There’s a couple things I know that are decent for my quads but for me it seems like both anterior dominant squats and posterior chain dominant hinges seem to blow up my butt and leave my legs especially quads lagging. Even front squats with olympic shoes seem to only slightly favor my quads over my glutes.
So I’m thinking I might need to rethink the way I train my quads.
Maybe rethink the way you think during leg movements: focus less on lifting the weight and more on contracting the muscle.
I train very basic movements, so my current quad workout only includes squats and leg extensions. I did do front squats for a while; but eventually the weight got so heavy that it would leave bruises on the front of my shoulders and was hard to hold in place.
The real key for me, especially during squats, is to concentrate on only contracting the quads during the concentric phase; it’s all about the mind-muscle connection. Other exercises I like to rotate in occasionally: hack squats & angled leg press.
I hate lunges and split-squats due to the fact that I can’t focus on the quad contraction because I’m too busy trying to keep stable. I hate that I can’t feel them because I see many of the greats like Ronnie Coleman, Hadi Choopan and Chris Bumstead doing them. Different strokes for different folks I suppose and ultimately I would rather spend my time on exercises I enjoy and feel.
Since you said you dont have access to machines im assuming you just have bars and plates. I also like bss and sissy squat as mentioned above. One of my favs though for quite a while now has been walking lunges with a shorter step and another good one is step ups, on a medium or lower platform. I find the higher i go the more i get glutes and hams. With both of those you can load with a barbell or dumbbell. Also backward sled drags work the quads nicely, but i dont know if you have a sled.
I have two different lower body days. Here’s what I think I’m going to settle on:
Hip Power Snatch
Front Squat Usually some sort of 5x5 progression
Skater Squats, I still have to use a tiny bit of assistance w/ the back leg (working up to an unassisted 1 leg squat is one of my current goals, but quad strength is holding back more than anything)
1 Leg SLDL to help w/ the one leg squat; I’ll pair it w/ the skater squats. I honestly find these work my sides and low back more than my hams or glutes which I like.
Just Above the Knee Hang Power Snatches
SGHP these are doing a good job of teaching me to lead w/ my elbows and not try to rely on my arms and rotator cuff
Sissy Squat supersetted w/ Band Leg curls for high reps: I don’t think this is redundant because one trains the quads in the stretched position and the other in the contracted, lemme know what y’all think
Snatches are non-negotiable, they’re a goal in and of themself for me. But I’m open to other changes
I just tried the sissy squat/band leg ext. superset tonight and it feels like my quads have gone through a meat tenderizer. It’s a good thing
Y’all have given me some really great ideas that I think will keep me busy for months if not longer. Thanx!
Paused in the bottom front squats are more of a core/upper back thing for me and something I’ve incorporated in a PL context to build the deadlift to help maintain positioning and starting power, but I haven’t given slow negatives or 1 1/4 reps a shot.