6 Best Resistance Band Quad Exercises: For Huge Legs

published by: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
October 25, 2022

The quadriceps femoris muscle assists in maintaining posture when standing and stabilizes the kneecap in static and dynamic activities. Because they are utilized in most daily functions, they are vulnerable to damage due to wear and tear. 

Strengthening the quads is one of the greatest strategies to prevent harm to the quadriceps is to make sure they are capable of withstanding any daily challenges. Quadriceps strengthening with resistance bands is possible through the modification of exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and leg extensions, among others.

Quadriceps Femoris: Anatomy and Function

The quadriceps femoris muscle is one of the largest and most powerful muscles in the human body. It forms the front of the thighs together with the sartorius. It is made up of four separate muscles, which are the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius.

quadricep muscles

Of these four muscles, only the rectus femoris work on both the hip and knee joints to flex and extend respectively. Originating from different points of the femur and pelvis, these muscles share a common insertion into the quadriceps tendon which then inserts into the base of the patella.

Benefits of Training the Quads

The four muscles that make up the quadriceps femoris muscle are the primary movers in knee extension. The rectus femoris also contributes to hip flexion. Strengthening the quads then aids in functional movements such as walking, running, jumping, and other activities of daily living that require force production in the lower extremities.

How to Strengthen the Quads

Incorporating quadriceps strengthening exercises into one’s workout program can help develop stronger, bigger quads. Simple, bodyweight exercises designed to target the quads may be sufficient for beginners but progressive overload is a requirement to influence hypertrophy and increase muscle strength.

Progressive overload is what is required to gradually push a muscle to strengthen it. Exercise progression is usually achieved by increasing the weight lifted whether on a machine or with the use of free weights.

Using resistance bands in this regard is beneficial as it not only provides additional external resistance; they provide constant tension throughout the range of motion and do not rely on gravity to challenge the target muscles.

Resistance Band Exercises to Strengthen the Quads

1. Resistance Band Squats

Resistance band squats are a great way to strengthen the legs while doing a little cardio. The first thing to do is to choose an appropriate color of the resistance band depending on the resistance that the individual finds manageable. 

resistance band squat

To perform squats with a resistance band, start with feet shoulder-width apart, knees bent, and toes pointed forward. The band is placed under the feet and the other end is pulled up by the hands at shoulder height level. Keep the core tight and back straight, and slowly squat down by bending at the hips and knees until a full squat is achieved.

To finish one repetition, slowly stand up again by extending the knees and hips and returning to the starting position. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a set. 

2. Resistance Band Deadlifts

Lack of weight equipment will not hinder an individual in performing deadlifts as long as a resistance band is available to use. Deadlifts, with the help of a resistance band, are capable of offering similar benefits as a traditional deadlift in the comfort of an individual’s home. 

resistance band deadlift

To perform, stand with feet at hip-width apart while stepping on a long resistance band. Use the hands to grab on both ends of the resistance band by slightly bending the knees and hinging the hips. Keep the core engaged and the back straight even while reaching down to grab on the band. Let the hip do most of the work to pull the resistance band upward by pushing the hips forward to make the body erect. 

Slowly bend the torso again by hinging at the hips and slightly bending the knees to return to the starting position. All movements must be performed in a controlled manner to get the most out of the exercise. Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps to complete a single set.

3. Banded Kneeling Leg Extension

The kneeling leg extension is a bodyweight activity that is a variation of the typical knee extension exercise which is usually done with a machine to target the quadriceps femoris muscle. The use of a resistance band for this exercise is for progression when the workout becomes too easy.

Tie one end of a resistance band on a pole or any stable object such as a machine. The other end of the band must be looped on the hips facing opposite the other end, where the pull must be felt at the front of the hips. Assume starting position by kneeling with the knees hip-distance apart, keeping the body tall, the core and legs engaged, and the hands on the hips.

Maintaining the back in neutral extension and hips extended, progressively tilt the body back until the buttocks are a few inches away from the heels. Return to the starting position by engaging the quads and extending at the knees. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions until a set is completed.

