The true mark of a bodybuilding champion is the thickness of their back and the size of their legs. Everyone hits the glamor muscles as if they were getting out of style wanting a big chest and huge arms, but that is not all that matters. You want your wheels to grow. Everyone has heard the old mantra of “Never Skip Leg Day.”
Love it or hate it, you have to respect leg day and the pain that it brings. If you can walk up the stairs after leg day, you are probably doing it all wrong. And if you want monster quads, you had better be doing it right. Quad exercises can easily be adjusted to target a specific head of the quadriceps by simply altering foot placement or squat depth.
Speaking of the squat, this compound exercise is one of the most important quad exercises out there. Most leg workouts start with the barbell squats for a reason. While not specifically targeting the quads, the squat is a great overall leg mass builder.
Playing With Squat Rep Counts
One way to add some serious mass to your quads is to pyramid the weight to low-rep sets going as low as 6 reps per set. You will increase your overall strength while adding mass. Just play it safe and use a spotten when necessary.
Machine Hack Squat Tips For Building Massive Quads
Machine hack squats are a great quad exercise, but your foot placement can recruit the quads even better. Keep your heels down during hack squats and keep your feet low to reduce knee flexion/extension. If you deal with knee pain, simply avoid this technique as it puts too much stress on the knees.
Never Forget Front Squats
Front squats are wonderful exercises that target the quads so well. Do not think that you do not need to perform front squats if you are already doing barbell squats. Front squats are amazing and need to be done weekly.
Leg Press Your Way to Success
The leg press is another favorite of mine simply because you feel like a beast and there are so many variations to target specific heads of the quads. As with the hack squat, keep your feet low on the sled to recruit the quads even more. Keep your feet closer together to target the outer quads and use a wide stance to work the inner quads. I like to start with the close-stance leg press and then hit the wide stance. Do 4-5 working sets of each of these after your squats and you will feel nice.
Close Out By Isolation
After hitting all of my compound movements, I then like to move into the isolation exercises to annihilate any muscle fibers left intact. The greatest of all quad isolation exercises is the leg extension. Since leg extensions are single joint movements, you do not use the hamstrings or glutes to help lift the weight. This is all quad work.
Not only do I love the leg extension, I love the single leg extension even more. This exercise is highly acclaimed by the legend Frank Zane who knew a little something about training legs. He performed the single leg extension to close out his quads in excellent fashion. He would only perform the top half of the exercise with each leg. I like to alternate between legs with no break, so pick a nice weight that you can swing up with force for about 15 reps because you will only be able to do 8 or do on your last set. I like to do 4-5 sets per leg and then crawl to the kitchen for my post-workout shake.
I Am So Pre-exhausted
An alternate method to annihilating your quads is to pre-exhaust them by performing your isolation exercises first. I especially love to do leg extensions supersetted with barbell squats, or even quick barbell squats. The faster speed switches things up a little.
Reversing the order of exercises will provide an insane pump. Your squats will hit your hamstrings and glutes more because they are still fresh, but the extra work on the quads will burn your muscles thoroughly.
Push Past Failure
We love to train to failure, but sometimes that is just not enough, so we need to push the envelope even further by pushing past failure by utilizing techniques such as forced reps, drop sets and supersets.
Forced reps are performed by using your training partner to help lift the weight after your reach total failure. With their help, you are able to do a few more reps.
Drop sets are done by reaching total failure and then dropping the weight to do more reps and then dropping again and again and again. Typically, you would drop the weight 2-3 times, but you can go as low as you want (within reason).
Supersets are doing multiple exercises back to back with no rest between movements. Your rest period comes when all exercises are done.