Bodybuilding.com's 10 Highest-Rated Quadriceps Exercises
The Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database houses an incredible collection of exercises, complete with ratings, tips, and reviews. We've assembled the ten best-rated strength exercises for quadriceps from our database, along with tips from the experts. Bring back the short shorts, brothers and sisters!
Quick Tip: Aim for about 40% of the load (measured at max tension) to come from the bands. Depending on how the bands are attached, there may be too much slack in the line. If so, wrap them around whatever you attached them to an extra time or two, shortening the band.
Quick Tip: I recommend doing these while in-place instead of taking a step with each rep or walking. As a one-legged squat, technique is important and you don't want fatigue to make you sloppy!
Quick Tip: With a narrow stance, mobility can be an issue for many people. If you can, use Olympic weightlifting shoes, which feature hard, raised heels. Alternatively, place a 1-2 inch board under your heels.
Quick Tip: Pause at the bottom of the motion, using your elbows to push your femurs out. This will help with your hip mobility.
Quick Tip: This drill teaches you how to correctly position your shoulders for front squats and cleans without rounding the thoracic spine. Start with just the bar as you work up in weight to ensure proper posture. If you can't hit rock bottom without the bar moving, work on your mobility!
Quick Tip: Don't crash down onto the box. Descend with control. This movement is a favorite among strength athletes, and for good reason. Just ensure that you use good technique at all times, and try not to rock forward as you come off the box.
Quick Tip: This movement not only requires strength, but great balance, flexibility, and coordination. If you can't do it yet, start without the weight or progress from goblet squats.
Quick Tip: Flexibility may sideline many of you. Work on it until your shoulders and wrists can hit the proper position. Until then, you can try the crossed-arms version or use straps.
Quick Tip: Technique is a must. Squatting doesn't hurt your knees; bad squatting hurts your knees. What's my number one coaching cue? "BUTT BACK!"
Quick Tip: If your mobility is poor, you will tend to lean forward on these. When I see this problem, I have people squat facing a wall, standing a couple inches away. This will teach you to use your hips more and prevent excessive torso lean, which shouldn't occur in a front squat.
Ratings compiled September 2012.
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Really... box squats for quads? Done properly these should hit more of the posterior chain. Not saying this is not a great movement, but a top 10 quad builder... I just don't think so.
Also, why are machine hack squats and leg press not included? I've seen people build great quads by utilizing hacks and leg pressing with squats but have never seen anyone do frankenstein squats for anything but form work.
You are correct in that a "properly" performed box squat is more posterior chain than anything, though quads are still included. To what degree is a matter of technique, torso lean/bar position, and box depth, among other things. I agree that for strict quad development a hack squat or a leg press might be better utilized (though in general, I don't recommend those movements), however this list was generated by user ratings of movements that involve the quadriceps. They simply weren't rated high enough.
I read an article with which I did not totally agree not to long ago, but one thing that it stated about quads which is also generally known about all muscles is that the contract. That being said lets apply this to all the above work outs exercises. Lets use the fully extended leg as our base and call that the place of origin degree 0 or 0� and where the predominant portion of the weight that is to be moved rests on the bones with some muscle support . Movement from 0� to 45� ( I will save the mathematical equation here but I can send the proof if any one is interested we are looking at a whole bunch of trig functions and calc) Any way in lay terms the first 45� in sense of quads is wasted. It is these last 45� that we can only get from leg extensions as much as I love to do the above it is not plausible alone to make for great quads. But to end this on a lighter note my quads suck so I truly have no remedy once I find one that worked for me I will share it....
Half of these are not really "quad" movements. They are great for working legs but most involve more hamstring and glutes than quads. Sure the quads get hit in every movement but they are not the main muscles in about half of these. No hacks, close stance leg presses, or pin squats?
You are right, but people get into trouble trying to separate movements by prime mover. I agree that hacks, close stance leg presses, and pin squats are better movements specifically for quad development, but this list was generated by user rankings, and those movements were not rated as highly as other movements that include quads, but may not isolate them as well (assuming that is a goal).
Just remember, to get big strong legs, you need to lift a lot of weight. To avoid injuries use the safest exercises that you can find. When using free weights for legs, there are always loss of balance issues that can mess you up for a long time with heavy weights.