man bodybuilder training female bodybuilder on leg press machine

Best Quad Exercises For Women (Top 12 Movements For Shaping Your Quads)

The current trend has women training their glutes more than ever, which is good in the sense that they’re working out more frequently, but it’s bad because it’s leading to all sorts of leg muscle imbalances.

Women are working their booties off to get sculpted and more pronounced butts and they’re forgetting all about their quads in the process.

What they don’t realize is that they’re making their butts look worse in the process without a nice set of quads to frame them, and they’re creating imbalances that are making their legs weaker at the same time.

That’s why it’s so important for ladies, and men, to stop focusing so much on glutes and to start working on those quadriceps as well. Unfortunately, good quad workouts are more difficult to find than they once were.

That’s the problem we hope to clear up with our write-up down below. We’re going to list the best quad exercises for women that you can start using to build definition and strength today.

Start off with Reverse Nordics

If you are having difficulty doing the most basic squat movements Reverse Nordics are a good place to start training your legs. This movement is an eccentric movement that trains your muscles on the negative movement especially. It has you going through a tipping motion where you are rocking your kneeling body back and forth.

Imagine kneeling on your knees with your toes pressed down into the floor directly behind you. You rest your butt down on your legs and cross your arms in front of you. Now slowly lean back and really feel the effort that your legs have to put forth to keep your lean nice and controlled.

Really press your leg muscles to pull you out of the lean and to move your body forward once again. Going through this movement will work your legs without putting as much strain on the muscles as a traditional squat. Try the movement over time until it becomes easy and then move on to a relaxed squat such as the Sissy Squat to further your leg strength development.

Stability Ball Wall Squats

Grab an exercise ball, a pair of dumbbells and head to your nearest wall. With this lift, you’ll be dipping down toward the ground with the ball behind you. Go into a sitting position with your legs out in front and the dumbbells down at your sides. Now press with your legs against the ball to propel your body back into an upright position.

Start off with a low weight when getting used to the form of this exercise and slowly increase the weight until you’re just barely making it through 8 to 10 sets for maximum muscle and strength gains.

Leg Extension

If you’re looking for a way to really isolate your quads and make sure you’re pushing them hard one of the best ways to do that is with leg extensions. This lift has you seated and pressing weight up by extending your legs in front of you. Start low and work to higher weights and your quads will become stronger along the way.

Leg extensions require a specialized weight bench or weight machine to perform, but those machines are available in literally every gym that you’ll come across today, making it easy to perform this exercise wherever you go.

Plate Push

If you have a smooth surface or a turf-covered surface to exercise in you can build core strength and leg drive strength at the same time with the plate push.

To do this you put your hands on either side of a heavy weight plate. Now drive the plate across the floor to work your legs to their fullest.

You can grip dumbbells set at the edge of the plate for more weight and a more difficult workout. Avoid stacking multiple plates on top of one another in order to keep this lift safe.

You could get more plates on if you use a wide base plate and smaller raised plates and a short bar to lock them into position during your push though.

Squats – Goblet, Front and Back

That’s right, squats aren’t just for your butt, they recruit your quads in a big way and can lead to serious strength and definition gains over time. Give goblet squats, front squats and back squats a try if you aren’t already doing these exercises and decide which ones you like the best from the bunch.

After testing them out stick with your favourite or swap between the different squat lifts to create well-defined legs that will only improve with time.

Take your time and really master the form for each of these lifts to avoid injuring yourself. It’s best to start squats with small weight amounts or no weights at all and work up to higher weights as you get more comfortable.

Consider putting plates under your ankles to isolate your quads more, or to help stabilize the workout if you aren’t flexible enough for squats to feel natural with proper form.

Squat in a Smith Machine

This lift isn’t nearly as effective as a free squat is, but you can still press your quads to get stronger by doing a squat in a smith machine.

Smith Machines are available in many gyms and are a decent option worth considering if you want to work on your strength development without using free weights.

If you’re nervous about squatting without some additional stabilization, you can get an excellent workout in a Smith Machine at your gym with a back squat.

Smith machines will help you isolate your quads a bit more than traditional squats do, but they should be performed along with a range of other exercises to ensure you’re targeting your stabilizer muscles and your core for even-strength development.

Leg Press or the Hack Squat

For another variation on leg workouts that will blast your quads, hop on the leg press machine or try out a hack squat. These movements put more stress on quads than even the squat does and will give you a chance to really press your muscles. Just make sure you start low and work your way up for safe lifting.

Hack squats are an interesting variation on traditional squats that will have the weight down behind your legs if you’re using free weights. This puts more pressure on your quads than back or front squats does.

If you’re looking to isolate your quadriceps more while having the ability to really up your weight with free weights, hack squats are an excellent option worth considering.

As with any lift take your time to get used to the proper form or work with a personal trainer if you aren’t sure about getting this lift right.

The Reverse Sled Drag

Not everyone has access to a fitness sled or a place to pull it, but if you are one of the lucky ones a reverse sled drag is an excellent training tool for building tough quadriceps. We especially like this workout because it’s more dynamic than most lifts, it lets you work your quads with less impact and it helps you develop real working strength that you can use for other movements.

To do this movement attach a rope to your weight sled and pull it while walking backwards with an athletic stance.

You should be tipped backwards for stability while pulling and you will really feel your quadriceps working with this movement. That’s why it’s one of the best quad exercises for women.

Split Squats or Lunges

One of our all-time favourite workout movements for quad development is the lowly lunge, or the split squat if you’re ready to add some weight into the mix.

This movement has you stepping forward, dipping down to the floor with your back leg and putting a lot of weight on your front quad to lift you back up. Do this for sets and your quads and hams will both be burning by the time you’re finished.

Don’t worry though, it’s a good kind of burn! When you’re ready to work harder you can use larger dumbbells or add in dumbbells to challenge yourself more. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this movement becomes challenging to do if you are new to it.

Best Quad Exercises For Women Take Away

Building Quads doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t require doing dozens of different movements. Don’t see the above list of the best quad exercises for women as a workout plan that you need to follow. Instead, look at it as potential lifts that you can include into your routine.

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12 best quad exercises for women

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