5 exercises to train your Quads
We have all heard the phrase “skipping leg day” but how beneficial is it to incorporate leg exercises regularly in to a training programme? Well more beneficial than you might think… By targeting the individual muscle groups in your legs you are targeting your biggest muscles in your body and by doing this you will burn more calories and therefore more fat! If you are somebody looking to lose body fat but do not want to spend hours in the gym then targeting big muscle groups such as your quadriceps (quads) is an effective use of your exercise time.
Squats are a compound movement which basically means you are using more than one joint in your body and therefore use more than one muscle group. In this instance you are using your hip and knee joints to perform the move so the muscles around these joints will all be engaged for the most part. Squats are a great all round exercise targeting muscles such as quads, glutes, hamstrings and core making this exercise a must when training legs or in fact a great exercise to start off your session whatever muscle group you are training.
How to perform a squat
Walk up to the bar making sure it is set on the rack around the height of your collar bone, step under the bar and wrap your hands around it. Place your feet just beyond shoulder width apart, keeping your back straight with your legs slightly bent at the knee throughout. Break from the hips; with your bum coming back and then down. Control the downwards movement until you are just below parallel, keeping your weight through your heels. Powerfully drive up, making sure your knees are straight and not pointing inwards, stand tall and squeeze through your glutes at the peak. Try to perform 3 sets of 8 reps
Lunges are another great exercise to engage your quads and these can be done with or without dumbbells or a barbell, therefore can be performed pretty much anywhere. Due to this exercise working big muscle groups, it is a great fat burner.
How to perform lunges
Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, if you are performing these without weights then cross your hands across your chest. Take one big stride forward keeping your back leg on your toes slowly dropping down so your back knee touches the floor, drive backwards through your front leg back to start position, repeat with other leg. When performing with dumbbells hold each dumbbell down at your side through the duration of the movement. Try to perform 3 sets of 8 reps on each leg.
Goblet squats are a great variation of a normal squat needing less equipment. Again this exercise targets big muscle groups such as your quads, glutes and abs, making it a perfect exercise to perform for gaining strength and to burn calories.
How to perform Goblet squats
Place your feet just beyond shoulder width apart, holding either a dumbbell or kettle bell in to your chest, (If using a dumbbell hold it at the head and if using a kettle bell hold it at its body and not the handle). Perform the movement by keeping your back straight dropping down to just below parallel breaking from the hips bringing your bum back and then down, keeping your weight through your heels. Powerfully drive back up to standing position, squeezing through your quads and glutes at the peak. Try and complete 2 sets of 12-15 reps.
There are not many exercises that can isolate the quads completely however the quad extension goes a long way in achieving that. The advantage this exercise brings is that it is very simple to perform yet very effective in working your quads. Win, win
How to perform quad extensions
Sit on the machine and place feet shoulder width apart with your ankles behind the leg pad, use the full range of motion. Keeping your back straight and against the back pad, lift legs squeezing through the quads at the peak of the exercise, control the movement on the way back down to start position. Try to complete 3 sets of 8-12 reps
The leg press should be a regular exercise you should adopt within any training programme. Due to its ability to target quads along with other major muscle groups in the lower body it builds strength and muscle size of all major leg muscles.
How to perform leg press
Back and shoulders need to be flat against the back pad. Feet placed flat on the plate, with your toes pointing slightly outwards. Drive your legs against the plate until your legs are fully extended but not locked. Control the downward part of the movement using the full range of motion or down as much as comfortably possible. Try to complete 5 sets of 10 reps.