Looking for a way to target your lower body and build your muscles faster? Read on to see which machines are right for you.
Leg extensions and seated leg curls are two of the most popular exercises at the gym, and for good reason, as they help you to develop two vital parts of your physique, the quadriceps, and the hamstrings. It’s no wonder the leg extension machines are always busy.
Leg Extension Machine / Leg Curl Machine - Our Top Picks
Whereas most lower-leg exercises work a range of muscles, something that is certainly appreciated, leg extension and seated leg curl exercises allow you to isolate your muscles and focus on them specifically.
We reviewed some of the best seated leg curl and extension machines on the market to see which one was the best and in this article, we reveal our results.
Read on to see which one is right for you.
1. XMark Rotary Leg Extension and Curl Machine XM-7615
A top of the line leg extension and seated leg curl machine, the XM – 7615 from XMark is reliably built to help you train and develop your quadriceps and hamstrings.
Made from heavy-duty 11-gauge 2” x 3” commercial grade materials, it can withstand repeated use and intense workouts and handle 500lbs of weight.
It has a 12 position, vertically adjusted thigh pad, and a 20 position adjustable press arm, all designed to help you find the optimal position for your training and maximum comfort for you.
Your comfort is enhanced further with the fully adjustable backrest and the ultra-thick 3” Durafit cushions and pads, plus rubber grip handlebars for more support and comfort.
The XM-7615 seated leg curl and extension machine are plate loaded, meaning you add the weight yourself to the equipment, giving you full control over your development and not limiting you to what the machines can do.
Impressively, you can use both standard and Olympic weight plates when using this machine as an adapter sleeve is included to help you use either option, although you’ll have to get the weights separately.
This seated leg curl and extension machine wouldn’t look out of place in a gym, but it’s perfectly suited for home exercise and would make a great addition to your garage gym.
What We Liked
Our favorite feature of this curl and extension machine was its fully-adjustable nature. Some of these machines can be very difficult to get comfortable with, the XM looks to handle that for you by giving you a great range of options to help you find your ideal posture.
What We Didn't Like
We love the fact that this extension machine is plate loaded, as it gives you the chance to achieve greater progress, however, we would love it if it came with some weights out the box.
2. Body Champ BCB5860 Olympic Weight Bench With Leg Extension
The Body Champ BCB5860 is an Olympic weight bench that comes with a wide range of uses including a weights bench, adjustable squat rack, and a leg developer, for leg extensions and seated leg curls.
Made from heavy-duty materials this multi-function bench can help you with your fitness goals as you build your physique.
It has a 2.5-inch square tube design, allowing you to use this equipment with peace of mind that it can support your training.
It’s equipped for use with a 7 or 8-foot barbell and with the added attachments, you will be able to train a range of muscles, all over the body, including your chest, arms, back, and more.
However, as impressive as that is, for this review, we are focused on the leg curl and leg extension component of this machine.
This bench contains an adjustable dual-action leg developer, with oversized foam rollers, that allow you to do leg extensions, and as it’s a plate loaded machine, you’re in control of your progress, you add the weight yourself, using either standard or Olympic plates.
When you’re not using the leg developer for your legs, it can be used as a preacher curl, to train your arms and grow your biceps.
What We Liked
There’s no doubt that the flexibility of the Body Champ weights bench is a huge plus, giving you one piece of equipment that can help you to train your entire body. It’s a huge bonus for anyone serious about lifting weights.
What We Didn't Like
Because the leg developer is an added feature, and not the main function of this machine, they haven’t spent as much time developing the extension machine. There are limited positions, meaning it may not fit all body types and heights, and although it’s still effective and you’ll be able to get good results, it may not offer the best results if you solely want a way to train your legs.
3. Marcy Adjustable Olympic Weight Bench with Leg Developer and Squat Rack MD-879
This machine, from popular fitness brand Marcy, is a versatile Olympic bench that can be used to train your chest, arms, legs, and back and even has the possibility of being used for squats as you develop your upper and lower body.
With a 14-gauge tubular steel frame that is resistant to rust and water, it’s built to last and can withstand intense exercise over time.
The bench is versatile and can be used to perform a bench press, squat, preacher curl, and more, including other exercises where you can use the bench purely for support, such as a single-arm row.
However, the main area we are interested in is the leg developer which has a dual-purpose when using this machine.
When not training your legs, the leg developer can be used for bicep curls but its primary function is for building your quads. It’s a plate loaded machine, giving you control of your development as you add the weight plates yourself, and to help you feel more comfortable when using this machine you will also find a vinyl covered foam seat and backrest, plus rubber grips on the handles.
In addition to this, you will also enjoy the foam on the footpads, which keep you comfortable when performing your exercise.
What We Liked
The multi-function versatility of this bench makes it a great option for anyone serious about lifting weights at home. You can cover the major exercises from this bench and with an easily moveable squat stand; you can also ensure you don’t miss out on a great lower body exercise when you train.
What We Didn't Like
The leg developer doesn’t have variable pin positions therefore some users may not be able to find their optimal position when using the leg extension setting.
4. Merax Utility Weight Bench with Leg Extension
This multi-function machine from Merax is another example of a versatile weights bench that has added more features to benefit your workouts.
You can complete a full-body workout, targeting your chest, back, shoulders and arms as you confidentially move between exercises before you switch your focus to your quads with the leg developer, which allows you to successfully perform a leg extension.
You have the option to add the weight yourself as the leg developer is plate loaded and fortunately, it takes both types of weight plates, standard and Olympic for your convenience, taking up to 250 lbs max.
Of course, as this is a weights bench and not a standalone extension machine, it does have other features that are highlighted through its build and we’re sure you would love them too.
