T Nation

Quad Sweep vs Genetics

I am pure ectomorph long bones, skinny frame, long levers. It may be my genetics that is haunting my quad sweep but if any of you have any ideas on how to bring up my quads I’m open to all!

I have been training for 15 years now I weigh 195lbs I’m 5’10, 31 years old, 7-8% body fat. (not looking to be huge just a good fit look)

Even after 15 years of training I still haven’t figured my leg growth out yet.

Typical Leg Day for me (oviously it switches alot)

2 X 20-30 Weight Held Sissy Squats for warm up

5 X 5 (90- 95 %) Free Bar Squats

2 X 60 sec Static Squat Holds

5 X 3-5 (same as above) Power Cleans

2 X 20 (70-80 %)Leg Press

Sometimes if I’m not dead 2 X 10-15 Leg Extensions

I cannot do deadlifts because I have major tight hamstrings and a bad low back it puts me out of comission for a good week.

The training principles I use right now are rest pause and the progressive training principle (adding more weight every time I come around to legs again no matter what, but small increases 5 lbs most of the time)

Remeber I change my program up very frequently as my body adapts very quickly to stimulis.

Any Help or Ideas Would Be Appreciated!


I am assuming that your goal is to gain more weight? I am not knocking weighing 195lbs, but after 15 years of training, even though your body fat level is extremely low, I would expect the goal to be to weigh more than you currently do if the goal is more mass (and thusly more sweep) on your legs. All of the training routines in the world won’t do a thing unless you plan to gain more body weight to justify adding this mass in that area. It is a possibility that your effort to remain at a lower body fat percentage maybe keeping you from that. Why are you 7% body fat? Are you about to do a contest? I am asking because I know many people grow best above 10% body fat. I also know that the current push to stay extremely lean can hold back progress.

Like he said, he’s not looking to get huge. 5’-10" at 195 lbs is not bad at all for a pure ectomorph. Good job! As for the quads, it may just be genetics or you may have to gain overall bodyweight to bring up your quads. I am an ectomorph as well and I’ve gotten the best results for legs by having legs split up into two days: quad-dominant and hip-dominant. The thing is my quads get hit a second time on the hip-dominant day so in essence I’m working them out twice a week. A lot of people seem to make the most progress working a muscle 2x/week. If you can’t do deadlifts on you’re hip-dominant day, you can do a lot of other things: strict good-mornings to emphasize the hamstrings instead of lower back, GHRs, pull-throughs, hamstring-curls, leg presses with high-foot stance, etc.

Aye I am a low body fat. I have been up to 240 lbs and so on but do not want to be huge like a body builder again.I am a personal trainer and if i get to big I am too intimidating to most clients. I am going for the fit look not too big not too small just lean and mean bro. I like being between 7-8% but if it means getting my legs a bit bigger and having to go up to 10% i can deal with that. I have always had problems with my legs everywhere else is symetrical and perfect I’m just lacking a little in the legs. Yes I do need a it more mass in the legs but remember I am a ectomorph I can eat Mc Donalds 4 times a day and still maintain my body fat. So it is hard for me to gain in the legs. I’m just looking for more advice thats all.


And another thing, my biggest pet peeve on this board is when people assume goals for you. Especially if you don’t measure up weight wise to what their expectations are. Oh, you’re not at least 200 lbs, well then you’re just not big enough and should be getting bigger. That’s a bunch of crap. I would much rather be a very lean 195 lbs with great muscle development than 220 lbs and tub o lard! Again, great job PPP! You should be proud of you’re progress. You’ve been hitting it for 15 years and have the results to prove it.

TY guys I appreciate the feedback!

Keep it coming!


Did you ever think that you could be doing too much on your leg day? Your volume is pretty high, maybe try cutting back, maybe that kind of change will let your muscles grow. Here’s one that helped me:

Ok, I know this little routine is very unt-mag, but here goes. My legs exploded when I did this for my workouts, although my nutrition was dialed in pretty well. I did this workout right before I stumbled upon the nation.

Ok, I used leg press, maybe you can think of a different exercise, but you have to be able to change weights almost instantly.

Start with heavy weight and go to failure.(6 to 10 reps) Then, immediately after, cut the weight in half and go to failure for reps(I tried to hit 12 to 15; also, sometimes I would only cut the weight to about 75% if I found I was hitting extremely high reps, i.e. 20+)

That’s it, just one set like that. Man, am I gonna get flamed for this one.

Small are you following Dantes Dog Crapp principles for your leg? I should mabye try that but how many times a week do you do that once twice or three times a week?

Thanks for input!


I don’t think anyone would be too much against that in a certain context. Often, after my last set of a serious core lift, I’ll knock the weight down a plate or two and knock out a final set for a kind of cool down and just a little extra stimulus. The training to failure debate is a completely different beast and I would never suggest simply doing one set to failure with heavy weights and then dropping it down. But after your 5th or 6th set and you are ready to go home, take off a plate and just doing an extra set for the home team is never a sin, and sometimes can help.


Check out the nausea workout:


I also have long legs, and don’t benefit much from squats alone; this worked really well for me.

Reg it won’t link me to that nausea workout can you attempt to explain it to me a little more OR if you can find a different way to get me that link.

Thanks Reg!


You may not like to hear this but I truly believe that you need to correct the imbalance and get your posterior chain going. This should increse both strength and growth for your quads in the long run. The body needs to grow in balance and it will uusually set limits so that it doesn’t get too far out of order. This may be opposite to what others are prescribing, but I would decrease the volume in your quad sessions so that you can focus your work on stretching and strengthening your post chain for a little while in order to make balanced gains again. Your weakness is your too tight hams and low back and I haven’t met anyone making big gains in their legs anywhere then they have this problem.

