The quadriceps are arguably the most important muscle group in your body. They're responsible for straightening your knee, controlling it, and providing stability while standing. If you want to improve your athletic performance, prevent injuries and increase strength, you must train this muscle group properly and often.
In this article, we'll cover some of the best quad exercises that will help build bigger thighs with greater strength so you can reach any goal.
Dumbbell Lunge and 5 Other Quad Exercises For Bigger And Stronger Legs
1) Barbell Back Squat
The barbell back squat is an excellent exercise for strengthening your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. This movement is also great at building strength in your lower back, core muscles, and shoulders.
Here's how to do it:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold the barbell across your upper back with an overhand grip.
- Keeping your core engaged, push your hips back as if sitting in a chair. Keep the knees behind the toes throughout this movement—if they start to come forward, you've gone too far down!
- As you drop down into a squatting position, think about pushing through heels rather than up onto your toes. Descend until thighs are parallel to the floor (or slightly lower if this causes discomfort in the knees), then return to a standing position by pushing through heels again without allowing hips to rise first.
- Press through heels until fully erect before repeating for desired reps or time period.
2) Leg Press
The leg press is a great exercise to add to your quad-building routine. It's effective at building size and strength but also allows you to focus on each muscle group independently.
To do this exercise correctly, lie with your feet shoulder-width apart, and toes pointed straight ahead. Push through your heels as if you're trying to push away from the machine with each rep, not using any momentum or arch in your back. Keep your knees in line with your toes at all times—this will help ensure proper form throughout the set.
3) Hack Squat
Hack squats are a great quadriceps exercise that you can do in between sets of squats and deadlifts. They're good for building muscle but are not as effective as the other two exercises mentioned above.
If you don't have access to a gym or kettlebells at home, hack squats will be your best bet for increasing your leg strength without any equipment.
4) Dumbbell Lunge
The dumbbell lunge is a great leg exercise for beginners and advanced trainers alike. It's also a good exercise for those who struggle to maintain balance with barbell exercises like squats or deadlifts, as it provides greater support from the ground up.
This workout strengthens your quads, hamstrings, and glutes—the muscles that power your lower body movements like sprinting and jumping. These muscles should be trained separately from muscle groups in your upper body - this will help you see faster results.
5) Barbell Front Squat
The barbell front squat is one of the most effective quad workouts for building strong and powerful legs. The following steps will walk you through the proper way to perform this exercise:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and toes slightly turned out. Keep your back straight, chest up, eyes forward, and elbows pointing down towards the floor throughout the movement. Hold the barbell in front of you and rest it on your collarbone.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground while maintaining good posture. As you descend into position, push through your heels rather than allowing yourself to fall forward onto your toes or, even worse yet, bend at the knees too early for them to come below parallel (this can stress knee ligaments).
6) Pistol Squat
The pistol squat is the most difficult of all quad-dominant movements, but it's also one of the most effective. To do a pistol squat, you'll need an open space and a wall for support.
Here's how to do it:
- Start by standing with your back against the wall and both feet firmly planted on the floor about 18 inches away from it.
- Slowly lift one leg up in front of you as high as possible without losing balance (as shown above). Hold for several seconds before slowly lowering your foot back down to touch your other foot.
- Repeat five times on each side before switching over to do 10 regular squats with good form (with feet shoulder-width apart and back straight).
There you have it, our top six quad exercises for bigger and stronger legs. If you're looking for a workout to help you gain lean muscle mass in your upper body and strengthen your lower body, we recommend using this list as a guide. Now go out there and lift something heavy!
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