T Nation

Quad Routine Advice


Hey guys, new here, although I have been lurking for over a year. I just had a question about what you all do for your quads. I have good legs and good size on them (25" at last measure). I just feel like I'm not getting enough from leg extensions. My leg routine looks like this.

Squats 225x10 (warm-up), 275x8, 315x5, 365x2-3, 315x5
Deadlifts 275x8, 315x5, 365x3, 315x5
Leg extensions 5 sets, 8-12 reps
Good Mornings 135x8-10, 155x6-8, 155x6-8, 135x8-10
Calf raise 5 sets 8-12 reps

I know it doesn't look like much, but it is very taxing. This routine takes every bit of 90 minutes to perform. I'm just curious what everyone else's thoughts are. And no, I don't want to get into the whether or not to do DL's on leg days argument.
P.S. I do full squats, slightly below parallel.

5'10, 195lbs
Chest 46 inches, biceps 16.5, thighs 25".
Bench 295 (yeah, I know)
Squat 385 (405 soon, maybe today)
DL 380


So...you want something to replace leg extensions? Is that the issue?


Squats, front squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, calf raises.



I have a quad dominant day and a hammy dominant day.


Leg ext
Split Squat
3 position leg press (sort of a drop set, amrap at low-close, amrap at normal, amrap at high-wide.

Other ideas:
2-1 leg ext: lift with two, drop with one leg
Step Up
Bulgarian Split Squat

Hammy day:
Glute Ham Raise
Cable Pull through
2-1 Leg curl

Other ideas:
Good morning
single leg rdl
cable hip extension


Well, maybe not replace, possibly add something. But I'm not opposed to replacing. I have read posts here long enough to know that there are a lot of knowledgeable people here so any advice is appreciated. I'm no novice, so chances are good that I have at least tried whatever will be suggested. I just want some advice on what the T-Nation folks think is the best exercises to get the most out of my quads.


Good advice, but I am on a 4-day split, so having a quad/ham dominant day isn't really an option.


Doesn't look like much? Are you kidding?
deadlifts good mornings and squats in the same session? yowza....your lower back either is bulletproof or it's probably hurting or overly taxed after a session like that.

Why don't you just do like hack machine squats, smith machine squats, or front squats
followed by leg press or hack squat widowmaker!!

you could do leg extensions before all this to warm up the quads some.

and if you used machines in your squat movements you can switch out the deadlifts for say romanian deadlifts, parillo stiff legged deadlifts or reverse hypers/glute-ham raises. otherwise maybe alternate between stiff legged deadlifts and leg curls.

then do all your other stuff after calves and what not.


My back must be bulletproof, lol. Never overtaxed, no pain. My form is near perfect on all of these exercises. I don't always do the good mornings, it all depends on how I feel after the deads. As far as the smith and hack squats go, I was under the impression that these were more hamstring/glute dominant. I think between the squats and deads I get plenty of ham/glute work. What do you think about subbing split squats, lunges or step-ups in for the good mornings?


umm no...they're are secondary muscles your quads get annihilated.
hack squats and smith squats, leg press (especially front squats) ramping up to some heavy weight is some of the most brutal work you can do for quads. Then follow that with a widowmaker and tell me your quads aren't stimulated to the max.

spplit squats lunges, step ups are great for building up the vastus medialis. ( lower part of quad by the knees) if that's a goal.


If you don't feel your quads working enough with back squat, you can try front squat; this way, you'd also reduce redundance/overlapping with DL. Close stance front squats on Smith machine are a very quad-dominant exercise.

On leg extensions, have you tried to hold the fully extended position for a couple of seconds each rep, and for as long as possible on last rep of last set? You can also avoid resting the weight on the stack at the end of every rep...


Lunges baby! Where are the lunges? I know they might technically be a glute exercise, but lord, they have made my quads get so freaken big. I look at lunges as the dips of the lower body. Also, unilateral leg presses are great for firing up your quads, you can really mess with the foot position to find what's right for you. I'd get rid of the leg extensions personally, I've never really cared for them, but that's just my opinion. This is my day of leg training, and it's so taxing, similar to yours, but a couple tweaks.

Squats- 5x(10, 8, 6, 4, 2)
Deads- 5x5
Unilateral leg presses- 5x10
Lunges around this big room in my gym- 2-3 sets 2x around. Equals about 25 lunges a leg each set.
Now you might not have access to a room like this, so if not, I would do 3x15 (each leg). You've already done 10 sets of lower, much more taxing work (squats and deads) So upping the reps will shred those quads up.


I don't know how you can do deadlifts after squats, holy shit.

I personally do this:
Squats, Leg press OR Hack squat, Lying leg curl + calves

Depending on how squats/leg press went, I may add in leg extensions too

However, some days when I progress on squat/leg press by adding weight or doing more reps, i'm usually too beat to do leg extensions.

I do deadlifts on back day, so my hamstrings aren't lagging behind at all.


ok, not the greatest picture, but here is what i'm working with. What area needs the most work, sorry not the best picture (im no photographer), but as you can see, i'm lacking separation. Most likely diet, but what do you see here? What part of the quad needs the most work in your opinion? And what are the best exercises to obtain this goal.


You should really start hammering some narrow stance front squats free weight or smith machine without locking out at the top. and like i said add in those widow makers i mentioned on leg press machines/ hack squat machines without locking out knees also. like me you just need more overall size really. Still to early to try and pin point shit when you're not real advanced just yet.


judging by your pic, I would do back squats with your heels elevated on 10 lb plates. This will put more emphasis on the "tear drop" section of your quads which could use some definition. Also, squatting with your heels elevated will place more emphasis on your quads as opposed to a traditional squat which is quads, hams, and glutes. And depending on how your body works, you could be very glute dominate when you squat. You really need to do lunges as well, take big stretches with each step.


Clearly you lack in overall size, but the thing thats stands out the most is no TEAR DROP.

Get a little wider, get your ass down. Then get some front squats in.


Yeah, definitely your VMO (teardrop) is really lacking behind the rest; as Short Hoss said, deep front squats should help, but I really felt the VMO working with 1 and a half front squat reps: stay tall all the time, get down (really hams to calves), go up, stop short of lock out, get down halfway, get up again (always stopping short off lockout). Give it a try!


get into cycling, adds muscle as well as definition, plus your calves will love you.


I don't know why you would elect NOT to have seperate days for quads and hamstrings/lower back. It always seemed intuitive to me.


I personally don't have a single day, but I do like to split up Quads and Hams by am and pm.