10 Quad Exercises for Bigger, More Muscular Legs
If you’ve stumbled across this article and you skip leg day, now is the time to leave. That is, unless, you’re really trying to build some massive quads.
If you want to build some quads that make it hard to find a fitting pair of jeans, you need to perform exercises that are effective, target your quads, and of course, build leg strength.
Related - The 45-Minute Leg Workout
The road to big quads isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Taking a dump is all fine and dandy until you hit leg day. Then it’s like you are hobbling around trying to not die from what feels like knives in your legs. But don’t worry, I’ll give you a few recovery tips to help you get through the delayed muscle soreness quicker.
Below is a list of 10 quad exercises that are great — each exercise will be broken down to what it is, how to do it, and how you should program it.
Quad Exercises You Should Try
#1 – Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat is a great exercise to engage one leg at a time.
Place one leg on the bench behind you and lunge down with your front leg. Maintain constant tension on your legs and slightly lean forward to engage your quads. Allow your knee to nearly touch the floor and do not worry about using weight — your grip could be a limiting factor.
Do two sets of 20 reps per leg, with about 60 seconds of rest between sets.
#2 – Bodyweight Squats
Bodyweight squats can be done anywhere, so these are a great choice for those just starting out.
You can hold onto something if you need to, but get into a squat stance and start doing squats. Keep your chest up and push weight through your heels. Explode up every movement.
Do four sets of 15 to 20 reps with 60 seconds between each set.
#3 – Front Squats
There’s no real need to go heavy on front squats since it’s a compound movement. This exercise can be difficult to get a proper form, so be sure to use just the bar until you are used to the movement.
Keep a tight core, your shoulder back, and your chest up. Maintaining the most upright position while you perform this exercise is important.
Do three sets of 12 reps with a 60-second rest between sets.
#4 – Goblet Squats
Goblet squats are one of my favorite leg exercises. Grab a dumbbell or a plate, hold it around your chest and start doing deep squats.
For me, I really like the way the weight balances me out — bodyweight squats are hard for me to have great form, but goblet squats are easy.
Perform three sets of 15 reps with about 60 seconds of rest between sets.
#5 – Barbell Back Squats
If I had to choose one exercise to build bigger quads, I would pick barbell back squats. When performed properly, back squats are one of the most effective at putting mass on your entire body. Performing heavy back squats places a heavy strain on your nervous and muscular system — eliciting a huge growth response.
Perform four sets of 12 reps with three to five minutes rest between sets. Pick a weight that challenges you, but isn’t too heavy that you have to sacrifice form.
#6 – Wall Sits
Back in the day, our middle school gym teacher thought that wall sits were a great punishment. Well, 22 years later (something like that), I can squat 550 pounds… so thanks I guess?
Anyways, find a sturdy wall and get into a sitting position. Keep your thighs parallel to the floor and hold this position. The constant tension you are placing on your quads will make them burn, but don’t give up.
You can perform three sets of as long as you can hold and rest for 90 seconds between sets. You could do these daily or part of your warm-up routine.
#7 – Walking Lunges
Walking lunges are fun because they can be done anywhere.
If you’ve never done a lunge, it’s basically taking a wider step and you lunge forward — touching your knee to the ground. Push forward and use the leg that is forward to step out of the lunge.
Do four sets of 20 reps and give yourself 60 seconds between sets.
#8 – Leg Press
Performing the leg press with a full range of motion can do wonders for your quads. Stacking plates on there and performing quarter reps won’t cut it.
Place your feet a little higher on the platform — this will put a little more emphasis on your quads.
There are a few options for sets and reps, which I recommend implementing both. One is for strength and one is for hypertrophy.
For strength gains, perform four sets of eight with 90 seconds of rest between sets. For hypertrophy, perform four sets of 15 with 90 seconds of rest between your sets.
#9 – Sprints
Being able to use your body weight to perform an exercise is awesome. Sprints are a great exercise that can help more than just your quads. Sprints improve your cardiovascular health, they teach you how to produce power, and they will help you burn fat.
Since sprinting is an all-out exercise, but try to perform five sprints in a 10-minute walking period. So walk at a normal pace, but be sure to break out into an all-out sprint for as long as you can five times throughout your walk.
#10 – Leg Extensions
Leg extensions are a great isolation exercise that will burn those quads up. Make sure to play around with the machines and get the right settings — it needs to be set properly otherwise you’re going to get hurt or you will have ineffective workouts.
Pick a weight that you can get a quality contraction. It’s not that hard to max the machine out, but it is hard to get quality reps doing that.
Perform five sets of 15 with 45 seconds of rest in between.