Quadriceps are a very important group of muscles. You use your quads every time you use your lower body. That is how important of a muscle group they are. Therefore, you need the right quad exercises to build strong muscles and to tone your legs.
There are four muscles that make up your quadriceps. The rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and vastus lateralis; these are what they are scientifically called. However, you don’t need to memorize the name unless you love memorizing long words, you just need to do the right exercises.
This list of quad exercises is extensive. For a complete lower body workout routine, you should focus on maybe 5 or 6 movements with proper sets and reps.
Why Are Quad Exercises Important?
Devan Kline, the co-founder and CEO of Burn Boot Camp, says “It’s important to do quad exercises because this is a majority of your leg strength”. So, you need strong quads for all walks of life, quite literally.
The head coach at Tone House, Yousuf Jeffers, says “running, standing, squatting, kicking and jumping all don’t happen without your quads. Training to have strong quads will help with performance”. In short, strong quadriceps help boost your performance in different workouts too even the ones not related to quads.
However, focusing on just your lower body, the quads work with glutes and hamstrings as well. Strong quads help build a strong lower body. Another plus point is that building healthier quadriceps helps boost joint health. Quad exercises help build stability in your knees and hip flexors. This helps with keeping your joints lubricated and that is an essential long term goal to fighting joint related health issues.
10 Effective Quad Exercises
Technically, every time you sit, run, jog or walk you are working on your quadriceps. But you need to work them out more thoroughly. The more you strain, the stronger the muscles will rebuild themselves.
You should incorporate these exercises into your lower body or leg workouts that you are doing throughout the week. Jeffer says “a runner and weightlifter might be on different ends of the spectrum, but for general gains in strength, a couple of times a week should be enough”.
Before you start checking out our list of top 10 quad exercises, here are a few things to keep in mind.
One, make sure your form is correct. Proper form is essential to avoid injuries and to target the muscles appropriately. “Proper form is required not only for proper activation of the correct muscles, but also to prevent placing stressor forces on the surrounding joints such as knees, hips and lower back” says Jeffer.
Second, rest is just as important as straining your muscles. Chalk up a nice workout plan throughout the week. Whatever your workout goals are, your calendar should help you attain it. If you plan on doing 2 to 3 lower body workouts per week, then separate them with enough rest or other muscle workouts so the muscles can rebuild properly.
This is a staple leg exercise. With the right form, the major focus will be on your quads. It is a movement that works glutes and hamstrings as well.
How to do squats:
– Place your feet hip length apart
– Bend down while keeping your back straight
– Pause for a moment before standing back in rest position
Another classical leg exercise, the mighty lunge. This exercise helps improve unilateral strength which further boost stability in your lower body.
How to do lunges:
– Start by placing one foot in front of the other
– Now, drop down and bend your front and back knees
– Your front knee should not go past your toes
– And your back knee should just remain a few inches above the ground
– Hold this position before returning in to your resting position
Bulgarian Split Squat
The key to this movement is keeping your chest up and shoulders back. While doing the Bulgarian Split Squat with dumbbells make sure your posture is correct.
How to do Bulgarian Split Squats:
– Stand in front of a bench and place your foot on top of it
– Hold a dumbbell in each hand
– Now, lunge down but keep your chest up and shoulders back
– Lean slightly forward to put more pressure on your quads
– Lower down until your knee is just above the floor
– Hold this movement for a second before returning to rest position
For this movement you need a leg press machine. This quad exercise is perfect for strength and mass building.
How to a leg press:
– Sit under the leg press machine with your hips under your knees
– Place your feet against the weight
– Remove the safety
– Lower your knees down to a 90-degree bend
– Hold for a second before returning to rest position
This is a tougher variation of the bodyweight squat. After a few reps, you’ll certainly understand why this is an excellent quad exercise as your thighs burn deeply.
How to do a jump squat:
– Stand should-width apart
– Now, squat down as you would normally do
– Next, jump off the floor. However, it shouldn’t be a massive jump but just a slight jump
– Do these in consecutive motion rather than stopping and staring again from rest position
This is a great bodyweight movement. Using gravity, this seemingly easy movement causes an intense burn. The higher the jump, the greater the strain. You should start off with a platform that is easy. After the first three jumps, the set can become overwhelming. Having a platform too high may cause you to stumble, so start off easy.
How to do a box jump:
– Stand in front of an elevated platform
– Get into a squat position
– Now, jump up on to the platform
– The key is to jump aggressively with a swinging arm movement
– Land in a squat position on the platform as well
This is a great exercise for your lower body. It might seem a bit odd to include a push-up for a leg workout but hear us out.
The spiderman push-up is a variation that requires you to bring your legs up. While it may seem the focus is on your arms, its actually on your quads and hip flexors.
How to do Spiderman Push-up:
– Get in to a normal push-up position
– When you lower yourself down, and pause
– Now, bring your knee up to your elbow and then get back into push-up position
– Keep doing this with rotating knees
Barbell Front Squat
This movement requires a barbell and ample space for you to squat without bumping into things. There is no need to go heavy as possible with this list because your goal is to go for higher reps.
How to barbell front squat:
– Set a barbell on rack in front of you
– Your grip should be shoulder-width apart
– The bar will not be resting on your chest or shoulders
– Now, unrack the bar and hold it with your fingertips
– Maintain posture and lower yourself down
– Hold for a moment before returning to rest position
A quad exercise that you do anywhere. Bodyweight is the best equipment to workout with because it is an optimal weight that grows with you. You can do this with a Swiss ball or just your back against the wall.
How to do a wall sit:
– The position is like sitting in an imaginary chair
– Hold this position with nothing supporting you
– You should feel the pressure on your quads
– Remain in this position for 60 seconds for a complete set
Diagonal Walking Lunges
The final quad exercise in this list. For this you need a pair of dumbbells.
How to do diagonal walking lunges:
– Start by standing hip-width apart
– Hold a dumbbell in each hand
– Now, lower down like you would in a lunge
– Pause just before your knee touches the ground
– Now, take a step forward with your rear leg and then step to the side
– You should create a zig-zag pattern with these steps