Thigh High: Quad Training 101

Your quadriceps are a thing of beauty. The complete latin name for your quads is musculus quadriceps femoris, which translates literally to mean "four-headed muscle of the femur". And this is what your quads are, in essence: four muscles that run vertically along your femur.

Together, they are one of the strongest, sexiest and most used muscle groups in your body. We use them to stand, sit, walk, jump, run and climb. In other words, if you’re using your legs, you’re likely using your quads. All four muscles serve to straighten your knee, but some have additional functions as well.

Quad Functionality

Each of the muscles, except for rectus femoris, attach to the front of the tibia (the inner bone between knee and ankle) and originate at the top of the femur (the thigh bone). The rectus femoris originates at the pelvis and crosses the hip joint. Because of this positioning, the rectus femoris can also flex the hip, in addition to straightening the knee.

Let’s take a close look at these miraculous muscles.

Meet the Muscles

Rectus femoris: Located in the middle of your thigh, the rectus femoris is used to flex your thigh and hip, and to extend your leg.

Vastus lateralis: Located on the side of your thigh, the vastus lateralis extends your leg and helps your body rise from a squatting position.

Vastus medialis: Located at the front of your thigh, this muscle is used to stabilize your patella (knee cap) and to extend your leg.

Vastus intermedius: Located at the upper, front center of your thigh, the vastus intermedius helps to extend your leg.

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How to Train Your Quads

Because your quads are used in so many daily actions, they are relatively straightforward to train. However, this same straightforward logical can lead to overlooking the crucial foundations of training your quads. That’s why we’re here.  We’re going to walk you through the fundamental tenets of optimal quad training.

  1. Diversity is Key. Squats are super. Lunges are great. Deadlifts are dynamite, and so are step ups. This said, you should never do one at the expense of the other: you should do them all. Your legs move in many different ways, so you need to train them using a variety of movements. 

    Likewise, do a variety of exercise types, including plyometrics, weighted compound movements and stretching. This will create thighs that are not only visually stunning, but also functionally strong.

  2. Go Uni. Unilateral movements exercise one appendage or side of your body at a time. This helps develop stabilizer muscles, and also corrects any imbalances which could result in injury. So, in addition to squats, also do split-squats, which will put most of the work in the supporting leg. 

    DON’T use different weights for different sides. One side is probably going to be stronger than the other, and this more mighty side is likely going to be your dominant side. Training with heavier weight on this side and lighter weight on the other will just exacerbate the imbalance. Instead, train for your weaker side on BOTH sides, and gradually increase weight until it catches up to your dominant side. (Get more insanely valuable intel on unilateral training here.)

  3. Train with Resistance. Your quads are used to carrying around your bodyweight all day, so if you want to really see gains, load up with resistance. Don’t get us wrong: you will see some improvement doing bodyweight exercises, but as you get stronger, this won’t continue to deliver results. 

    You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars furnishing a home gym. A few basic and versatile pieces like weighted vests, Booty Bands and dumbbells can go a long way to keep the good gains coming.


Consider yourself schooled!

Combine different kinds of exercises and training with unilateral movements and resistance and you’re on your way to sculpting some seriously strong, healthy, sexy thighs.

Need some extra motivation? Then join our Two Minute, No Limit Challenge and take your quad training to the next level.

1 comment

Great advice thank you 😊

Terri May 02, 2018

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