What’s Underneath… Quadriceps Muscles

My previous post in the What’s Underneath series explored the posterior group of the thigh muscles – the hamstring group – which we saw as an overall important group for flexing the knee and extending the thigh at the hip joint. The next group I am going to write about it the quadriceps femoris muscle group (quadriceps for short) which essentially works in an opposing way to the previous; by extending the knee and flexing the thigh at the hip joint. Four individual muscles – three vastus muscles and the rectus femoris – constitute the quadriceps femoris group.

Image taken from teachmeanatomy.com

The main bulk at the front of the thigh is made up by these muscles, and they come together to act as the strongest muscle group in the body. These muscles allow us to carry out functions such as running, walking, jumping and squatting. They also join together as ligaments that stabilise and protect our knee joints. Therefore, taking care of your quadriceps muscles is imperative to protecting your knees. A warm up idea for beginning a quadriceps workout is to spend five-ten minutes on a stationary bike; beginning slowly and steadily increasing the power and speed.

Quadriceps Femoris group

Vastus Lateralis

As the name suggests, this muscle is found at the anterolateral region of the thigh and begins at the top of the femur, making its way to the proximal knee where it unites with the other muscles into the quadriceps tendon, attaching to the patella of the knee. It works to extend the knee joint and stabilise the patella bone of the knee joint.

Vastus Intermedius

This muscle is located between the vastus medialis and lateralis. It originates from the anterolateral surfaces of the femoral shaft and also makes its way downward to unite at the quadriceps tendon. This muscle also functions to extend the knee joint and stabilise the patella.

Vastus Medialis

The vastus medialis is found anteromedially and originates at the top of the femur, eventually uniting distally at the quadriceps tendon. This muscle also extends the knee joint and stabilises the patella.

Rectus Femoris

This muscle originates from the ilium of the femur, just above the acetabulum where the head of the femur inserts. It runs straight down the femur (rectus being Latin for straight) and also unites with the other muscles as the quadriceps tendon. As the only muscle that crosses both the hip and knee joints, it flexes the thigh at the hip joint, and extends the knee at the knee joint.

Some of my top quadriceps femoris exercises are included in this great video from V Shred. He also expands on the anatomy of this muscle group as explained above:


Teachmeanatomy.info. (2019). Muscles of the Anterior Thigh – Quadriceps – TeachMeAnatomy. [online] Available at: https://teachmeanatomy.info/lower-limb/muscles/thigh/anterior-compartment/ [Accessed 7 Aug. 2019].


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