How Banded Leg Extensions Actually Build Those Quads

banded leg extensions

Use resistance bands to maximize leg growth with banded leg extensions.

Leg day can be tough for all of us but with an exercise like banded leg extensions, you know what you are getting and know this is increasing gains. Why leg day is dreaded by so many is a mystery. Strong and stable legs are essential when it comes to rounding out a stellar physique, on top of those sport specific and functional gains we want most.

While most of choose to squat or stick to those weighted exercises to see serious hypertrophy, we often neglect to consider what resistance bands can do, banded leg extensions may not even be something you have ever thought of doing. Of course, lifting weight and using those valuable machines in the gym can make or break our gains and give us what we want to see most in those results, but why put ourselves through so much stress when we can see similar benefits using resistance bands?

Often used for warm-ups or rehab for people with physical limitations, resistance bands are necessary to have in your gym bag, but something like banded leg extensions should not be looked down on. By turning away good resistance band-based exercises we limit our gains and end up leaving too much on the table, and there are plenty of benefits to them.

Let’s take a look at banded leg extensions and see why this exercise is so great for boosting gains. From what this exercise is, to those leg muscles worked, the benefits around this, and how best to perform it for proper form, you will have a solid guide into banded leg extensions. Plus, we’ll try to convince you why resistance bands are so good to have in your routine.

banded leg extensions

What Are Banded Leg Extensions?

Banded leg extensions are perfect for isolating out those quads while still keeping time under tension as a priority. The benefit is that you don’t have to put so much strain on your legs by using big weight. This exercise in the leg extension is typically one performed on a machine, but this variation with resistance bands can make all the difference for you.

A great exercise to improve muscle mass, strength, mobility, and pushing power, the only equipment needed is a resistance band and some form of anchor to attach the band to. These can be performed either sitting or standing, so if you are sitting, the chair you are on acts as this anchor.

Muscles Worked

Your quads will get some serious work done with banded leg extensions, as this is predominantly a quad isolation exercise. The importance of quad strength is no secret, as these muscles play a major role in stability, power, and aiding in those big lifts, like the squat. Like all lower body exercises, other muscles like your hamstrings and glutes may be activated, however, you won’t necessarily see the kind of growth that occurs in your quads.

banded leg extensions

Benefits Of Banded Leg Extensions

The benefits of banded leg extensions are important to know and may just make you put this into your routine.

Benefits of banded leg extensions include:

  • Increased quad growth: As an isolation exercise, the tension created will work this muscle and work to build that muscle for the best growth possible (1).
  • Better mobility: Using resistance bands can improve mobility and putting an emphasis on this is important and this exercise will help with this (2).
  • Easy to perform: This exercise is relatively easy to learn and perform which is great to take some stress off you learning something complex.
  • Take advantage of resistance band work: Use resistance bands for your advantage and work to optimize the effects by keeping this in your routine.

How To Perform This Exercise

Knowing how best to perform this exercise will maximize these benefits so you only see the best gains possible. With the right form, you alleviate any potential unwanted injury and pain and only work to increase muscle for the best growth possible.

While this can be performed sitting or standing, we will explain the steps for seated banded extensions.

Here are the steps for performing banded leg extensions in the seated position:

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair and wrap the band around one foot so it is secure.
  2. With the other foot (the one not performing the exercise), step on the band to create tension and plant this foot on the ground. Take the excess part of the band and wrap this around your knee.
  3. Holding the back of your knee gently, strictly for minor support, extend the foot with the band wrapped around it in front of you so it is parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold at the top and gently lower back down to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of sets and reps while repeating these same steps with the other leg.

banded leg extensions

Why Resistance Bands Are Great Training Accessories

Besides just for banded leg extensions, resistance bands have the ability to improve our gains without putting so much stress on our bodies. We’ve mentioned before that these are great for warming up and rehabbing but putting these into your workout is something to not take for granted. By increasing mind-muscle connection and working on range of motion, you really work your muscles and will see growth, especially with something like banded leg extensions.

Range of motion is important for this will force you to get the most work out of your muscles as possible (3). Plus, with mind muscle connection, you start to build that good relationship between your brain and body so muscle memory becomes second nature (4).

Check out our list of the Best Resistance Bands for more great resistance products!

Wrap Up

Banded leg extensions are the perfect exercise to place into your routine for those looking to increase quad growth and add mobility and better range of motion to their workouts. With a quality set of resistance bands, you can’t go wrong with a great workout and one that will most certainly produce gains. Put banded leg extensions in your routine and watch those lower body gains take off. You do not want to be that guy in the gym with those skinny chicken legs.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Lopes, J.; et al. (2019). “Effects of training with elastic resistance versus conventional resistance on muscular strength: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. (source)
  2. Kwak, C.; et al. (2016). “Effects of elastic-band resistance exercise on balance, mobility and gait function, flexibility and fall efficacy in elderly people”. (source)
  3. Schoenfeld, B.; et al. (2020). “Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: A systematic review”. (source)
  4. Calatayud, J.; et al. (2017). “Mind-muscle connection training principle: influence of muscle strength and training experience during a pushing movement”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.