Your glutes aren’t the only part of your lower body that deserve some serious workout love. Your quad muscles, which are located on the front of your legs between your knees and your hips, are responsible for everything from keeping your knees in proper alignment, to helping you walk, run, and jump.
Use this quad routine once a week to start, working your way up to two days a week. Leave at least three full days of rest in between workouts to allow for adequate recovery, and remember to stretch thoroughly to assist in the repair and rebuilding of your muscles.
For each move, rest about one minute between sets to recover, up to two minutes if you’re lifting heavier.
|Single-Legged Leg Press
|3 (each leg)
|Smith Machine Bulgarian Split Squat
|3 (each leg)
Single-Legged Leg Press:
Benefits: Single-legged motions force your legs to work individually, adding stress to build strength and size unilaterally.
- Sit at the leg press machine with your back against the padding.
- Place one foot on the footplate and put your other foot on the floor underneath the machine.
- Extend your leg to push the footplate away from you, then slowly bend your knee to return to the start.
- When your set is complete, repeat on your opposite leg.
- Place your foot lower on the footplate to hit the quads harder.
Smith Machine Bulgarian Split Squat:
Benefits: The Smith machine adds an element of balance to the one-legged motion, forcing the quads to work harder to maintain stability in the knee and hip.
- Adjust the Smith machine so that the bar rests across the back of your shoulders.
- Extend your left leg behind you and place the foot, laces down, onto a flat bench.
- Bend both knees, keeping your weight centred over your working leg.
- When you’ve come as low as you can go, press through your front heel to stand.
- When your set is through, switch sides.
- If a bench isn’t available, simply stagger your feet so the non-working leg is in front, touching the ground for balance but bearing very little, if any, weight.
Benefits: Squats are the ultimate quad builder, engaging and stressing all four muscles equally. Front squats shift your centre of gravity forward, emphasising the quads more than the glutes.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest them lightly on the fronts of your shoulders, with your elbows pointing towards the floor as shown.
- Bend your knees and hips to lower into a squat.
- Stop when your thighs are parallel to the ground, then press through your heels to stand.
- If you’re used to back squats, these might feel awkward at first. Use a lighter weight than normal until you get used to the motion, and build up from there.
- Alternately, try this exercise with a barbell.
Benefits: Sissy squats create a deep separation in the mid thigh, giving the sweep a more drastic appearance.
- Stand beside a post or pole, with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hold the post with your nearest hand with a light but supportive grip.
- As you bend your knees into a full squat, simultaneously lift your heels from the floor, leaning your torso rearward as shown.
- Stop when your knees are fully flexed, then reverse to return to the start.
- This is a beginners version. As you advance, try to drop your knees closer to the floor.
Related article: 6 BodyWeight Butt Exercises to Sculpt Head Turning Glutes
Benefits: Extensions are isolation moves that specifically target the sweep.
- Adjust the machine so the pad touches your shin just above the ankle.
- Grasp the handles on either side of the machine for stability, and flex your feet.
- Smoothly lift the lever arm by extending your legs, squeezing the quads hard before returning to the start.
- Keep a small bend in your knees at the top of the move.
- Rotate your femurs (the thighs — not just your toes!) inward so that your toes point towards one another slightly to better hit and isolate the vastus lateralis.