When you pull on your swim trunks this summer—or next week in Cabo—will your thighs be easy on her eyes? Even more important: is quadriceps strength, which is critical for knee health, squatting, running, and jumping. The three moves below will take you from Chicken Legs to Quadzilla.
Barbell front squat
Squatting with the weight in front provides a counterbalance that helps you keep your trunk upright, shifting the load onto your quads. Go harder: Elevate your heels by wearing Olympic lifting shoes or by placing them on weight plates. Do 5 sets of 5 with a weight that allows you to maintain good form.
Leg Extension Machine
These zeros in on your quads by preventing other muscles from helping. Your quads will be under max metabolic stress to ignite growth. Do 3 sets of 8 to 12 reps, pausing for 2 seconds at the top of the move and taking 3 seconds to lower the weight. No machine? Do 5 sets of 60-second walls sit?
Body Weight Lunge
This classic move forces the entire muscle to work to maintain your balance. Do it regularly and your quads will explode. The best way: End your workout with 5 to 10 minutes of nonstop walking lunges in an open space or on a treadmill set at a 1 per cent incline and a speed of 1 mph.