10 Best Quadriceps Strengthening Exercises You Can Do Anywhere

quadriceps strengthening exercises

Quadriceps. Every time you run, sit, jump, or stand, it’s these muscles you have to thank.

Yep, your quads are responsible for everything from knee extension to hip flexion and kneecap stability. Research even shows that strong quads can help increase your jump height and overall athletic performance.

All this means one thing. Your quads are a BIG DEAL!

Whether you want to pack some serious size to your quads or strengthen your quads (maybe after a knee injury or surgery), we’ve got you covered with some of the best quadriceps strengthening exercises!

So, are you ready to give your quads some TLC? Let’s go!

Benefits of quadriceps strengthening exercises

Quadriceps strengthening exercises…

1. Help in knee extension

Running, jumping, bending, sitting. It’s your quads that make all of these activities easier as these are the muscles that contract to extend your knee.

quadriceps strengthening exercises

When you do quad strengthening exercises, your quads’ ability to generate force during knee extension increases thus making everyday movements much easier.

2. Reduce knee pain

A study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science shows that quadriceps muscle strengthening exercises also help decrease knee pain and functional disability in patients with osteoarthritis.

3. Improve kneecap stability

Ever heard of runner’s knee? It’s a common condition where you experience pain around or behind your kneecap and happens because of improper alignment of your kneecap as it moves within your femoral groove.

Lucky for us, quadriceps muscle strengthening exercises can help improve your kneecap alignment and thus lower your chances of kneecap-related issues.

4. Lower your risk of osteoarthritis

Quad exercises for strength are also known to reduce your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis and prevent degenerative wear and tear.

quadriceps strengthening exercises

5. Help improve your lifts

Quadriceps strengthening exercises also help improve both your lower body lifts (deadlifts, squats) and upper body lifts (bench press, overhead press).

10 Best quadriceps strengthening exercises

These quad exercises for strength are sure to take your leg day to the next level!

1. Wall sit

This quadriceps strengthening exercise is great for isolating the quads and building muscular endurance in your lower body.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves.

How to perform


  • Stand with your back and shoulders against a wall, ensuring that your feet are shoulder-width apart and about 2 feet away from the wall.
  • Squeeze your core and then slowly slide your back down the wall until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Ensure that your knees are right above your ankles.
  • Look straight ahead and hold this position for 20 to 60 seconds.
  • Slowly push through your feet and extend your knees to return to the standing position.
  • Rest for 20 to 30 seconds and then repeat the whole process 3-5 times.

2. Long arc quads

One of the best quad strengthening exercises, long arc quads can enhance your knee stability and help prevent knee injuries by strengthening the muscles around the joint.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps

How to perform

  • Sit on a table such that the back of your knees are touching the edge of the table and your feet are dangling down.
  • Now slowly lift one leg and straighten it out so that your toes are pointing toward you.
  • Feel the stretch in your quads.
  • Hold this position for 5-6 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back down.
  • Do this 8-10 times on this leg and then switch legs.

3. Lateral lunge

This unilateral quadriceps strengthening exercise is excellent for correcting muscular imbalances and strengthening your ankle joints.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings.

How to perform 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms out in front of you.
  • Now take a large step to the left by pushing your hips back and squat down by bending at your left knee.
  • Squat down as low as you can go and pause for a second.
  • Slowly return your left leg to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.

4. Dumbbell walking lunge

One of the best quadriceps exercises as it enhances balance, posture, hip and core stability, and athletic performance.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, calves, glutes, hamstrings, abs, adductors, shoulders, trapezius.

How to perform

  • Grab one dumbbell in each hand with your arms by your sides.
  • Keeping a straight chest, take a big step forward with your right leg and bend your knees to lower your hips to the ground.
  • Your left knee should be a few inches off the ground.
  • Drive through your right foot and extend the knee as you stand up fully and return to the starting position.
  • Now repeat the movement with the left leg.
  • Perform the desired number of reps (around 10 steps per leg).

5. Resistance Band leg press

Research shows that the leg press is one of the best quadriceps exercises as it helps enhance balance.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps

How to perform

  • Lie flat on the floor and bring your knees toward your stomach.
  • Take a loop resistance band and wrap it around your feet, while holding the other end of the band in your hands.
  • Extend your legs out and push against the band until your legs are straight and the band is taut.
  • Now bring your legs back to the original position.

