My client was asking me about specific exercises to target the four quadriceps muscles. It would be helpful if you can point out variations using free weights, Cybex or FreeMotion equipment.
It is important to first ask your client why they may want to “target” the quadriceps muscles. If she is trying to increase quadriceps strength for everyday function, we would recommend single leg stabilization training, slowly progressing to low amplitude deceleration training. Rationale: The quadriceps function concentrically to ASSIST in knee extension along with the calves and gluteal complex. The quadriceps also assist in deceleration of knee flexion every time the foot hits the ground. If for any reason you must isolate the quadriceps, we would recommend looking at the PTN Exercise Library and performing the standing FreeMotion Cable Knee Extension followed by a Single Leg Squat followed by a Horizontal Hop and Stabilize. This sequence will isolate and integrate the entire muscle action spectrum (concentric, isometric and eccentric functions).
Other FreeMotion exercises emphasizing the quadriceps include the following:
- FreeMotion Squat Machine
- FreeMotion Cable Cross Machine
- Squat w/Cables as resistance
- Lunge with cables as resistance
- Single Leg Squat Touchdown using cables as resistance
- Single Leg Romanian Deadlift using cables as resistance
All exercises done with cables can also be performed using dumbbells. Use the exercise descriptions below and apply to cables and/or dumbbells. Have fun and be safe! Only perform what your client CAN control, not what she CAN'T!
Single Leg Squat
- With hands clasped at chest, balance on one leg with knee flexed slightly and aligned over your second and third toe.
- Keep foot straight ahead, slowly squat as if sitting in a chair, moving “floating” leg in front of you. While lowering, extend arms, moving hands away from body and to the outside of the balance leg.
- Lower to the first point of compensation and then push through heel, activate glutes and stand back upright bringing hands back into your chest.
Single Leg Squat Touchdown
- With one hand on hip, balance on the same leg with knee flexed slightly and aligned over the second and third toe.
- Keeping “floating” leg directly beside stance leg, slowly squat down, reaching with free hand toward stabilizing foot. Keep chest up while lowering and maintain optimal alignment of lower extremity.
- Lower to the first point of compensation and then push through heel, activate glutes and stand back upright until hip and knee are extended.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
- With one hand on hip, balance on the same leg with knee flexed 10 to 15 degrees and aligned over your second and third toes.
- Keeping “floating” leg directly beside stance leg, slowly bend over at the waist, maintaining 10 to 15 degrees of knee flexion, reaching with free hand toward stabilizing foot. While lowering maintain optimal alignment of lower extremity.
- Lower to the first point of compensation, then activate glutes and stand back upright until hip is extended.