Calisthenic Exercises to Strengthen Quads

Strengthen your quads using only your body weight.

Strengthen your quads using only your body weight.

Expensive exercise equipment is not required to strengthen your quadriceps. When you want to improve your upper leg strength, your body's weight can be enough. You can focus on your quadriceps with single-joint movements, improve leg power with jump-training or strengthen your quads as part of your entire leg in multiple-joint movements. Add a selection of all three into your workout routine and enjoy the strength and toning benefits.


The quadriceps are a group of four muscles located on the fronts of your upper legs. The quadriceps help straighten the leg from a bent-keen position and to lift your straightened leg to the front. Your thighs provide power during walking, running and jumping, so strengthening them improves sport and daily activities.


Quadriceps are responsible for knee extensions, so any exercise that straightens the knee joint improves your thighs. Perform knee extensions from a seated, standing, or lying position. Single-leg extensions work both legs equally. Aim to exercise the quads with a high number of repetitions until they are tired. Complete two or three sets with one minute of rest in between.


Jump-training exercises increase the power in your quadriceps. Imagine the ground is a large spring, and when your feet make contact, you quickly jump again. Perform plyometric exercises such as jump squats, jumping lunges, forward jumps, side-to-side jumps and vertical jumps to strengthen your legs. Due to the high intensity of jumping exercises, only do them once a week. Complete one to three sets of six to 10 jumps.


A variety of multiple-joint lower body calisthenic exercises improve your quads, improve leg flexibility and engage a large amount of muscle mass. The more muscle tissue you use, the more overall calories you burn. Select from exercises such as squats, lunges, step-ups, split single-leg squats, sumo squats and the curtsey. You do not need equipment or a lot of space for these lower-body movements. The idea is to challenge your muscles to fatigue, so use a high number of repetitions -- 15 to 20 -- and two or three sets to tire your legs.

About the Author

A mother of two and passionate fitness presenter, Lisa M. Wolfe had her first fitness article published in 2001. She is the author of six fitness books and holds an Associate of Arts in exercise science from Oakland Community College. When not writing, Wolfe is hula-hooping, kayaking, walking or cycling.

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