Exercise! - Advice Please - Strengthening Quadriceps

01-22-2012, 04:30 PM
Hi All,

I've been learning to embrace and even enjoy exercise over the past few weeks, after struggling to motivate myself to workout regularly in the past.

The problem is, I seem to have very weak quads. After any sort of workout DVD that involves a lot of leg exercises, I am seriously struggling the next day, and then the day after walking, and even more so standing and sitting or getting up or down the stairs are all really painful. When I try to massage the muscles they are very tight and sore. After trying spinning for the first time last Thursday I am still in pain now, four days later.

The rest of my legs are fine other than the normal workout aches.

I've been very careful to do lots of stretching before and after working out, and tried not to push the exercises too much, but the pain is never bad during exercise, only after as we all know!

So, after that long winded introduction, to my question!

Are there any forms of exercise that are particular good to strengthen my quads so I get over this pain? I don't want to bulk my legs up (far from it, my legs are very big, and not in proportion with the rest of me, so building them up any more isn't very desirable!)

I've been walking and swimming a lot, to stop aggravating the problem too often, but I dont want to keep on just avoiding exercises to stop the pain, I'd really like to do something to stop it from being a problem forever!

Thanks for any ideas!

01-22-2012, 04:40 PM
You're not going to bulk up. Don't even worry about it it. It won't happen.

The best exercises for the quads are squats and lunges. You can start with your body weight and then add weights as you get stronger! Start by building up to 3 sets of 10, and then you can start adding weight!

(Squats are an amazing, fabulous exercise. They hit your hamstrings and glutes as well as your quads and because they use all the muscles in your lower body, they get your heart pumping as well.)

You can watch a video demonstration here:

ETA: sore muscles after working out is TOTALLY NORMAL. That's a sign that they are adapting to all the new things you're making them do. Google DOMS for more info. (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)

01-23-2012, 09:52 AM
This is my favourite quad stretch :

Now if you have a machine like this one, available to you it will help to strengthen your quad followed by the above stretch:

As DietVet said : lunges, squats, any and all variations will help tremendously in strengthening your quads... Cycling and running also help a lot!

01-23-2012, 12:11 PM
Do wall sits: lean your back up against a wall, then walk you feet out and lower your body so that it's like you are sitting in an imaginary chair-only your back is touching the wall. Hold for time. As you get stronger, add more time. :)

01-23-2012, 05:39 PM
Thank you all for the advise.

I think the main thing is, I needed reassurance it was normal! I mean, I know some aching the next couple of days is normal, but I thought the permanent pain was a bit much. Now I'm reassured that it'll get better over time.

Thanks to your suggestions I went and did a pump class at my gym tonight, the swats and lunges were really tough, but I'm looking forward to them getting easier!

Thanks again :)

01-23-2012, 11:05 PM
When I am re-starting an exercise routine and my quads are depressing, I find that riding my mountain bike is the best way to get going. I build strength pretty quickly, while hardly noticing that it's "exercise", and after 2 weeks, I feel motivated to start squatting again.

In fact, I find I quickly end up with the opposite problem-- weak hamstrings! :)

01-24-2012, 05:33 AM
Well I'm happy to report, after a pump class yesterday, that killed the quads during the squat and lunge sections, this morning, my legs are feeling pretty good, I hope that is me adapting already!

Also, I'm hoping that attending pump a couple of times a week for a month or so, coupled with cardio, I'll build myself up to be ready for spinning again soon. I'd love to be able to manage those classes!