The largest and most powerful muscle in the body is the quadriceps . This helps us to carry out any movement that involves moving our legs such as walking, jumping, running, dancing, among other activities that involve movement.


What is the quadriceps?

The quadriceps is a muscle located in the legs . It is the largest and most powerful muscle in the human body . It is called the quadriceps because it has four muscle heads which are: the rectus femoris, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis, and the vastus intermedius. This muscle is necessary to perform movement activities such as walking, running, jumping, climbing, maintaining balance, among others.

  • How is the quadriceps formed?
  • Location
  • Function
  • Quadriceps warm-up
  • Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps
  • Equipment to work the quadriceps
  • Injuries
  • Care
  • Importance of the quadriceps

How is the quadriceps formed?

The quadriceps muscle is made up of four parts. These are:

  • Rectus femoris: This head of the quadriceps muscle is known as the rectus femoris and is located in the anterior part of the quadriceps. She works by flexing the hip and extending the knee.
  • Vastus medialis : This head of the muscle known as the vastus medialis is located between the lower part of the intertrochanteric line and the patella. Its function is related to the extension of the leg and the stability of the patella.
  • Vastus lateralis: This head of the muscle is also called the vastus lateralis and originates from the superior and anterolateral part of the shaft of the femur and the lateral lip of the linea aspera. Its function is linked to the contraction of the leg away from the gluteus and with the stability of the patella.
  • Vastus intermedius: This head of the muscle, also called the crural, is located under the rectus anterior muscle and serves to extend the leg as well as stabilize the patella.

These four muscle heads coincide to form a tendon called the quadriceps or quadriceps tendon that is attached to both sides of the patella extending to the tibia.


The quadriceps is located in the legs on the front and side of the femur .


The functions of the quadriceps are essential for walking, running, jumping, swimming, climbing, squatting among others . These actions can be performed thanks to the fact that this muscle allows the following actions in the leg:

  • Flex the hip.
  • Bend the knee.
  • Stabilize and articulate the patella during gait.
  • Rotate the leg laterally.
  • Rotate the leg medially.
  • Keep the balance.
  • Throw the legs forward when walking.

Quadriceps warm-up

Quadriceps warm-up can be done by following the instructions below:

  • Stand upright, feet together, bend your right knee bringing your right foot back.
  • Take your right foot with your right hand and bring it up to your right glute. Hold this position for 10 seconds.
  • After 10 seconds, relax by returning to a standing position.
  • Run in place bringing your feet up to your buttocks for 10 seconds
  • Repeat this exercise stretching your left leg.

This simple exercise will help you warm up your quadriceps before running.

Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps

There are many exercises designed to strengthen the quadriceps. We will present some of them below. These are:

Exercise 1: Squats

To perform this exercise you just have to follow these instructions:

  • Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
  • Lean your body forward, pulling your glutes back and bending your knees. Start to go down little by little.
  • Bring your arms forward for balance and lower yourself until your thigh is perpendicular to your leg.
  • Go up slowly and repeat this exercise for three sets of 10.

This exercise can be done with weights or free bar but it is recommended to master this technique without additional weight before using any additional elements. You can also perform squats with open legs, jumping, kicking and creating your own training with the variants of this exercise.

Exercise 2: Lunges

To perform this exercise you just have to follow these instructions:

  • Stand with your legs together.
  • Take a big step and lean your body forward, bending the knees of both legs until you reach a right angle with the leg that took the step and that the other rose to the ground.
  • Then get back on your feet and we repeat this exercise until we do three sets of 10.

This exercise can be done with weights and with different variables such as adding jumps, raising one leg to generate more tension, with a step back, among others.

Equipment to work the quadriceps

The equipment required in gyms to work the quadriceps are generally leg extension machines because they work on strengthening the quadriceps especially.


Quadriceps injuries can be very common in runners and exercise enthusiasts . These are usually very painful and take months to heal.

The tears or strains in the quadriceps should be treated by a physical therapist or physician , which determined through an exploration muscle distention grades suffering injured. These can be grade 1 when muscle fibers are stretched and damage is limited to a few muscle fibers. In this case, the quadriceps will swell and will be sensitive but without losing its strength. In grade 2 , more muscle fibers are damaged, leading to loss of strength, severe pain, swelling, and bruising. For grade 3 , a complete breakdown of one of the muscle heads will result in a total loss of muscle function, severe pain, and swelling.

These symptoms require a healing time that can be from eight weeks to months with surgical interventions in grade 3 cases, for the muscle to regenerate.


To take care of the functioning of these muscles it is necessary to follow the following recommendations. These are:

  • Do stretching and warm-up exercises for these muscles.
  • Have a low-fat diet.
  • Apply massages to this muscle before and after exercising it.
  • Do exercises such as walking, swimming, or dancing to give the muscle elasticity.
  • In case of injury, see a doctor or physiotherapist.
  • Use machines to do leg exercises under the supervision of a trainer or following the instructions of the machines so as not to misuse them and cause a possible injury.
  • Others.

Importance of the quadriceps

The quadriceps is a muscle that fulfills many functions related to our motor movement and physical development . Their training allows us to have strength and speed in our legs to run, walk, dance, climb and develop other sports activities or daily life.

For this reason, it is important to exercise and keep this muscle in good condition to improve its fibers, thus generating other positive effects in the body such as increased metabolism, elimination of body fat, protecting the bone structure and improving the immune system, thus generating better physical health in our body.

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