Hey. Hi. Hello!
Happy Friday! I hope everyone has some fun plans for this weekend! The weather here is supposed to be hella nice, and my mom’s also coming into town, so we all know I’m going to be eating good (thank god because I’m starting the Keto Diet again on Monday so let’s all say a collective prayer).
I’ve done a lot of similar blog posts like this in the past for pretty much every other major muscle group out there, so now it’s finally time to hit the quads. If you want to check out any of those, you can find them linked under the Fitness tab on my page (although take that with a grain of salt because I’ve been telling myself for weeks now that I’m going to redo my page, so let’s see what happens).
The quadriceps, or quads for all you cool kids out there, is a group of muscles located at the front of the thigh that is composed of four main muscles. You may often hear people refer to themselves as being “quad dominant,” which essential means that their quad muscles are more easily activiated in comparison to their hamstring or glute muscles. For people who find themselves to be more quad dominant, like myself, the quads are one of the muscles that are easily toned.
While many people may shy away from heavy quad work for fear of developing “thunder thighs”, it’s actually wicked important to strengthen these muscles, especially if you have weaker knees. Since the knees don’t actually have a muscle behind them, it’s important to strengthen the muscles around it for protection. The quads are the largest muscle group around the knee, and are thus the most important if you’re looking to ease or prevent any knee issues you have be experiencing.
Everyone definitely has their own favorite exercises to incorporate into their leg days, most of which will definitely fire up this muscle group. However, I’m going to hit the five exercises that are widely considered to be the best within the fitness world (as a Personal Trainer I’d like to consider myself to be part of this fitness world, ya feel?)
Are we surprised this is literally number one?! NO! If there’s literally one movement you should do for the rest of your life, it’s this bad boy. The squat is literally so versatile. It’s also one of the staple foundation movements for working out and functional every day movements. Plus, there are THOUSANDS of variations for squats depending on your level of skill and also if you’re feeling like a challenge. My personal favorite is a goblet squat, which is basically a fancy way of saying that you hold a dumbell at your center while you do it.
Other variations are box squat, using a barbell/EZ Bar, sumo squats, or using a resistance band for a great warm-up/activiation exercise. You can also change up the pacing by incorporating pulses or pausing at the bottom of the rep to increase time under tension to really get them quads burning.
Like squat there are a handful of variations of the lunge, but a walking lunge is my favorite because really lunge in place bores the fuq outta me. The trick to a good lunge is to make sure both legs are at a 90 degree angle, and that the knee of your front foot doesn’t go over your toes.
I prefer to add weights with either a barbell or holding plates for an added bonus, because I’m pretty skilled at the lunge. Add these in on your next full-body day by holding a plate overhead. Oh boy will you be shaking.
This is the only exercise the requries a machine, but it’s a machine that literally every gym has. It’s a gym staple. Your gym will either have an incline leg press, like our buddy above there, or a regular horizonal leg press. Both are great! The most common way to use this machine is to keep your feet at hip width apart on the platform, or you can open your feet up for a wider stance to activate your inner thighs as well.
The Bulgarian Split Squat (I’m going to assume the entire country of Bulgaria came up with this movement together, because that’s the only logical explanation for that name), is great for not only the quads but also the glutes as well. I love this movement because it’s like a lunge, but it’s called a squat, and it really works to isolate one quad so that it really burns. It’s always hard for me to find a good starting position where my front food isn’t extending past my toes, but my back leg still has enough room to bend comfortably, but once I DO find that positon, man this exercise really gets me going.
Step-Up’s are a fundamental movement that everyone can do, but for the longest time my gym didn’t have anything for me to step up on, so I wasn’t doing them. Then I started doing them and wow, good stuff. When I’m doing these, I like to shift my weight onto the leg that is up first before stepping into the movement so that I know I’m placing the focus away from the standing leg. You can add weights like our buddy above, or just use your body weight and try and hammer out as many as you can under time as part of a HIIT circuit.
So, that’s all I’ve got for this week. I know not many people probably find these posts entertaining or exciting, but I’m working on bringing some really good, quality content to you guys for the future, so stay tuned! Now I’m off to probably go eat a whole bag of Kit Kats because #health.
Until Next Time!