20 Ways to Make Your Quads Burn
Doesn’t it seem that the upper body seems always to get all the attention while the legs get ignored? Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to have sculpted arms and a buff chest to show off under your shirts, but little did you know that focusing on your legs can actually keep you lean and fire up that metabolism.
Yes that is right, it can stimulate hormones that increase your metabolic rate, which in turn help you gain muscle mass in your upper body as well! Please throw away those sweatpants and start wearing shorts with your soon-to-be buff legs. To top it off you will feel stronger, have more energy and be able to do exercises that target multiple muscles more efficiently.
Okay, so now that you are ready to give those legs a shot, the best place to start is with the quadriceps. They are the powerhouses of the body. I will warn you that training legs is exhausting, difficult, painful and challenging.
The best thing is to either devote one day to legs or split it up between two days with a break in between. When you start to feel that lactic acid burn, do not stop — that means you are working out right! This will lead to highly defined and built thigh muscles.
So What Are the Exercises?
Today I am going to give you 20 exercises that target the quads. Some of these exercises will work other muscles indirectly; so don’t be worried if muscles other than your quads become sore. Multi-tasking is a good thing with exercise.
Lastly, all 20 exercises are not meant to be done in one workout. Pick four to five to start, and aim for 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps unless the exercise is directed differently. With some of the plyometric exercises you are going to aim for time, not numbers.
When you can finish three sets without any problem, that’s when you need to increase weight or progress to a more difficult level.
Here we go:
Make sure to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes on the treadmill or stair master.
- Body Squat – This is just you and your body weight. Make sure that as you squat down your hips come back and you push up through your heels as you stand. Keep a fast pace with these squats and aim for a good range of motion. 1 set =1 minute.
- Lunge – Step forward and drop your back knee straight down toward the floor and then push up, keeping the knee raised. Use a barbell or dumbbells for added weight and intensity.
- Reverse Lunge – Stand on top of a one-foot tall box (higher equals more challenging). With dumbbells or a barbell step back and drop the back knee toward floor. Then bring leg up to starting position without touching the box. Then repeat.
- One-legged Squat – My fave! Stand in front of a bench on one leg. Squat down with one leg until your butt just ever so slightly touches the bench, then stand up. Add dumbbells if you need more of a challenge. Repeat.
- Ice Skaters – Start in one-legged squat position with one leg behind. Jump up and over and land on opposite leg. Repeat. Make sure you really power up and over. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Squat Jump – Squat down and touch the floor with flat back and then fire up. Make sure to get that butt down. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Hack Squat – Position barbell just behind legs. With feet flat on floor, squat down and grasp barbell from behind with overhand grip. Lift bar up to full extension and then drop down slowly. Make sure knees stay aligned and abs are tight to protect the lower back.
- Step Ups – Rest barbell behind head on the shoulders. Stand square in front of a 2 or 3-foot box. Step up on box and straighten to full height. Then step back down. Continue with same leg for one set and then switch.
- Kettlebell Split Snatch – Place a kettle bell between your feet. Snatch the weight up over your head and go into a lunge position under the kettle bell. Make sure your knees give with your weight as you land in lunge position.
- Jump Twist with Two BOSUs – Place two BOSU balls next to each other. Step with each foot in the center of a BOSU. Squat down, jump and turn, making a 180. Now that you are facing the opposite direction, land in squat position. Repeat the other direction. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Walking Lunges – Lunge forward, then push up and lunge down with opposite leg. Do not touch floor in between lunges. Use dumbbells for added intensity.
- Box Jumps – Stand facing box. Squat down and fire up into box. Stand up completely and then step down. Repeat. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Medicine Ball Throw – Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a medicine ball in front. Squat down low. As you stand, throw the ball up towards the ceiling. As you catch it, squat down and repeat. 1 minute = 1 set.
- Back Squat – Turn BOSU so the flat side is facing up. Stand on top. Place hands behind your head or on a barbell for more difficulty. Squat back and then stand up. Repeat.
- Split Lunge Jumps – Stand in a split lunge position with back knee almost touching the floor. Jump up and switch legs landing in lunge position. Repeat. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Split Squat Smith Machine — Line yourself up in split squat position with bar on shoulders. Drop down and push up through the front heel and repeat.
- One Legged Leg Press –– In the leg press machine, line one foot in middle of the board. Press up and back. Do not fully extend knee. Repeat and then switch legs.
- Forward Squat Jumps –– Squat down with feet shoulder width apart. Let arms come forward. Then jump up and as far forward as you can. Land in squat position and repeat right away. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Kettlebell Swings – Stand with feet slightly wider then shoulder width apart. Squat down and let kettle bell go between legs. As you stand up, lift kettlebell up to shoulder height, powering up with your legs and glutes. 1 set = 1 minute.
- Squat Walk – In a deep squat, position shuffle to the side for 30 seconds. Stay in squat position and return the other direction. Repeat.