Single Leg Extensions

Where possible, I try to incorporate exercises into my leg strength training that make use of a single leg at a time.  This is helpful for a few reasons.  One reason is that when using both legs, the stronger leg is able to help the weaker leg, thus further inhibiting the weaker leg’s ability to strengthen.  This leads to an imbalance, and muscle imbalances so often lead to injury in running.

Another reason is that running is essentially a single leg sport.  If you were using both legs to propel yourself at the same time, you wouldn’t be running, you’d be hopping and hop marathons haven’t yet caught on among the general public.  So, the idea here is to train your legs to work on their own rather than together.

So, I train my hamstrings predominantly through the single leg deadlift and lately I’ve been using the single leg extension to train my quads.  The leg extension machine is probably one of the most common machines in any gym.  Just adjust the machine appropriately, according to the instructions.  I like to quickly extend my leg, then slowly lower the weight.  “Quickly” is a subjective term.  Don’t explode so fast that you feel like you’re going to hyperextend your knee.  I tend to extend with a “1” count and lower with a “3” count.

I’ve included a video, even though it’s probably not really necessary for this one (that’s not me in the video, BTW):

Disclaimer: Please note that I’m not a doctor, personal trainer, exercise scientist, or even someone who has run a marathon before.  I spent 1 semester in college as a physical therapy major, read a lot of articles and had 3 sessions with a personal trainer.  This is how I’m preparing for my first marathon.  If this doesn’t work for you, don’t blame me.  Please.

 Alrighty then.  I had planned on a full body workout today, but I was extremely tired this morning.  Damn you, Harry Potter.  As a result, I managed only a lower body workout:

 10 minutes warmup stationary bike

2 sets single leg deadlift

2 sets single leg extension

2 sets leg abductor

2 sets leg adductor

1 set toe raises


  1. Yeah, that Harry Potter does cause alot of problems with work outs. I like the idea of the Hop marathon. I think we should organize one and call it the Tigger Challenge.

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