Anatomy & Physiology – Meet your quadriceps

Legs. Sexy legs. Strong legs. Curvy legs.
Yeah yeah.
All that aside…your quadriceps femoris is a large muscle group comprised of FOUR muscles that run the front of the thigh.


First, when you’re here and we’re telling you “Fire this off! Contract that!” it kinda helps to know what the bleeding hell it is we’re talking about, right?

Rectus femoris occupies the middle of the thigh, covering most of the other three quadriceps muscles. It originates on the ilium. It is named from its straight course. That’s the big chunk of muscle that you feel the most after a solid day of wallballs and squat cleans. 😀 There are three more though…and they’re just as important and will feel just as tender.
o Vastus lateralis is on the lateral side of the femur (i.e. on the outer side of the thigh).
o Vastus medialis is on the medial side of the femur (i.e. on the inner part thigh).
o Vastus intermedius lies between vastus lateralis and vastus medialis on the front of the femur (i.e. on the top or front of the thigh), but deep to the rectus femoris.
All four parts of the quadriceps muscle attach to the patella via your quadriceps tendon. That’s the part on top of your knee that will feel particularly tweaky after a round of poorly executed squats.

Your quads are used in pretty much all of your movements – as you’ve noted in eloquently vulgar language directed at yours truly after a particularly grueling day of squats and medicine ball cleans. Walking, running, jumping, sitting, standing, it’s all there.

Note though – the Rectus Femoris is the one that is also a very powerful hip flexor…because it’s the one that attaches to your ilium. This is ESPECIALLY important as you pull yourself down into your squats (by contracting that hip) and as you fire off your quads when you do GHD situps.

Because of their size and frequency of use, you’ll feel them if you’ve overworked the quads. Lactic acid is NOT a good friend of the front of your thighs.

As you come in and continue your training, your quads are going to get stronger (this is a good thing), and probably more than a little larger. This is fantastic because – to lift heavy you gotta have the muscle to do it.

Now, when you hear us talking about contractions and firing off…at least in your legs…you know what we’re looking for!

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One Response to “Anatomy & Physiology – Meet your quadriceps”

  1. Renee Wiggins Says:

    Wow! These entries are very interesting.

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