Quad compound exercises are performed by the quadricep muscle in your leg. This is located above your knee – hence the term “quads”. The reason why they are referred to as “compound” exercises is that they also involve at least one other muscle group in your lower body to stabilize. The most common compound quad exercises include squats, lunges and, step-ups.
Here are 5 quad compound exercises you should add to your routine.
1. Barbell Front Squats
Barbell front squats are one of the most effective squatting variations for anyone looking to build muscle and strength. They hit your quads, glutes, hamstrings, core and more – really blasting your body into growth mode allowing you to build lean muscle mass quicker.
To do barbell front squats:
- Place a barbell in the front rack position on your shoulders.
- Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Unrack the bar and take a step back.
- Squat down by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Keep your back straight and don’t let your knees cave in.
- Drive up out of the squat by pushing through your heels and extending your hips.
The barbell front squat is a distinctive variation of the classic front squat. It’s a great compound exercise to increase leg strength and core stability, or you could use the barbell front squat for crossFit workouts if you wanted.
2. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats
Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats (a form of lunge) are a great exercise for improving your lower body strength and mobility. They effectively target the glut medius, and quadriceps. In addition, this exercise also recruits muscles in the lower back, making it a great candidate for total body strength development.
Here is how you do a Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat:
- Start by holding a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length by your sides, and stand with your back to a bench or sturdy chair.
- Step your left foot back and place it on the bench.
- Keeping your back straight, slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees.
- Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position.
- Repeat with your right leg.
The Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat is an effective exercise that challenges your core, legs, and glutes. It’s easy to alternate legs when the move gets difficult, which takes personal preference out of the equation for most trainers. Dumbbell Bulgarian split squats are an extremely effective exercise for developing both the quads and glutes. They also recruit a large amount of stabilizing muscles.
3. Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are a great exercise for your thighs, lower body and abs. They will also tone your hamstrings, shoulders and calves. Lunges are a simple but effective move that you can of course do anywhere, outside on the street or track, inside in the hallway or a room.
Here is how you do walking lunges:
- Start by standing tall with your feet hip-width apart and your hands by your sides.
- Take a big step forward with your left foot and slowly lower your body down until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees.
- Your back knee should almost touch the floor, but don’t let it touch the ground.
- Push yourself back to the starting position and then repeat the same move with your right foot.
Walking lunges are a great way to add a bit of variety to your workout. In addition to getting more blood pumping to your quads and butt, they work your hamstrings, calves, and glutes. But that’s not all! Walking lunges also develop balance and coordination, which may explain why runners, in particular, have been seen doing them—it’s a low-impact exercise.
4. Leg Press
The leg press is one of the best exercises you can do for building strong, stable quads and powerful legs. But getting an effective workout in this piece of equipment isn’t always easy if you’re not well acquainted with the leg press machine.
To do leg press correctly:
- Place your feet flat on the foot plate, shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing slightly out.
- Lean back against the bench and press your feet firmly into the foot plate.
- Keeping your back pressed firmly against the bench, slowly press the weight forward with your feet until your legs are fully extended.
- Pause for a moment, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
The Leg Press is an exercise done on a machine that allows you to work on developing your quadriceps. It works by using your body weight, as well as load that’s placed onto a platform in front of you, to create resistance that pushes against the machine and then readjusts once you are free again. Pushing upwards with your legs will push against the weight until you are not able to push any longer which loads the muscles which work to suspend your legs.
5. Dumbbell Step Ups
Dumbbell step ups are a great leg workout for people of all fitness levels. Some may call this exercise dumbbell squats with an elevated platform. However you choose to call them, they are a great way to measure your strength and increase your overall leg muscular endurance.
How to do a dumbbell step ups:
- Place one foot on top of a raised platform or bench that is about knee height.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs.
- Bend your knees and hips and lower your body toward the floor.
- Keep your back straight, your core engaged, and your knee over your ankle as you lift your body back to the start position.
- Repeat this movement for the desired number of repetitions.
- Switch legs
Dumbbell step ups are a great exercise for developing your quadriceps and explosive power. The movement can be performed with small dumbbells or heavier weights for a more challenging workout. This exercise is simple to learn and only requires a stable object that is four to five feet in height. The next time you are in the gym give dumbbell step ups a try, they will have your legs screaming before you know it!
Quad compound exercises, when properly executed, are a powerful way to target all four heads of the quadriceps, which makes them ideal for sports training. But there is a lot more to these exercises than meets the eye, and if you don’t execute them with proper form and technique, there’s a greater risk of injury. Having said that, if you’re hoping to build bigger and stronger quads, then compound quad exercises may just be your ticket