).
Our rating: 4.8 / 5
That concludes our list of the best leg extension and curl machines on the market. As you can see, the list ends with only 5 machines, because quite frankly, the number of options is limited in this case and I’m confident that these are the very best five ones anyone can come up with.