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Body Part Blitz: Quads


Build impressive legs with this quad workout

While an impressive upper body always commands respect, no muscle group carries quite the same mystique that quads do. However, few people are genetically blessed with tree trunk thighs. For most of us, well developed quads can only come from gut wrenching effort in the gym.

Squats 5 sets of 5 repetitions (2-5 minutes of rest between sets)

Squats are a bit like deadlifts. A lot of people talk about how important they are. But very few people seem to do them. And of those that do, even fewer do them properly.

Probably the biggest area of controversy centres on squat depth. Should you squat to parallel? How low should you go?

Your goal is to hit parallel or slightly below. When viewed from the side, this means that the crease of your hip is slightly below the level of your knee.

However, a lot depends on your flexibility and anatomy. If you have long thighs and poor flexibility around the hip and/or ankle joint, then squatting to parallel is going to be a lot more difficult than it is for someone with short thighs and a decent level of flexibility.

You should squat only as low as you can while still maintaining good form. Your back should be slightly arched, your heels should be on the floor, and your knees should be above your toes rather than collapsing inwards. If you can’t squat to parallel while maintaining this position, then build up to it gradually over time.

Front Squats 5 sets of 5 repetitions (2-5 minutes rest between sets)

With the barbell resting across your delts and hands crossed over the centre of the bar, lower yourself into a normal squat movement. Finishing around a parallel.

If this is the first time you've performed a front squat, ensure balance and positions are correct before upping the weight too much. Or else you may sacrifice on form.

Leg extensions 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions (2-5 minutes rest between sets)

Using a leg extension machine, seat yourself with your lower back and shoulders spread across the seat back.

Starting position should be less than 90 degrees and your legs shouldn't be under tension at this point.

Raise your legs up, resistance should be kicking in about the 90 degree mark and you should lift your legs to nearly straight. Not locking out your knees ensures continuous tension is kept in your muscles and reduces damage to your joints.