The quadriceps are the muscles that run mainly over the front of your thighs. So especially frontal this muscle gives you a firm set of legs. It is by no means a small muscle and deserves the necessary attention. After all, training your legs should not be forgotten if you want a beautiful and complete physical condition. In this article I list a series of exercises you can use to tackle them and give some tips and points of attention for training.
The Squat is often called the king of (leg) exercises and there is a good reason for that. You train your entire legs with it and can put a lot of strain on them for serious growth! Squat is often the basis of a leg routine and for many people it is the first exercise they start with. Build up the weight slowly and after a while you will have a pair of strong legs!
A variation on the regular Squat is the Front Squat where you keep the barbell in front of you instead of behind your back. This allows you to keep yourself a little more upright, which can be an advantage for people with back problems. Also the focus in this squat variant is a bit more on the quadriceps.
Although the Deadlift is often considered as a hamstring or lower back exercise (mainly the Stiff-Legged Deadlift variant), this exercise is also particularly suitable for training the quads. There are a number of things you can do to increase the focus on the quads, such as a wider foot position and start the movement lower.
The Leg Press is a handy machine to train the legs because you can easily vary the foot position. For example, you can place them wider or narrower to emphasize the inside or outside of the legs, or higher/lower to appeal more or less to the quadriceps.
The Leg Extension is often used as a warm-up or towards the end of the workout to fully tire the quadriceps. It is a very simple exercise and completely isolates the quadriceps. In that sense, the exercise is less effective for your legs in general, but can be a good addition to the compounds you already did.
Lunges can also be interesting to do, on the spot or effectively by walking around. With dumbbells in your hands or a bar on the back (like in Squat).
Step-Ups are quite similar to Lunges in terms of load for the quadriceps. Your posture of the body is not very different. You can also stay upright with your upper body and push up from one leg at a time. Here you do need a bench or raise while you can do Lunges anywhere.
Tips for training
When you train your legs/quadriceps it is important to perform the exercise correctly. Technique is more important than the weight you push! Otherwise you might get knee problems and injuries. Therefore, keep in mind the tips below:
- Knees over/in line with the feet.
Always make sure you move your knees in the same line your feet are pointing to. For example, do not lower your knees inwards when squatting.
- Straight back.
Always keep your back straight or slightly hollow. Do not squat or deadlift with a convex/curved back as this greatly increases the risk of injuries to the lower back.
- Single leg variations.
Be sure to try variations of exercises where you train one leg at a time, like Lunges, Step-Ups but also Bulgarian Split Squats. It provides a different stimulation of the muscles which benefits your growth and strength.
- Variety in rep range.
3 sets of 10 repetitions, it seems like the only option to train effectively... Nothing could be further from the truth, because sometimes less reps and more weight or vice versa can do wonders. With Squat or Deadlift you could do a few sets of 5 repetitions, while with Leg Extensions you can try 12 to 15 repetitions. It's precisely this variety that makes all muscle fibres come into play, from which you benefit again for mass build-up.
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