How to do surrender exercises for killer quads

There is no lower-body exercise more aptly named than the surrender exercise. Because after just a few reps, you willpower want to leave

Our advice? don’t do

“The surrender exercise is a killer quad exercise that will challenge your lower body strength and mobility,” says Cody Brown, CSCS. “This is a progression of the squat that requires good depth and unilateral leg strength. Because squats can be performed at a constant pace, not only will your legs burn, but you’ll also get some good cardio sweat.”

Surrender Practices: Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands behind head. (Ideally while on an exercise mat or soft ground.)
  • Keeping your back flat and core engaged, push your hips back, bend your knees and get into a squat.
  • Take a step back with your right foot and slowly lower your right knee to the floor. Then do the same with your left knee so that you are in a high knee position.
  • Engage your core as you bring your right leg forward, lifting your right knee and planting it on the floor.
  • Keeping your chest up and your shoulders back while driving through your right foot, lift your left knee and step your left leg forward into a low squat position.
  • From a low squat position, step your left leg back and lower your left knee to the floor. Then do the same with your right knee.
  • Lift your left knee and plant your left foot. Drive through your left heel and step your right leg forward into a low squat.
  • Continue alternating legs, returning to standing position when complete.

Form tip: “When you find yourself on one leg in a squat, you want to control your ascent and descent by resisting the urge to move your body from side to side,” says Brown. “Try to maintain a level at the bottom of your squat with your chest up and hips down.”

How to Facilitate Surrender Exercises

You can ease into surrender exercises, but don’t expect to breeze through your workout. Even modified surrender is difficult.

  • “If getting up and down from the floor bothers your knees, you can hold a deep squat and tap one leg behind you at a time,” says Brown. “This will maintain tension in your legs while saving your knees.”
  • Alternatively, you can start from a high knee position, lift one knee, plant that leg, and return to a knee position. You’ll feel this modified surrender exercise in your core, glutes, legs and hip flexors.
  • And if none of these surrender exercise variations work for you, switch to step-ups. Like squat exercises, step-ups get your heart rate up and engage your core while strengthening the lower body muscles.

What muscles do surrender exercises target?

Don’t be surprised if your legs start shaking after just a few repetitions. Surrenders are designed to work — like, really work — your entire lower body and core


Quadriceps muscle  Anatomy of the thigh

The quadriceps are four muscles on the front of each thigh — rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, and vastus medialis — that collectively straighten the knee.


Anatomy of gluteal muscles  Dumbbell Deadlift

Gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus make up your buttock muscles.

The glute muscles help stabilize the pelvis, extend the hips, rotate the legs, and abduct the legs (lift the legs out to the side).


Hamstrings Muscle Anatomy

These ropey muscles are found on the back of your thigh under your glutes.

Your hamstrings flex your knees and play a role in both hip extension (think: standing) and thigh rotation.

Hip flexors

As the name suggests, hip flexors are a group of muscles that flex your hips (bring your knees toward your chest).

The main hip flexor muscles include the psoas major, iliacus and rectus femoris (one of the four quadriceps muscles).


Your core includes all the muscles that move your trunk and stabilize your spine. T

O rectus abdominis (six pack muscle), transverse abdominis (under your six pack), obliques (making up your six pack muscle), and erector spinae (running alongside your spinal column) are some of your primary core muscles.

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