 Related: 10 Amazing Resistance Band Exercises To Fire Up Your Legs

6. Dumbbell Bulgarian split squat

Science shows that the Bulgarian split squat is one of the top quadriceps exercises at home to pack some size into your quads.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings

How to perform

  • Stand facing away from a bench.
  • Assume a hip-width stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing your thighs. 
  • Place your left foot behind you on the bench while balancing on your right leg. This is the starting position.
  • Maintain an upright torso throughout the movement. 
  • Lower your right knee until your thigh is almost parallel to the ground.
  • Pause for a second and then return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.

Related: 10 Simple & Effective Dumbbell Exercises For Killer Legs - Men & Women

7. Front foot elevated split squat with dumbbell

Feel the burn in your quads with this quadriceps strengthening exercise that isolates one quad at a time!

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, abs, adductors, calves, glutes, hamstrings.

How to perform

  • Grab one dumbbell in each hand and stand in front of an elevated platform.
  • Begin by stepping your left foot onto the platform and step your right foot a short distance away from the platform. Your right heel should be off the ground.
  • Keeping your chest up and your core squeezed, slowly squat down until your left hamstring touches your calves and your right knee is around an inch above the floor. Ensure that your left heel remains flat while you do this.
  • Pause for a second and then slowly return to the starting position.
  • Perform the desired number of reps on this side and then switch sides.

You might like: 10 Lower Back Exercises With Dumbbells For Strength & Mobility

8. Box jump

A plyometric quadriceps exercise that builds explosive power, boosts bone-mineral content, improves vertical jump height, and much more!

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core.

How to perform

  • Stand facing a box of suitable height with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bend your knees slightly and hinge at your hips, maintaining a slight forward lean.
  • Engaging your core, explosively jump off the ground by swinging your arms to land softly on the box with both your feet.
  • Step off the box and then rest for a few seconds before jumping again.
  • Repeat for reps.


As a beginner, use a box of low height and then gradually increase the height of the box as you get comfortable with this exercise.

You might like: 10 Super Effective HIIT Workouts That You Could Do At Home

9. Sissy squat

One of the top quadriceps strengthening exercises, the sissy squat also bulletproofs your knees and challenges your balance and core stability.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, hip flexors, core.

How to perform

  • Place a small block (2-4 inches high) on the floor next to a rail or post you can hold on to.
  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart such that your heels are on the edge of the block and your knees slightly bent. This is the starting position.
  • Hold on to the post with one hand and engage your core and glutes.
  • Now lean back until your body forms a straight line from your neck to your knees.
  • Pause for a second and feel the contraction in your quads before you return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for reps.

10. Cyclist squat

The narrow stance and raised heel combination make this squat a killer quadriceps strengthening exercise to torch your quads! Bonus: Cyclist squats also help enhance your knees’ range of motion.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps

How to perform

  • Place a weight plate or a block around 2-3 inches high on the floor.
  • Stand with your feet very close together such that your heels are resting on the block.
  • Position a barbell high on your back.
  • Squeeze your core and then slowly squat down until your hamstrings touch your calves and your knees are ahead of your toes.
  • Pause for a moment and then slowly return to the standing position while keeping your torso still.
  • Repeat for reps.

Things to keep in mind while doing quadriceps strengthening exercises

1. Be mindful of your knees

Experiencing knee pain during your quadriceps workout routine? That’s your cue to either lower your weights or stop that exercise for the moment.

quadriceps strengthening exercises

2. Pay attention to your form

To reduce your risk of injuries and to ensure that the right muscles are targeted during your quadriceps workout routine, it is important to get your form right.

3. Go through the full range of motion

This could mean lowering down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or fully extending your legs during the contraction phase.

quadriceps strengthening exercises

4. Mind-muscle connection is important

To improve quad muscle activation, visualize your quad muscles working and contracting with every rep of your quadriceps exercises at home.

Tip: Yoga can help with mind-muscle connection!


Leg day will never be the same again! Ramp up your quad game with these amazing quad strengthening exercises and watch your quads blow up!

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