Strengthen your quadriceps — the muscle group at the front of your thighs — with a few exercises adapted from gym workouts that you can do in the comfort of your living room.
Some of the most common quad exercises in the gym are squats, lunges and machine exercises like the leg press. While you probably don't have any weight machines at home, you can always do squats and lunges. In fact, some fitness experts would argue that squats and lunges are superior to leg machines anyway, since they're weight-bearing movements that challenge stabilizer muscles.
For most people, a lot of weight isn't required to get a good workout. Start with just your body weight, then incorporate weights or items around your house, like soup cans, full grocery bags or gallon water jugs.
1. Single-Leg Squat
- Start standing in front of a workout bench, chair or couch, facing away.
- Balance yourself on one leg and squat down using the other leg until you're sitting on the bench or chair.
- Lean forward slightly and stand up without touching the other leg to the ground.
- Do 10 reps on each leg. If this exercise is too challenging, come up with two legs and lower to the bench as slowly as possible with just one leg.
2. Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat
- Find either a stool or bench to prop your back foot up during this exercise.
- Stand facing away from the object and reach your back foot up. You can either bend your toes and dig them into the surface of the box or bench or leave them flat.
- The other foot should be about three feet in front, planted on the ground.
- Drop your back knee down until it's an inch above the ground, then stand up.
- Do 10 reps on each leg, doing your best to avoid assisting with or pushing into the elevated foot.
- Plant one foot on a box, workout bench, stair or very sturdy chair. It should be at least knee-high to get the most out of the exercise.
- Lean forward slightly and step up with your other foot.
- Step back down with the same foot.
- Repeat 10 times on each leg.
4. Walking Lunge
- Start at the end of a hallway or other long, clear space.
- Take a step forward and bend both knees to 90 degrees, dropping your back knee toward the ground.
- Step forward with the other leg and switch sides. To protect the knee joint, avoid allowing front knee to travel beyond front toes.
- Lunge all the way down the hallway and back for one set.
5. Wall Sit
- Sit your back against the wall and slide down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
- Keep your back tall and flat against the wall.
- Hold the position until your legs start shaking. Aim for 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Goblet Squat
- Hold a heavy weight by one end at chest-height.
- Begin with your feet just wider than hip-distance apart. (Toes can face forward or turn out slightly.)
- Keeping your chest tall and core tight, hinge your hips back and down to sink into a squat so your upper legs are parallel with the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go with good form).
- Press through all four corners of your feet to return to standing.