The Best Workout for Quads and Hamstrings

Struggling to find the perfect workout for your quads and hamstrings? You’re not alone! This article will provide you with the most effective exercises and tips to help you maximize your workout results. Get ready to challenge your muscles and take your strength to the next level.

Quick facts: Best Workout For Quads And Hamstrings

  • ✅ Squats and lunges are the two best exercises for building quadriceps and hamstring muscles, according to ACE Fitness.
  • ✅ Heavy compound movements such as squats and deadlifts are the most effective exercises for working both the quads and hamstrings, according to Muscle & Fitness.
  • ✅ To get maximum benefits, you should perform 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
  • ✅ Adding weight to the exercises is recommended, as this increases the intensity of the workout, according to the American Council on Exercise.
  • ✅ Adding plyometric exercises like box jumps and split jumps can also help to build strength and power in the quads and hamstrings, according to Stack.


Warming up is an essential element to any workout. Not only does a warm up help to reduce the risk of injury, it can also help to increase your range of motion and flexibility. Therefore, it is important to include a warmup as part of your quad and hamstring workout.

Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises to incorporate into your warmup:

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is an effective warm-up technique that helps to prepare the body for exercise. It works by improving mobility and flexibility, as well as helping to reduce muscular tightness and pain.

Foam rolling helps to target the quads and hamstrings by applying pressure on the muscle groups, which helps to break down knots, adhesions, and scar tissue that forms due to overuse or lack of stretching.

Foam rolling can also be used prior to a workout routine as it increases blood flow to the muscles, allowing them to warm up quicker and more efficiently before exercise. Additionally, foam rolling may help with post-exercise recovery by loosening up stiff muscles so they are less likely to become sore.

All in all, foam rolling is an effective method of warming-up before exercising your quads and hamstrings.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching, also known as active stretching, is an effective way to warm up your muscles and prepare them for your workout. When performing dynamic stretches, the motions are slow and controlled. It’s important to stretch all major muscle groups—including your quads and hamstrings—as part of a comprehensive warm-up. Dynamic stretches are meant to increase blood flow to your muscles and can be done each time you exercise.

Some examples of dynamic stretches that work your quads and hamstrings include:

  • Walking lunges
  • Leg swings (forward/backward and side-to-side)
  • Lateral leg extensions
  • Backward/forward leg extensions
  • Fire hydrants

During a dynamic stretch like the walking lunge, you should move slowly with control through each step, allowing yourself to stretch into the movements as much as you need or can handle. The idea is to loosen up your muscles by doing constantly changing stretches in order for them to be ready for a challenging workout regimen.

Quadriceps Exercises

Quadriceps exercises are a great way to strengthen and tone the muscles of the quadriceps. Strengthening the quads can help you improve your overall leg strength and power, as well as reduce your risk of injury.

The following exercises can help you target the quads and build strength in that area. Let’s get into the details:

  • Exercise 1
  • Exercise 2
  • Exercise 3
  • Exercise 4


Squats are a classic exercise for the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles, as they target both muscle groups. Squats can be done either using bodyweight or with an added weight, such as a barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell or medicine ball.

To perform a classic squat, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly. Make sure your core is engaged and your chest is up. Keeping your back straight and weight in your heels, bend your knees until they are at a 90-degree angle (knees above ankles), then press into the floor to return to standing position.

Squats can also be done with one leg at a time (one-legged squats) or from an elevated platform (box squats). Variations of this fundamental movement will help strengthen and tone the quadriceps and hamstrings muscles.

Leg Press

The Leg Press is a great quadriceps exercise, and it also works the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. It’s a compound exercise that uses the weight of your own body to push or pull against.

To do this exercise correctly, sit in the machine with your back flat against the pad. Make sure there is no arching of the back during this exercise—this can cause injury. Put your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push up slowly with your legs until you’re back in the starting position.

Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions for best results.

Lunge Variations

Lunge variations are an excellent way to target both the quads and hamstrings, and they also increase overall stability. To perform a basic lunge, start in a standing position with feet slightly wider than hip width apart. Step one leg forward so that your knee is bent at 90 degrees. As you step forward, your back knee should almost touch the ground in the lower portion of the lunge. Push through your heel on your front foot to return to the starting position.

Some variations on lunges include:

  • Walking lunges
  • Backward lunges (also known as reverse lunges)
  • Lateral lunges
  • Curtsy lunges
  • Side-to-side jumps with a lunge finish (a plyometric exercise)
  • Even split squats – which are like a combination of squats and lunges.

All of these exercises will help strengthen and tone both quads and hamstrings while improving balance and stability.


Step-ups are an effective exercise that can be done with a variety of pieces of equipment and at different levels of intensity. They work both the quadriceps and hamstrings, making them an ideal exercise for strength building.

To do a step-up, place one foot on a platform (bench, box, stair) slightly higher than the opposite foot. You should be in a standing position with your eyes looking forward and your torso erect. Keeping your chest high and core tight, slowly lower yourself down until both legs are parallel to the ground. Pause momentarily before pushing back up with both feet until you’re standing tall once again.

