Squats Aren't Targeting My Legs

I need help with squats ASAP. I have really long leg but when I look at my squat it seems to be okay. I experience a small amount of back pain but it does increase. I’m staying fairly upright, and my knees aren’t going to far in front of my toes, the problem is I don’t feel anything in my legs. There is little pump or pain from doing squats and it just feels like a tiring exercise. I have had no results either, pls help

How do front squats feel?

I also have long legs. Ever record a video of your form?
I have recently started front squatting to really hit the quads and I honestly find the front squat more superior to the back. (still implement front and back, but i focus more on front)

The reason is probably, as you said, because you knee does not come far pass your toes.

Usually this means you knees will kick backwards as you come up the hole, raising your hips and you’ll end up good morning-ing the weight or hyperextending your back if you stay upright.

If I think about not moving my knees backwards when I’m coming back up from the hole I can can really feel my quads more.

Watch Max Aita’s videos on youtube about sqatting (‘squat school’), these are very helpful! Good luck!

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How much do you squat?
What program you on? -what other leg excercises do you do for assistance

My leg workout
4x 6-10 reps of squats
4 sets of lunges
4 sets leg press
4 sets leg extensions
I’m only a beginner and only 15.
I have always had issues with leg press and squats, whenever I leg press I try to go with a close stance and it always gives me a inner quad ache

First off always take your time and listen to your body.

RampantBadger and hypem74 both bring up good points;

Do you have a program you are doing?
Knees past/not past toes?

I would suggest looking at a program as it may really help you out. Also in regards to front squats… If you are looking to really hit the quads, front squats (in my opinion) are king. There are VERY many different variations of front squats too, so look them up.

I would also suggest lastly, if you are going to experiment with different exercise just take your time and remember how you feel. If you really want to target muscles, slow down. Strength is explosion. Hypertrophy is time-under-tension.

When I work out legs M,W,F for what I do, I do my weights slow. Slow drop in squat, slow raise.

Good luck!

Neither are actually great indicators of quality …
As long as your able to see some form of progression while maintain good form over time your good.
As asked… how much weight are you actually using on your working sets and what is your current Bodyweight.

This is excessive…

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If your knee goes into flexion and then extension, your legs are being targetted let me assure you. Once you have a plate and some change I DERRR ya to say you dont feel it.

I have a video of me squatting and when I look at it I really can’t see any problems with it, it just confuses me how my legs don’t get any work

Can anyone see anything wrong with my form here that may be causing me to not use my legs when I’m squatting? Really keen to get rid of my chicken legs so any help is appreciated

You say you have long legs. So you are probably tall. You are 15. Those two things suggest you are probably skinny. (which is fairly normal if not eating crap all the time)

The picture shows what is missing from your squat. Three plates. When you can do reps with that on the bar your legs will probably be fairly solid.

Bulldog suggests your routine is excessive. It probably is and most of us probably made the same mistakes when we started out. Use a recognised programme (one from someone who knows stuff, not a beginner. Plenty of recommendations here if you ask)

You didn’t give weights, but as a beginner they will be light. Work on form, build strength, eat well, rest. Increase weights. Repeat for the next 10 years and you will have the results you aim for.


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What do you mean by three plates ? I can only squat a certain amount with good form, which to most people is probably light. My maximum at the moment is about 35kg.

Where do you reckon I could find a good program? The only problem is my gym doesn’t have a hack squat machine but besides that

He means if you can squat 3 20kg plates each side plus the bar you will have big legs. That is 140 kgs.

If you are squatting 35kgs you will not have excessive leg “activation” as the load is very low.

Get stronger, eat food, sleep. For the program a solid choice is to follow the words of Wendler who has squatted 450kgs. This is his recommendations for a beginner such as yourself.

Read that.


Yea I understand that the amount of weight will decide my leg size, but I just can’t see how that decides how much leg activation I will have because when I first started squatting I was doing lighter weight and my legs would feel dead for a solid 3 days after, you know what I mean? Now it’s just seems like a movement that gets more intense as I up the weight but not leg activation

Given your training age and strength this isn’t a issue. You probably can’t feel the movement because you have no idea how the movement feels or how a contracted/contracting muscle feels especially in your lower body. I don’t know what you mean by the term ‘leg activation’ either.

Going into a specific approach to get ‘leg activation’ whilst you are squatting 35 kilos is unnecessary.

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Well not leg activation , but I do understand how it feels to get leg contractions and etc, when I started squatting I always did. Throughout my hamstrings ecspecially but now I don’t understand why I’m not getting these contractions and why I’m not getting muscle soreness. Because my legs are still only small and not very strong going heavy for me just ruins my form so I’m starting low and increasing the weight yet still, nothing in my legs. My glites definitely get sore tho. It’s just weird how I went from destroying my legs with squats with even lower weights, to getting 0 leg contraction with heavier weight and slightly better form

You got used to squatting. Your body has adapted to the load and won’t get as sore as last time with the same weight. I really doubt you were ‘destroying your legs with even low weight’, you had just never done it before and you got sore from it, now your body has adapted to meet the training stimulus of a empty bar squat. A sore muscle isn’t the sign that it has or will grow and get stronger, it’s just the sign that that muscle isn’t used to the work required.

Continue as you do and slowly add weight.


In a nutshell.

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