The quads play a vital role in squatting, running, Olympic lifts, jumping, and controlling pivots or change of direction in sport. This means that when it comes to knee pain and athletes, it’s important to spend some time building up quad strength.
So, what can I do for quad gains?
First and foremost, squat. Sure you’ll also be getting the glutes, but your quads play a significant role in moving weight during a squat, especially a front squat. Since the barbell sits forward during the front squat, it requires the chest to be more upright. This leads to less hip flexion and more knee flexion. The increased knee flexion means the quads play a bigger role in moving the weight.
Here are a handful of exercises you can try out to target building strength in the quads. Give them a whirl and let us know how it goes!
This can be tough, and for many people a little scary because it means getting your knees over your toes. You can start by standing with your back against a wall and sliding down into a squat with knees over toes. Progress to utilizing a barbell or band as seen here . Make sure to keep a straight line from knees to hips to shoulders.
The reverse Nordic curl not only increases quad strength, but also helps to contract in an elongated position. This can be helpful for individuals who feel like their quads are always tight. Again, focus on keeping the knees, hips, and shoulders in line.
When performing the reverse sled drag, try to keep the trunk upright and sit down into a squat. The reverse sled drag can build muscular endurance but also power because it’s a repetitive concentric (shortening) contraction without an eccentric (lengthening) phase.
Rehab professionals often debate the utility of the leg extension because it is not “functional.” However, if the goal is to increase quad strength, leg extensions will do the trick because it is difficult to compensate with this movement.
By elevating the heels in a squat, it allows for more forward knee movement and thus more knee flexion. The increased flexion motion requires a greater bias towards the quads.
Ready to get to work on your own quad gains? Reach out and let us know how we can help you!