We tend to use our thigh muscles for everything: sitting, standing, walking, jogging, running, etc. However, somehow, we don’t even know the name of the muscles that we use every single day. The muscles in our thighs are collectively called quadriceps muscles, more commonly known as quads. These quadriceps femoris muscles are the largest, strongest and fleshiest muscles in our body. They are found in the front and sides of the thigh bone(femur). They constitute vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris.
Very little attention is given to these quadriceps muscles in proportion to them’ humongous work. Therefore, in this article, we will be learning about the structure of quadriceps muscles, their functions, the need to strengthen them, the pain experienced by people due to these muscles, and ways to strengthen them.
Structure of quadriceps muscles:
The quadriceps muscles consist of the following four muscles:
- It is the largest muscle among all the quadriceps muscles.
- It can be found on the lateral side of the femur, the outer part of the thigh.
- It connects the femur to the patella (knee cap).
- It is found in the inner (medial) part of the thigh.
- It is a teardrop-shaped muscle.
- It also connects the femur to the patella.
- Is the deepest of the quadriceps muscles.
- It is found between the vastus lateralis and vastus medialis muscles.
- It is impossible to see this muscle without the dissection of the rectus femoris.
- It joins the hip bones to the kneecap.
- It covers most of the part of the other quadriceps muscles.
- It can be found occupying the middle of the thigh, lying above the vastus intermedius.
Functions of quadriceps muscles:
- These muscles help a person conduct everyday tasks, which are taken for granted by humans, like sitting, standing, climbing up the stairs, squatting, running, jogging, cycling etc.
- They also help in straightening/extending the lower leg from the knee.
- The rectus femoris muscle help in flexing the hip as it is attached to the ilium.
- The vastus medialis stabilize the kneecap.
Need for strengthening the quadriceps muscles:
As we have seen, these muscles allow us to conduct many fundamental activities in a person’s life. However, these muscles are prone to tear, injury, strain or even rupture. This can make our day-to-day activities seem like a hassle. Some common injuries that affect a person’s quads are:
- Muscle strain or pull
- Meralgia Paresthetica
- Knee cap dislocation
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome
- Patellofemoral stress syndrome
Therefore, there is a need to strengthen the muscles so that we can work without any pain.
Best exercises to strengthen the quadriceps muscles:
- Stand straight with your feet, shoulder-length apart. Keep your hands in front of you, extended straight or on your hips or at your sides.
- Push your hips back to look like you sitting on a chair, keeping your spine erect and chest up.
- You should feel a stretch in your thighs, stop when your thighs become parallel to the ground and stay there for 2-3 seconds.
- Return to your initial position, releasing the stretch.
Side lunge (lateral lunge):
- Stand straight with your legs; hence when apart, your hands should be clasping each other.
- Shift all of your weight on your right leg while bending it. Your left leg should stretch side words.
- You should feel a stretch in your inner thigh.
- Stay there for 2 seconds and then return to your initial position.
- Repeat it with the other leg.
- Stand in your side profile, clasping your hands together.
- Take a big step backwards with your right leg and try to touch your right knee to the ground.
- Stay there for 5 seconds, return back to the initial position.
- Repeat it with the other leg.
Single leg raise:
- Lie down on your back with your legs straight in front of you and hands by your side.
- Keeping the other leg straight, lift your right leg up, making a 45-degree angle with the floor.
- Your raised leg should also be straight at the knee.
- Keep your leg raised for 10 seconds and return to your initial position.
- Repeat this with the other leg.
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder length apart and your hands clasped in front of you.
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Stay there for 2 seconds and then jump upwards with your feet.
- Lend back softly with a little bend in your legs.
- Stand straight with your back pushed against the wall with your feet shoulder length apart.
- Gradually, bend your knees to make a 45-degree angle.
- Stay there for 15 seconds and then return to your initial position.
Now you have a whole list of quad workouts that you can do to strengthen your quadriceps muscles and relieve your pain. However, you must note that regularity and discipline in doing these quadriceps muscles workouts are important.
Although you won’t see results in two days or a week, you will see results in a month. Moreover, try to do each of these exercises for 5 minutes regularly, but at the same time, remember to be gentle with your body so that you won’t get pain from doing these quadriceps muscles workouts.