Quad Exercises

dumbbellsThe quadriceps are the large muscles at the front of the thighs. Actually a combination of four muscles, the rectus femoris, the vastus intermedius, the vastus medialis, and the vastus lateralis, the quadriceps's act as extensors of the leg. Quad exercises will not only give you bulk or definition in the legs and hips, but are essential for ensuring strength and functionality without pain when moving, especially as one ages.

There are a variety of quad exercises you can do, some more effective than others. Below is a list of the most tried and true:

Squats: The squat is perhaps the most adaptable and beneficial of the many quad exercises. Though there are many varieties, the basic motion remains the same: taking a barbell on the shoulders (or a dumbbell in each hand), bend the knees until the top of the leg is nearly parallel with the floor, forming a 90-degree angle with the lower leg. Then slowly straighten back until the knees are nearly but not quite locked. All the while, keep the back straight and chin up. The squat is uniquely valuable among quad exercises because of its adaptability; by changing the position of your stance you can target different areas of the quadriceps. A should-width stance will work the entire quad, while a narrow stance will focus on the outer thighs and a wide stance will target the inner and front portions. To do squats you need some type of weights, either dumbbell or barbell sets. If you plan on working alone, a power rack is essential for safety without a spotter. It is also a sound idea to purchase a weight lifting belt, as the stress on the lower back during a squat can be considerable.

Leg extensions: A leg extension is done on a leg extension machine or weight benches with a proper leg attachment. To do a leg extension, simply hook the feet behind the extender's pad then slowly extend the leg out straight, pressing the weight upward with the motion. Pause at the top, then gently, smoothly let the weight down again.

Leg presses: The leg press work similar areas as squats, but to really work the quadriceps sometimes you need to do a variety of quad exercises. A leg press is generally done a leg press machine upon which you place a desired amount of weight. Then one either sits or lies down and pressed the weight upward by extending the legs, then lets the weight back down by squatting. While similar to a squat, the lifts are not the same and doing both types gives clear benefits.

Abductor and adductor machines: These machines enable quad workouts that target the side and inner portion of the thigh, and the muscles that open and close the legs, respectively. While the body building value of these quad exercises is disputed – some bodybuilders swear by the exercises, while others don't do them at all – their value to general fitness, flexibility, and motion is not contested. The exercises are done by sitting on the machines and pressing weight either by squeezing the legs together or by thrusting them apart.

Power Racks
Take a look at our power racks for great strength training machines and equipment.

Aerobic Equipment
Great aerobic equipment does not have to be terribly expensive. In fact, as you browse through all of the great aerobic equipment that we have, you will see that it can actually be priced quite reasonably! Sorry, but you can no longer use "money" as your excuse for not having great aerobic equipment in your own home!

Medicine Balls
Remember using medicine balls during your old gym classes? Well, medicine balls are still around today, and as popular as ever. Why? Because using medicine balls is still one of the best ways to strengthen and tone your muscles.