Woman stretching her quads

Strength training: try these 3 quad exercises for stronger thighs

Posted by for Strength

Effective strength training targets the front of your body when building muscle. Up the ante of your next leg day and burn your thighs with these strengthening quad exercises.

We talk a lot about strengthening our glutes and hitting our hamstrings in our lower body workouts. While a strong posterior chain is important, we can’t neglect the front of our bodies or else we risk imbalances and injuries. That’s where quad exercises come in. 

The quadriceps are the front of your thighs, and are crucial for maintaining knee stability and helping you walk, run, jump and stand. A lot of lower body training, such as squats and lunges, will target your quads, and there are also certain adaptations we can make to these exercises to keep the weight in the front of the body. 

At the gym, you can use the leg press and the leg extension machines to target your quads. But if you’re not back at the gym yet, or simply don’t fancy queuing for the equipment, try these three moves for a quad-burning workout. 

Woman doing a front squat
Strength training: your usual squats can be adapted to target your quads.

Front squat

“Racking the barbell or dumbbells at the front will engage your quads more than in a back squat,” explains Emma Obayuvana, fitness trainer from the Strong Women Collective. “Place the weight near your collarbone and, as you lower down, consciously drive the elbows up, keeping your chest and head tall.”

Bulgarian split squat

“Elevate the rear foot on a bench, or if you’re at home use a stool, a chair, a sofa, a bed or whatever you can find,” says Emma. “Then keep your torso upright as you bend the front knee and drive back up through the heel.” 

Work the quad further by holding dumbbells at your side or playing with tempo: “For example, go down for three counts and up for one, or add a pause at the bottom of the movement.”

Lean backs

“This works the core, but I feel it in my quads so much when I go at a slow and controlled tempo,” says Emma. “Come onto your knees and sit upright. Place your arms in front of you as you slowly lean back as far as you can go, then drive yourself up through the legs.”

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Images: Getty

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Chloe Gray

Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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