Favourite Quads Exercises – Building Bigger Legs

March 15, 2020 Mona No comments exist
favourite quads exercises
Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

Who’s ready for a good quad buuuurn? I know I am! Today I’ll take you through my favourite quads exercises to help you build strong legs. The quads are a group of muscles in the front of your thighs. Quads consist of four muscle groups: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius.

Your quads are involved in almost every movement of your legs hence why they are so important in walking, running, squatting and jumping. If you ever had sore quads you know how difficult it can be to just walk, let alone walk up the stairs or do something more intense. With that said, strong quads help you do daily errands with ease. Furthermore, they bring stability to the knee joints.

On the other hand, remember to keep your quadriceps flexible by stretching them regularly. Your quad muscles will become short and tight if you put in all the work on strengthening them and none on lengthening them. In addition, short and tight quads can make your knees and hips suffer because you’ll lose the ability to fully flex your knees/hips.

I think you’re ready for those quads exercises now so let me show you my favourites!

My Favourite Quads Exercises


#1 3x3x3 Bulgarian Split Squat

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Can’t go wrong with a classic Bulgarian split squat but this one is with a little twist. The twist is you’re going to hold three positions for three seconds. This exercise is unilateral meaning it will help you prevent muscle imbalances. It’s also great for improving balance and mobility.

How to perform:

Stand tall facing away from the couch/sofa/bench/chair. Lift one foot and place it on the item behind you, making sure the top of your foot is facing down. Lean your torso slightly forward and begin to lower down. On the way down find three positions which you’ll hold for 3 seconds.

So the first position is just a little lower than starting position; hold it for 3 seconds. Lower a little more and again, hold for 3 seconds. Lastly, squat down until your thigh is parallel to the floor, hold here for 3 seconds. Finally you can push through the heel and lift yourself up. Repeat.

#2 Sumo Squat Hold To Alternating Lunges

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This is a pilates move I originally saw That Pilates Passion do and I love it. It’s such a great quad burn and your inner thighs get some love too. Give it a go and you’ll see what I mean. I bet it will quickly become one of your ‘must-do’ exercises.

How to perform:

Begin by stepping your feet out, wider than your shoulders. Point your toes out, stand tall and look in front of you. Lower down into a squat and hold. From this position turn your left knee in and tap it to the floor. Come back to sumo squat hold. Now turn your right knee in and tap it to the floor. Return to sumo squat hold. Keep alternating your legs for the desired amount of reps.

TIP: Try not to lift your head up throughout this whole exercise, but stay nice and low instead.

#3 Quad Lean Back

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Another favourite quads exercise of mine is the quad lean back. This too is a pilates move and a great way to burn those quads. With that said, the quad lean back is an amazing exercise to strengthen your core muscles. In order to perform it correctly, you need to activate your deep core muscles, pelvic floor and transversus abdominis so it’s a win-win all around.

How to perform:

To do this move you’ll begin in kneeling position with your knees hip-width apart. In case you have sensitive knees place a towel or a mat underneath to protect them. With the tops of your feet facing the floor kneel firm and tall. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core. Put your arms out in front of you (this will help you lean back further).

When you’re ready slowly begin to lean back. Focus on engaging your glutes and your core in order to avoid arching your back. Lean back only as far as you feel comfortable whilst keeping your body in a straight line. Come back forward to kneeling position and repeat. Feel your quads working hard as you move back and forward in a slow and controlled way.

#4 Short Stance Static Lunge

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What I love about lunges is the fact that you can do them in so many ways. With each way you can work different muscles. Because we’re focusing on quads today and building bigger legs I chose the way that works your quads the most. It is a short stance static lunge. Another great unilateral exercise to strengthen your core muscles and improve balance.

How to perform:

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg but make sure the distance between your feet is short. Let’s say half-of-your-foot apart or foot-apart. Shorter stance than normal means your quads will be more affected. Lower down until your back knee is just above the floor. Push through your front heel and bring yourself back up. Keep repeating for desired amount of reps.

Some key points for this exercise:

  • lean your torso slightly forward
  • keep the abs pulled in and your core activated throughout the whole exercise

#5 Pistol Squat

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Excuse my poor form here but I filmed this after a killer leg sessions and my quads were super sore.

Ahhh, the pistol squat! One of the most challenging leg exercises that helps you improve your balance, flexibility and mobility. Since it’s a unilateral exercise it helps even out imbalances between two sides of the body. In case you need help with pistol squats and you want to learn how to gradually increase your strength so you’re able to do them, read more here.

How to perform:

Begin by standing firmly on the ground, keeping your spine straight and gaze out in front. Extend one leg forward and begin descending into a squat whilst keeping your core engaged. Allow your arms to go out in front of you for improved balance. Hold the bottom position briefly then drive through your heel to come back up.

That’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and do let me know in the comments what are your favourite quads exercises. Stay safe,

M, xo

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