Situated on the top of each leg between the knee and the hips, the four muscles of the quadriceps come together at the top of the knee and bottom of the hip joint and help straighten the knee. Warmups and stretches are an essential part of the exercise regime, including when you work your quadriceps. According to "Essentials of Exercise Physiology," a warmup should imitate the expected exercise by engaging specific targeted muscles -- in this case, the quadriceps. Dynamic warmups uses low- to high-intensity exercises in all planes of motion to increase core body temperature and muscle elasticity.
High Knee Slaps
Stand tall with your arms pointed straight up as if raising the roof. Lift your left knee up while lowering your right arm down to meet, or slap, that knee. Lower the left knee and repeat with the right knee and the left arm. Once you get the rhythm down, speed up the tempo so that you are almost jogging. Continue with this for 30 seconds, and then slow it back down to beginning speed for 30 more seconds.
Kiss that butt goodbye with these butt kickers. Stand in place and kick the right heel to the right butt cheek. Kick the left heel to the left butt cheek and continue for a count of twenty. Next, walk and kick for a count of 20, and then run and kick for a count of 30. Go back to starting position and repeat for three sets.
Squat jumps are exactly as the name states -- squat down and come up into a jump. Feet should be hip-width apart and your arms stretched out in front as if in a mummy position. Lean back a bit, but keep your head straight and forward, as looking down will cause you to lean forward. Squat down, making sure knees do not cross over the toes, until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Once at the bottom of the squat, push back up with a jump into the air. Do the exercise for 30 seconds, and then take a 30-second break.
After all the heart pumpin', body jumpin', it's time to stretch those large quadricep muscles. The American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription suggest static stretching after a warmup because muscles are more flexible. Start with a standing quadricep stretch. Stand tall and lift the right leg back touching the heel to the butt and holding underneath the top of the foot, pulling the heel closer. Hold for 20 seconds, making sure not to lean forward. Switch to the left leg and repeat the same steps. Complete two sets on each leg.
- Essentials of Exercise Physiology; William D. McArdle and Frank I. Katch and Vicor L. Katch
- Framingham United Soccer Club: Dynamic Warm-Up
- ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription; Walter R. Thompson, PhD.
Melissa Hannah has a Master of Science in kinesiology and Bachelor of Science in nutrition. The nutrition degree gave her the opportunity to help individuals learn how to eat healthy while the kinesiology degree helped tie in the exercise component. Hannah wrote health-related newsletters and lesson plans for a wellness company, and designed a nutrition resource website for a university wellness program.