Quad Exercise

Each quad exercise that I have listed below primarily works your quads, also known as quadriceps or the front of thighs. You may also receive some benefit in your glutes and hamstrings as well.

Our quads are a powerhouse of strength. Women tend to be stronger in their legs than their upper body. Men are typically reverse. While the quad exercises below will not knock your socks off, they are extremely effective. Almost everyone has heard of squats and lunges, but let me show you a few variations on those old standards.

Quad muscles are to be worked when you work the rest of your lower body.

Choose Your Favorite Quad Exercise

Squat

Start- Begin with your feet directly under your hips and hands by your sides.

Go For It- Keeping the majority of your body weight on the heels, begin to sit down as though sitting on a chair. Keep your back as upright as possible. Go as low as you feel comfortable, pause, and return to start.

Tips and Techniques-

– Inhale as you squat down. Exhale as your lift back to start.

– Don’t allow your knees to extend past your toes. If it does, move your body weight back on your heels more.

– Only allow the knees to bend to a 90 degree angle. No lower.

– Pause slightly at the bottom of your squat. This makes the quad exercise more intense.

– You can add free weights to increase the intensity.

– Go for the quad busting Goddess Pose! Squat down as described above, but hold the squat for 10-30 seconds. Just remember to breathe!

– Try a one-legged quad squat. Place your left foot on your right knee. Squat down as described above. Keep your balance! This quad exercise is NOT for beginners.

Jump Squat

Start- Begin with your feet separated and hands where you feel most comfortable.

Go For It- Keeping the majority of your body weight on the heels, begin to sit down as though sitting on a chair. Go as low as you feel comfortable, pause, and then jump up into the air.

Tips and Techniques-

– Inhale as you squat down. Exhale as your jump into the air.

– Don’t allow your knees to extend past your toes. If it does, move your body weight back on your heels more.

– Only allow the knees to bend to a 90 degree angle. No lower.

– Pause slightly at the bottom of your squat. This makes the quad exercise more intense.

– This is not a good quad exercise for anyone that is new to exercising.

Lunge

Start- Begin with your feet directly under your hips and hands by your sides. Take one step forward with your left leg.

Go For It- Take your back knee down so it almost touches the floor. Pause for a second and lift back to start.

Tips and Techniques-

– Inhale as you lower your back knee. Exhale as your lift back to start.

– Don’t allow your front knee to extend past your toes. If it does, separate your legs a bit more.

– Only allow the front knee to bend to a 90 degree angle. No lower.

– You can add free weights to increase the intensity.

– Remember to do the other leg as well! If we did 12 reps with our right leg in front… we need to do 12 reps with our left leg in front.

Lying Side Leg Raise

Start- Begin by lying on one side. Keep your body as straight as possible. Place your hands where they feel most comfortable.

Go For It- Begin to lift your top leg into the air. Pause at the top for a second and slowly lower back to start.

Tips and Techniques-

– Exhale as you lift your leg into the air. Inhale as you lower it back to start.

– This will work the outside of your thigh. This muscle is called the abductor muscle.

– This quad exercise typically needs to be done for a longer rep range than most exercises. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

– To increase the intensity, hold for a 10 second pause at the top of the lift.

– You can also place a stability ball or a medicine ball on the side of your top thigh. Just having this additional weight to lift over the rep range can tire you out. Another simple way to rev up the intensity level.

– Remember to do the other leg! If you did 24 reps on one side, do 24 reps on the other leg. Balance is a beautiful thing!

One Legged Squat

Start- Begin with your feet directly under your hips and hands by your sides. Lift your left leg so that it is behind you.

Go For It- Keeping the majority of your body weight on the heels, begin to bend the front knee. Keep your back as upright as possible. Go as low as you feel comfortable, pause, and return to start.

Tips and Techniques-

– Inhale as you squat down. Exhale as your lift back to start.

– Don’t forget to do the other side.

– Don’t allow your knees to extend past your toes. If it does, move your body weight back on your heels more.

– Only allow the knees to bend to a 90 degree angle. No lower.

– Pause slightly at the bottom of your squat. This makes the quad exercise more intense.

– You can add free weights to increase the intensity.

– Keep your balance! This exercise is NOT for beginners.

Adductor Squeeze

Start- Begin by laying on your back. Knees are bent to 90 degrees. Place a ball between your knees.

Go For It- Simply squeeze the knees together. Pause for a second. Release back to start.

Tips and Techniques-

– I tend to do this quad exercise faster than other exercises. I will also do it longer. I like to squeeze, and relax as fast as possible and go for about 80 reps.

– Experiment with different speeds and reps.

– You want to feel this quad exercise on your inner thighs.


Work those quads! You will soon see that they are the most favorite or hated part of most people’s program. How you work them is up to you. Try each quad exercise and choose the one that feels best to start with.

