Quadriceps are large muscles that make up the front of your thigh. Quads are muscles which contract together to help lift and extend the knee. They are one of the largest muscle groups in your body due to the fact that they’re working all day to carry your entire body weight around. This means in order to grow them, you have to put them under some stress!
Here, we talk through some tips on building strength for your quad muscles.
What are the best ways to build up quad strength?
First start off your warm up with a variety of leg stretches to warm up all the muscles in your legs. Jump into the cardio room and do ten minutes on the turbo trainer to get the blood pumping through your legs. This isn’t the muscle burning phase so take it easy- enough so that you’re able to have a conversation with the person next to you.
Once warming up, you’ll want to get into the most important exercises for building quads.
The squat is the best movement for building muscle in the thigh. Squats are what’s known as a compound movement because it uses a lot of different muscles all over the body and is one of the best ways to stimulate overall growth. With squats you can use kettlebells or a rack, depending on how easy you want to start.
A shoulder-width stance with your feet turned outwards slightly is the position that will generate the most power. Centre the gravity of your body forwards so that your quads take the most workload. Shallow squats predominantly target the quadriceps so it’s good to get a low squat if you can.
Use a squat rack to do 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Progressively increase the weight so it gets harder towards the last few sets. Get someone to spot you if you want to challenge yourself with personal bests with your weight or reps.
Dumbbell lunges are great for engaging your quads and can be done with or without dumbbell or barbell weights. This is a great fat burner and one that can be performed in your own home if you can’t make the gym.
To perform a lunge, simply stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then take one large stride forwards. Ensure your toes slowly drop down towards the ground. Bend each leg and repeat on each side. If you’re doing this exercise with weights, hold the weights down to your sides.
Barbell lunges are effective at targeting your quads.
Try 4 sets of 10 reps on each leg.
Interval high intensity workouts like sprinting are great for your quads and improving fitness.
This is a classic exercise which can be done anywhere, anytime provided you have a flat surface and somewhere to run such as a local park. Keep your arms moving and your knees high.
Isolation movements concentrate on working one muscle group.
The leg extension machine is great for emphasizing this muscle group because of the weight forced to be lifted by the quads. Keep your feet flat,parallel and low on the plate. Push your legs so that they are extended fully on the plate, then retract and repeat.
These movements are best done at the end of your leg workout.
Try 4 sets of 8-10 reps with 1 minute rest between sets.
The leg extension machine is also great for isolating your quad muscles. Use the leg extension machine in the gym for this one and adjust the weights according to your personal preference.
Try 4 sets of 8-10 reps with 1 minute rest between sets. Try one more set using one leg at a time to build the muscle and make it more difficult.
Box jumps are great for challenging the quad muscles. As well as burning a heap of calories, this exercise develops the muscle fibers in the quads, hamstrings and glutes by extending and contracting each.
Start off by swinging your arms as you jump onto a heightened box in a squat and stretch position. Box jumps force you to use every single muscle in your legs to help you get onto a heightened box.
Aside from these high intensity workouts, there are a number of home based workouts you can try to strengthen the quads such as wall squats or leg lifts.
It’s important to avoid overtraining and putting too much weight on your muscles as this can prolong recovery. Always try to take rest days to split up workouts and allow your body to recover.