4. Resistance Band Seated Leg Extensions

Banded seated leg extensions require the leg to be extended at the knee joint unilaterally to avoid muscle imbalance. The performance of this exercise requires only two things: a chair and a resistance band. 

resistance band seated leg extension

To perform, sit on a chair, then tie one end of the band on one of the chair’s legs while the other end is looped around one foot. Maintain proper sitting posture, keeping the back in neutral extension at all times. Straighten the knee until it is fully extended, then in a controlled manner, slowly lower it back to return to starting position. 

Repeat this motion for the desired number of reps, then do the same motion for the other leg by transferring the resistance band to the opposite leg of the chair and foot as well. 

5. Resistance Band Jump Squats

Resistance band jump squats are a great way to help an individual train more explosively, improve athletic performance, increase speed, and increase vertical jump. This exercise is best when using a 41-inch resistance band. 

resistance band jump squats

Performing this exercise requires two 41-inch resistance bands to be used. The bands will be crisscrossed around the individual’s shoulders and stepped on by each foot. Get into position by standing with the feet shoulder-width apart. Keep the core engaged and the back straight before getting into a squat position by bending the knees and hips.

While descending to a squat, throw the hands back. Jump up explosively, and at the same time, propel the arms forward and upward to create momentum. As soon as the individual lands on the floor, the squat position is retained to perform a jump again.

6. Resistance Band Leg Press

Resistance band leg press is a great way to work the quads, but not only does this target the quads this exercise also works the entire leg muscles such as the hamstrings, glutes, and even calves. The exercise can be done in a unilateral fashion or bilaterally. 

resistance band leg press

Lie down on the floor or a soft yoga mat. Grab a resistance band with both hands at each end of the band. Bend the knees so that the thighs are at a 90-degree angle against the body. 

Place the resistance band beneath the feet and then pull it with the hands by bending the elbows until it touches the individual’s chest while maintaining the angle of the thighs to the body. Fully straighten the legs and hips by pushing on the resistance band forward. Slowly return to the starting position by bending the knees and hips again in a controlled manner. 

Disadvantages of Using Resistance Bands

Resistance bands have a lifetime; for physical therapy use, it is recommended to replace the bands every 1-2 months, but for personal use, they can last anywhere from 6 to 10 months. This is because resistance bands can break due to normal wear and tear from use.

The quality of the band determines its lifespan. Depending on the quality, bands can break mid-activity and may cause injury when the band snaps. It may rebound and hit the eyes or cause sudden movements that would bring about injuries such as sprains and strains.

Furthermore, it is particularly difficult to quantify gains when using resistance bands. Resistance bands are color-coded according to the amount of resistance they provide; for example, the yellow resistance band provides the lightest resistance, while the blue resistance band provides heavy resistance.

It is difficult to determine the exact resistance that the band provides for the individual because the tension of the band may increase when stretched to a certain point during the exercise.

Final Thoughts

Resistance bands are excellent alternatives to free weights when looking to strengthen the quads. Although there are limitations in terms of the amount of opposite force it provides, performing quad exercises with bands adds variation to the workout routine. They may not significantly help with developing massive quads, but they are efficient tools for strengthening.

References

1. Gooyers CE, Beach TAC, Frost DM, Callaghan JP. The influence of resistance bands on frontal plane knee mechanics during body-weight squat and vertical jump movements. Sports Biomechanics. 2012;11(3):391-401. doi:10.1080/14763141.2012.654503

‌2. Nyberg A, Hedlund M, Kolberg A, Alm L, Lindström B, Wadell K. The accuracy of using elastic resistance bands to evaluate muscular strength. European Journal of Physiotherapy. 2014;16(2):104-112. doi:10.3109/21679169.2014.889746

3. Gullett JC, Tillman MD, Gutierrez GM, Chow JW. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):284-92. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31818546bb. PMID: 19002072. 

4. Cormie P, McCaulley GO, McBride JM. Power versus strength-power jump squat training: influence on the load-power relationship. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Jun;39(6):996-1003. doi: 10.1097/mss.0b013e3180408e0c. PMID: 17545891.

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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