As we know the word quad means four, and therefore we know that the quadriceps consists of four muscles. They are; the rectus femoris, the vastus lateralis, the vastus medius, and the vastus intermedius. All of these muscle combine to make the mighty quadriceps. Today we will discuss how to effectively train them.
If there is one exercise that gymrats of all lifting levels enjoy, it has to be the squat. From losing weight to gaining mass it is hands down the best known, as well as the most effective exercise. The squat is highly effective at targeting the quads. While squatting may be good for getting results, here at FitnessVolt.com we want you to blast past the competition and into a league all your own.
So what’s better than the squat? Honestly, nothing. The squat recruits many different muscle fibers, and works many different muscles as a multi-joint exercise. However with simple adaptations or adjustments in technique we can actually increase the amount of work the quads have to do. The more work a muscle does, the greater the potential for growth. Simply taking two plates and placing one under each heel will actually shift more focus onto the quadriceps. It also helps with stability, as most have flexibility issues in the ankle. This technique will help to improve form, as well as technique.
Another great variation that is not commonly performed the quarter squat. As the name states, the quarter squat is a squat performed in the bottom quarter of the range of motion, then back down and up for a full rep, and repeat. Although I recommend this variation of the squat to better work the quadriceps, I don’t advocate the exercise for those who are not specifically targeting the quadriceps. You will get better overall results by loading a bar with a weight that you can go through the full range of motion. Furthermore, you will steer clear of muscle imbalances and future injuries as a result.
The last exercise I wanted to mention is the good old leg extension. By making a few adjustments in the direction the toes point we can actually target different muscles in the quadriceps. That’s not saying that we are isolating any of the four muscles, we are simply making one work harder than the others. For example, turning your toes outward will make vastus medialus (Inside quad) work harder. Pointing the toes inward we make the vastus Lateralus (Outside quad) work more.