Quad Strengthening Exercises

The four muscles on the front of the thigh are called the quadriceps or quads. In order to extend or straighten your knee or flex the hip you need to contract your quads. Certain injuries can weaken your quads and make it difficult to control your leg movement. You can try quad strengthening exercises to strengthen this muscle group and accelerate your recovery.

Great Exercises to Strengthen Your Quads

There are a number of quad strengthening exercises to try, but some of these exercises can be quite heavy on your knee. It is therefore a good idea to talk to your doctor before you start doing any of these exercises.

1. Straight Leg Raise

The exercise helps improve flexibility of your leg by making your quadriceps work.

  • Start by lying on your back on the floor.
  • Bend your good knee to a 90-degree angle and your foot flat on the surface. Keep your injured knee straight.
  • Lift your injured knee slowly up to 12 inches off the floor. Contract your front thigh muscles while lifting the leg. Hold it for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position and repeat 10-15 times.

2. Wall Slide

This is one of the quad strengthening exercises you have to try. It helps strengthen your quads and also gives your ligaments that attach to the knee a good stretch.

  • Stand in an upright position and keep your back against the wall with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slowly while keeping your back against the wall. Keep bending your knees until they are at a 45-degree angle. Maintain the pose for 5 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position by slowly moving up with your back against the wall.
  • Repeat 10 times.

3. Quad Clenches

It helps strengthen your quadriceps without putting too much stress on your knees.

  • Lie flat on the floor with your knees and legs straight.
  • Push your knee down while tightening the muscle in front of your thigh. Hold the position for 3 seconds.
  • Repeat 10-20 times every 3-4 hours.

4. Short Arcs

The exercise helps strengthen your quads without moving your knees.

  • Lie flat on your back and keep a rolled up towel under your knee.
  • Clench your thigh muscles while pulling your toes towards you. Lift your foot up until your knee becomes straight.
  • Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and then return to the starting position.
  • Repeat 10-20 times thrice a day.

5. Long Arcs

It is among those quad strengthening exercises that you can do any time to get great results.

  • Sit in a firm chair with your knees bent and feet placed on the floor.
  • Straighten your knee by lifting your foot up. Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and then lower your foot again.
  • Do it thrice a day with 5-20 reps per set.

6. Squats

Squatting is one of the very best ways of strengthening your quads. You can perform them in different ways, including double leg squats, ball squats, and single leg squats. Start with ball squats if you have just started training your quads.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and bend your knees slowly.
  • Stop when your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Ensure that the front part of your knee is not going past your toes.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 reps in the beginning.

7. Lunges

When talking about quad strengthening exercises, we can never miss out on lunges. They are great for your quads and are a relatively easier version of a squat – they are also called split squats.

  • Stand with your knees slightly wider than shoulder width and slowly bend the back knee towards the ground.
  • Keep lowering until your knee is about to touch the floor. Do not let it touch the ground though.
  • Ensure that your back is straight and the front of your knee is not ahead of your toes.
  • Do 2 sets of 10 reps for each leg.

8. Single-Leg Dip

The exercise engages your quadriceps and helps strengthen them.

  • Get two chairs and place them on either side of you. Use them to maintain your balance.
  • Life one leg in front of you and put your weight on your other leg. Bend your knees to lower your body slowly while keeping your weight onto the heel of your supporting leg.
  • Hold the position for 3-5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg as well.

9. Step Ups

Among all quad strengthening exercises, this one puts pressure on the back and front of your thigh as well as your buttocks.

  • Get a stool of at least 6 inches in height. Step up and place your one foot on the stool.
  • Lift your other foot off the ground and let it hang for a while. Hold it for 3-5 seconds.
  • Lower the foot and return to the floor. Now repeat the same process with your other leg but ensure you do not lock the knee of the foot that is on the platform.

10. Quadriceps Stretch

The exercise will put the front of your thigh to use and add strengthen and flexibility as well.

  • Start close to a wall so you can hold it for balance.
  • Lift your left leg first and touch its heel on your buttocks. Hold your ankle with your hand to keep the heel close to your buttocks. Ensure that you do not arch your back and keep your knees together all the time.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds and repeat the same with your other leg. 
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