1. PLAY NICE – Staying loose is super important in training quads. That means elongating the muscles first by stretching. You don’t often see a lot of huge guys stretching, but pros like Mike Matarazzo and Flex Wheeler made stretching a part of the beginning of each leg routine. Not only does it elongate, it engorges muscles with blood. The more you stretch, the more blood goes in. Start with quads and then move to hamstrings.
2. NO MORE MR. NICE GUY – Play nice by preparing muscles and then get in there hard and heavy. Heavy strict sets are the way to add to quad girth. Whether you’re going for more size or you’re going for sweep and overall muscle density, full range of motion hack squats hit the outer sweep of the quad. Always incorporate hacks into workouts
3. PUSH IT TO THE LIMIT – Eight reps is essential for growth. Always go heavy enough that you can try to exceed eight reps (but no more than 15 reps total) and don’t go so heavy that you can’t achieve eight reps. People who say they are done in three reps are just cheating themselves, and those that pound past 15 will never grow. So whether super slow, HIIT or otherwise, you can’t grow outside of the acceptable range of 8 to 15.
4. SET IT UP RIGHT – Don’t think that you can go into the gym and train legs for 25 minutes, and 4 to 5 sets total and gain mass. Legs require an almost overtraining mentality. The first few sets should be warm up strictly, so they don’t count. Do at least four movements for the legs and do four to five sets per exercise. Precontest, do at least five or six sets per exercise and add an exercise as well as a superset.
5. KEEP THE HEAT ON – That means intensity! Try allowing yourself shorter and shorter rest times, utilizing the same weight. The legs should not recover in between sets in order to spur growth. They’ll have lots of time to recover and rest in between leg training sessions (and that should be between 3 to 5 days. Use rest times to just shake the blood out of the muscle. If you’re a beginner, don’t rest more than 90 seconds. If you are a seasoned pro in the gym, you should take around 30 seconds, because you’re likely going for density and additional shape and sweep.
6. SEPARATION AGREEMENT – To maximize muscle separation in quads, the most important thing is to always use a full range of motion. You can certainly do this with squats and hack squats, but leg press and leg extensions really count too. And when trying to achieve more separation, use a slower pace and try to squeeze and hold the weight as long as you can. In extensions, try to lift the weight in the lower portion of the exercise with your hip flexors – it pulls out separation like crazy!
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE – Effective leg workouts are more about technique than they are about the exercises themselves. Sure, you have to choose exercises that address the quad from its most basic anatomy, but apart from that, using sound training principles is key. That means keeping it simple. Jury-rigging equipment just isn’t necessary. Squats, leg press, hack squats, front squats and leg extensions are what to focus on. Following workouts, if your legs are rubbery, sore or weak, walk it off for 10 or 15 minutes. Your recovery will be much shorter when you do this.