Maximize Quadriceps Growth

 

The Quadriceps are made up of four main muscles: The Rectus Femoris, Vastus Intermedius, Vastus Lateralis, and Vastus Medialis. Each help perform knee extension but vary slightly in function.
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Rectus Femoris: This is the beefiest part of the Quads that provides much of the thickness in the middle part of your thigh. Exercises like the hack squat, front squat, lunges, and leg extensions with the toes pointed out will help maximize Rectus Femoris activation.
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Vastus Intermedius: This muscle sits right beneath the Rectus Femoris which makes it not really visible from outside your body. It could help push out the Rectus Femoris but it won’t really be seen itself. Therefore, exercises that work the Rectus Femoris should work the Vastus Intermedius well also.
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Vastus Lateralis: The outer part of your thigh is the Vastus Lateralis and is often referred to as the “Quad sweep”. Movements like the front squat, leg extension with the toes pointed in, and the step up work this muscle very well.
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Vastus Medialis: The inner part of your thigh, aka the “teardrop” is the Vastus Medialis. This muscle is activated at high levels in the front squat, goblet squat, and leg press.
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Every movement where the leg has to extend will work all the muscles making up the Quadriceps, some just show more activation in different parts of the muscle group.
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While the leg extension shows the highest levels of EMG activation and should be incorporated in your leg routine if your looking to build your Quads, other movements like the front squat should be staples. Movements like the front squat, back squat, and leg press expose the Quads to heavy loads with decent levels of activation which is great for growth. Supplement with exercises like step-ups and leg extension but focus on building strength in the other compound movements.


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