Oh My Quad!: Workouts, Stretches and More

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man using leg extension machine at gym

Where is the Quad?

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The quadriceps femoris, better known as the quad, is a large muscle group located on the front of the thigh. It consists of four separate parts: rectus femoris, vastus lateralis (outer side of leg), vastus medialis (inner side of leg), and vastus intermedius. All four of these muscles insert into the tibia via the patella, the quadriceps’ tendon.

Each muscle of the quads is part of the powerful extension process of the knee joint. They play important roles in walking, running, jumping, squatting, etc.


The quadriceps are the largest and generally the most powerful muscle group in the body. This is true because they are responsible for moving and supporting the largest bone in the body, the Femur.

For this reason, keeping the quadriceps healthy and strong is important not only to all athletes but also to people of all activity levels.

Running is great exercise on the quads. At the same time, the stronger your quads, the better runner you will be. Although the workload of running is 75% on the hamstrings, the quads play an essential role by providing stability.

To build muscle in the quadriceps, these are gym workouts that will guarantee an increase in muscle mass in no time:

Leg Extension

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Dumbbell Lunge

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Barbell Squat

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All physical activity and any kinds of workout should always start with an effective warm-up, or something to get your heart pumping. This is usually done by any kind of cardio including jogging, fast paced walking, burpees, jumping rope, etc.

Before working out the quads, make sure to stretch. Stretching loosens up the muscle and is a good preventative measure to avoid straining or pulling a muscle. Follow these simple quad stretches to ensure a safe workout:

On Your Side Quad Stretch

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Iron Crosses

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Rear Leg Raise

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Image via Livestrong

Quadriceps Strain
Sometimes known as a thigh strain, this is a tear in one of the quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh. It can range from mild discomfort to a complete tear of most of the muscle resulting in severe pain and even the inability to walk.

You will usually know you’re experiencing this strain due to a sudden sharp thigh pain. Swelling and bruising also typically develop.

Quadriceps Contusion
There are two types of these contusions.
1. An intramuscular contusion is when a muscle tears within the sheath (lining) that surrounds it.
2. An intermuscular contusion is when the muscle and the sheath surrounding it both tear.

These injuries are mostly a cause of direct contact, such as a collision while playing a sport.

Quadriceps Tendon Tear
The quadriceps tendon works with the muscles in the front of your thigh to straighten your leg. These tears usually happen among middle-aged people. There are two types:
1. Partial tears – The soft tissue is not completely disrupted. Think of a rope that stretches so far that some of the fibers are torn but the rope is still in one piece.
2. Complete tears – The soft tissue is split into two pieces.