Building Quad Muscles After Knee Surgery

Building Quad Muscles After Knee Surgery

Building quad muscles after knee surgery is something that I know all too well. I tore my quad while hiking in California in 2012, and it sucked. In this article, I am going to talk about the things that helped me get back to normal and build solid quads.

Building muscle is something that we need to give time in order to develop. This truth especially comes apparent when we are talking about coming off of a knee surgery.

After tearing my quad, I was angry. I couldn’t do any of the things that I like to do. I couldn’t workout, I couldn’t surf, I couldn’t ride my bike, etc… This is ultimately what triggered my obsession with muscle building.

I had a lot of time to research and understand how and why muscles develop. Ultimately, this helped me build a lot of muscle, not just in my quads.

Building quad muscles after knee surgery is a challenge that will permeate throughout your whole body. You are not just going to build leg muscles. You are going to get in shape.

For help through this whole journey, I recommend downloading our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have FREE workouts plans. And you can even create your own custom workout plan for quad muscles.

Before you even get started building quad muscles

It is important that we talk about this because I don’t want to be blamed for knee damage. Only workout if you have been cleared by your doctor. Even then, you need to start off small. And you shouldn’t be going too hard until months after you start working out again.

With that being said, you have to start somewhere. When I first started back working out after a quad tear, the first exercise that I did was squats. For the first week, it was bodyweight only. Then the next week it was with the bar only. Only then did I start adding weights.

It is also important to temper your expectations. Building quad muscles after knee surgery is no easy feat. And it comes with a long list of excuses that you can use to get out of going to the gym.

If you are a beginner to working out, I recommend reading our article realistic fitness goals for beginners. A lot is possible when you workout consistently, but you must have the right mindset going into it if you want to be successful.

Doing the right exercises to build quad muscles

I am going to repeat this because I need you to hear it. Always start off with light weights. If you think that you are going to be a hero and impress someone, you might end up with another knee surgery.

With that being said, there are plenty of exercises that you can do to build up your quad muscles.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I had a lot of time to research muscle development after my quad tear. Historically, I have always had knee problems. When I first started surfing, my knee would pop out of place when I tried standing up on the surfboard.

I ended up counteracting my knee problems by learning how to build muscle around the knee. If you read that article, you will find 5 workouts that will strengthen your knee area. And this will future proof your knees for the better.

But, in this article, I want to give you 3 specific exercises for building quad muscles after knee surgery. If you just do these 3 exercises, you are almost guaranteed to become even stronger in your quads than you were before surgery.

Let me give you the 3 best exercises for building your quad muscles


Squats are the most traditional of all of the quad workouts. But don’t let that distract you from the fact that they might be the best quad exercise that there is.

Remember to start off small. As I mentioned in the first section, I started off with just body weight for squats. Then I worked my way up to just the bar. Only after that, I started adding weights.

If your knees are hurting you while doing these, it is time to drop weight and focus on form. You should be doing these in a controlled manner.

Walking Lunge

As you can see in the video, I am using weights. Don’t let that be an obstacle to you. These can be done with no weights! All you have to do is the lunge and you are good to go.

I recommend doing these slowly so that you can engage your quad muscles. A lot of people will try to do it quickly to avoid the quad engagement. Isn’t that the whole reason that we are here? We want to build up those quads!

Another tip is to not use your body for momentum to swing into each lunge. You are only doing yourself a disservice if you cheat your way through these exercises.

Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are probably my favorite quad workout of all time. It is great to look down and see your quads flexing with each rep. That is one of the key things that you must do. Make sure on each rep, pause for a half second on top, and squeeze those quad muscles.

If you do these correctly, you will be building your quads in no time.

Are you eating enough calories?

You will find that in almost every article I write about building muscle, I talk about calories? Why? Because there is no way that you can build muscle without being in a caloric surplus.

This may be a shock to some people, but you cannot build muscle while in a caloric deficit. Once you understand this basic fact, you will be better off in your muscle building journey.

I had to learn the hard way that I wasn’t eating enough calories to build muscle. In fact, I spent many many years not knowing this. That is why I need to tell you this.

Calculating your maintenance calories should be your number one priority before you get into any muscle building venture. Once you learn your maintenance calories, then you can start to eat at a caloric surplus of 500 calories extra per day.

Make sure to weigh yourself at a consistent time each week. I prefer to weigh myself every Sunday morning, before eating or drinking, and after urinating. This will give you the most accurate number of your current weight.

If you are not gaining at least a half pound per week, that means that you aren’t eating enough calories.

Weight gain is a necessary evil of building muscle. But, if you can find that sweet spot where you are only gaining a half pound a week, the chances of that being majority muscle is fairly high.

Main Point: Building quad muscles after knee surgery

Having knee surgery sucks! But you can recover from it. In fact, you can come out of this better than you were before knee surgery.

Building quad muscles after knee surgery is something that is going to take some time. But if you use the tips and tricks in this article, you will be thrilled with your life.

Remember to take your time. When you are building muscle of any sort, it takes more time than you initially plan for. I thought that I would be able to go from a thin body to a muscular body within 3 months. It took me years to get to where I wanted to go.

This is all part of the process. If you do the 3 exercises that I highlighted above a few times a week, you are bound to grow some solid quads.

Also, we need to remember that you can build your knees and quads to places they never were before. You could in fact make your legs into injury free limbs.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey! Thanks for stopping by.

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