Building your quads is going to take a bit more effort than just a throwing in a few sets of squats on your leg day. Your quad, or your rectus femoris is a large muscle that takes time, effort, and dedication to build and develop more muscle mass. But with the right quad exercises and training program, you can start growing those legs in no time.
How To Build Bigger Quads
Several critical factors play into developing and building bigger quads, such as genetics, nutrition plan, training program, and supplementation.
If you want thick strong quads, then you’re going to need a combination of resistance training and cardio. Resistance training or more commonly referred to as lifting weights, is going to build more muscle through a process called muscle hypertrophy.
The body has an amazing ability to adapt to its environment. Applying repeated stress and trauma to your muscle tissue through lifting weights, indicates and signals a need to build more muscle and strength to accommodate heavier loads, more workout volume, and increased workout intensity to protect itself from future stress. Muscle hypertrophy refers to an increase in the size of muscle cells and total muscle mass from physical stress. Hypertrophy is often achieved with resistance training and progressive overload (increasing the amount of weight lifted overtime) to breakdown and rebuild muscle tissue, resulting in more total muscle mass and bigger gains.
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Next, is your nutrition plan.
You have to eat, to grow. Of course, muscle growth cannot occur without resistance training. However, for your body to build and rebuild muscle tissue, it must be in a positive protein balance, which means you need to eat more protein, than your body is utilizing to rebuild muscle mass. Training without eating enough protein will actually cause you to lose muscle mass, not gain it. Protein is also not the only macronutrient your body needs to replenish and rebuild. Your body requires fuel from high quality proteins, heathy fats, and complex carbohydrates to maximize muscle growth and gains.
If you want to achieve maximum results and build bigger, stronger quads, then we suggest working with a certified nutrition coach from The Swole Kitchen. They'll help you take the guess work out of your nutrition and create a plan customized for you and your needs.
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The Best Quad Exercises To Build Strength And Size
1. Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian-split squat is a single-leg squat variation. Compared to a traditional barbell squat, it removes all the pressure and load from your lower back, and places it directly into your legs. The stabilizing leg of the Bulgarian split-squat is elevated behind you, which allows greater range of motion and depth, to achieve greater muscle hypertrophy, and strength gains in your glutes and quadriceps. Bulgarian split squats are key for not only building a bigger barbell back squat, but for building quadriceps and glutes, midline stability, and it offers an awesome range of motion movement for the hip flexors.
The Bulgarian split squat is one of the best quad exercises, because it extends your range of motion, forcing you to recruit more power and strength.
2. Barbell Back Squat
The back squat is a compound functional movement, that recruits multiple muscle groups, joints, and stabilizing muscles. Back squat focuses and builds lower body strength and core stability, which is the foundation to several compound movements in functional training modalities.
The barbell back squat is a bilateral movement that helps build full-body strength. Barbell back squats, and back squats in general, demand a strong posterior chain, hamstrings, quads, and a substantial amount of midline stability as well as ankle mobility.
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Back squat is easily one of the most tried and true exercises to build bigger, well defined quadriceps. Back squat is a functional strength movement which emphasizes joint mobility, better core stability, and explosiveness.
3. Front Squat
Front squats are a type of squat variation, however instead of having the barbell placed on your back behind your head, the barbell is placed in front rack position, with the load anteriorly loaded. Front squats are a compound functional strength movement, simulating multiple joints, muscle groups, and stabilizing muscles all in one motion.
Both forms of squats, back and front recruit major muscles involved in lower body strength; quadriceps, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, and the gluteus maximus. Squats are one of the few compound movements that recruit multiple muscle groups and joints in one single movement and are considered as one of the most effective and efficient functional movements. While both front squats and back squats are similar, there are slight variations in technique and the muscular movement. Front squats have been found to relieve stress on your lower back and knee stress and load. Like back squats, they will help increase overall leg strength and build bigger quads.
Lunges are a fundamental quad exercise, which can add more size and strength to your legs. With an emphasized range of motion lunges effectively stimulate your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, to help build more lean muscle mass. If you want to build bigger quads, lunges are one of the best exercises to help you get there.
Lunges can emphasize a deeper and pronounced range of motion, which is a fundamental piece in contracting your quads, and focusing on your balance, coordination, and core stability.
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5. Landmine Squats
Easily one of the best quad exercises, the landmine squat is a strength training squat variation that affixes one end of a barbell to the floor, with the other end attached to a landmine grip. This movement is a very beneficial accessory leg exercise, providing less impact on your joints, and placing more emphasis on form to help build strength in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Landmine squats are an anteriorly (front) loaded movement which will place more emphasis on your quads, upper back, glutes, and core. What’s great about the landmine squat is that it emphasizes proper form, specifically glute activation, which is crucial for performing heavy loaded back or front squats to build more strength and mass.
Best Quad Exercises: Takeaway
If the goal is to build bigger, stronger quads, then make sure to add these quad exercises to your workout training plan. Compound functional exercises, such as the barbell back squat, front squat, lunges, and landmine squat will help you achieve more muscle growth. By adding key quad exercises to your training split 2-3 times per week, you'll build well defined muscular quads in no time.
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