Now that we understand what it takes at a physiologic level to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, let’s get into the physical exercises to make it happen! Below you will find some of our favorite isolated and compound movements that target the quads like no other. More importantly, we will break down how you can basically make any exercise target the quads more!
Already have these exercises mastered? Be sure to check out 5 more surprising exercises for quad growth.
*A rule of thumb – for all of the movements work within a rep range from 6-15, lower reps will yield more strength gains, but higher rep schemes will cause more muscle fatigue. THE GOAL should be to move with intention, maintain tension the entire time, and make your quads burn. We would recommend the lower rep scheme with the weighted exercises if desired.
1. Heavy Goblet Squats
Goblet squats are an excellent lower body compound movement. They’re great for muscle hypertrophy and quad gains because the way the exercise is designed is self-limiting. It is challenging for most people to hold a weight at their chest that would limit them to only 5-6 repetitions. To really hit the quads, focus on keeping your chest up and letting your knees travel forward over your toes.
*Yes, it is OK for the knees to travel over the toes. As the knee and shin move forward over the foot, this increases the demand on the knee joint, making the quadriceps work harder! With proper training volume and good form otherwise, this is totally fine and good for quad gains!
Knee shielding is common when dealing with anterior (front) knee pain, a recent or on-going knee injury, or recent surgery. The tendency is to ‘block’ letting the knee and shin move forward, and to compensate by leaning forward and bending at the hip to push the butt back. For quad gainz, this is less than optimal. Below we will share some tips and tricks to avoid knee shielding, in fact we will be promoting the knees moving forward over the toes!
2. Barbell Front Squats
Similar to heavy goblet squats, barbell front squats are another great lower body compound movement. Holding a barbell in front of you requires you to keep your chest up. In order to keep your chest up, you can’t hinge at your hips too much, you have to let your knees travel forward over your feet. Tempo front squats are a mean quad burner!
3. Barbell Split Squats
Split Squats are another legit lower body compound movement as it favors one leg but isn’t a true single leg exercise. This allows you to load up the movement more than you would likely be able to with for instance a single leg squat, plus you get help with balance from the other leg. Think about having at least 90% of your weight on the front leg to really work that quad.
4. Dumbbell Split Squats
A nice alternative to the barbell split squat movement. I like this variation as it is easier to keep your chest up without a barbell on your back. By now you should know if your chest is up, the more likely you’re going to allow your knees to move over your feet and toes, meaning your quads are going to work harder and get more gainz!
5. Knee Extensions
Probably the best isolated quad exercise out there. Talk about maximal mechanical tension and muscle fiber recruitment. You can really load up knee extensions, focus on slowly lowering the resistance, and kick up as hard as you can. Try out tempo knee extensions (5310), meaning 5 second lowering phase, 3 second hold at the bottom on tension, 1 second kick-up, 0 second pause at the top. Demonstrated in the video are leg extensions with Blood Flow Restriction (BFR), a way to augment muscle hypertrophy with little training volume by occluding blood flow to ramp up fatigue very quickly!
Hope you enjoyed learning some of our favorite exercises for quad gainz! Stay tuned for our next article as will be covering five more exercises for quad growth. They are less common in conventional gym settings, but surprisingly get the job done!
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙧𝙚𝙝𝙖𝙗 𝙂𝙪𝙮𝙨 𝙞𝙨 𝙖𝙣 𝙚𝙙𝙪𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝𝙚𝙨 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙤𝙡 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙡𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙤𝙣𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙥𝙝𝙮𝙨𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙮.