5 Best At-Home Quad Exercises

by | May 5, 2020 | Last updated Feb 15, 2022

Author: Brittany Winfrey

So, you want to lose weight and get in shape, but you don’t have access to a gym? Not a problem! There are many different ways you can move that body with just your body weight and living room space. Along with a good nutrition plan, one of the best ways to reach your goals at home is by strength training with just your body weight. Adding these workouts to your health journey will increase calorie burn throughout the day, and help you tone muscles, so you’ll look great when the weight comes off. In this article, we will go over some exercises that target the big meaty muscles on the front of our legs: the quadriceps. 

1. Squat

The Squat is an excellent quadricep strengthening exercise because it’s what we call a “compound movement.”This means it strengthens many muscle groups in one movement, including the hamstrings, glutes, and core.  Squats are also a natural movement and practicing them can help us move better in our day-to-day lives.  

To perform a squat:

  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Shift your weight to your heels and hinge from your hips to start the motion. Continue to bend your knees to send your rear down as if you are sitting in a chair. 
  • As you stand back up, exhale and squeeze your glutes and quads.
  • Perform 3 rounds of 15 reps, resting 30 seconds in between each round. If you are more advanced, add weight.

* Form note: Keep your weight in the heels and your chest up proud. You should be able to wiggle your toes and see the wall in front of you.

2. Lunge pulse

This is a great stationary exercise that requires little movement but especially targets the quadriceps. You’ll quickly feel the burn on this one!

To perform a lunge:

  • From a standing position, step forward like a regular lunge.
  • Lunge down partially, about a quarter of the way down as you would for a normal lunge. This is the starting position.
  • Begin exercise by pulsing up and down, performing the lunge by going up and down about 3 inches or so. Be sure you are always in the lunge position and never standing up during the exercise.
  • This exercise is a great way to keep a constant contraction in the quads, but it also has the added bonus of working the glutes.
  • Perform 20-30 pulses on each leg for 3 rounds each. 

* Form note: Make sure you’re not leaning forward in the lunge. Your knee should track over the ankle and your shoulder should track over the hips.

3. Bear crawl

Bear Crawls are an excellent exercise to target the quads in a fun way.  Since it’s also using your core and upper body, you’ll quickly notice your heart rate increasing, which is an excellent indicator that calories are quickly being burned! 

  • Crouch down with your hands in front of you shoulder width apart and feet behind you, with your hips up in the air and eyes forward. 
  • Crawl forward starting with your right hand and your left foot following with the left hand and the right foot. Take four steps or more depending on space, then turn around and bear walk back.
  • Perform this exercise for 45 seconds, rest 30 seconds, and repeat for 2 more rounds.

* Form note: Make sure to keep your hips down and in line with your shoulders throughout the entire exercise.

4. Step-up

Step-ups are a great quadricep strengthening exercise that also have the added benefit of increasing your heart rate and giving you good sweat.

  • Before you start, find a step, chair, or bench that allows your knee bends to a 90-degree angle  when you place your foot on it. A dining room chair, bench or ottoman are all great options. 
  • To start, place your entire right foot onto the bench or chair. Press through your right heel as you step onto the bench, bringing your left foot to meet your right so you are standing on the bench.
  • Make sure to stand up all the way at the top and to lower down slowly.
  • Complete 15 steps leading with the right foot, then repeat another 15 steps leading with your left foot. Do three sets.

* Form note: Keep your chest up and weight on the elevated foot as you step up.

5. Wall sit

The wall sit is an excellent quadricep strengthening exercise, especially for those that have knee pain. This move strengthens the quadriceps, glutes, and many of the other small muscle groups surrounding the knee joints, which in turn helps to keep them healthy over time. 

  • Sit with your back against a wall and your legs at a 45 to 90 degree level. The lower you sit, the more difficult the move—and the more pressure you might feel in your knees. (Just be sure that at your lowest point, your thighs should be parallel with the floor, not lower.) 
  • Your body weight should be shifted to your heels, not on your toes. Your heels should be on the ground.
  • If you are more advanced, you can hold weights in your lap or lift one foot off the ground to intensify the exercise.
  • Hold the wall sit for 45 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds, and repeat for 2 more rounds.

These five quadricep movements are a great addition to your workout plan. Play around with the reps, length and intensity and be sure to work on other muscle groups throughout the week as well. Check out this article for a full body circuit.  And, if you’re looking for more ways to stay motivated and need some extra accountability with your workouts, sign up for your 14-day trial today!