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The Leg Extension

The Leg Extension Is Still A Great Exercise                                        


In the early 1990’s there were several studies that looked at the shearing forces of the knee during open and closed kinetic chain exercises, and determined that there were higher stresses imposed on the knee during open chain conditions.
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Open chain exercises are exercises that are performed where the hand or foot is free to move.  Closed chain exercises are physical exercises performed where the hand or foot is fixed, and cannot move. The leg extension movement is a classic open kinetic chain movement.

Shear stress arises from a force vector perpendicular to the surface.

Physicians, and trainers at the time felt that due to new research findings that rehabilitation of the knee following ACL reconstructive surgery would be better using functional closed chain exercises.  Up until this point most knees were rehabilitated in an open chained fashion.  The leg extension was the stall-work of training, and rehab, its value was suddenly decimated.

Shearing forces exist in all extensor movements of the knee, and is the principle force contributing to knee extension.  In other words, it is pretty tough to move around without shearing forces to the hinge joint between the tibia, and fibula.  The question of course is, how much stress is good, and how much before the sheer becomes strain?  This is always up to the one doing the rehabilitation.


As it has turned out since the 1990’s the leg extension exercise is still the same great exercise it had always been with the exception of those few years where it got some bad publicity.






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When You Are In Clare, Michigan Stop By, and Try The Pendulum Chest Press





Closed And Open Chain

Open kinetic chain exercises of the lower limb are movements, where the distal segment is unloaded and free to move. The opposite is true of closed kinetic chain exercises, whereby  there is enough resistance to prohibit free motion.

Closed kinetic chain exercises are movements such as squats, Pendulum Squat Pro, leg presses and lunges, while open chain exercises are actions like leg curls, leg extensions and the Pendulum Reverse Glute Ham.

The kinetic chain can be understood as interrelated joints and body parts working with one another during motion. This creates a chain of events that affects the movement of neighboring joints and segments.

The advantage of open chain movements is that they tend to be better at isolating muscle and often are selected for specific rehabilitation and used to accentuate performance. While closed chain movements in general would be classified as more functional and closely approximating movements that are used in sport and daily life.

Pendulum Reverse Glute Ham Machine

Open Chain Reverse Glute Ham

Pendulum Power Squat Pro

Closed Chain Pendulum Power Squat Pro

Pendulum Power Squat Pro XT

Closed Chain Pendulum Power Squat Pro XT

Arkansas Baseball Weight Room
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arkansas weight room
arkansas weight room
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2-for-2 Method

Some trainers, coaches and athletes use what is called the 2-for-2 Method for increasing training load. The rule is if the trainee can perform two or more repetitions over one’s ‘repetition goal’ in the last set of an exercise, for two consecutive workouts, the weight is added for that particular exercise the next training session.

Bench Rep