Anatomy for Women: Meet Your Quadriceps + How to Build Them

So last week, I introduced to you a new series where I’m teaching you all about your muscles. And more specifically how they work!

We started off with the abs – and I got a ton of great feedback on that article.

Be sure to click here to check it out.

Today, I want to breakdown your legs and give you a little lesson about…

TA-DA! Your quads!

How to Build Your Quads: Meet The 4 Muscles of Your Thighs

How to build your quads

Your quads are made up of 4 specific muscles. 3 of the muscles are superficial (these are the ones you can see when you flex), and 1 is deep (meaning it lies beneath the others).

Images courtesy Feets of Clay

Rectus Femoris

How to build your quads

The rectus femoris is the top most of the 4 muscles.

This is the the only quad muscle that has two heads, and it also crosses 2 joints. It originates from the top at the hip, and it inserts right beneath the knee cap (on the tibia).

As far as motion is concerned, it’s going to be responsible for flexing the hip, and secondarily it extends the knee.

Vastus Intermedius

The vastus intermedius sits just below the rectus femoris. And it essentially does a similar job as it.

The difference between the two is that this muscle doesn’t originate at the hip. Instead, it originates along the femur, and inserts on the tibia as well.

So it’s responsible for extending (straightening) the knee.

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Vastus Lateralis

The vastus lateralis is the largest of the 4. It begins on the outer half of the thigh, and attaches right on the tibia.

It extends the knee, and forms a beautifully developed outer quad sweep when you build that muscle.

Vastus Medialis

The vastus medialis (also known as the VMO – “O” stands for oblique) runs along the inside of your thigh, and develops into that teardrop contour above your knee when defined.

How to Build Your Quads: The Best Ways to Work, Strengthen and Develop Them

When looking to develop your quads, you want to think about hitting exercises that specifically extends the knee.

And when you think about it, that’s a lot of options. For today’s post, let me share with you a few favorites that you can add to your mix and what to think about as you complete these moves.

Front Squats

Front Squats are a favorite exercise of mine, when it comes to building the quads.

While going up and down through the motion, think about keeping your hips back and your chest up.

Find the grip that works for you. There are several that you can choose from.

(Images courtesy

Clean Grip

Cross Body Grip

Strap Grip

Narrow Stance Leg Press

I love this variation on the leg press because it can help you to really bring more focus to the outer quad sweep and VMO.

As you are moving up and down through this motion, think about keeping your toes pointed straight, feet aligned and close together.

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While extending the legs, feel like you are very slightly pushing through the outer edge of the feet, and targeting the outer quads as you straighten.

At the top of the motion, flex the VMO slightly to engage that muscle – and encourage it to grow.

Bulgarian Squat

The final exercise I suggest for you to try is a Bulgarian Squat.

With your weight balancing on one leg, this is a great exercise that fires up the quads through the entire range of motion.

Keep your weight on the ball of the foot as you descend down and up, chest up right, and firing the quads at the top of the motion.

I hope that this enlightens you a little bit, and gives you a greater perspective about how the quads are structured.

And even more, how you can best hit them in the gym for maximum growth.

What are your thoughts?

Have you tried any of these? What happens to be YOUR favorite moves for targeting the quads?

Post your comments below, let’s start a conversation!





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