“You are quad dominant.” How many times have you heard a commercial fitness trainer or fitness advisor use this hackneyed phrase to make you feel like your body is a mess and is dependent on its services? In truth, quads should be dominant. There are four quads in each leg, and that surpasses the three hamstrings on the opposite side. When all things are equal, you can count on the quads to be the stronger group. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, it is important to understand that your “dominance” isn’t always to blame when you have a dysfunctional squat, knee pain, or hip pain.
Tight and weak: the quads muscle puzzle
If a muscle doesn’t do its job like the rest of the pile, it’s not just a weak link; Chances are it may also have poor tissue quality, which contributes to tension, immobile joints, and dysfunctional movement patterns. What looks like a problem that requires a fair amount of stretching and flexibility work often turns out to be an urgent need for more strength and activation work.
This can undoubtedly be the case with the quads. Instead of neglecting them or just relegating them to stretching exercises, we should probably train them in the same way as the other links in the chain.
As mentioned earlier, the quads are a group of four muscles whose main job is to straighten the knee (create a “kick pattern”). However, a quad muscle also has a secondary function: flexing the hip. And it’s usually the link that is holding back your winnings.
The lost quad muscle
The rectus femoris is a unique muscle as it affects the action of both the knee and hip joints. Having more stability in deep squats, fighting knee pain or finally finding the key to faster sprints with higher knee drive largely depends on the strength and correct function of this muscle. This muscle can be more difficult to aim for, but these movements will prove humiliating and very necessary.
Sit on the inside of your right foot with a kettlebell (or other object). Put your hands on the floor and spread this working leg apart. Keeping your legs straight and apart, knees fully extended, then engage your hip flexor and quad to lift your foot up and over the kettlebell. Do all the repetitions on one side, then switch.
Focus on 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions per leg.
2. Free leg extensions
The reason why standing with no weight on a leg extension is so much different than sitting on a machine to perform it is because you forced your rectus femoris to activate throughout the set – you will be counting on it that this muscle can flex your hip and hold your leg up. Adding a controlled knee extension to this pattern results in a serious burn right down the middle of the thigh – your target muscle. It doesn’t take much more than body weight to hard feel this movement, but for even more difficulty add an ankle weight or very light band that is anchored around a sturdy object behind you and strapped around your ankle. It’s okay to hold onto a wall or post lightly to keep your balance. Focus on sets of 12-15 repetitions per leg. If you enjoy running this is your first choice. https://www.instagram.com/p/CLCypXqjqZH/
3. Reverse Nordic countries
The Nordic curl is known as the hamstring exercise, but flipping things for reverse Nordics can be a fantastic way to hammer the quads and train the rectus femoris from a stretched position (which is hard to find). To do them, find a mat that you can get into a high kneeling position, with your knees about hip-width apart and your shoelaces planted down. Squeeze your glutes and stay upright (do not lean back or forward from your waist) and let your body sink backward towards the floor in a full line as a unit. Press your feet firmly into the mat to support the quads. At the limit of your discretion, return to your starting position and squeeze your glutes and quadriceps to keep your body tense. If you are the bigger guy or need some help, you can add a band around a post to add help as seen in the video. Alternatively, if the body weight turns out to be too light, you can place a light plate across your chest while you do it. Focus on 3 to 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.
4. Narrow Stance Heels Raised front squats
This roundup wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the front squat as the king’s choice for quads development. They also allow most strength athletes to go deeper than the squat, which means deeper hip and knee flexion and more quadriceps activity. To increase the stakes, wear Olympic lifting shoes or raise your heels a few inches by standing on thick plates. The variation in heel elevation here with an inclined board shows that using this movement for higher reps can prove to be more than a quad burner. The rep range of the front squat depends on the intensity and rest interval – so these can be performed between sets of 5 and 12 reps.
Bonus exercise: squats with 1.5 repetitions
The 1.5 rep method doubles the activity of the quadriceps (and rectus femoris) because the knee must make two deep flexions on each rep. To do this, perform a front squat by slowly lowering yourself to the lower position and only half lifting. Make a distinct break in the middle and hold it for a full second before going back downstairs. Then climb all the way to the top. This is a repetition. Do 4 sets of 3-6 reps. Avoid high repetitions as you will spend a lot of time tensing up with each rep.
Subscribe to YouTube for access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more!