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Can't Feel Quads During Front Squat

Hey guys,

I’ve Front Squat as my primary exercise for the quads and have been progressing really good on it lately. The only problem is that I barely feel it my quads - or only if I go high reps > 10.

I would really need infinite amount of sets and reps to feel my quads with blood with this one. I’ve a much better contact with the Back Squat, but since my butt-wink is back on track I can not do it.

I find it really weird considering that I’m in an upright position with I do front squats and there are basically no other muscles that can do the job quads are doing…or I’m just pretty good at bouncing out of the bottom with reflex…that wouldn’t surprise me.

Anyway, I’m looking for tips on how to activate quads a bit. I’m thinking of doing some leg extensions - really light. But this one has to wait as the gym I’m using for the summer does not have a LE-machine.

I also use Olympic Shoes with elevated heels which should further emphisize the quads, but …I still have not managed to get them sore with front squats and I’ve been up to 10 sets per training of FRONT alone and my eyes were through the spleens on the last sets. I can usually train them again in 48 hours.

Here is the video of me with 235 pounds, I’ve added another 15 to the lift since it.

Thanks!

Things I do for my quads that you might try…

1- Always do some extensions to warm up and pre-exhaust a bit.
2- I only perform front squats in the bottom 3/4 ROM. Hurts like hell, and really makes 'em burn.
3- Explode out of the hole, this will make 225 feel like a hell of a lot more.

S

Try putting some weight plates under your heels, to elevate them.

I also cant really tell your leg width from the video, but it looks like your feet are angled out a bit. You can try bringing them closer together and keeping your feet straight.

get up on your toes

or

deeper

closer stance

@Stu

I’ll try Leg Extensions when I get the chance and about 3/4, what are your experience weight-wise with those? I can’t imagine going with the same weight there. You mean like Ronnie does with his squatting, constant tension?

@Akuma01

My Olympic Shoes already have elevated heel, adding even more height will kill my knees into pieces.

My stance is shoulder width with toes angled out a bit, but not much, just enough to allow proper knee-tracking. Otherwise it feels really uncomfortable. But I’ll try your advice anyway, see if it makes any difference.

@Ct
What do you mean by get up on your toes ? I thought we were supposed to push through the heels?

I was suggesting raising your heels as Akuma said.

Generally you want to push through your heels as it recruits the posterior chain more that way, but if you push through the balls of your feet it will put a bit more emphasis on the quads.

Your form is great, but your legs seem long relative to your torso…you might have better luck with single-leg work, lunges, split-squats, single-leg leg press, etc.

Also, I wouldn’t worry much about not feeling it in your quads, as they will play a big part in moving the weight no matter how you perform it…do you really think that if you added 100-200 pounds on your 10rm, your quads wouldn’t blow up in the process?

[quote]Quadforce wrote:
@Stu

I’ll try Leg Extensions when I get the chance and about 3/4, what are your experience weight-wise with those? I can’t imagine going with the same weight there. You mean like Ronnie does with his squatting, constant tension?
[/quote]

I try to eliminate the lockout section, where you basically unload the muscle. Also, the bottom ROM is much harder, and if you watch guys like Cutler, he usually performs the weaker 3/4 ROM in many movements (including squats!). I did this all through the last year and think my legs came up quite a bit since my '09 showing. Sure, your weights may go down a bit, but bodybuilding isn’t always about how much you lift (in fact, for the smart bodybuilders, it’s not about that at all). 6 years ago I was back squatting 550 and my legs looked like crap. Now, I front squat no more than 315, with no lockouts, (and after extensions and hacks), and my legs actually look like a bodybuilder’s. What’s more important to you?

S

[quote]Proud_Virgin wrote:
Generally you want to push through your heels as it recruits the posterior chain more that way, but if you push through the balls of your feet it will put a bit more emphasis on the quads.

Your form is great, but your legs seem long relative to your torso…you might have better luck with single-leg work, lunges, split-squats, single-leg leg press, etc.

Also, I wouldn’t worry much about not feeling it in your quads, as they will play a big part in moving the weight no matter how you perform it…do you really think that if you added 100-200 pounds on your 10rm, your quads wouldn’t blow up in the process?[/quote]

You are correct about the length of the legs. Arms are long too, which is why I probably should focus on Snatch Grip Deadlift as my second primary exercise as well.

And thanks for the “single-leg” stuff, I was just re-making my routine a bit and completely forgot about those.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:

[quote]Quadforce wrote:
@Stu

I’ll try Leg Extensions when I get the chance and about 3/4, what are your experience weight-wise with those? I can’t imagine going with the same weight there. You mean like Ronnie does with his squatting, constant tension?
[/quote]

I try to eliminate the lockout section, where you basically unload the muscle. Also, the bottom ROM is much harder, and if you watch guys like Cutler, he usually performs the weaker 3/4 ROM in many movements (including squats!). I did this all through the last year and think my legs came up quite a bit since my '09 showing. Sure, your weights may go down a bit, but bodybuilding isn’t always about how much you lift (in fact, for the smart bodybuilders, it’s not about that at all). 6 years ago I was back squatting 550 and my legs looked like crap. Now, I front squat no more than 315, with no lockouts, (and after extensions and hacks), and my legs actually look like a bodybuilder’s. What’s more important to you?

