Free weights can be a versatile and effective choice for strength training both your upper and lower body. When targeting the muscles of your front thigh known as the quadriceps, free weights can be used during basic exercises such as squats and lunges for added intensity. Choose a weight that is manageable, yet challenging by the end of eight to 15 reps for one to two sets. Allow a day of rest between sessions.
Adding free weights to your basic squat can be an effective way to increase strength in your quads. Starting with a free weight in each hand, your palms facing in and feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees and send your hips back and down. Throughout the movement, keep your knees forward, your heels down and back straight. Bring the hips back to the starting position to complete the rep.
Front and Reverse Lunges
For another way to hit the quads, try weighted front lunges. Begin with a free weight in each hand, palms facing inward. Step forward with your right foot, leaving your left leg behind you and slightly bent. Bend both legs, keeping your front knee behind the toes. Push off your front foot, returning to start. Then, perform the move on the left side. To be gentler on the knees, try reverse lunges. With the free weights in the same position, begin by stepping backward with the right foot. Bend both legs, keeping the front knee behind the toes. Return to start and switch sides.
- American Council on Exercise: Free Weights vs. Strength Training Equipment
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual (4th ed.)