Ladies, prepare to have the perfect reason to stock up on more leggings. Gentlemen, get ready to ditch your jeans and convert over to nothing but sweatpants and shorts. With the wealth of knowledge you are about to receive, your quads will never be the same again.
As lifters, we all want those luscious leg muscles to pop with in-your-face vascularity and size, especially after a heavy dose of LEG DAY. If this sounds like your cup-of-tea, keep reading. I give to you FIVE exceptional tips to get those quads pumped and primed to stretch your leg attire to its limits.
Scenario: You get to the gym, it is leg day, and you cannot decide where to start. Remember, we are focusing on those beautiful quads, and there is one warm-up I consider to be a bull’s-eye to get things rolling. My absolute favorite piece of cardio equipment: the Stair Stepper. This machine is beautiful. Not only does it get your heart rate up and the sweat rolling, it also activates your quads. This machine simulates a stair case, a never ending stair case. An important part in achieving definition with any muscle is making sure we stay lean. This is achieved through proper diet and cardio.
Now, the stair stepper is not going to hand you a cooked chicken breast with brown rice (you have to prepare that in your own time, shocker) but it will ensure that sweat initiating affect caused by an increased heart rate that we are looking for. This exercise is benefiting you from a cardio aspect, as well as priming the muscles for the next step in our quad-building masterpiece. Now the iron packed workout begins.
I have talked about starting out lifting sessions with a compound exercise. This situation is no different. Beginning with squats is the perfect way to kick off your leg day. This will activate all of your legs muscles, and the ones we really want to pay attention to this time around, your quads. This time, however, we can get a little fancy. After your squats, I recommend doing a slightly different variation; Front Squats. With the front squat, you place the barbell in front of you, allowing it to rest on the top of your pecs and shoulders. From here, place both hands on the opposite shoulder, over the barbell. This will allow you to maintain control over the bar, ensuring it does not roll forward.
The front variation is more difficult than a normal squat, so be prepared to start out with less weight until you become familiar and more comfortable with this particular lift. This is different from a normal squat. With the weight resting towards the front of your body, this triggers your body to utilize your quads more than any other leg muscle! This exercise is fantastic, but it is not the only lift capable of building rock solid leg muscle.
After finishing the front squat session, I recommend moving on to a lift you may not be familiar with; the Bulgarian Split Squat. Here we have another exercise that can be tricky, but with proper form and weight, it is another great quad builder. To perform the Bulgarian Split Squat, you may use either two dumbbells (one in each hand) or a barbell (resting on your back just as if you were doing a normal squat). If you choose the dumbbells, find a bench and face away from it. You will then move one foot back and place the top of your foot on the bench.
From here, you will be standing on one leg. At this point, you should also have both dumbbells in hand. With one foot on the bench and your weights ready, you can now begin to squat. You will notice balance is crucial, and this is great as it forces you to properly utilize your leg muscles to stay upright. Once you complete the set with one leg, you can now do the same thing with the other. If you choose the barbell route, it will be the exact same thing, except be sure to be in a squat rack with your safety bars at the proper height. I recommend starting with just body weight until you get used to the movement, then dumbbells, and finally, graduate to the barbell. After all this you may be tired of squats, so we can move on to a quad specific machine.
The king of quad builders is undoubtedly Leg Extensions. I have never seen a gym without a leg extension machine. With this lift, you will take a seat with a pad resting at the bottom of your shin/top of your feet. Once seated and weight has been adjusted, you will move your legs straight up and extend them completely. You want to be sure to fully lockout at the top and really feel those muscles contract. My favorite body builder, Mr. Kai Greene, preaches about having a “Mind-Muscle” connection. With leg extensions, focusing on your quads and truly feeling the contraction is pivotal in creating growth. This exercise is strictly utilizing your quads, so it is the perfect isolation workout for these muscles. By this point, you should have a sick pump flowing through those legs. I say we bump it up one more notch.
You have drunk your pre-workout, and you have your protein ready to fuel your quad-licious gains. There is another supplement you can add in during your lift to propel your pump and recovery even further. The perfect intra-workout product is Prime Nutrition’s Intra Elite EAA+. This product is exceptional. It is loaded with amino acids to help you stay anabolic and aid in recovery. Not only that, but it contains the highly touted ingredient, Glycerol. Glycerol works by forcing water into your muscle tissues. This gives the user an outrageous pump. By supplementing with Intra Elite EAA+, you are only going to add size to your already positively ridiculous quads.
Quads are beautiful. Men and women alike are constantly chasing size in this department. With these tips and workouts, you will have no problem adding size and definition to this region of your legs. The formula is simple: Eat right, train hard, supplement properly, and lastly, be prepared to change your wardrobe to accommodate for your newly developed, monster quads.