I just want you exercising. Our legs take a beating each and everyday. Make them stronger with each quad exercise and they will reward you in more ways than one.

Oh, how could I forget? To build strength around your knees, I recommend strengthening the muscles around them. Makes sense, right? Quads are the guys right above the knee cap. How awesome would it be to have less knee pain?

Switch your quad exercise regularly.

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Comments

  1. I have had a knee injury, breast cancer, scare of ovarian cancer with abdominal surgery
    I am approaching 62, my thighs attract lots of negative attention. I am an operating room nurse, very physically demanding position but I don’t build the right muscle. I want to build my legs and triceps. Can you help me?
    Please, Jan

  2. cristina says:

    these excersises are great. i am citing this web page for my fitness project!!!! :)

  3. cff1031 says:

    I’ve had knee problems most of my life. They are now talking about knee replacement. I am working with physical therapists and they say my patella is too low because my quads are not strong. Exercise those quads people!

  4. Tjones0081 says:

    I broke my knee last July and have no quad muscles and need to rebuild my strength but cant afford therapy three times a week .

    • HI, Tjones0081.

      Definitely check in with your surgeon or whomever is a good fit to see what exercises you can do on your own without hurting your knee more. The ideal scenario would be to build up the muscles around your knee (quads/hamstrings/calves) so they are stronger and can give more support to your knee’s healing.

  5. Uaduhaas says:

    Faggots

  6. Hemified1620 says:

    my stepdad is in the hospital for a month now and the dr says he need to work his quads but after all the surgerys he cant stand or sit up on his own what good quad exercised can he do in his bed laying down

    • Best advice, ask the doctor. Seriously… anytime it comes to injuries you’ll want to seek advice from your doctor or a physical therapist. They’ll know the best course of action for what your step-dad is specifically struggling with.

  7. this has not helped dick heads

  8. I was at the gym and I think I pulled a muscle in my thigh I have put voltaren on it but I still cant my weight on it and hard to walk and when I sit down or stand up it really hurts. What should I do

    • Hi, Shauna.

      Unfortunately I will not be much help. It could be a simple pull or it could be something more severe. Your best bet is to talk with the folks at your gym first (as they can see you in person and I cannot!) and/or talk with a doc about it. Sorry I cannot be of more help!

  9. i have fallen twice on crash mats in which my knee got bend in sideways position. my physio has told me that my knee’s ligament range has increased in the side direction. However now i can run and do all type of knee movements of yoga. however i want to strengthen my knee a lot more b’coz sometimes my knee still behaves in the odd manner an then it pains a lot.could you suggest some exercise for it

    • Hy, Myra.

      Unfortunately any time it comes to an injury (past or present one!) I recommend you talk with your physio. The last thing you want to do is injure it more :(

  10. Lorraine says:

    Hi there
    I recently had an MRI done on both my knees. Basically i’m wearing the cartilage out of both knees, i guess do to the many years of my job. My left knee has a small cyst that causes pain up my leg. Surgery will be needed if it gets bigger. The Dr. said to do quad excercises to strengthen the knees. What’s your advice.
    Thanks

    • Hi, Lorraine.

      Here is a page of quad exercises. My mom recently had surgery for a cyst on her knee and she had to go to physical therapy for a bit. It really helped her. Anytime an injury is involved my advice is to ask your doctor for specific exercises because not all quad exercises may be good for your knee. For example, my mom could not do quad extensions on a machine.

  11. butterfly says:

    what is the best work out you would recommend that has fast results for abs

    • Hi, Butterfly.

      There are lots of pages on here that address abs. Fast results almost always means it won’t last. So the thing I recommend the most is eating a healthy amount of calories for your current weight, getting active, getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Here are some exercises you can begin to incorporate: http://www.strength-training-woman.com/ab-exercise.html

  12. Hey! Quick question. Why am I having success in decreasing the stored fat from every area on my body (stomach, legs, buttocks, waist), but not my arms? I have very large arms (wings) and even though I exercise, it’s not helping my arms.

    • Hi, Pat. Could be a few reasons. The 2 jumping out at me are…

      1) Your arms are where your body prefers to store fat so it’s the last place fat creeps off. Other people store fat in their thighs, or their belly, or their booty :) Perhaps you store it in your arms. If this is the case, there’s not much you can do other than continue to workout and eat clean to reduce overall body fat (if needed).

      2) The wings you’re referring to are mostly stretched out skin. Unfortunately there isn’t much you can do to eliminate saggy skin since the elastic is gone. People who were once obese and have lost a lot of weight often have this problem as do older people (since skin loses its elasticity as we age).

  13. Breona James says:

    Hey I just went to see my doctor yesterday, for lookin up on my knees, she said i need to do quad excersizes so I can support my knees , is there anyhing else i need to do??

