Quad Exercises to Tone and Strengthen Your Upper Legs

First things first – your quads (quadriceps) are the front muscles of your upper legs. This muscle group is comprised of 4 muscles which are rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius. The quads are the main driver of knee extension and thus plays a big role in everyday movements, like walking, sitting, climbing stairs, and running.

How to Make Your Quads Stronger

For newbies, doing bodyweight leg exercises can be challenging enough to make your quads stronger. But for someone who is already in advanced level, you need to progressively challenge your muscle which means you may have to add external resistance to feel the same amount of effort. So if your goal is to make your quads stronger, you have to do heavy-duty movements that challenge your leg muscles.

Without further ado, here are effective quad exercises that you can add to your workout routine if you want stronger upper legs.

1. Goblet Squat

With toes slightly turned out, stand with both feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand, in front of you. Keeping your chest lifted, back flat and core engaged, shift your weight into your heels and bend the knees to lower into a squat position. Stand up and squeeze your glutes. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps at a time.

2.  Eccentric Squat

With hands clasped at chest height and your core engaged, begin with your feet hip-distance apart. In the course of 3 seconds, slowly lower yourself into a squat position bending both knees until your thighs are positioned parallel to the floor. Hold this pose for a moment and then press through your heels to return to standing position. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps at a time.

3. Bulgarian Split Squat

Stand straight with your back facing the bench. Then with your right foot on the floor just a couple of feet in front of the bench, place your left foot on the bench, shoes facing downwards. Keeping your core engaged, place your hands behind your head and end your knees to lower into a split squat and your right knee should be perpendicular to the ground and your left knee hovering above the floor. Moving through your right heel, return to standing position. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps for each side at a time.

4. Step-Up

In front of a step or sturdy box, stand straight with hands on both side and your feet hip-distance apart.  Use your right foot to step onto the box and then your left foot. When both feet are on top of the box, pause for a few seconds. Return your right foot to the floor and then your left foot. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps for each side at a time.

5. Forward Lunge

Stand straight with your core engaged and your feet hip-distance apart. Step your left foot forward and bend both knees to sink into a lunge. Push your left foot to go back to starting position. His makes 1 rep. Do alternate reps for each side and repeat 10x.

6. Kneeling Leg Extension

Keeping your torso straight and your core engaged, get into a kneeling position with both hands on your hips. Extend your hips slowly and tip your torso backwards until your buttocks are close to your heels. Hold this position for a few seconds then return to the starting position. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps at a time.

7. Jump Squat

With both toes pointed outward slightly and feet shoulder-distance apart, stand straight and clasp both hands to your chest. Bend your knees and hinge forward, keep your core engaged as you push your buttocks back and lowering your body to a squat. Jump up and bring your arms down, land with both feet in standing position. This makes 1 rep. Do 10 reps at a time.


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