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Fitness - FITNESS GUIDANCE : Quadriceps and Squat workout
Quadriceps and Squat workout(18 photos)

Definition of the Quadriceps Muscles

Definition: 

The quadriceps muscles consist of four large muscles at the front of the thigh: the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medialis. The "quads" are powerful muscles involved in movement and propulsion. Exercises that improve the quadriceps muscles are leg presses, squats and leg extensions.

Pronunciation: kwad-ri-seps

Also Known As: quads, front thigh muscles, vastus muscles, rectus femoris muscle

Examples: The quadriceps muscles are usually well-developed in professional cyclists.

Anatomy of the Quadriceps Muscles

The rectus femoris has its origin on the iliac spine of the hip bone. The other quadriceps muscles have their origins on the femur. The vastus lateralis originates on the lateral surface of the femur, the vastus intermedius on the anterior surface, and the vastus medialis on the medial surface. All four quads insert on the patella (the kneecap) via the quadriceps tendon and on the tibial tuberosity via the patella ligament. The rectus femoris partially covers the other three quadriceps. The femoral nerve innervates the quads and they get their blood supply via the lateral femoral circumflex artery.

What Do the Quadriceps Muscles Do?

The quadriceps all work to extend (straighten) the knee. The rectus femoris also flexes the hip, The vastus medialis adducts the thigh and also extends and externally rotates the thigh and stabilizes the kneecap.

You use the quads whenever you straighten a bent knee. In everyday life, they help you get up from a chair, walk, climb stairs and squat. They are used in walking and running at the onset of a stride and get used significantly when going downhill. They get a real workout with cycling, and cyclists have well-developed quads.

Barbell Squat

Updated March 31, 2015.

Execution:

  • Hold the barbell on your upper back and stand with your body upright, positioning your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Flex your hips and knees to lower your torso until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Extend your hips and knees to raise your body to the upright position.

Primary Movers (Quadriceps):

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius

Secondary Movers:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus Posterior Head

2     Dumbbell Forward Lunge

Execution:

  • Stand with your body upright holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lunge your left leg forward and flex your hips until your left thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Lunge your left leg back and extend your hips until your body is upright.

Primary Movers:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius

Secondary Movers:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus Posterior Head

3 o Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

Execution:

  • Stand with your body upright grasping a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Lunge your right leg back and flex your hips until your left thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Lunge your right leg forward and extend your hips until your body is upright.

Primary Movers:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius

Secondary Movers:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus Posterior Head

4 o Incline Machine Leg Press

Execution:

  • Sit on the machine seat and then lay your back on the incline seat.
  • Place your feet up on the platform at a distance a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Flex your hips and knees to lower the platform until your thighs are parallel to the platform.
  • Extend your hips and knees to raise the platform.

Primary Movers:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius

Secondary Movers:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus Posterior Head

Note:

  • The rectus femoris is the least involved quadriceps muscle, as it undergoes active insufficiency due to the flexed-hip position.

5 o Seated Machine Leg Extension

Execution:

  • Sit on the machine seat, grasping the handles for support, and position your feet under the roll pads.
  • Extend your knees to bring the roll pads upward until your legs are parallel to the floor.
  • Flex your knees to bring the roll pads downward.

Primary Movers:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius

Note:

  • The rectus femoris is the least involved quadriceps muscle, as it undergoes active insufficiency due to the flexed-hip position.

6 o  Barbell Deadlift

Barbell weights - Leo Mason/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Leo Mason/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Execution:

  • Stand with your knees slightly bend, position your feet under the barbell and hold the bar with your hands in an overhand grip.
  • Extend your knees and hips to move the barbell upwards until you are standing upright.
  • Flex your hips and knees to move the barbell downwards to the ground.

Primary Movers:

  • Quadriceps
  • Iliocastalis
  • Longissimus
  • Spinalis

Secondary Movers:

  • Gluteus Maximus
  • Adductor Magnus
  • Soleus

7 o  Lying Leg Raise (Rectus Femoris)

Execution:

  • Lie face-up on the floor with your knees extended and place your arms by your sides.
  • Flex your hips, raising your legs off the floor until they are perpendicular to the floor.
  • Extend your hips, lowering your legs to the floor.

Primary Movers:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Sartorius
  • Iliacus
  • Psoas
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae

Secondary Movers:

  • Pectineus
  • Adductor Longus
  • Adductor Brevis

Note:

The straight-leg position allows for a pre-stretch of the rectus femoris due to passive insufficiency.

8 o   Standing Quadriceps Stretch

Execution:

  • Stand with your body upright and place your left hand on the wall for support.
  • Flex your right leg and hold the bottom of your right shin bone with your right hand.
  • Pull your right foot towards your buttocks.

Muscles Stretched:

  • Rectus Femoris
  • Vastus Medialis
  • Vastus Lateralis
  • Vastus Intermedius
  • Iliacus
  • Psoas
  • Tensor Fasciae Latae
  • Sartorius
  • Pectineus
  • Gracilis

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