If you've ever struggled to build your legs, you know one leg day a week is not going to cut it. You also know it takes high volume and high intensity to push those wheels to grow.
MusclePharm-sponsored athlete Larry Edwards is not shy when it comes to high-volume workouts, which is why he's here to share his brutal quads-only workout for building muscle where it counts.
"The goal of today's quad workout is to build muscle," explains Edwards. "The workout is based on high volume, high intensity, a lot of reps. My body seems to respond to it, and I'm sure yours will too."
Edwards prefers to separate quads and hamstrings in his workouts, but includes calves every time he works legs.
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You'll find yourself doubling back a couple of times in this workout, doing leg extensions twice and using the leg press machine for both leg presses and calf raises. Despite the high rep count and overall volume, this workout should take 60 minutes or less to complete.
The purpose of this first round is to pump as much blood into the quads as possible. Start off at 30 reps, then drop to 27. Then do 2 sets at 25 reps, 2 sets at 20 reps, 2 sets at 15 reps, 2 sets at 12 reps, and 1 set at 10 reps. All told, you'll do 10 sets.
"Obviously, you're not going to do a ton of weight doing this many reps," says Edwards. "You want to get good contractions at the top of each rep. At the end you'll feel a lot of blood volume, a lot of pump in your quads."
Narrow Leg Press
Using a narrow stance puts the emphasis on the quads, so Edwards positions his heels at the bottom of the board and keeps his stance inside shoulder width, keeping his knees behind his toes as he moves the weight.
Don't lower the sled too quickly, thinking you'll use your chest as a trampoline, cautions Edwards. Instead, slowly bring the weight down, and explode on the way up.
Perform 6 sets of 15 reps.
"When I'm doing the walking lunges, I don't focus as much on the reps," says Edwards. "Instead, I focus on distance."
For these lunges, you'll complete 25 yards on the first 2 sets, 20 on the next 2 sets, and 15 on the final 2 sets.
Edwards prefers to lunge with a barbell on his back, but dumbbells work, too. Keep your chest up and stop just before your knee hits the ground. Stay upright, and drop straight down with each step. Come straight up before moving forward.
Although it's tempting when covering distance rather than counting reps, don't take too big of a lunge. To emphasize the quads, the smaller the step, the better.
Back to leg extensions.
"The first time I do leg extensions, the focus is to pump up the quads and get them ready for a total quad day," says Edwards. "This time, I use a heavier weight just to really get every muscle fiber left in the quads firing."
Still focus on a good quad contraction at the top and controlling the weight the whole way down.
For this second round of leg extensions, select a heavier weight and complete 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
Leg Press Calf Raise
The key to leg press calf raises is to choose a weight you can control, which may be different from your leg press. So think of it as a separate exercise.
"You really want to be able to get that weight all the way up on the balls of your feet, really move that weight forward, then be able to control it and let that weight stretch your calves at the bottom of the motion," says Edwards.
If you're moving a weight that's too heavy, you won't be able to get a full stretch at the bottom or a full contraction at the top.
Complete 4 sets of 10-12 reps.
Seated Calf Raise
The final exercise is the seated calf raise.
"I like to finish with seated calves because we already attacked the calves with the leg press, and this works a different part of the calf muscle," explains Edwards.
Remember, slower is always better here. You don't want to go so heavy you're bouncing the weight. To build muscle in your calves, you need to be able to come all the way up on your toes, and control the weight all the way down, getting a good stretch at the bottom of every rep.
"By now, your quads should be dead," says Edwards. "Your legs should be shaking and you're probably going to be sore for the next couple of days."
Edwards recommends hitting quads once or twice a week—twice if your quads are a lagging body part.
"But even at once a week," says Edwards, "with this much volume, you'll definitely get a response."