Abs, biceps, triceps, and pecs are usually given importance whenever we work out, especially for men. Apart from those, quads should also be a staple, as strong quads will absorb the load of impact activity, be it jumping, running, or performing those box jumps. Plus, you know what they say, don’t skip leg day. Quads are not specifically located in your legs but your thighs, although you know what I mean. Unless you’re trying to look like Johnny Bravo, just don’t.
Why You Shouldn’t Ditch Them
Lower-body strength is key to creating a strong, stable foundation. You may or may not notice, but you always utilize your lower-body strength to do all sorts of movements, even the upper-body ones like reaching overhead, throwing, and all those other kinds of daily activities. It also helps prevent possible injuries and manage conditions like arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Here are some other benefits, based on Healthline:
- improve the stability of your kneecap
- protect your knee joint from injury
- increase your jump height
- improve your overall athletic ability
- lower your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis
- improve your balance and stability
- make everyday movements such as walking, bending, and sitting easier to do
If these would not convince you to exercise your quads yet, I don’t know what will. If we have successfully encouraged you, then it’s time that we discuss the workouts that you could try. Before you try these, make sure that you warm-up and stretch first at least 5–10 minutes, I’m pretty sure you won’t appreciate very sore muscles the next day if you skip this part.
Perhaps one of the most well-known all-around exercises for strengthening not only your lower body but also your core, engaging your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and spinal erectors. How awesome is that?
Here’s how you do it:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your toes pointed slightly outward. Place your hands either on your hips or clasped together in front of you.
- Engage your core as you slowly push your hips back, as if you’re about to sit on a chair. Keep in mind that your chest should be up and that you’re not hunched or slouching your back.
- Stop once your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause for a moment before you push yourself back up by pushing through your heels and going back to your starting position.
If you want something that would also help with your knee stabilization, then step-ups are for you. You would only need a box, a step, or heck, even a chair. Anything stable enough and could support your wait.
- Get your preferred step tool and place it in front of you.
- Put one foot on your tool and then step up, making sure that your knee is not collapsed inward but instead is aligned with your ankle.
- Focus your weight through your heel as you step up while keeping your back straight. Once you’re at the top, drive your opposite knee upward until it’s about hip level. (imagine having to hit something with your knee)
- Step backward and down, and then do the same thing with your other foot. That’s one rep.
Bulgarian Split Squat
If you want to up your quad game, then try Bulgarian Split Squat. This engages your quads, hamstrings, hips, and core by working on these stabilizing muscles of your knee and hip more than the traditional squats, be it weighted or not. For this, you’ll need a bench, a box, or probably whatever it was that you used in doing step-ups.
- Move two steps away from the bench (or whatever it is that you got), and then turn your back on it, so you’re facing away from the bench.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart before resting the top of one of your feet on the bench behind you. Hop yourself forward so that you are just far enough that you can squat without your knee going past your toes.
- Lower down your body while leaning slightly forward until your front thigh is almost parallel to the floor.
- Do it for your preferred number of reps before switching to your other foot.
Like we always remind everyone, seek professional guidance if you’re performing these workouts for the first time to avoid injuries. Also, if you’ve been struggling to do regular pull-ups, then hey, check out these alternatives.