T Nation

Quads Lagging


Hey guys, I want to hear some of your comments about exercises that focus more your quads without working to much the glutes/hams...I have great calves (18.5) decent hams, unfortunately too much glutes, so I need more quads, so my legs can look more symetrical..been doing heavy weight leg press (that I thought was the best exercise for quads development), any thoughts?? thx!


Olympic squats, front squats and wide stance squats


Try front squats, and check your form on the leg press if you really don't feel it in your quads, also isolation exercises such as leg extensions and sissy squats, or perhaps try pre-exhausting with these exercises before bigger compound movements.


Hey man, I think you need to reconsider what you think is the "best exercise".
The fact of the matter is, based on your body's proportions, different exercises will target the quads (and stimulate the high threshold motor unites) better than others. If the traditional squat and legpress don't work for you, try other exercises. Functional compound exercises that I find to target the quads more are front squats, thib's duck feet deadlift and sissy squats. If your only goal is size then you could always consider leg extensions or smith machine exercises.

Ofcourse its also possible that you aren't giving them enough time to grow. If you always expect more than you're body is able to develop, lagging body parts will always seem like they're lagging; the reality is it takes a long time to fix muscle imbalances, especially if you've been doing a specific movement or sport that caused the muscle imbalance for a long time.

best of luck


Two squatting movements that I find are great for the quads are squatting with your heels raised on a couple of thick plates or a block or whatever, maybe 2-3 inches high, balls to the floor, and also smith squats where you squat in a smith machine but you stand forwards of the bar by a foot or so.


Where are you placing your feet on the platform? Are you keeping them low enough?

You could try front squats. Also, if you are back squatting and using a low-bar, hips-back, PL type squat, try using a high-bar ATG OL squat. Using a stacked heel such as the ones found in OL shoes will help, as will using plates under the heels or using a 10-15 degree ramp as a squat platform. Another option would be real hack squats, or a hack squat machine. I personally have grown fond of the HS H-Squat; you might not be able to find it in many gyms, though. It's the one that makes you look like you're climbing into a rocket ship; again, keep you feet low on the platform.

If you're trying to increase quad involvement, you're going to have to maximize the torque about the knee by increasing the horizontal distance (lever arm) between the load and knee. All of the above are ways to do that.

For the front squat idea, check ouy Bauer's thread. He says he's gotten great gains by using a front squat harness. I've never tried one, but am very intrigued. It should allow for use of greater loads without the shoulders giving out first.




Thx to all for ur comments,,Im gonna try different versions of the squats...the heels raised squats looks like a good variation,, and also Im gonna start doing smith machine ones...I ussualy do the free weight one...In leg press and hack I use a shoulder width stance and normally my feet are in the top portion of the plataform...Leg press, I think is a great exercise but I do it in every single day I work my legs, so I think my quads already got used to that exercise...I do heavy leg extensions, I dont think they are adding more mass, but I can see more separation though..I think Im just gonna stick with squats, different versions of it plus deadlifts for hammies...What do you think?, How about higher reps? Did anyone try higher reps for quads with success? I just do 10-12 reps range(warm-up 15 reps) thx again!


That's what I thought. You're keeping your feet high on the platform. That turns the press into more of a hip extension dominant movement, great for the hams and glutes, but not nearly as much for the quads.

As far as rep ranges. Going higher is probably a good idea. Or try the DC approach, a heavy set of 6-8 reps followed by a widowmaker.


Hack squat machine, widowmakers...


heavy squats, heavy leg presses, throw in some widowmakers, and eat big.



I have the problem that when I put my feet in a low position on a leg press to specifically target the quads, my knees come out in front of my toes and I get knee pain. This forces me to place my feet higher and put some of the load on my hams/glutes and off my quads.


Get some knee wraps then




Get your knees fixed or forget about big quads


Sled drags and knee wraps for knee problems.

Front squats or heels raised for quads aka walander squelchie and hardcoreraymond.


How about leg extensions? Or is that considered "non-functional?"


Im starting widowmakers and front squats this week....last question..did anyone do legs twice a week?..I ussualy work a muscle group just once a week, but did anyone work out quads twice a week...thx for ur inputs..


I do leg extensions, very heavy, I dont have any problems with my knees, but I dont think they are adding any more mass to my quads, at least thats what I think..maybe I can try another approach with them, like higher reps, but still, I think the answer is very smple...squats and different versions of it, focusing in front squats and the high raised heels squats


Vanilla-Gorilla is right about the foot position in that it will predominantly target the hams and glutes. One thing that seems to be neglected when talking about foot position, stance etc. is where you should feel the pressure exert itself through the feet. Pressing through the BALLS of your feet will preferentially recruit the quads while pressing through the HEELS will preferentially recruit the hams and glutes. Try the bulgarian split squat but let your knee travel beyond your toes, maintaining pressure on the ball of your foot, then at the top of the movement contract the quads hard then repeat! Same for two legged or single legged leg presses. Reverse sled drags are excellent for lower quad development, make sure you contract the quads hard when each leg straightens. These employ the same principal in that the ground forces are exerted through the balls of your feet. Unreal burn / pump!

I would avoid hack squats / smith machine squats if you have a knee problem because these machines remove or inhibit hip involvement. This locking of the hips results in this usually available ROM now being transfered into the knee, not good!