Have you ever dreamed of long and lean legs like Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood? Now is your chance to get perfectly toned legs. The legs are comprised of several major muscle groups with the primary two being the hamstrings and the quadriceps.
The quadriceps muscle is a group of four smaller muscles that make up the muscle on the front of your thigh. The quadriceps, or commonly called the “quads,” are a powerful extensor of the knee. They are essential for walking, running, jumping, squatting, and walking up the stairs. If you want strong, toned legs, you need to make quadricep workouts part of your routine.
Perfect Female Quadriceps: Exercise Motivation and Inspiration
Women tend to have stronger quads than hamstrings and glutes. Most of the exercises we do at the gym are ultimately quads exercises. Plus, your quads are used in everyday life from walking up the stairs at work to sitting at the dinner table to walking to the corner coffee shop.
Having strong quads is a good thing. Ideally, your hamstrings-to-quadriceps strength ratio should be 2:3. So good ahead and do that quads workout! Just remember, though, if your quadriceps become too strong, you risk injuring your hamstrings and knees. So, don’t forget the hamstring-specific exercises, too. Balance is key.
Best Workouts for Women: Good Routines, Great Results
You use your quads every day. From getting out of bed every morning to sitting down at your desk to walking to the gym for your nightly yoga class. But, just using your quads for daily movement isn’t enough if you want toned legs. It’s time to break out the strength training exercises for quads.
How to Get the Perfect Quadriceps
Beautifully toned quadriceps shouldn’t be your primary purpose of working your quads. Strong legs not only help prevent injury, but they make everyday activities like walking upstairs, sitting down, and chasing your little ones around the house before bed much easier.
Many quadriceps exercises can be done anywhere. All you need is your bodyweight. When you’re ready for a challenge, just add weight. If your main goal at the moment is to lose fat, aim to do four to five sets of 12 to 15 reps of each of the quads exercises below with 30 seconds rest between each set. If you’re looking to build muscle and strength, aim to do three to four sets of eight to ten reps of each of the quadriceps exercises with about 60 seconds rest between each set.
Exercises to Get Beautiful, Toned Quadriceps
Every quads workout should begin with the goblet squat to improve mobility and get those muscles ready for action. The squat is a classic multi-joint exercise that targets almost all the big muscle groups in your body, including the quads. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands against your chest. Gently sit back and down like you’re about to sit in a chair. Keep your head and chest up as you lower down. Lower as far as you can or until your thighs are parallel to the floor with your knees over your ankles. Push through your heels and return to the standing position.
Dumbbell Reverse Lunge
The lunge is one of the best strengthening exercises for quads and glutes. Start in a standing position with your arms by your side holding a dumbbell in each hand. Look forward, keep your chest up, and your feet shoulder-width apart. With your left leg, take a step back while allowing your hips and knees to lower your body towards the floor. Descend until your left knee almost touches the floor. Pause for a second before returning to the start position. Either perform the required reps on the left leg before switching to the right or alternate legs.
Trainer Tip: During the lunge movement, make sure your front knee does not go over your toes. Additionally, always look forward. Looking forward helps keep your chest up.
Dumbbell step-ups are one of the great quadriceps exercises to work your thighs and get your heart working. You can do step-ups on a flat bench, a box, or even your stairs. Stand with your hands at your side holding a dumbbell in each hand behind a bench. Place your left foot on the bench and step up on the bench by extending the hip and knee of your left leg. Use the weight of your heel to lift your right side up and onto the bench. Step down with the right leg first. Return to the starting position.
Trainer Tip: If you’re bad at remembering which leg you’re on, complete the number of reps on your left leg before switching to the right.
You use your quadriceps throughout your daily life but adding exercises for quads into your strength training routine will make them that much stronger and shapely. Strong, toned quads not only help you with your everyday life, but also look great in a mini skirt or skinny jeans.
Don’t want to take our word for it? Take a look at these women who never skip their quadricep workouts — we’d say it pays off!
1. Carrie Underwood
Carrie has her own activewear line called Calia by Carrie at Dick’s Sporting Goods stores nationwide.
2. Taylor Swift
Taylor has reportedly insured her legs for a cool $3 million.
Beyonce needs strong quads to dance around the stage all night long.
4. Kendall Jenner
While her sisters are known for their behinds, Kendall is known for her long legs.
5. Tyra Banks
Tyra was rejected by many top designers because of her curves, but she rocks them now proudly.
6. Serena Williams
Serena needs strong quads to sprint around the tennis court all day.
7. Hailey Baldwin
Hailey rocks her long legs and beautiful quads on and off the runway.
8. Anja Rubik
Supermodel Anja Rubik regularly walks the runway for YSL.
Even in this overly large red coast, Rihanna’s legs steal the show.
10. Chrissy Teigen
While high heels make legs look amazing, heels aren’t great for your feet or legs.
11. Jennifer Hudson
Just look at those quads!
12. Miley Cyrus
Miley has great legs thanks to her dedication to yoga.
13. Jasmine Tookes
This supermodel can definitely reach things on the top shelf.
14. Joan Benoit Samuelson
Mainer, Joan Benoit Samuelson, was the first woman to win the Olympic gold medal in the marathon. Even at almost 60, she’s still winning races.
15. Gal Gadot
Wonder Woman really has legs of a superhero!
16. Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa stays fit through ballet, yoga, and SoulCycle.
17. Olivia Palermo
Women naturally have stronger quads than hamstrings, that’s why it’s important to work your hamstrings, too.
18. Kristin Cavallari
This former Laguna Beach star and NYT Bestseller Author has preformed on Dancing with the Stars and she loves circuit style training.
19. Blake Lively
When you have great legs, you know you need to show them off.
20. Stacy Keibler
When someone nicknames your legs as “Weapons of Mass Seducation,” you know you have to make the list.
21. Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum has a ridiculously packed schedule, but she finds time to stay fit with the help of kids who love to ride bikes and jump on the trampoline.
22. Nina Dobrev
Nina Dobrev recently graced the cover of Men’s Health Magazine.
23. Winnie Harlow
Winnie Harlow is not shy about showing off her skin condition vitiligo and amazing legs.
24. Lea Michele
Glee star, Lea Michele, loves to stay fit with yoga and dance.
25. Priscila Freitas
Fitness model Priscila Freitas isn’t afraid to work her quads.
26. Vivi Winkler
It’s amazing what a year of lifting weights can do to your body!
27. Flavia Bonansea
Ladies, don’t skip leg day at the gym!
28. Britney Spears
Britney reminds us about the importance of stretching… or maybe she’s just showing off.
29. Hilary Swank
Hilary’s Instagram is filled with videos of her killing it at the gym.
30. Gisele Bundchen
Because supermodels have to workout, too.