The quadriceps femoris is a group of muscles located in the front of the thigh. The Latin translation of “quadriceps” is “four headed,” as the group contains four separate muscles: the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. Each of the vastus muscles originates on the femur bone and attaches to the patella, or kneecap. The three vastus muscles are also partially covered by the rectus femoris, which also attaches to the kneecap. However, unlike the vastus muscles, the rectus femoris inserts into the hip bone.
The quadriceps assist in extending the knee. Since these muscles are used often for walking, running and other physical activities, the quadriceps are prone to injuries including strains, tears and ruptures.
Basic knee mobility exercises focus on quadriceps strength and mobility and stretching exercises for the quads help to improve flexibility of the muscle group.
The main types of exercises that you can perform to help improve the function of your quadriceps include:
- Strength: Since the quadriceps muscles cross both the hip and the knee, exercises that involve the knee and the hip are essential to improving the strength of the quads.
- Flexibility: There are many easy stretches to do to improve the flexibility of your quadriceps muscles. Basic squad stretching can be done, and the towel quad stretch is a great way to improve the flexibility of this muscle group.
- Balance: Balance exercises can be used to focus on the quadriceps since these are essential in keeping you upright and balanced. Basic balance work can also help to prevent falls, and can be used to help treat quad injuries and knee pain.