18 challenging quad exercises to tone and sculpt your thighs

You have clicked through 'Vastus Medialis'. This is one of the smaller muscles within the quads commonly known as the 'teardrop' because it's visual similarities to a teardrop are obvious. Because of this it's often the most aesthetically recognisable in the quad, which is why we have come up with 18 exercises you can use to train it. Grab a few of the exercises below and create your own workout. 

Exercises that can be completed at home to tone your quads

How To Do Jumping Lunges To exercise your quads

  • Stand with your feet together
  • Place your right foot in front of you, with your leg bent at the knee at a 90 degree angle
  • Bend your left leg behind you so that your knee is almost touching the ground
  • Lower yourself as close to the ground as possible, feeling the tension in the front of your right thigh
  • Hold this position for a moment
  • Applying pressure to the balls of both feet, jump up into the air and scissor your legs so that your right is now behind you and your left leg is in front
  • Lower yourself into the starting lunge position again
  • Jump as before
  • Repeat the exercise as desired

How to do a raised leg bodyweight lunge To tone your legs

  • Set up a chair in an open space
  • Place your toes and the balls of your feet on the chair
  • Hop forward with the other leg until your leg is parallel to your body
  • Drop your back knee to the floor trying to keep the knee on the front leg behind your foot
  • Now raise back up and complete the remaining repetitions
  • Repeat on the other leg

How To Do A Lunge With Leg Pulse To sculpt the perfect thighs

  • Stand up straight
  • Take a big step back wards dropping your knee towards the floor
  • Your standing leg should now be at a 90 degree angle
  • Hold this position, then push back up towards the standing position
  • Just before standing straighten your leg and pulse it behind you causing your bum to tense
  • Fall directly back down into the lunge before repeating the pulse again
  • Complete the repetitions
  • Repeat with other leg

How To Do A Box Squat To Work train your quads

  • Find a low chair, stool or sturdy box which comes up to around knee level
  • Position yourself in front of the chair with your feet shoulder width apart
  • Slowly lower your buttocks towards the seat of the chair, keeping your back straight
  • Once your buttocks touch the chair, begin slowly rising up again into a standing position
  • Repeat the exercise as desired
  • For added resistance, hold a few tins of beans or other weighted item above your head as you perform the exercise

How To Do A Basic Squat To Work your quads

  • Keep your feet hip width apart
  • Sit back into your ankles as if you’re taking a seat on a chair that’s slightly too far away from you
  • Make sure that your knees are over the top of your feet
  • Drop right down until there’s at least a 90 degree angle at the knee
  • Hold this position for a few seconds
  • Repeat the exercise as many times as desired

Bodyweight Alternate Lunges To exercise and tone your thighs

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart
  • Take a big step forward using your right foot, yet keep your other foot planted on the floor
  • Gently bend your right leg so that your thigh is level with your knee and parallel to the floor
  • Keep your back straight and your head up, and do not let your knee go over your toes
  • Hold this position for a few seconds
  • Slowly push yourself back to the starting position, using your heel to drive the movement
  • Repeat the movement, but this time using your left leg
  • Complete the desired number of repetitions

Intermediate Exercises to exercise your quad muscles

How to do a raised leg bodyweight lunge To Work your upper legs

  • Sit comfortably at the leg extension machine
  • Choose a weight that does not strain your legs excessively
  • Hook your feet underneath the leg extension bar
  • The bar should sit comfortably towards the bottom of your leg, but not on your feet
  • Your knees should form a 90 degree angle between the lower and upper leg
  • Extend your legs until they are straight while keeping the rest of your body still
  • Stop for a second in this position
  • Gently lower your legs until they are at rest

How to do walking lunges with dumbbells to work your quads

  • Stand up straight with your hands by your sides and a dumbbell in each hand
  • Step forward with your right leg and gently lower your upper body, resting your weight on that leg
  • Keep your torso straight, balanced and upright
  • Push yourself up from the heel of your foot and return to the starting position
  • Repeat this movement on your right leg
  • Perform the exercise again, this time on your left leg

How to do walking lunges with a barbell to train and tone your thighs

  • Stand straight with your feet apart
  • Use your hands to rest a barbell across your shoulders
  • Step forward with your right leg and lower your upper body
  • Continue lowering yourself until your left knee is nearly touching the ground
  • Your torso should stay straight and upright throughout
  • Use your right heel to extent your knees and raise yourself back up into a standing position
  • Perform the exercise again, this time on your left leg

