T Nation

Isolating the Quads - Exercises?

Lately I’ve been having trouble working my quads. I notice that everytime I really try to work my quads, my hamstrings and glutes are more sore the next couple days. Not exactly a bad thing, but if I’m supposed to do deadlifts 3-4 days after I do quads, they usually aren’t recovered. The exercises that I typically use for quads are squats, lunges, leg extensions. I only feel the quads working on squats if I have a narrow stance, or if I’m doing 1 and 1/2’s. Any suggestions for working the quads??

Try this workout if you dare!
Full squats 6-8 reps with a 4sec negative 2 sec positive
superset: to
Hack squat8-12 reps with a 5 second negative 5secpositive go all the way down superset to:
Leg Press 1 12 reps for 25 reps.

Repeat 3 times. with 1 12 min rest after the third exercise. take a 10sec rest between exercises.
Good Luck!

first off, learn front squats- there’s virtually no way for your hams/butt to assist the quads if you maintain an erect posture. Speaking of posture, the more erect you can stay when squatting or lunging, the more emphasis you can place on your quads. Stretch your hip flexors and calves prior to your stes as this should help posture.

I’ve never had that problem, usually the opposite. However, what I do (and probably many) is do extensions always first. You may already be doing this.
I go to failure(not almost either) on extensions then go straight(no rest ) to squats to failure, then go straight to a set of negative leg presses to failure (I get someone to help me up on the positive). Yes this is HIT, a lot are against it but it works better than anything I have ever tried. For example my leg extension reps x weight to failure went from 10x170 to 13x250 in 6 workouts. But I was coming back from a 3 month layoff. And also I might point out I work legs once a week, no more no less.

Thats one and a half reps for 25 reps not 112!

thanks Tapper but I don’t have a hack squat machine in my lame college gym. Just a squat rack, a leg press sled, and a leg extension machine. I guess I’ll make the most of them.

Scott, since you don’t have a hack squat
machine (single leg hack squats work quite
well for this purpose), try this: load up a
sturdy backpack with 1 or 2 45lb plates and/or
hold a heavy dumbell in each hand (use wrist
straps if you need to) and walk up stairs with
this weight. If you use 2 45lb plates and 2
50lb dumbells - that is 190lbs per leg, per
step, plus bodyweight. Since this is a free
weight exercise instead of a machine exercise,
each step is probably better than one single
leg hack squat rep because it is more
demanding on the nervous system. SInce you are
only using one leg at a time, that weight
would be like squating 380lbs. Try to find
steps that are spaced neither too far nor too
close together. If they are too close, you
won’t be getting a large enough ROM; if
they are too far apart you will be recruiting
the hams and glutes more. 12" is probably
good. I’ve found this to be quite effective
for quad development. Keep in mind that this
exercise is more demanding on your nervous
system than you might expect - so be prepared
to be toasted afterwords (depending on how
many sets/reps you do). I guess this exercise
should be called “weighted step ups.”

Scott, try front squats (ass to the ground) and static lunges. They will make your quads scream if you use proper form.

Also, some of Ian’s single leg exercises work well for quads including his single-legged squats. Check out his “Limping” series for pictures and also his video will help!

The static lunges isolate the quads much more than dynamic lunges. Learn the difference between the two and watch your quads grow!

Have you tried 1 and a 1/4 squats? Go down for about 5 seconds com up slowly to the quarter squat position, go back down slowly, go all the way up, but don’t lock you knees. That’s one rep, do 4-6. Do 3-5 sets resting 3 minutes in between each. The do some lunges as Poliquin described the in a Question of Strength column a while back. Let the knee go past the toe.