As tough as it can be, leg day is an essential part of anyone’s plan if they want to build muscle and burn fat. However, our legs have several different muscle groups so generic lower-body workouts and exercises don’t always cut it if we need to focus on one set of muscles.
Take the outer quads for example. To maximize the strength in this muscle group and achieve more defined muscles with a low-fat percentage, we have to perform a variety of specific exercises that target the right muscles.
If you’ve never trained your outer quads before, working out which exercises to perform can be overwhelming. Today, we’re here to help.
If you’re looking for the best outer quad exercises for muscle gain or fat loss, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’re going to show you the best exercises you can do and how to do them.
Let’s get started!
The Best Outer Quad Exercises You Should Try
Now you know what the outer quad muscle is, we can start showing you the best exercises to incorporate into your workout routines if you want to build muscle and lose fat.
The exercises we’re going to show you all target the outer quad muscles, so you can expect the best results.
However, just remember that you can only expect good results if you work hard and stay disciplined. These exercises will increase your strength and help you burn more fat.
We’ll start with the front squat!
1. Front Squat
One of the most effective exercises you can do if you want to target your outer quads is the front squat. This exercise will target your quad muscles, while also giving your legs a killer burn.
One of the greatest things about the front squat is that you can easily make it harder by adding more weight. This is also a fantastic exercise for overall leg power and balance.
We’ve outlined the steps you have to follow to perform a front squat below!
- To begin, position yourself under a racked barbell, with the barbell on the front side of your shoulders.
- Then, bring the elbows forward until your fingertips are under the barbell and shoulder-width apart. You can then unrack the barbell.
- Keep your feet as wide as you can, always making sure you’re comfortable, breath in, brace, engage your lats, and keep the torso tight.
- You can then squat down by bending your legs at the knees and pushing your hips backward. Drop as low as you can go or until you’re parallel to the floor.
- After hitting your maximum depth, push up through your heels and explode back up.
- Repeat the exercise multiple times.
2. Dumbbell Forward Lunges
The outer quad is heavily engaged in knee extension exercises that involve moving the leg forward. This makes the dumbbell forward lunges exercise one of the most beneficial exercises we can do.
Dumbbell forward lunges specifically target the outer quad muscles, while also providing you with a coordination, core stability, and balance challenge.
This is also a convenient exercise to perform because you only need floor space and a set of dumbbells.
To perform dumbbell forward lunges, follow the steps below!
- Pick up two dumbbells with a neutral grip and rest them by your sides with your arms fully extended.
- Stand up tall, keeping your feet approximately hip-width apart.
- Brace your abdominal muscles and tuck in your chin.
- With one leg, take a big step forward, with a bend in the knee.
- Bend both of your knees to lower your body to the ground, keeping your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Meanwhile, your back knee should hover above the ground.
- To engage your quads, push through your front foot and lift your body up as you step up with the other leg.
- You can complete a full set on one leg or alternate legs between reps.
3. Dumbbell Split Squat
Another convenient exercise you can do using dumbbells is a dumbbell split squat. This is a great exercise to include in your workout routine because it requires more work from your stabilizers.
All four of your quadricep muscles will be worked hard as well as your hamstrings and glutes. Once again, all you need to perform this exercise is two dumbbells and an open space.
- Pick up a dumbbell with each hand and assume a split stance (start with your right foot in front and your left leg behind).
- To begin, lower your body in the split squat position until your left knee hovers just above the floor.
- Just before your left knee touches the ground, explode back up with force.
- Repeat the exercise for your required number of reps before swapping legs.
You can modify this exercise by keeping one leg on a bench during the squat.
4. Leg Extension
The leg extension exercise does require a machine so you might have to head to a gym for this one.
However, despite being less functional, it is one of the best when it comes to isolating the outer quad muscles.
This is a good exercise to include in your routine if you’re looking for a recovery exercise that still works your muscles. It’s also a good exercise for anyone that can’t hold athletic positions.
To perform this exercise, you must:
- Sit on a leg extension machine that has been adjusted to your height. The bottom pad should sit above your lower legs, near the ankles. Meanwhile, your knees should be bent 90 degrees.
- Select the desired weight.
- Holding onto the handles for support, lift the weights using your legs until they are almost straight. Don’t lock your knees though.
- Hold the position for one or two seconds at the top.
- As you exhale, bring the weight back down to the original position.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.
5. Leg Press
This is another machine-based exercise that targets all of your quadriceps muscles. This is a more complex exercise that can take some getting used to but the results are great.
The leg press machine isolates the quadriceps. You require less movement from your stabilizers but the results stay the same.
With hard work, your quad muscles will get stronger, bigger, and more defined.
- Before using a leg press machine, set the weight to a suitable weight load.
- You can then sit on the leg press machine. To sit on a leg press machine properly, place your back against the rest, have your knees bent, and place your feet against the platform. The position of your feet should match the position you take up when squatting.
- Unlock the leg press platform and push away using your legs. Stop when your legs are almost straight. Don’t lock your knees out completely though, keep a slight bend.
- Hold the position for one or two seconds.
- Slowly bring the weight back down to the first position.
- Repeat the exercise by pushing away from the platform again.
6. Hack Squat
The final outer quad exercise we have for you is a hack squat. This is an amazing leg exercise that targets your outer quad muscles.
However, you can modify the exercise slightly to specifically target just the outer quad muscles. You will again need a hack squat machine for this exercise.
We’ve outlined the necessary steps below!
- Stand on the hack squat platform with the pads resting on your shoulders and your back flat against the machine
- You should also hold the handles with your hands.
- Now, so you target your outer quads more, place your feet slightly lower than the normal position you would take. A narrower stance can help too.
- As you inhale, engage your core and start to bend your knees. Carry out a squat movement and try to get your thighs parallel to the ground.
- Stand up with an explosive, yet smooth movement.
- Repeat for your desired repetitions.
There you have it, 6 of the best outer quad exercises for muscle gain or fat loss. The exercises we’ve looked at are the best exercises you can perform if you want to specifically target your outer quads.
Some exercises are easier than others but with hard work and determination, you should be able to increase muscle size and decrease fat percentage.
Now you have these exercises at your disposal, we recommend including them in your leg day workout routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
The outer quad muscle, also known by the name vastus lateralis, is one of the four quadricep muscles.
The outer quad muscle sits at the front of your thigh and is responsible for stabilizing your kneecap and thigh when you move. Every time you walk or run, your outer quad muscles move.
Depending on your goals and targets, you should train your legs 2 to 3 times a week. Each leg day session should last at least 20 to 30 minutes.