The term "rectus femoris" is just a more specific way to refer to your quadriceps. Your quad muscle has four heads — rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius and vastus medialis — each of which plays a unique role. By using a resistance band, you can stretch and strengthen this muscle in a variety of ways.
Your rectus femoris is the only part of your quadriceps that crosses your hip joint. It originates from a notch just below the front of your hipbone and attaches to your patella, or kneecap. It sits on top and runs down the center of your thigh. It is most powerful when your hip is extended and weakest when your hip is flexed. To understand this, think about walking. When one leg is straight and behind your body, this is hip extension. When you step forward and your hip angle forms an angle less than 180 degrees, this is hip flexion. While all parts of your quadriceps muscle help to straighten your knee, your rectus femoris also assists with flexing your hip, or bringing your torso toward your thigh.
Wrap your resistance band around your right ankle. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Shut both ends of the band into a door. Face away from the door and stand far enough away so that there isn’t any slack in the band but not too much resistance. With your hands on your hips and your abs engaged, slowly straighten your leg without leaning forward or shifting your hips. If you can, extend your leg until it is straight and about 3 or 4 inches front of your body. Your right foot should be about 3 inches above the floor. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat 10 to 12 times. Switch and repeat on your left leg.
Begin by lying on your left side with the resistance band around the top of your right shoe. Bring the ends up along your back and hold on to them with both hands over your right shoulder. With your right knee bent, bring your heel toward your buttock. Keep your hip straight, and don't let your knee flare upward away from the floor. Stop before you feel discomfort or pain. Do three sets with five reps each. Repeat while lying on your right side.
Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you and a slight bend in your knees. Fully bend your right knee and wrap a resistance band around the sole of your right foot. Your right heel should be facing away from you. Hold one end of the band in each band. Gradually straighten your right leg while pulling on the resistance band. Slowly return your leg to the starting position; continue pulling on the band as you return. Do two sets of 10 reps and then repeat with your left leg.
Fitzalan Gorman has more than 10 years of academic and commercial experience in research and writing. She has written speeches and text for CEOs, company presidents and leaders of major nonprofit organizations. Gorman has published for professional cycling teams and various health and fitness websites. She has a Master of Arts from Virginia Tech in political science and is a NASM certified personal trainer.