Canyon Ranch Blog

Top Two, Must-Do Exercises for Your Quads

Taking the time to work your quadriceps, the group of four muscles in the front of your thighs, should be near the top of your strength-training to-do list. After all, your quads are responsible for extending your knees and supporting your knee joints. So, every time you take a step, stand up from a chair, climb stairs, run, jump or kick, they’re on the job. Exercises that specifically target and strengthen them can help reduce wear and tear on knee cartilage and will improve your hill climbing and biking power.

There are plenty of quad-strengthening exercises to choose from, but some good ones are squats and leg presses. They are classic, sure-fire ways to effectively target the muscles in front of your thighs, while simultaneously exercising the muscles in the back of your thighs (hamstrings) and your buttocks (glutes).

If you do nothing else to target your quads, be sure you at least rotate these moves into your routine. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, two or three times a week on nonconsecutive days.


  1. Before you begin, consider placing a chair or bench nearby. You can use it to sit back on to ensure that you do not go down too low, which can injure your knees. Pick something that ensures your knees are at a 90 degree angle when you sit down—if you go lower than that you put a great deal of stress on your knees.
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms hanging freely at your sides.
    (You can hold a dumbbell in each hand for a more intense challenge. Start with two- or three-pound weights and work your way up to heavier dumbbells.)
  1. Slowly bend your hips and knees, sticking your buttocks out as if you are sitting in a chair.
  2. Keep your abdominal muscles tight. Lower yourself as far as is comfortable, or until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Pause for a moment, then stand back up while squeezing your buttocks.

If you have back problems, do squats with your back against a wall for support. You can also do this exercise with a stability ball between your back and the wall.

Leg Presses

  1. Sit comfortably with your back flush against the back of the seat of the leg press machine at your gym.
  2. Choose a weight level that will challenge your quads but not so heavy that you can’t complete 10 reps. Talk to your trainer or exercise physiologist if you need help.
  3. Position your feet flat against the leg press platform, about shoulder-width apart. Hold the handles, if provided, for support.
  4. Press the weight away from your body in a slow, controlled motion that equally challenges both quads.
  5. Slowly release the weight back to neutral position.

If you experience any knee pain during these exercises, be sure to consult your trainer or exercise physiologist for advice on how to alter your form or technique to minimize knee strain.

The Better-Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
These techniques can do far more than leave you feeling relaxed and pampered
Read More
Tweak Your Walking Technique
Proper walking form can make you faster and healthier
Read More
Mindful Breathing
Use this technique during your meditation practice to develop a new relationship with ...
Read More
Get Hip To Collagen! 5 Quick Tips & Our Delicious ...
Are you curious about collagen and feeling flirty for bone broth?  Well, we've got your ...
Read More
7 Favorite Foods That Feed Your Brain
What you eat can affect your vascular health, blood sugar regulation, oxidation and ...
Read More
Can Genomics Help With Weight Loss?
 Weight loss might take more than dialing in your diet and adding in exercise. But, that ...
Read More
What Our Beauty Expert Can’t Live Without: Q&A ...
We all wonder about the skin care products that beauty professionals use and can't live ...
Read More
8 Ways to Reach Your Healthy Weight and Stay There
Find out if you’re doing all that you can to achieve your goals
Read More
10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System
Do what you can to keep your body's natural defense strong
Read More
Massage for Pain Relief
Learn which type of rubdown is best for what’s hurting you
Read More
Managing Seasonal Lows
If you suffer from winter sadness, try these ways to lift your spirits
Read More
Spirituality & Your Health: A Q&A with Dr. Finley
Nurturing this connection can support your wellness journey in powerful ways
Read More
Book Online or Contact Us
Book Now Contact Us

Questions & Reservations

Tucson, Arizona +1 800 742 9000
Lenox, Massachusetts +1 800 742 9000
SpaClub®, Las Vegas +1 877 220 2688
Groups: +1 877 862 0583
SpaClub®, At Sea Queen Mary 2: +1 866 860 4662
Oceania Cruises: +1 877 329 1924
Regent Seven Seas: +1 877 329 1924
Celebrity Cruises: +1 844 860 4662