S[/quote]

Thanks for the insight Stu.

The look of course, but I also want a strength to match it! :slight_smile: But I get the point!

Along with what stu and akuma said, try using bodybuilder grip instead of oly grip. PERSONALLY I find I feel it a bit more in my quads like that, and I don’t know why. Worth a shot for you though.

Oh and also, try 135 for 10 sets of 10 just for shits and giggles. It hurts. Everywhere.

Based on your form, you are obviously using your quads. Ignore how you feel, keep doing what you are doing (you have good form) and keep the weight going up. Don’t change anything.

[quote]glenn pendlay wrote:
Ignore how you feel, keep doing what you are doing…Don’t change anything.[/quote]

im sorry i cant agree with what you said. Yea the guy had good form, but if he isnt feeling too much in his quads, then he has some obviously dominate Hole power that his glutes and hams provide. I dont care what exercise you’re doing, if you dont feel it in a specific muscle group that you’re aiming for, tweak it or ditch it. What needs to happen is some quad focusing, where you feel the muscle itself, feel out the contraction, and start pinching. Like i said, if the olympic shoes arent doing it, prop your heels even higher on some plates. Or as was mentioned in other posts, there are plenty of other forms of Quad isolation you can hit.

Why do you NEED TO FEEL THEM? You won’t feel anything (in your quads specifically) if you’re moving heavy poundages. Focus on excellent execution, regardless of the weight on the bar. You’ll “feel” it more when doing higher reps, but the same holds true for any exercise. While targeted contractions and constant tension are part of the muscle building equation, which is where your focus would be on feeling the specifically targeted muscle. Spend your “training dollars” on MOVEMENTS that recruit as many muscle fibers as possible (utilizing heavier loads, lower reps, with the INTENTION of moving the weight as explosively as possible), then then switch your focus to specific exercises that maximize your internal cues (mind-muscle connection and feeling the muscle work) for whatever exercise it is, that you are doing.

Could be the same exercise, using a different load and tempo while focusing on the stretch and peak contraction or a different exercise all together.

[quote]Akuma01 wrote:

[quote]glenn pendlay wrote:
Ignore how you feel, keep doing what you are doing…Don’t change anything.[/quote]

then he has some obviously dominate Hole power that his glutes and hams provide.[/quote]

Good, then he will be able to use more weight and hit his quads that much harder. No higher heels, get too carried away with that and risk aggravating your knees.

As I said, keep doing what your doing. Your form is good. Get your weight in squats and front squats up… and your quads, and legs, will get bigger.

Lol alright then, disregard what i said.

[quote]synergy93 wrote:
Why do you NEED TO FEEL THEM? You won’t feel anything (in your quads specifically) if you’re moving heavy poundages. Focus on excellent execution, regardless of the weight on the bar. You’ll “feel” it more when doing higher reps, but the same holds true for any exercise. While targeted contractions and constant tension are part of the muscle building equation, which is where your focus would be on feeling the specifically targeted muscle. Spend your “training dollars” on MOVEMENTS that recruit as many muscle fibers as possible (utilizing heavier loads, lower reps, with the INTENTION of moving the weight as explosively as possible), then then switch your focus to specific exercises that maximize your internal cues (mind-muscle connection and feeling the muscle work) for whatever exercise it is, that you are doing.

Could be the same exercise, using a different load and tempo while focusing on the stretch and peak contraction or a different exercise all together.[/quote]

Yea I agree with this and Im very big on feeling contractions and promoting blood flow. Squats are one of those exercises that youre supposed to move big weights. Its hard to worry about feeling a contration when youre worried about getting crushed. Unless youre doing a widowmaker or whatever.

Get teh pump with leg extensions and lunges

Well, i agree that you shouldnt be aiming to feel contractions on squats, but front squats are a different story, right? I mean i totally feel my quads when front squatting.

Definitely, experienced guys in-tune with their body can tell the difference in the quads doing front versus back squats, but most guys are battling with proper positioning of the bar, elbows, depth, upright torso position, direction of their eyes, etc when doing front squats. Once all of these mechanical factors are well established, one can focus on their quads a bit more, even at heavy weights.

Comes with experience, just like a million other variables in training.

[quote]Akuma01 wrote:
Well, i agree that you shouldnt be aiming to feel contractions on squats, but front squats are a different story, right? I mean i totally feel my quads when front squatting.[/quote]