As CrossFit and functional movement-focused workouts have gotten more popular, lots of lifters have started emphasizing the hips and core—and forgetting about the quads.

Not only that, the hype about “sitting is the new smoking” has many of us obsessing about our tight hips and glutes, embracing everything from standing desks to yoga and Pilates to avoid becoming locked down and immobile.

That’s a good thing, of course, as our digital, sedentary society has most of us sitting hunched over screens or behind a steering wheel for much of the day. But to dismiss the quads as simply aesthetic muscles or “lower-body triceps” is to neglect a vital part of your body’s operating system.

That’s because the four-pronged quadriceps muscle serves to extend the knees, thus making strong quads crucial for walking, running, jumping, and squatting. The quads play an important role in stabilizing the knees and helping to flex the hips. So it’s no wonder, then, that the best quadriceps exercises mimic those same movements.


In this workout, we’re going to do 10 reps of each of the following six exercises performed in a circuit. That means moving continuously through each set—no resting between sets.

Complete three circuits in total. A one-minute water break between circuits is permitted.

Leg Press

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