Have you been going to the gym, yet you can’t seem to get bigger legs? Well, in this article, I will explain the human anatomy involved with your Quadriceps. Once you know the human anatomy of the front of the legs, I will give you the top 3 exercises to build monster quads.
Disclaimer – Although I am a Certified Personal Trainer, I am not YOUR Personal Trainer. This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not establish any kind of personal trainer-client relationship with me. I am not liable or responsible for any damages or injuries resulting from or related to your use of this information. You should consult a physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietician prior to starting any workout or nutrition program.
- Your goal is to get bigger legs
- You want to be able to lift more weight
- You want to gain lean muscle to burn fat
Understand the Anatomy to Build Monster Quads
There are four Quad Muscles
- Vastus Intermedius – This is the deepest muscle
- The Vastus Medialis – Located on the inner portion of the thigh and ends near the knee
- Vastus Lateralis – Located on the outer portion of the thigh
- Rectus Femoris – Superficial muscle on top of the thigh (1)
Follow the Fibers to Build Monster Quads
Pay attention to the muscle fiber direction. In most of my articles about building lean muscle and losing weight, I explain the importance of following the muscle fibers. Take a look at the illustration above, and you will notice that the striations of the muscle fibers. When you are performing the exercises to build monster Quads, visualize those fibers contracting. Understanding the direction of the fibers will help you build lean muscle.
Warm-up and Stretch
As with any exercise you will want to warm up and stretch the muscle prior to attempting to build your quads. Prior to performing any of the following exercises make sure you do a 5 to 10-minute warmup and perform a few stretches. For a warmup, I recommend doing a 15 minutes medium pace walk. It’s best to perform the exercises when your muscles are warm. If you do not warm up your muscles, you may end up pulling a muscle. Also, it is always best to consult a physician if you have never performed resistance exercises before.
As far as stretches for the Quads, you can do some dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches are active movements where joints and muscles go through a full range of motion(Healthline). These stretches are also meant to bring up your core temperature.
A great dynamic stretch for the Quad Muscles is the Jog to Quad Stretch
- Begin by jogging in place for several seconds
- Reach behind one leg to grab hold of one foot to stretch out the quad. Hold for several seconds. Do not pull your food too hard to overextend the muscle and joint.
- Start to jog again for several seconds
- Repeat stretch with the other leg.
- Repeat about 10 times to really warm up the muscles.
The Exercises to Build Monster Quads
The exercises explained here are exercises that I give my clients. These exercises will help build lean muscle.
The squat takes a bit of practice. It is a popular compound exercise that uses most of your quad muscle, and If you have never performed it, or if you don’t perform this exercise regularly, I suggest not doing weighted squats. Instead, you should perform bodyweight squats. If you lack mobility in your quads, then it is especially important to devote 3 to 4 weeks of performing the exercise without weight just so your muscles acclimate to the movement prior to adding weight to the equation.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips, and keep your feet angeled 5 to 20 degrees. Put your arms straight out in front of you, and keep them parallel to the floor. Keep your feet planted to the ground. Concentrate on keeping your heel and balls of your feet planted. Now, tighten your core. This is important because it will keep your body straight, and as your squat down, keep your knees in line with feet. When squatting, bend at the hip and push your butt back. Squat down so that your hips are just slightly lower than your knees.
Once you’re are at the bottom of your squat, it is time to go back up. Keep your core tight and drive through your heels. Squeeze your butt at the top. Perform this 8-12 reps at 3 sets
To build monster Quads, you will want to perform this exercise with weights. You can either use a barbell across the back or dumbbells in each hand.
The Leg Press
The press is a great exercise to develop the quadriceps. You can angle your feet in different positions to target different muscles.
To begin this exercise, sit on the leg press machine, and position your feet hip-width apart and in the middle of the plate. You do not want to put your feet too high on the plate as this will work your glutes; and, putting your feet too low will cause damage to your knees. Your knees should stay in line with your feet. Your butt should remain on the seat at all times; do not lift up during the exercises.
Grasp the Handles on the sides of the machine, and push the plate up with your heels and the balls of your feet. Do not push with your toes or heels solely, and as you push the plate up, exhale. Do not lock out your knees at the top because we want to keep tension on the quad muscle as you are performing this exercise.
While inhaling, bring the footplate back to the lowered position, and bring your legs back to about a 90-degree angle, then push again for another rep. Do 8 reps at 3 sets.
The Leg Extension
This is considered an isolation exercise, so I tend to do these at the of my quad workout. You can really squeeze out a lot of reps with this exercise.
First, adjust the machine correctly. I see a lot of people do this step incorrectly and you want to make sure that the knees are directly in line with the axis of the machine. You will put too much stress on the knee if it is not in line. Keep your feet in line with the knees. Position your shins behind the pad. Inhale, and extend the pad up. Pause at the top, do not lock out your knees and lower the weight back down. Go slow and concentrate on the contraction.
Try to do about 10-15 reps at 3 sets. I usually have my clients go to failure, and again, this is a great finishing exercise.
These three exercises have been around for a long time, and they will continue to be around because they build lean muscle. They are definitely the top 3 exercises to build monster quads. With proper nutrition, knowledge of the quad anatomy, and proper instruction on how to perform the exercises, you will get bigger quads in no time. You can check out the rest of my articles at fitmanfitness.com.