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Take Leg Day To The Next Level With These Quad Exercises

Quads are the workhorses of our body, so keeping them strong is important not only for maximizing fitness, but also for warding off injuries and keeping knee, hip and lower back pain at bay. Quads is short for Quadricep femoris, which means ‘four-headed muscle” in Latin - a fitting name for the four muscles at the top of the thigh that all converge on one tendon above the knee. Together, they make up the biggest and most powerful muscle mass in the human body. Our quads are working pretty much all the time, whether we are walking, running, biking, climbing stairs, or simply getting up from a chair.  

Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.

How do you strengthen your quads?

According to Lauren Jenai, Co-Founder of CrossFit and Founder of the Manifest app, the best way to strengthen your quads is an easy move you can do anywhere: the squat. “If there was only one exercise to choose to strengthen your quads it would be the squat and all its variations,” Jenai tells Lively. “Luckily, we do not have to choose only one exercise! Other important movements include deadlifts, lunges, and step-ups or box jumps.” 

How can I strengthen my quads at home?

Any movement that requires bending and straightening the knee will strengthen your quads, so there are plenty of ways to get a good quad workout right at home, or in a park. Lucy Sexton, fitness expert and Co-Founder of Bonded by the Burn, an online fitness platform, tells Lively. “At Bonded by the Burn, our signature exercises for this are lunge variations, squatting exercises, seated abdominal exercises and plank-based glider variations that all work the quads while incorporating gliders and resistance bands.” 

Even if you don’t have any workout equipment at all, you can do squats and lunges using your own weight for resistance. One-legged pistol squats also help with balance; extend one leg out straight and squat down slowly with the other. If you have a bench or sturdy chair, try some step-ups or box jumps. Step-ups are just like climbing up onto a large stair, one foot at a time, and box jumps are bending your knees and jumping up with both feet landing at the same time. And while you have it out, put one foot up on the bench or chair, toenail-side down, and lunge forward with the other leg, making sure to not to let your knee pass your toes.


How can I make my quads bigger?

If done regularly, all of these exercises will make your quads stronger and help stabilize your hips and knees but if your goal is to make your quads larger and more defined, add some weight to your routine. “To really accentuate size, exercises that involve heavier loads and lower rep strategies are the way to go. Barbell Back Squats and Barbell Deadlifts are two of the most effective exercises to develop bigger quads,” Jenai says.

quad exercises

What kind of quad workout should I do? 

For the best workout, vary the type of movement and do multiple reps of each. 

First, warm up your muscles with a brisk walk or some jumping jacks, and then try this workout, which was recommended by Lauren Jenai to fire up your quads. 

Start with one round of:

  • 20 air squats
  • 15 box jumps
  • 10 walking lunge steps
  • 5 pistols

Rest two minutes

Then, three rounds of:

  • 10 Dumbbell Front Squats
  • Rest one minute
  • 10 Dumbbell Deadlifts

Rest 2 minutes

Finish with one round of:

  • 20 air squats
  • 15 box jumps
  • 10 walking lunge steps
  • 5 pistols​

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