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Quad Muscle Exercises

When a person talks of building strength in the legs, he's usually speaking of quadriceps development. The quadriceps, often called quads, are a group of four large muscles attached to the front thigh bone. This arrangement of powerful muscles is responsible, primarily, for raising your leg at the hip, and extending the knee. For this reason, the quads essential to virtually any motor function that relies on the leg, namely running, walking climbing and descending.

The dead lift is an excellent compound movement that strengthens the quads, while developing muscles that assist in overall mobility. To perform this exercise, begin by standing in an upright position, with your feet separated to shoulder-width. Place a weighted bar directly on the ground in front of you. Maintaining an erect posture in your back, squat down and grab hold of the bar with an overhand clutch. Stand erect, using your legs to lift. Allow your arms to remain rigid as you hold the weight. Return the weight to the ground by reversing the movement. Just as the floor and weight touch, press up into another repetition. Complete a maximum of ten cycles.

Rear Lunges
Rear lunges will help you develop strength, balance and agility in the legs. While the workload is primarily managed by the quadriceps, this exercise also builds the glutes, hamstrings and calves. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand upright with your feet distanced shoulder-width. Leaving one foot planted, step backward with the other. Extend your stride to twice that of what is normal. Once on the ground, push up with the outstretched leg, returning yourself to the previous position. Repeat the movement, alternating legs with each turn. Continue until each leg has completed ten lunges.

This exercise entails stepping onto a platform while supporting a challenging weight. Therefore, it is essential to have the use of a bench or raised surface that can withstand a considerable amount of pressure. Step-ups mainly target the quadriceps. However the hamstrings (back thigh muscles) share a good deal of the load. Platforms that come above the knee place more strain on the hamstring, while those below the knee mainly work the quads. You do step-ups either by placing a weighted bar behind the neck, while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Simply stand behind the platform, step up with one foot, and then the other. Return to the ground by reversing the movement, leading with the same foot. Complete ten repetitions.

Front Squats
Place a bench behind you to be used for sitting while completing the exercise. Hold a weighted bar across the top of your chest, running just under your chin. You can raise your arms to a ninety degree angle, and cradle the bar in the crook of your inner elbow, if doing so is more comfortable. Allow your stance to slightly exceed shoulder-width. Squat backwards, so that you sit on the bench behind you. Keep your back straight, and your head in line with your spine throughout the movement. The moment your bottom touches the bench, stand back up in an explosive manner. Complete ten repetitions. .

Step Downs
A step down is simply the reverse application of the step up. In this exercise, you begin while standing on the platform. You then step off onto the ground below, then return to the starting position by stepping backwards. This exercise works another dimension of the quadriceps, by applying negative resistance. This forces the muscle to stabilize the weight as you move down, building strength and balance. While performing this movement, it's important to look back occasionally, to assure proper foot placement.