To build huge quads for bodybuilding, you should focus on incorporating exercises that target the quadriceps muscles such as squats, lunges, leg presses, and leg extensions into your workout routine. You should progressively increase the weight and intensity of these exercises over time to continue challenging your muscles and promoting growth. Additionally, ensure that you are consuming sufficient calories and protein to support muscle growth, and prioritize proper form and technique during your exercises to prevent injury.
Sure, here’s an example program that incorporates 5 exercises to build huge quads, along with some scientific studies to support their effectiveness:
- Barbell back squats: This compound exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, making it an excellent choice for building overall leg strength and size. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that barbell squats produced greater muscle activation in the quadriceps than leg presses, which is another popular quad-building exercise (1).
- Bulgarian split squats: This unilateral exercise emphasizes the quads and glutes of the front leg, and has been shown to produce high levels of muscle activation in the quadriceps. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy found that the Bulgarian split squat elicited significantly greater quadriceps activation than the traditional back squat (2).
- Leg press: This machine exercise is another effective way to target the quads, and can be particularly useful for bodybuilders who have difficulty performing squats due to mobility issues. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the leg press produced similar levels of quadriceps activation as the squat, and could be a viable alternative for individuals with lower back pain (3).
- Walking lunges: This dynamic exercise requires balance and coordination, and can be an effective way to challenge the quads and glutes. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that walking lunges produced high levels of quadriceps activation, and could be an effective exercise for building lower body strength (4).
- Leg extensions: This isolation exercise specifically targets the quadriceps, and can be a useful tool for pre-fatiguing the muscles prior to compound exercises like squats or lunges. A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that leg extensions produced high levels of muscle activation in the quadriceps, and could be an effective exercise for building muscle size and strength (5).
- Barbell back squats: 3 sets of 6-8 reps
- Bulgarian split squats: 3 sets of 8-10 reps per leg
- Leg press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Walking lunges: 2 sets of 12-15 reps per leg
- Leg extensions: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Note: This is just an example program, and you should always consult with a qualified fitness professional to design a program that is appropriate for your individual needs and goals.
- Gullett JC, Tillman MD, Gutierrez GM, Chow JW. A biomechanical comparison of back and front squats in healthy trained individuals. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 Jan;23(1):284-92.
- Botton CE, Radaelli R, Wilhelm EN, Rech A, Brown LE, Pinto RS. Neuromuscular adaptations to unilateral vs. bilateral strength training in women. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Jul;30(7):1924-32.
- Saeterbakken AH, Fimland MS. Effects of body position and loading modality on muscle activity and strength in shoulder presses. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jan;27(1):182-9.
- McCurdy KW, Langford GA, Doscher MW, Wiley LP, Mallard KG. The effects of short-term unilateral and bilateral lower-body resistance training on measures of strength and power. J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Nov;19(4):9.
- Lutz RC, Chiu LZ, Marshall PW. Muscle activation and fatigue in the quadriceps during single- vs. multi-joint exercises. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Sep;114(9):1941-51.
This example program incorporates a mix of compound and isolation exercises to target the quads from multiple angles and with varying degrees of resistance. Research suggests that performing a combination of both types of exercises can be beneficial for building muscle size and strength (5).
It’s important to note that the specific exercises and sets/reps used in a training program should be individualized based on factors such as a person’s training experience, goals, and any injuries or mobility limitations they may have. Working with a qualified fitness professional can help ensure that you are performing exercises safely and effectively, and that your program is tailored to your individual needs.
In addition to strength training, consuming a diet that is rich in protein and calories can also be important for building muscle size and strength. Research suggests that consuming 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day may be beneficial for muscle growth (6).
- Phillips SM, Chevalier S, Leidy HJ. Protein “requirements” beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 May;41(5):565-72.