Top Ten Best Exercises for Your Quads

Finch
Nobody enjoys having "chicken legs" and a large reason for having them is because people don't work their legs in the right ways. The Quadriceps are the largest muscle group in your legs and therefore can be put under the most stress during a workout.

The "Quads" are a four-part muscle group located on the front of your thigh and running from hip to knee. Their main function is to extend the knee which is why when you squat down or sit and raise your foot, it is primarily the quadriceps that are working.

There are a plethora of quad exercises and even more techniques in how to perform them. the important thing to consider is that you should have your body stacked appropriately so as to not put lateral forces on the knee, especially while under a heavy load.

Below are some of the best exercises for strengthening the muscles making up the quadriceps while keeping your joints safe from unnecessary strain and injuries.

The Top Ten

1 Bodyweight Squats

Stand with feet facing straight forward (maybe turned out 5-10 degrees if it feels better but no more than that) about as wide as the outside of your hips. without rounding your back, bend your knees and lower toward the ground till your hip crease is roughly even with your knees. Hold for a second then return to standing. Make sure your knees don't flare outward or collapse inward during the whole movement.

2 Box/Bench Jumps

Stand on the top of the box or bench to begin. Quickly hop down to the ground and back up onto the box as fast as possible. Do not stay on the floor for longer than necessary to bounce back up to the top of the box or bench. If you need to rest, rest on the top not the floor.

3 Deadlifts

This is one of the absolute best workouts for all major muscle groups. If I was going to only do 1 exercise for my whole body this would be it. I won't describe the technique here as it is pretty complicated and easy to get wrong and hurt yourself but suffice it to say that there are tons of video tutorials out there. Remember to bend your knees as far as possible rather than your back to avoid injury.

4 Backward Lunge

I prefer doing the backward lunge as it tends to keep the upper body more upright than a walking or forward lunge. Stand in a regular walking stance with feet facing straight forward (not turned out at all), and place your hands on your hips. Take a long step backward and bend both knees till your back knee almost touches the floor and your front knee is bent roughly at a 90 degree angle. Step back forward to the starting position and repeat for the other leg.

5 Front Squat

More targeted than the back squat, the front squat will burn your quads better than most other weighted squats. Place the barbell (or dumbbells) across the front of your shoulders with your arms crossed and gripping the bar. Your elbows should be directly in front of your shoulders to provide a stable platform for the bar. Squat like you would a bodyweight squat.

6 High Knees

Feet hip-width apart and facing straight ahead. Rise one knee till it's as high as your waist and your knee is bent at a 90 degree angle. Then, like you're running in place, swap leg positions. the key is to keep the tempo fast and keep the knees high.

7 Skater Lunges

These will work the side attachments of your quads and provide lateral stability. Stand in a normal stance and then with one leg jump as far as you can directly to your side. Land on the opposite foot you jumped with (if jumping to the right you'll raise your right leg and jump to the right with your left landing on your right foot with your left raised). When you land you'll bring the non-landing leg back behind you while bending both knees to a 45-90 degree angle. while staying low in the squat, jump back the other direction and land on the opposite leg repeating the process. You should look like a speed skater.

8 Suicides/Shuttle Runs

Pick a couple points of varying distances but in a straight line and mark them on the ground. From a starting line, sprint to the first marker, bend and touch it, then sprint back to the starting line. Touch the starting line with your hand then turn and sprint to the next farthest mark, touch and return. Continue sprinting between alternating marks till you can't run anymore.

9 Pistol Squat

For this one you'll stand in a normal squatting position and raise a leg straight out in front of you (or as close as you can to that). Lower with your standing leg till you are almost sitting on the ground, all while keeping the raised leg off the ground. Stand back up using only the one leg and repeat. I'd recommend doing all reps with one leg then switching to the other rather than alternating.

10 Overhead Squats

Similar to the Front Squat and Bodyweight Squat but you are going to use a relatively lightweight bar and hold it extended over your head. Use a wider grip than usual and keep your elbows straight. When you squat down the weight will be slightly behind your head for the sake of your shoulders and it will return to directly overhead when you are standing upright.

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