Strong legs are an essential part of a strong body. Not only is your physique incomplete without strong legs to support it, but research has shown that lower body strength is strongly correlated with improved quality of life as you age. So maintaining a strong pair of pins should be high up on your list of training priorities. And the exercise options are almost endless, with different loading and stance options to work with, you have a lot of possible exercises to choose from, so I thought I’d share 4 of my favourite quad blasting exercises I’ve been using lately.
I’ve started using zerchers in my training lately to add some more variety to my lower body training sessions. As a nice bonus they also hit your upper back pretty hard due to the loading position.
Squeeze your hands back towards your chest to keep the bar high and close.
Elevate your heels on small (2.5kg) plates to help make sure you sit straight down into the squat.
You may want to use pads to make it suck a little less on your elbows.
Supported split squats
The Hatfield SSB split squat is a fantastic exercise for targeting your quads, but most commercial gyms don’t have a safety squat bar handy, and this is the closest alternative I could figure out.
Set up a bar about belly button height, or use the upright of the rack or other solid support. This allows you to maintain an upright torso and load the quad of the working leg.
Hold your dumbbell on your trail leg and keep it close. Try to move the weight vertically.
The bar gives you a useful support when you finish your set and your legs feel jelly-ish.
This is a great exercise for strengthening the quads eccentrically, that is, while lengthening. This is important as most quad exercises focus on the concentric portions of the movements. It also helps build strong hip flexors and can be a useful option if your knees get grumpy with other movements.
Make sure to use some kind of mat or cushioning below your knees.
Tuck your pelvis slightly and maintain that tuck throughout the movement, if you lose position, reduce the range of movement to what you can control and build from there.
You can set up with your toes tucked under (like me as I can’t fully extend my ankles thanks to years of basketball and torn ankle ligaments…) or with your ankles extended.
Use a band anchored in front of you to help to control the movement if necessary.
Band resisted frog squats
Clients “love” the frog squat. It gives them a warm fuzzy feeling right down their quads as they push through their sets. The banded version takes it up a level, adding resistance to what is effectively a leg extension, albeit one with fixed foot position.
Make sure to anchor the band to something that isn’t likely to move during your set.
Keep your elbows in contact with the meaty part of your quad, just inside your knee.
Use the best range of movement you can, trying to maintain a flat back throughout.
Give these a try in your training as great options to challenge you on your lower body work. You can thank me later!