    • Hi, Breona.

      Focus on all leg exercises. Basically you cannot strengthen an actual knee since it is a bone. So if you strengthen the muscles around the knee, then the knee has more support. So, assuming you have no restrictions on what you can/cannot do, be sure to focus on quad, hamstring and calf exercises.

  14. Hi i am awaiting reconstruction of the pcl / acl ligaments… i had my injury over 2yrs ago and finally they are going to do something… my specialist has said that due to the muscle loss i have sustained i need to get my quads strengthened and a good bend on the knee as he needs this for the surgery. I am awaiting physio advice but im the meantime could u advise???

    Thanks.

    • Hi, Penny.

      Unfortunately I cannot. Anytime an injury is present… it’s best to meet and discuss with your physiotherapist. They are much better at working with injuries! Sorry, and best of luck!

  15. Hii, I’ve always been thin on my upper body and always had large thighs ,
    How could I tone them up easier and fast?

    • Hi, Laura. Extra fat stored anywhere has the same protocol. In order to get rid of fat from one area we must reduce overall body fat. And that takes us right back to eating less processed foods, eating enough calories and making them good calories and exercising.

  16. jschneider says:

    I am so weak … I cannot get up off the floor and I pull myself up stairs with the railing … I am 250 # and have arthritis in both knees … Dr. gives either a cortisone shot or when enough time has passed I get the stuff from Chicken’s … which it really good to the pain I get in my knee’s BUT nothing helps (medically) with the inability to llift myself up of the floor or go up stairs or jump …. These exercise’s are my answer – right ? I am doing a Dvd for senior’s, I am 66 yrs old .. some of these lunges etc are in my program … I hope you will answer me ,…
    Thank you
    Judith

    PS …. Forgot to ask when doing these exercises … time wise when would I see improvement ?? Have been doing my Dvd for 2 1/2 months – 3x’s a week and trying to walk 1/2 an hour a day all 7 days of the week … Havent been faithful with a perfect record … When weather (if it ever will) get nicer I will be riding my out side bike and walking more faithfully …. Just hope to see some result … when ever … I am so surprised that the ability to get up of the floor with out hanging on to a couch or chair and awkardly and painfully (to my knees) work like a paralized person to get up … I never knew I would be helpless like this … I cant remember when this started but I want to do WHATEVER I CAN about strengthening my QUAD’S … thank you again … Judith

    • Hi, Judith. Unforuntaley I won’t be able to provide any help. When a situation such as yours is presented – I always have the same advice… seek out a local professional. Only they can accurately determine where you are and where you want to go and the best course for you to take.

    • I just read your post and have a suggestion. May or may not help you. I have a number of knee/leg/hip issues since 2001 when I broke the kneecap. Age 55, gained weight recently. Used to be in great shape, but have always had an issue getting down on the ground and up again and since the 2001 incident, it has gotten much worse. Impossible to do without some kind of assistance. To make matters worse I have severe carpel tunnel in both wrists and that makes it harder to hoist myself up from the ground or out of a tub, for example. I found an item at a garden store – online that really helps me and might help you too. It is intended for gardening, however it works around the house as well. It allows me to kneel and provides assistance in getting up out of the kneeling position. It is available at Gardener’s Supply (online) and comes in two widths. Read the reviews. I got the wider width. it is called the Garden Kneeler and it has helped me feel better about my issues…cheers

  17. My knee will pop out of place during the most mundane things (most recently while sitting down). Are there any exercises I can do to help prevent this from happening?

    • Hi, Amber. Unfortunately I’d have the same advice for you as I did for Don (above). Anytime there is an issue, it’s best to check with someone local to ensure that everything is okay and what exercises (if any) are good for you.

  18. Ariane Vanco says:

    If i want to increase sprinting speed, which leg muscles do i focus on, quads or what?
    Thanks!

    • Hi, Ariane.

      The best thing to focus on isn’t a particular muscle for for speed… it’s actually doing a mix of burst-exercises or plyometric exercises and improving your current cardio conditioning.

  19. Don Egan says:

    I had knee replacement surgery about 3 years ago. My knee seems weak when I rotate either to my left or rigfht. Are there exercises I can do to strengthen the ligaments on the side of the knee?

    • Hi, Don.

      Thanks for writing. Generally for someone in your scenario (knee surgery…) I would recommend speaking to someone that can take a physical look at your knee… as it could be so many things. As a general rule, most surgeries require the follow up and care of a physical therapist rather than a personal trainer. Once the physical therapist gives exact information on how to better heal and strengthen the knee… then a trainer can take over and take it to the next level safely.

      Sorry I cannot be of more help, but the best advice I can give is check in with your physical therapist. I’d hate to see you do additional harm :)

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