T Nation

Quad Hypertrophy


If pure hypertrophy was your sole concern, which protocol would produce more hypertrophy and why:

1) Training to increase your 3RM ass to grass squat


2) Training to increase your 8rm half squat


3RM Ass to grass will produce greater muscle in most fast twitch dominant people. Why anyone would want to do "half squats" is beyond me.


Yeah seems to me that training ass to grass for the 3rm you would be much more beneficial. Not only will you be going through a better ROM but you'll be using more weight and getting stronger...

Stronger = More weight = better gains!


Today's training tip comes from Charles Poliquin:

Leg Press vs. Squat

When comparing squats against leg press, squats are far more effective in increasing overall strength. However, there's some evidence to suggest that the leg press might result in more hypertrophy of the quadriceps.

One study showed that for the same number of reps, the leg press resulted in a higher amount of GH being produced than squats. As possible evidence, the leg press is the exercise of choice when it comes to speed skating, and I've personally worked with speed skaters whose legs made Tom Platz's look like Woody Allen's.

While I'm loathe to recommend leg presses instead of squats, I merely present it as an interesting discussion point.


I'm going to against what the others have said and go for the half squats working on an a better 8rm max.

I can build up my 1-3 rep max a decent amount with little hypertrophy, but I know if I increased my 8rm the same amount I would see a good deal of growth. But the means you used to increase each would play a large role in the training effect.

Also I think for quad development the half squat, or just above parrallel is a superior way to squat. In a full squat the weight you use is limited by the strength of your glutes and hams, which are usually weak points.


when you say half do you mean parallel, or what? and what stance are we talking about? personally I find it hard to go ATG unless I'm using a fairly wide stance, and from what I know if you want to isolate your quads better then you ought to use a shoulder-width stance (correct me if I'm wrong please)

so I would vote for parallel back or front squats at shoulder-width for strictly quad hypertrophy; for overall hypertrophy maybe wide-stance ATG, or if you can do it then shoulder-width ATG.

oh...and why not vary your reps, work on 3RM and 8RM?


In either Part I or Part II of Tate Talks Hypertrophy, he talks about working with a guy who was really focusing on ATG squats, and while Tate said it's a great quad movement, it won't come close to putting on the overall amount of LBM that a Parallel Box Squat would, due to be able to use more weight, among other reasons.

I'm paraphrasing, but check out the interview.


Thanks for all the replies.

By half squats I meant about 3" above parallel.

The reason I posed the question is that over the past few years I've worked hard on my full squat and I can now squat ass to grass with a narrow stance and high bar placement with pretty good weights...but my legs aren't much bigger. In fact, my legs have never been as big as back in high school when I didn't know what I was doing and 'ego' trained with real heavy half squats. I used to do 4-5 sets of 12-20 reps with 315lbs and my legs blew up.

I think Tate was right, for hypertrophy, it's all about the load and TUT, not necessarily the ROM.


I never achieved more hypertrophy on my legs than when I did the 20 rep squat protocol.

I have found that most peoples legs (not all) respond well to higher reps in general.

Go high..go heavy!


It's not rocket science and it was known long before Tate's articles.


When you did the 20 reps squat program did you use a high bar close stance squat or a more powerlifting squat (low bar, wider stance)? thanks.


I used the high bar close stance squat.

I tried the other style at one point and found that (for me at least) the closer stance caused more hypertrophy. I would guess that that is generally correct for most.


Maybe it would be a good idea to periodize your squat style...beginners doing half or parallel squats for hypertrophy, then switch to ATG to build better strength, then possibly back to parallels? any thoughts?


Its would be easier and more benificial to teach newbies to full squat first. Its easy going from a full squat to half squat/parrallel squat but not so much the other way around. Also many people need more hypertrophy in the glutes/hams then quads be it for asthetics or performance goals.