Building a quad-focused exercise routine will require knowing what exercises you’re going to include and how many sets and reps you need to put in. Truth be told, there're a lot of ways to build strong quads. Most bodybuilders, though, fall back on the same handful of quad-focused exercises for good reason – these exercises work.
The important thing is that they work well enough to help even the most dedicated (and definitely not genetically gifted) gym-goer add some serious size to their leg muscles and also make quad-focused leg day more fun.
Best Quad-Focused Exercises
The following five exercises are some of the best quad-focused exercises you can add to your workout routine:
1) Heel-Elevated Back Squat
Add heel-elevated squats to your next quad-focused leg workout. It's one of the best quad-focused exercises. By training with a heel elevation, you can drive the knee further forward, placing more muscular tension on them.
How to do a heel-elevated back squat?
- From a power rack or station, unrack a loaded barbell.
- With the barbell on your upper back, walk backward a few steps, and put your heels on an elevated surface.
- With your chest up, squat down till the bottom of your thighs is parallel to the floor, allowing your knees to move forward freely.
- Drive back up by pushing through your feet.
2) Elevated Dumbbell Split Squat
This compound exercise isolates one quadricep at a time, allowing you to target a potentially lagging quadricep on one side.
That also allows you to drive your working knee further, placing more muscular tension on the quads. Like other quad-focused exercises, this variation can be loaded for more muscular tension.
How to do an elevated dumbbell split squat?
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and take a step forward, placing your front foot on a step or block.
- Keep your chest up and squat till the knee of your back leg is an inch off the floor.
- Return to standing by pushing that foot through the floor.
3) Hack Squat
Hack squats are similar to the back squat, so if you're familiar with that move, you're ahead of the game. Moreover, this machine helps you target your lower body muscles more efficiently by providing support and stability.
How to do a hack squat?
- When you do a front squat, stand on a platform with your feet flat.
- Your torso should be stable and lower back flat on the back pad.
- Keep your shoulders down, head neutral, and abdominals engaged as you lower your body till your thighs are parallel to the foot platform.
- Drive through your heels as you rise to the starting position.
4) Leg Press
The leg press machine is a great quad-focused exercise for building strong and resilient quads.
Foot position, back pad angle, and built-in safety mechanisms are some of the ways the leg press lets you customize your quad-focused exercise training. You can also train with incredibly heavy loads and take reps till failure.
How to do a leg press?
- Stand with your feet on the sled of a leg press machine.
- Depending on your body type and leg length, you may want to adjust your stance so that when you lower the sled towards your chest, the thighs should break 90 degrees.
- Press the sled back up. Do not lock your knees at the top of the movement.
5) Prowler Pull
Prowler sleds are great for adding strength and muscle mass in the legs and glutes, as well as boosting cardiovascular endurance.
You can load up the sled with a weight that's appropriate for your fitness level. You may also load it up with a lighter weight and do more repetitions to train your muscles while working on your conditioning.
How to do a prowler pull?
- Hold onto the handles of a prowler sled loaded with weights in each hand.
- Ensure that you have enough room to pull the sled, and that there's nothing in your way.
- Pull the sled under control, focusing on powerfully contracting your quads as you do so.
If you’re looking to build serious muscle in your lower body, there’s no better place to start than with some seriously powerful quad-focused exercises. Doing quad-focused workouts every week ensures more muscular endurance and bigger quads.
The routine above may not be too long, but it targets the entire lower leg and gets that area nice and strong. These are terrific building blocks for strength training when you’re ready to move on to something a little more intense. In other words, if you want big quads, you might as well start where it all starts — the floor.