How to do squat jumps to work your upper legs

  • Keep your feet hip-width apart
  • Put your weight on your heels and point your toes forward
  • Lean forward with a slight knee bend
  • Keep your knees in line with your ankles
  • Carefully lower your upper body into a slightly-squatting stance
  • Push through your heels and shift the weight to the balls of your feet
  • Raise slowly to a standing position and then onto your toes
  • After this practice, move on to repeat but with a full jump
  • Take yourself lower than previously, bringing your buttocks to knee level
  • Rise up with an explosive movement
  • When your weight moves onto your toes then use your calf muscles to push off from the floor
  • Gain the maximum height that is possible for you
  • Land back on your toes and then lower onto your heels

How to do a raised leg bodyweight lunge To train your legs

  • Prepare a box in front of you
  • Select a dumbbell weight you're comfortable with
  • Hold the dumbbells by your side and stand straight
  • Place your right leg onto the box, then while keeping your torso straight and maintaining your balance, lower your upper body down - DO NOT allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes
  • Using your heel, push your right leg back to standing as you exhale
  • Repeat for the desired amount of sets and reps then alternate to your left leg

How to do a leg press to exercise your quads

  • While sitting at the leg press machine, set your feet on the platform in front of you
  • Your feet should be set shoulder width apart
  • Lower the safety bars which keep the platform in place
  • Push the platform forwards until your legs are fully extended and straight, but don't lock your knees
  • Slowly let the platform lower until your upper and lower legs form an angle of 90 degrees
  • Use the heels of your feet to push the platform forward until your legs are extended again

Much more advanced exercises to really push yourself when training your legs

How to do weighted step ups with dumbbells to work your legs

  • Choose a step or box at the gym
  • Select a weighted dumbbell you're comfortable holding for an extended time
  • Begin your step up and step down from the box, alternating legs and building up to a brisk pace. We recommend three sets of three minute steps if you're just beginning, with a rest of one minute in between. This can be adjusted to suit your specific fitness level

How to do weighted step ups with a barbell to tone your thighs

  • Adopt a stance directly facing the raised platform area you are using
  • With your hands grasping the sides of the bar, rest the barbell comfortably on the back of your shoulders
  • A higher step tends to focus on working your hamstrings, a lower one your quadriceps
  • Place your first foot onto the raised platform
  • Stand up by extending the hip and knee of your raised leg, bringing both feet onto the platform area
  • Step down by leading with the leg you placed second onto the raised area - slightly bend your leg to help reduce any shock from landing on the floor
  • Return to your starting position with both feet on the floor
  • Repeat to complete your set, but use alternate legs to lead during these repetitions

How to do weighted squat jumps with barbell to work your legs into perfection

  • Load a barbell with the appropriate weight. Do be careful about using weight if you have previously suffered back or knee injuries
  • Position the bar so that it rests on the muscles on the top of you back rather than your neck
  • Add some padding to the bar if it proves to be uncomfortable
  • Take your hands over the back and use a wide grip on the bar for stability
  • Slightly bend your knees, push your chest out, and straighten your back to achieve the correct starting position
  • Squat down as far as is comfortably possible
  • This position should at least have your thighs parallel to the floor
  • Whenever you reach this position, instantly explode upwards by thrusting the balls of your feet into the floor surface
  • Jumps as high as you can
  • Land as softly as possible by bracing for impact with your toes
  • Without pausing, repeat the activity until you complete the exercise

How to do weighted narrow squats with dumbbells to sculpt the perfect thighs

  • Stand with your legs less than shoulder width apart, with your toes slightly pointed out
  • Maintain a straight back and keep your head pointing upwards
  • Bend your knees until the angle between your calves and upper leg becomes slightly more acute than 90 degrees (inhale as you perform this section of the movement)
  • Begin to raise the dumbbells whilst pushing towards the floor with your heel (exhale as you perform this section of the movement)
  • Straighten your legs as you return to the starting position

How to do weighted narrow squats with a barbell to exercise your quads

  • Choose a barbell with an appropriate weight
  • Stand with your feet just less than shoulder width apart
  • Lift the barbell onto your shoulders, behind your head
  • Slowly lower your buttocks towards the ground, keeping your back straight
  • Bend your knees to a 90 degree angle, but do not let your knees move in front of your toes
  • Slowly raise your buttocks again until you are back in the starting position
  • Repeat exercise

How to do a front squat to work your upper legs

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing directly forwards
  • Keep your back straight and your knees in fixed position
  • If lifting with weights hold them in the front, extending your arms out straight and then bending them backwards so the extra weight is concentrated at the top of your chest
  • If using barbells your hands should point upwards with the bar in your palms or hands down with your arms crossed over the bar keeping your elbows high
  • Bend your knees as if sitting until you are at a 90 degree bend
  • Keep your head up and positioned vertically between your knees
  • Return to the starting position by driving up from the balls of your feet and bringing your buttocks into a straight alignment with your back