Leg day usually isn't a favorite among bodybuilders out there. It's tough, it's painful, and it takes a lot out of a person. Plus, not everyone is going to see your legs when you are out in public so many people don't bother working them hard. Seeing as how legs aren't extremely popular, some bodybuilders would prefer to go light on these days while telling themselves that they'll go harder the next time. And this is perfectly fine….if you want to be walking around on prison legs.
The rest of us who want legs matching our upper half know that you need to do some serious quad training to properly develop your legs. That being said, here are 10 commandments you should follow in order to build huge quads.
1. Cut down on the Leg Extensions
Leg extension machines are fine for quadriceps development – assuming you're an 80 year-old man. But if you truly want to put size and mass on your legs, you aren't going to do it through a leg extension machine. You are going to accomplish growth by doing various squats and dead lifts. Now this doesn't mean you should totally skip out on leg extensions because they are fine as an end-of-the-workout routine when you're extremely tired. Just don't throw them in the middle of your workout as the "tough part".
2. Use Multiple Squat Stances
One mistake that a lot of bodybuilders make when working the quads is only performing one type of squat stance. Doing one type of squat stance will certainly benefit you over time, but you'll pump up your quadsa lot quicker by using a variety of stances. Make sure to incorporate various stances into your routine such as the wide stance, narrow stance, and shoulder-width stance.
3. Know Your Machines
The leg press and hack squat machines both seem as if they would do the same thing in regards to a squat-like movement. However, both machines actually work the muscles in different ways. The leg press hits the glutes harder because of the deeper knee bends involved, while the hack squat machine works the lower quads much more. This is a prime example of how different leg machines can perform different functions, and how you must know the differences in order to successfully build your quads.
4. Use a Combination of Stiff Leg Dead Lifts and Leg Curls
Those who are lacking hamstring development will definitely benefit from a combination of using stiff leg dead lifts and leg curls. The best way to perform this combo is by doing stiff leg dead lifts with a weight that makes it tough for you to complete 10 reps, and then moving to leg curls to do 10 reps there with little rest in between. If you are able to complete 3 sets of this extremely tough superset, you will know doubt be working your hamstrings harder than ever before.
5. Perform One and a Half Squats
One of the best exercises you can do for bigger quads is one and a half squats. It's pretty easy to perform one and a half squats as you start by doing a normal squat on the way down. The difference is on the way back up where you pause for 3 seconds, before going back down, and coming all the way back up to finish the rep. When doing one and a half squats, make sure to use a lot less weight than what you would use with a normal squat.
6. Skip the Easy Days and Train Hard
As mentioned before, there are plenty of bodybuilders who procrastinate with leg workouts before resigning to going light….all the while vowing to finally lift hard the next time. What happens when you take this approach is that you fall into a cycle of always going light with legs. If you feel as if you're too tired to do legs hard, don't walk through an extremely easy leg workout. Instead, come back to the gym the next day and make legs your first priority.
7. Do Partial Reps
Some people preach against doing partial reps because they think it limits your muscles' movement. And, in all truthfulness, they do limit your muscle's range of motion, but they also allow you to use heavier weights. By adding more weight than you could use to perform a full rep, partial reps enable your body to adapt to more stress. In turn, you'll eventually be able to perform more weight with a full range of motion as your body adjusts.
8. Ease up on Weight Belts and Knee Wraps
Besides looking extremely ridiculous by doing your entire routine with knee wraps and a weight belt on, you are not helping yourself out much either. Sure a weight belt can provide a little extra protection, but it is really more for people who have powerlifting in mind. Likewise, knee wraps provide no real benefit for someone who is lifting for size and definition in their quads. In fact, knee wraps can hurt your bid for bigger quadriceps since they can cause abrasions in between the patella and vastus medialis.
9. Do 20 Reps on Squat
For the most part, doing 20 reps for anything is looked at as an endurance builder or total definition exercise. But with squats, you can actually build up your quads faster by using 20 rep sets to accomplish your goal. The reason you can build a lot of muscle with high rep squats is because your body naturally releases a lot of HGH as you perform these lengthy sets.
10. Perform Static Lunges
The typical lunge is a movement that sees bodybuilders step forward with one leg, and then step back with the same leg into position. But another lunge you can do to add some size to your quads is a static lunge. This works the same as a normal lunge where you step forward but, instead of stepping back, you hold this position while raising up and down. Once you can no longer stand the burn, switch to the other leg and keep doing these static lunges.
By Jeremy Olson