TRAINING THE QUADRICEPS
As you might guess, the “Quads” are made up of four separate muscles. If you want to develop your legs properly, you need to train all four muscles in the quads. Each one needs to be trained using slightly different exercises and slightly different angles.
There are a couple of things you need to know about the muscles making up the quads:
1. The quads are slow-twitch dominant. That simply means the muscle fibers in the quads are designed to take heavy loads for long periods of time. You are usually walking or standing on your legs for many hours each day and they are supporting your entire body weight.
If you want to increase the size and/or strength of the quads you have a high threshold to overcome. You have to train the quads with heavy loads and high reps. You’ll want to go to between 15 and 20 reps on leg exercises
2. The quads are the largest single muscle group in the body by volume. That means seriously working the quads releases more Human Growth Hormone (HGH) and other growth factors than any other muscle group. That means, in turn, if you want to add size to your entire body you have to work the quads effectively. There’s an axiom in the fitness industry that says “If you want to add size to your arms-do more squats”.
The four muscles of the quads (the front of the thigh)
Rectus femoris-( Mid -quad) connects your shin bone to the pelvis through the patella (knee cap). It raises the thigh bone toward your hip and extends the thigh bone at the knee joint.
Vastus lateralis- (Outer quad) connects the thigh bone to the shin bone also through the patella. Extends the leg.
Vastus medialis- (the inner “tear drop” quad) Also extends the leg
Vastus intermedius- is not visible because it lies under the Rectus fermoris. It also extends the leg and adds volume to the front of the thigh.
(The Sartorius shown in the picture above is actually part of the groin (thigh adductors) muscle group and contributes some mass to the front of the thigh but it will be discussed with other muscles of the groin area)
How to train the quads
There are a limited number of exercises needed to train the quads. The quads raise the leg up toward the hip or extend the leg forward or ( to a lesser degree, side to side.)
The key to training the quads is to train all 4 of them effectively. All 4 of the quad muscles can be trained with the same exercises simply by changing the width of your stance and the angle of the feet.
Follow the directions below for all the exercises to hit all 4 sections of the quads.
Mid Quad-Feet slightly less than shoulder width apart. Toes pointed forward ( 1 set)
Outer Quad-Feet close together. Toes pointed forward.( 2 sets)
Inner Quad-Feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Toes pointed outward. ( 2 sets)
The importance of the squat is evidenced by the fact that there are thousands of articles and dozens of books about nothing but the squat. Not everyone can do a “proper” squat. It’s said that a proper squat is hard to describe but easy to recognize when you see one."
There are many different ways to do a squat designed to accommodate those who have difficulty with a “proper squat” but I believe we all had the ability to do a squat but that ability has been lost because of our modern life styles.
But I’ll get off my soap box now and back to business.
In addition to the instructions above, keep your feet at the middle of the plate or lower.
Great exercise for the tear drop quad but not if you have knee joint problems. It puts a lot of stress on the joint if not done correctly.
By the way, with 4 quad muscles, 2 hamstring muscles, 2 calf muscles and 5 muscles in the groin complex you’re going to need a dedicated leg day. (or 2)