Exercises to tone and sculpt the perfect quads

You've just clicked on the Vastus Lateralis muscle, which is the largest muscle within your quadriceps. To have toned and sculpted thighs you're going to need to work this muscle. Below you'll find a variety of different exercises to do just that. Grab a few of them and create your own leg workout. You'll get rid of your cellulite in no time and your thighs will be smooth and toned.

Exercises for the home to shape and tone your quads

Raised Leg Bodyweight Lunge to exercise your quads

  • Stand with your back facing a chair or stool
  • Place your toes and the balls of one foot on the stool behind you
  • Slowly drop the opposite leg towards the floor keeping your back straight
  • Lower until there’s a 90 degree angle at the knee
  • Push back up through the heel of the standing foot to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise until reps are complete
  • Switch legs, and start again

Lunge With Leg Pulse to work your quads

  • 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 Jumping Lunges to tone your upper legs

  • Stand with your feet apart
  • Take a large step forward using your right foot
  • Lower your body down until your right thigh is parallel to the ground and your left knee is just short of touching the ground
  • Sink your body weight down, driving both feet into the floor, and launch yourself upwards, straightening out your knees as you do so
  • As you land, allow your hips and knees to bend to absorb the shock of the landing, and let your heel come into contact with the ground
  • Adopt the starting position once again
  • Complete the desired number of repetitions before performing jumping lunges with your left foot in front

Extended Lunge to tone your thighs

  • Stand in a large open space
  • Take a larger than normal step forward until you feel you’re stretching
  • Move the knee at the back down towards the floor
  • Hold this position for a second, feeling the stretch in the front of your thigh on the stretched leg and pressure through your bum on the standing leg
  • Slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position
  • Repeat as many times as desired
  • Then swap legs and repeat the exercise again from the start

Box Squat to train your quads

  • Stand in front of a workout bench or a sturdy box/crate, facing away from it, with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart
  • Like a regular squat, keep your upper body straight and bend your knees until you are seated on the surface
  • Immediately reverse the exercise by extending your legs until you are upright once more
  • The presence of the seating surface enforces good technique, and it stops you from excessive hip movement during the exercise
  • A slow and controlled motion gives the maximum benefits during both stages
  • You can add a household weight (such as tinned food) in each hand to increase resistance
  • Complete your desired set of repetitions

Basic Squat to exercise your thighs

  • Adopt an athletic stance, with your back straight, your feet at least shoulder width apart, and your toes pointing forwards
  • Hold your arms out in front of you, and slowly lower yourself down, bending through your hips, knees and ankles
  • Ensure that your knees do not roll inward or outward
  • Stop when your knees create a 90-degree (right) angle or, if you unable to bend your knees this far, stoop down as low as you can go
  • Hold this position for a few seconds before returning to the starting position
  • Complete your desired number of repetitions

Intermediate Exercises to push your thighs a little harder

How to use a leg extension machine to train your quads

  • 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 exercise your upper 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 train your quads

  • 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 raised leg lunges with dumbbells to exercise your thighs

  • 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 train your legs

  • 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

A more advanced selection of exercises to tone your quads

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

  • 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 train and tone your quads 

  • 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 exercise your upper legs

  • 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 work your 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 train your thighs

  • 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 exercise your thighs 

  • 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