Last week I gave my top tips on how to grow your chest. 
 
Today I will be looking at how you can grow your quads and fill out those shorts for summer. 
 
Let’s not beat around the bush training legs is not everyone’s idea of fun. The chance of you having to queue up for the squat rack is unlikely, well unless some doosh is doing some bicep curls in it. 
 
Although everyone might not get amped up by training legs you don’t want to be that person who looks like they could tip over because you are so top heavy. 
 
There are some good reasons to train your legs outside of having a well-balanced physique. 
 
First of all, many lower body compound exercises will also activate the core and are often the best way to build a solid mid-section. If you are someone who plays sport, then you defiantly want to be training your legs. Finally, and a lesser point but one to bear in mind is that you will probably burn more calories training your legs. Although I personally believe calorie expenditure shouldn’t be your sole motivation when doing resistance training. 
Get to know your quads 
 
The quads are responsible for extending the knee and keep your kneecap stable. They are also important for posture and in basic tasks like walking or going up the stairs (this is when they help extend the knee) and as the name would suggest the quads are made up of four main muscles. 
 
1. Rectus femoris (middle to upper section of your quad) 
2. Vastus medialis (inner section of your quad) 
3. Vastus lateralis (outer section of your quad) 
4. Vastus intermedius (lower mid-section of your quad) 
 
As your quads are made of different muscle its important to understand how different knee and feet positions in exercises like squats and leg press variations will activate more or less of different parts of the quad. If you squat with a wider foot position and your feet turned out, you will activate more of your outer quad. With a narrower stance and feet facing straighter you will start to get more even activation of all four parts of the quad. However it’s important to remember that your squat stance should be what works for you and what feels most comfortable. 
 
But you can see why a range of different exercises is important to ensure you hit all parts of the quads in equal measure, we will come onto this more later. 
Training frequency  
 
First of all, when it comes to your training split and training frequency, I would advise against training your quads in isolation. This is because when you train exercises that hit your quads you will also activate other muscle groups like your hamstring and glutes. Also is if you did just quad exercises in a session you would start to see some serious fatigue build up which could affect your total volume. I like to break up quad exercises with hamstring and glute exercises in a session, so the muscle group almost gets time to rest before being targeted again. 
 
When it comes to training your quads and therefore legs you need to be aware of how much fatigue can build up over a big session. Not many people would be able to handle x3 lower body sessions a week and recover in time for their next session. The best option would be 1-2 lower body sessions or x3 full body sessions if you can’t get in the gym as much. You can then spread your quad exercises across these sessions to keep intensity and volume high. 
Sets and reps  
 
There can be arguments for some muscle groups that higher rep ranges work better than lower reps. However, for your quads I believe lower and higher reps all have their place. Lower reps (4-8) work well for your big compound exercises like your back squats, front squats, and leg press. Other compound exercises like lunges, split squats, hack squats and leg press can work well in the medium rep range (8-12). Then some of these exercises and movements like goblet squats, leg extensions, sissy squats and lunges can work well at higher rep ranges (12-20). 
 
The reason these different exercises work well at varying rep ranges is because the different tension that can be created and the ability to keep form tight. Your bigger compounds work well at lower reps as they create lots of mechanical tension and your other compounds and isolations work well at moderate to higher reps as they are great at creating metabolic stress. 
 
For more info on how these different tensions work check out my free muscle gain eBook. 
 
For sets like most exercises, I would advise keeping things between 2-4. For exercises like backs squats think about working up to x4 sets after having mastered your form at x3 sets. For other movements x3 is a good middle ground and then x2 sets for higher rep sets to finish things off . If you do less exercises, you can do more sets and if you do more exercises, you can do less sets. 
 
Don’t get too bogged down with it but also don’t go mental on your volume as your quads can take a few days to recover. 
Exercise selection 
 
Ok so now the good stuff. What are the best exercises that will make your quads stand out when you strut down the beach this summer. Below are my go to rules when I program quad exercises for a client. 
 
• Now although it’s not essential, just like any exercise, I do feel if you can then you should include barbell back squats in your repertoire. Ideally you position this exercise at the beginning of the session when you are freshest. If you can’t barbell back squat you can try a front squat, smith machine squat or safety bar squat, so you have some of squat pattern movement in your plan. 
 
• Including some lunge and split squat work is a must in my opinion. There are so many variations you can use and probably best to pick the one you enjoy the most to start with, although I still do bulgarian split squats although I hate them. These uni lateral exercises will help avoid any muscular imbalances and can help bolster your squat numbers. 
 
• Use the leg press but mix it up. Try some single leg work, slow tempo work and change your foot stance to hit different parts of your quads. Oh, also don't be that person who throws on all the plates on the leg press but does 1/4 range reps! Full range of motion is key. 
 
• Finally exercises like leg extensions, goblet squats and sissy squats are great exercises to bump up your volume without building tones of fatigue like your big compounds. These are also great movements for intensifiers like dropsets, AMRAPS and cluster sets and ideally positioned to towards the back end of your workout. 
 
I hope you found this blog helpful and like always if you have any questions drop me a DM over on my social media platforms
 
Next week we will delve into how you grow a barn door of a back. 
 
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