Made from 12-gauge solid steel with a red-coated finish for strength and durability this bench is heavy-duty, it also supports weight up to 550bs which is more than enough for most people.
The bench itself can be adjusted through a range of different positions and is flexible enough for you to complete muscle-building exercises whether you’re set up in an incline, decline, upright or flat position.
Built with a 2” thick, dual-layer, waterproof padding to keep you comfortable, no matter how intense your sessions are you can also feel confident that you will be supported when you workout.
You can use this machine to build your entire physique, and once you’ve taken a look, it’s obvious why so many people go for this piece of kit.
What We Liked
Consisting of a preacher curl attachment that can be fitted or removed, we love how adaptable this machine is. You can do so much to improve your fitness and build your physique and the fact that it only takes one piece of kit is a huge bonus.
What We Didn't Like
We would love to see a leg developer that also supports the seated leg curl, unfortunately, you wouldn’t be able to use this leg extension machine to work your hamstrings.
5. Rogue Reflex Seated Leg Curl/Leg Extension Machine
Rogue fitness is a name Crossfit lovers will know well, and if you’ve used their equipment before, you know of its quality, well this seated leg curl/leg extension machine certainly means business too.
With its high-end design and premium feel, it wouldn’t look out of place in a gym and you can tell from the moment you lay eyes on it.
With its welded Tubular steel construction and powder-coated finish, this machine is all about maximum performance. It has a 250lb weight stack, which is a very respectful limit, perfect for building your muscles and adding mass, and a smart design that allows you to get the most out of your chosen exercise.
The roller pads, swivel back pads, and swing arm plate all can be adjusted to ensure you’re fully supported, and in the best position for you, with all of these features being done in the name of achieving your best performance.
The comfort doesn’t stop there either. Once you’re using the machine you’ll notice the comfortable back pads and the roller pads that are made from 2in high-density foam and designed for comfort, making your workout better.
With a 6-inch chrome-plated pulley system and a range of adjustable pads, this machine can cater to users of all sizes, and become a great companion to help you change your body.
What We Liked
The overall build of this seated leg curl and extension machine just screams high-quality and our favorite feature is the adjustable setting. Some leg extension machines can dig into your shins as you lift heavier weights, but with a fully adjustable seat, swing arm, and roller height, you can find the perfect position for you.
What We Didn't Like
It’s hard to find anything that we didn’t like with this seated leg curl and extension machine as it ticks all the boxes, however, if there was one thing we would love to change, it would be the weight. At over 500lbs, moving this piece of kit would be very difficult alone.
6. Rogue Reflex Lying Leg Curl
A laying leg press is a great way to isolate your hamstrings and help them to grow, it’s a great piece of equipment that can support your goals.
With a 250lb weight stack and a comprehensive, high-end design, we think that this piece of equipment is great for targeting your hamstrings.
Many people struggle with the traditional seated variations but can find more success with a laid down model and this could be the one for you or your gym.
What does the leg extension machine do?
Leg extension machines are a great way to target your quadriceps. They isolate the muscle and solely work the quads, instead of making the glutes, hamstrings, lower back, and more do the work.
Are leg extensions better than squats?
Squats are great for developing your entire lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, calf, and quads. However, if you can’t squat, then a leg extension is a perfectly good substitute you can make.
Is the leg extension better than the leg press?
They’re two different movements. The leg press is a compound movement, working your lower body, including the quads, whereas the extension machine specifically targets your quads, making it ideal to grow that one specific muscle.
What is the difference between leg curls and leg extensions?
The leg extension works the front of your leg, specifically the quadriceps muscles whereas the leg curl works the back of your legs, superficially the hamstrings.
How can I do leg curls without a machine?
It is possible to replicate the leg curl exercise by using resistance bands around your ankles and completing a laying down curl. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a way to train the hamstrings, there are other exercises available such as the Romanian Deadlift, Good mornings, or Single Leg Deadlifts.
Are seated leg curls or lying curls better?
People argue about this with good points being made for both sides. The differences however are not great enough to spend your time stressing over. Do whichever one you prefer and whichever one is available. Both are great for building your hamstrings.
How many days a week should you do legs?
It all depends on your training schedule. If you train once a week then that’s your answer, however, if you train 6 times a week you may want to split between the upper and lower body, training your legs 3 times a week. Train enough to make a difference but don’t overdo it.
Is the leg extension machine bad for knees?
If you have suffered from cruciate ligament injuries or have moving kneecaps then it could be a problem, and you may want to find another exercise.
How do you do leg extensions safely?
Always ensure you are set up correctly with your hips, knees, and ankle in the right position. Don’t use too much weight and don’t ever over-extend your legs. Ensure you control the weight up and down.
Can you build mass with a leg extension machine?
Absolutely, but ensure you’re getting enough volume and eating enough to grow muscle.
What is a good weight for leg extensions?
Everyone has their own threshold, our advice is to start with a lightweight that you can perform 10 reps on and go from here. If you can perform 12 or more, it's too light, if you can’t get 8, it’s too heavy. Just ensure you move the weight up slowly.
Can seated leg curls help knee pain?
Yes, leg curls can help to strengthen the knees and the muscles around the joint, but if you suffer from bad knees, take it slowly before trying new exercises.
Training your legs is one of the most important things you can do in the gym, not only for aesthetic reasons but to improve your movement and functionality as a whole.
Building bigger, stronger quads and developing your hamstrings are two of the key components of building your legs and in this review, we’ve laid out some best seated leg curl and leg extension machines available.
The only thing left for you to do is decide which one is right for you and start your journey to bigger, stronger legs.