The overall plan of any weight trainer should be to establish a routine that helps to develop lean muscle mass in a completely balance fashioned. That means that each muscle group is targeted through consistent and alternating workouts. The result is that each of the muscle groups will work in tandem with each other to produce optimal results.
Whether you’re training to increase form and tone or you want increased strength for the purposes of power and increased metabolism then exercises for increasing quads is perfect. The legs, specifically the upper leg muscles, are the largest group of muscles in the body. For all intents and purposes they are the source of strength and power within our bodies.
The muscle groups of the legs should be a strong consideration during all of your workouts specifically because of this. With many lifting exercises you are using your shoulders, chest and arms but your legs have to support you in every one of these workouts. Having strong legs will allow you to…
- Lift a greater amount of weight.
- Lift more weight than other muscle groups.
- Create a foundation for other muscle groups to lift on.
- Provide a powerful source of lean muscle to fuel a higher metabolism.
5 Exercises To Increase Quads
Quadriceps (quads) are a group of muscles that stretch across the front of your thigh. These muscles can be seen quite clearly, especially if they utilise the 5 exercises for increasing quads in their normal workout. The quads are a massive muscle group and are made up of smaller muscles that move to support the larger muscles:
- Vastus Medialis
- Vastus Intermedius
- Vastus Lateralis
- Rectus Femoris
These muscles begin at the top of the femur (with the Rectus Femoris crossing the hip joint) and run down to the front of the tibia in the lower leg. The primary purpose is to extend and straighten the knee.
Nearly every weight training exercise will use the legs to some degree, you can’t rely on this passive usage alone to work the muscle groups of the legs. This is indirect and won’t benefit your legs as much as direct improvement through specific training. These 5 exercises will ensure that through a variety of workouts your quads and leg muscles will match the tone of the rest of your body.
Sprints are easy, you can do them just about anywhere you have enough space. You don’t need to go a long distance, the benefit from sprints is that they’re both aerobic and anaerobic. Not only will you be conditioning your legs but improving your overall endurance and cardiovascular system.
Avoid sprinting on hard surfaces. Try to do sprints on a soft surface that will give you some measure of traction; woods, grass, trails. If you want to change the pace and you have a limited work area try doing stair sprints.
- Pump your arms to gain momentum.
- Bring your knees up high and work your legs in the extension in order to get the most action and power out of your quads.
2. Barbell Step Ups
The barbell step up is one of the top quad exercises because it’s so similar to the lunge and it mimics those movements we do every day while stabilising our bodies across multiple planes.
To do this exercise:
- Use a barbell or dumbbells across your shoulders similar to a squat.
- Step forward onto a small box or bench at a low height.
- When you step up, use your forward leg to propel yourself up.
- Bring your back foot forward and raise your knee up as high as you can.
- Step that foot back down while maintaining tension on the leg you first stepped forward onto the box with.
3. Barbell Lunges
This exercise is similar to the barbell step up, it is an extremely effective workout that targets your quads. Additional weights on a barbell aren’t necessary, as variations of this workout can be done with dumbbells or using your own body weight to tone the quads.
Your goal is to work through a set of lunges, just like you would normally do them, while maintaining a weighted barbell on your shoulders or with dumbbells at your sides.
- When you lunge, place one foot forward and one foot back with both knees bent.
- Your forward thigh should be parallel to the floor in order to achieve an optimal lunge, without your back knee touching the ground.
4. Barbell Squats
The barbell squat activates all the muscle groups in the legs. This compound exercise requires complete body stabilisation. Adding additional weight can put a hard strain on your leg muscles to spur on the growth and recover of new and stronger muscle tissue. While effective, this exercise does require stronger shoulders as the barbell is held either across the top of the chest or across the shoulders behind the neck.
When performing the squat:
- Keep the back straight and lower the body slowly under tension to a point where the thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Raise yourself back to a standing position.
5. The Leg Press
This is more for weight trainers that are serious about applying heavy weight to the muscle groups of the legs, using machines and various foot positions, it’s possible to apply a large amount of weight to the legs from a safe and comfortable position that will target all of the muscle groups within the upper and lower legs. If your aim is to tone the individual muscles and muscle groups in the legs then the leg press is an ideal choice to supplement the other top quad exercises.
- 40 Yard Sprints: 4 Sets
- Barbell Squats: 2 Sets of 12 Reps
- Leg Press: 2 Sets of 10 Reps
Weight lifters and trainers all too often forget about the legs beyond some run, sprint or walk time. It’s necessary to do various exercises that will not only tone the legs but strengthen the core muscles of the quads and lower legs as well. Your legs provide the core strength that your other muscle groups need to function throughout your workouts. Make an effort to combine these 5 quad exercises in your workout routine for maximum muscle gain.