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Explosive Motion!

The quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles which occupies the front area of the upper thigh. These muscles are composed of rectus femoris, the biggest among the four. The rectus femoris covers almost the rest of the muscles since it covers the front and the sides of the femur. This muscle is very important in our body because it is the strongest of all our muscles. The other three muscles are the vastus lateralis which is located on the outer side of the thigh, the vastus medialis which is located on the inner side of the thigh and the vastus internedius which is located in between the two vastus muscles on the front of the thigh, under the rectus femoris.
All these muscles are attached to the knee joint and the rectus fermoris is also attached to the ilium (the largest bone of the pelvis. Because of its anatomy, quadriceps enables us to walk, run, jump, and squat and even flex the hips. It is beneficial to build strong quadriceps through training since these will give you more explosive motions and it also increases your stamina, not to mention it improves the appearance of your legs, making it strong and lean looking.

Here are some useful exercises in building the quadriceps muscles and some tips on how to do them:

  • Remember to contract your muscles fully with every exercise
  • When you’re exercising the hamstring at the same time, never bounce
  • Aim for resistance but not pain. Don’t use excessive force
  • It is important to warm up before every exercise
  • Choose your weights (if you plan on using weights) properly and employ the right techniques to avoid injury

Forward squat—stand straight with your legs about shoulder width apart. Hold a barbell hoisted upon your shoulders or two dumbbells that are resting on your shoulders. Bend your knees until your upper thighs are parallel to the ground, with your upper body leaning forward about 45 degrees, hold for a few seconds. Return to starting position and repeat about 10-12 times. Another variation of this is the wide squat, where the feet on the starting position is wider than hip distance apart.

Full lunges—with your hands each holding a dumbbell, start at standing position with your palms facing your thighs. Step forward and bend knee to 90 degrees while the other knee should almost touch the ground. Return to starting position and repeat for 10-12 times before switching to the other leg.

Step ups and step downs—this exercise involves using a step up block (or a step in a flight of stairs if you do not have one). For the step up, start by facing the step up block while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. Step up with one leg onto the platform and feel the pressure on your knees while bringing the other leg up. Step backwards down into the ground using the first leg you stepped onto the board with, followed by the other leg. For the step down, your starting position is on top of the step up board, working your way down then back up by a reverse step.