I second what springbok said. You cannot ignore posterior chain problems. The posterior chain is arguably the most used and functional part of your body and neglecting it due to tight hamstrings and a weak lower back is a very bad plan of action.

Provided that you have seen a specialist, or that you already know that there is no more serious underlying problem, I would do variations on the good morning twice per week. You can do regular good mornings, zercher good mornings, seated good mornings (excellent for stretching hamstrings), romanian deadlift, one legged good mornings, and another one I like (but not a good morning) is the reverse lunge.

If you are using a belt on most or all of your exercises, try to ween yourself off of it. I would suggest that it be used on max effort lifts only, or not at all.

Good luck, and don’t neglect the deadlift or posterior chain.

RIT Jared

[quote]by Randman:
And another thing, my biggest pet peeve on this board is when people assume goals for you. Especially if you don’t measure up weight wise to what their expectations are. Oh, you’re not at least 200 lbs, well then you’re just not big enough and should be getting bigger. That’s a bunch of crap. I would much rather be a very lean 195 lbs with great muscle development than 220 lbs and tub o lard! Again, great job PPP! You should be proud of you’re progress. You’ve been hitting it for 15 years and have the results to prove it. [/quote]

I don’t believe that was what was implied. If someone claims a body fat percentage that low and claims that they are having problems BUILDING more mass (which is all you can do to bring out the genetically predetermined sweep that you have), the logical course of action is to gain more muscular body weight. I don’t remember writing that his achievments this far are poor. I can also understand his goal to avoid intimidating his clients. I weigh about 245lbs right now at 5’11". I am also a doctor. I know for a fact that I intimidate some of my patients until they get to know my personality. However, if I were to log onto a forum and ask how do I bring out the peak on my biceps, it would be understood that I would need to gain more size to bring out the peak that I have. This is not as complicated as some here are making this sound. No matter what your routine, to bring out any shape that your genetics allow, size is usually the issue, not what specific exercise unless you are simply avoiding working certain muscle groups.

Your leg workout seems really complicated. It looks like you spend more time racking and unracking weights! K.I.S.S. !! My background was competitive cycling,my legs got really developed just by hammering the pedals everyday. When I started the gym my legs grew even more like crazy with just 10x10 of squats, 2x15 of extensions, 5x8 of leg curls. I think the cycling base really helped. Maybe do a couple weeks of leg training outside the gym (cycling everyday day if you can, different intensity levels and distance), take a couple days off then hit your legs with heavy basic movements on your leg days. Hope it helps!!!


I apologize for being vague.
here’s what my routine looked like when I did that program. I was stuck using the “fitness center” at my apartment complex, and I hadn’t begun reading a lot back then, but it worked, especially for my legs.

Day 1: Leg Press(deep), Leg Extensions, Tricep Press-downs, Calf Raises.
Day 2: Seated Row, Upright Row, Curls.
Day 3: Rest and Stretch or Yoga(for the open minded t-man)

If I remember correctly, I didn’t use the same principles for calf raises, I just did 3x10 or whatever. But I would keep cylcing this progression back to back. So, I guess once every three days for legs.

Again, this goes against everything I’ve read lately, but it got my legs where they needed to be.

Also, I support the posterior chain correction. If you can’t deadlift, shouldn’t you think about fixing whatever prevents you from deadlifting? For the record, I think this is true for any exercise, not just deads. If my body can’t do something that 90% of the world can do, I usually consider it a problem.

Oh, and EAT!

TY guys I really should focus on making my weak part more strong I guess, (post chain). I might go see a specialist soon to find out why I’m so tight there. After that I will try out some GHR’s, good mornings,dead lifts and lower my volume a bit.

Now do you recommend training my legs 2 times a week or just once?


deff agree with the others. your body wont let your quads grow much stronger than your hammies to keep from getting injured. try some stiff leg deads, glute-ham raises, good mornings and leg curls. oh and a little stretching after your workout (like 3-4 hrs after) will work wonders with recovery and just feeling nice and loose the next few days which can be hell after a hard leg day.

PPP, I would also train legs 2/week. For the “Squat” workout I would try Ian King’s “Bulk Building routine” that is based on the “20 reps Squat”. For the “Hamstring” day (pitty for the deadlift) what already suggested. A good book concerning leg training is “Super Squats” by Randall Strossen.


I’m going to assume that your “bad back” has been diagnosed by a physician and is not simply a self diagnosis. However, if this is not the case then you’ve got to make an effort to sort out what is going on there. I’m sure you’d never let a client get out of squatting because they had self diagnosed “bad knees”. After returning from an ART provider they may be able to tell you that the bad knees where indeed the result of a muscle imbalance of some sort. Now they can straighten out the imbalance and squat. The same is true in your situation. If you can’t deadlift it is important for you to lead by example (remember a good leader always leads from the front not the back). Get it checked out, stretch those hams/spinal erectors/hip flexors and find a way to train that posterior chain. Your quads should come up as a result. I too agree with the 2X per week workouts for legs. One should be quad dominant and the other hip dominant. Personally, I’d put the hip dominant workout earlier in the week as this should be a priority. Once your posterior chain is caught up you can switch it around.

One thing I am definately not buying is that being too large will intimidate your clients. I’ve seen some BIG personal trainers (a friend of mine is a national level competitor) and they are just as busy as us more regular looking guys. As long as you aren’t marching around in a string tank top you should be fine. Now I’m not suggesting that you balloon up to 245lbs. I’m just saying that a slow controlled gain in muscle mass (i.e., 10lbs over a year or so) will not make you look freakish, but it certainly will bring up your legs. You ain’t going to grow nothin’ in a caloric deficit.

Hope that helps.