As you progress, increase the resistance or enjoy by alternating which foot is stepping up first each time!

Hamstring Exercises

Working out your hamstrings is essential for overall leg strength and injury prevention. Not only will it give you a balanced physique, but it can also help improve your running speed, jump higher and reduce the risk of lower back pain.

Let’s explore the best hamstring exercises out there:

Romanian Deadlifts

Romanian Deadlifts, also known as RDLs, are a popular hamstring exercise and an essential part of any lower body workout. The Romanian deadlift works the hamstrings – a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thighs – while also incorporating your glutes and core. RDLs can be performed with either barbells or dumbbells.

To perform them, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar or dumbbells with an overhand grip and palms facing downward. Bend forward from the hips, keeping your back straight and legs slightly bent until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Inhale as you lower yourself down, then exhale as you raise yourself back up to the starting position. Doing multiple sets of these can help build strong hamstrings for improved power when running or jumping.

Glute-Ham Raises

Glute-Ham Raises are a great way to simultaneously work your hamstrings and quads. This dynamic move, also referred to as a GHR, targets both muscle groups through an eccentric (lowering phase) and concentric (lifting phase) contraction.

You’ll begin this exercise in a kneeling position with your back against the pad of a glute-ham bench. When ready, you’ll bring your legs forward, maintaining control of the motion on the way down to the floor. You’ll then slowly return back to the starting position using your hamstrings and glutes as resistance. The amount of weight used will determine how difficult this exercise will be—the more weight you use; the harder it is!

Glute-Ham Raises are a great hamstring exercise since they target both muscle groups of the lower leg at once plus help build power, agility, and stability.

Good Mornings

Good Mornings are a compound strength exercise targeting the glutes and hamstring muscles. This exercise is great for those who want to develop lower body strength, as well as increase their squatting and deadlifting performance. Additionally, Good Mornings also help with developing core stability due to its posterior chain involvement.

When performing Good Mornings, begin standing with your feet hip-width apart and holding a barbell across your shoulders (or holding on to kettlebells). Inhale as you hinge forward from the hips until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Exhale as you return to standing making sure not to round your back or arch your lower back throughout the movement. The range of motion should be limited so that you maintain tension in the hamstrings throughout.

Leg Curls

Leg curls are an important exercise for strengthening and toning the hamstrings. Working the hamstring muscles helps to better balance the quads and reduce the likelihood of injuries.

Leg curls can be performed using various pieces of gym equipment, such as a single-leg curl machine, a Swiss ball, free weights, or even by simply lying on your stomach and curling one leg up at a time with resistance bands.

It is important to keep in mind that form is very important in doing leg curls correctly since it helps ensure proper muscular development of the hamstrings. Start by doing two sets of 8-10 repetitions with light weight and increase as you become more comfortable with the exercise.


Cooling down after an intense workout is an important part of any exercise routine. It helps to improve blood circulation, reduce muscle fatigue, and reduce the risk of injury. A proper cool down for your quads and hamstrings should also include stretching and foam rolling.

Let’s take a look at some of the best cool-down exercises for quads and hamstrings:

Static Stretching

Static stretching is a type of exercise that involves the gradual lengthening of a muscle group to its maximum length followed by periods of holding that position. This type of stretching is best used after workouts, when the muscles are already warm from being used during an activity. Static stretches can target either individual muscle or multiple muscle groups at once, allowing you to focus on specific areas.

Commonly used static stretches for quads and hamstrings include the standing quad stretch and standing hamstring stretch, both of which involve standing upright and holding onto a stationary object, such as a wall or table, while gradually increasing the stretch in the desired area. Static stretching is thought to increase overall flexibility by slowly lengthening muscles over time. Therefore, it is important to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to ensure optimal results.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is one of the most popular forms of cool-down exercises for athletes and gym enthusiasts. It provides an effective and convenient way to target both quads and hamstrings in order to warm down after a workout.

Foam rolling utilizes a cylinder-shaped foam roller which is rolled over the targeted muscle group for improved mobility, flexibility, removal of adhesions or ‘knots’ within the muscle fibers, as well improved blood circulation. It can also be beneficial in reducing post-workout soreness.

When performing foam rolling, it’s best to roll slowly across each targeted muscle group for roughly 30 seconds up to 1 minute at a time. Foam rolling can be used before and/or after a workout depending on the individual’s intended goals and preferences.

FAQs about: Best Workout For Quads And Hamstrings

Q1: What is the best workout for quads and hamstrings?

A1: Squats, lunges, and leg press are three of the best exercises for strengthening the quads and hamstrings. Additionally, deadlifts and stiff-legged deadlifts can also be effective.

Q2: How often should I do exercises for quads and hamstrings?

A2: You should target your quads and hamstrings at least twice a week, with at least 48 hours of rest in between workouts.

Q3: Are there any other exercises that I should include in my workout?

A3: Yes, you could also include exercises such as calf raises, leg extensions, and leg curls in your workout in order to further strengthen your quads and hamstrings.

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