Originally Posted by Garrett Smith
The GHR is a very contrived exercise as well.
Does that make it a bad exercise, though?
My experience with it has been that it's a great way to train my glutes, hamstrings, and even my calves (from that final "extend on the toes" to finish the movement). I did have to learn to do them correctly, but that applies to almost every exercise I've ever done. My first deadlifts were pretty ugly, too, nevermind my squat.
Maybe I just got off the functional wagon somewhere. I figure any exercise is okay, as long as it accomplishes something you need it to and does it better than the alternatives. The problem with most isolation exercises is that there is a better way to accomplish the same task. That doesn't make them universally bad. Just worth putting at the bottom of the toolbox - if nothing else gets you there, they're still available. You just don't start with them because they're too limited to be the basis of a routine.
Leg extensions seem to be so limited that they don't give you much strength for anything but leg extensions. So I avoid them because they don't do much; it's better to do squats or lunges. It's not that they are isolation, it's that they don't give you much benefit and possibly some problems.
Only my opinion.