People are always asking me about the best quad workouts for mass. Why? Because I have what my wife calls my “second knee.” This is a large portion of my quad muscle that bulges out above my knee.
My friends like to make fun of it, but it is a testament to how hard I have worked over the years to get in the best shape of my life.
I have even had people ask me if I had a tumor! No, it is just my giant quad muscle resting above my knee cap.
If you don’t know my story, I used to be super scrawny. I was 6’1” and 135lbs as a freshman in college. Women would turn me down on dates and I had zero confidence. I tried for years trying to build muscle with no success.
It wasn’t until I made myself my own workout plan AND learned about nutrition that I was able to put on 20+ lbs of muscle in my first year of commitment. This continued until my girlfriend (now wife) said that I was a little too big when I made it to 205lbs.
I am now at a comfortable 190lbs and I am very happy with the way that I look.
If you are like I was, I recommend learning how to calculate your maintenance calories and learn how to make exercise a habit. If you are interested in the exact workout plan that I used to build all that muscle, it is called “3 DAY OVERLOAD” in our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play).
Ok, now that you know that I am qualified, let’s talk about the best quad workouts for mass.
Traditional Squat – The quad workout foundation
The regular old squat! This was the foundation of my original leg building days. I used to be a skateboarder, and I thought my knees were shot for good. It turns out, they weren’t and I just needed to build some muscle around them.
The squat is what helped me. If you are new to this, it’s ok to just start out with the bar only. You want to get comfortable with the form first. Never prioritize weight over form. Form wins every time. And if you decide that form doesn’t matter, and you get injured, that nullifies your results.
Your gym should have a squat rack. If it doesn’t, you may want to build your own home gym from Amazon.
Make sure to keep your back straight and your shoulders centered above your body. Flex your core and go down with control. You don’t want to bend forward on squats.
Kettlebell Press-Out – The sneaky quad exercise
This one was a little bit awkward for me at first. Why in the world would the press out portion of this exercise help build my quad muscles?
The reason is simple. When you perform the press out in the squat, your quad muscles become extra engaged. They have to work in overdrive to compensate for the forward shift in weight.
This may seem like a combination of an upper body and leg exercise. Sure, you will get a little bit of an arm and back workout. But, this is a killer for your quads! If your gym doesn’t have a kettlebell, you can buy one on Amazon.
Leg Extensions – The mass building quad exercise
You cannot do leg extensions without feeling massive engagement of your quad muscles. These are like doing bicep curls but for your quads.
Make sure to really push your back against the machine so that your quads are really the only muscles doing the work. I personally think that this exercise right here is responsible for my second knee.
It is the king when it comes to quad muscle detail work.
Walking Lunge – Quad muscles beware
Grab yourself a pair of dumbbells and let’s get walking! The heavier the dumbbells, the more mass we can put on those quads. But don’t get too carried away with the weight. Let’s focus on form before anything else.
Keep the dumbbells by your sides, and step out, making sure to only use your front leg for strength and balance. This is important. Instinct will tell you to push off with your back leg. Don’t listen to your instincts!
If you are struggling to only use your front leg to move into the next lunge, then you might be using too much weight. You will alternate legs as soon as your back foot switches to your front foot. Repeat that process.
Dumbbell Step Up – Best quad workout with limited equipment
Find an adjustable bench, and a set of dumbbells. Actually, you don’t really need a bench here. You can use anything from a coffee table to a set of stairs. The whole point is to engage your quad muscles so that we can build mass.
This is another exercise where your natural instinct will be to use your back leg to shoot yourself up. Don’t do that. We are doing one of the best quad workouts for mass. We want to make sure that we are focusing on quad development.
When we use our back leg to push us up, we are essentially cheating ourselves. There is no cheating in muscle building. Unless of course you want to take steroids, which I don’t recommend.
Again, form is everything here. Focus on form first, and then start building from there.
Bonus Leg Exercise: Hex Bar Deadlift – Best all around exercise
Everyone has heard of the legend of the deadlift. The greatest exercise of all time. You are going to engage every muscle in your body for a deadlift. But why did I choose the hex bar deadlift over a traditional deadlift?
Because the hex bar deadlift engages your quads slightly more. A traditional deadlift requires you to lean a little more forward in order to get the barbell to clear your shins and knees.
A hex bar deadlift only requires your arms to be up and down, by your side. Not only is this good news for your quads, but it’s also good for not getting injured. In fact, I rarely do traditional deadlifts anymore.
I would rather not get injured when I am trying to build muscle. Amazon sells hex bars, but if you live near a play it again sports, that might be worth a look. Also Craigslist could be a good option.
Main Point: Best quad workouts for mass
What is the secret for building leg muscles that you can be proud of? Well, working out at least 3 days per week is the bare minimum, but there is more to it than that.
Nutrition is a massive component. If you are not eating enough calories, you are not going to build muscle. I learned this the hard way. I literally worked out on and off for 7 years before I realized how important calories were.
After I figured it out, as I mentioned previously, I gained 20lbs of muscle in the first year. I cover this and more in 3 tips for going from a thin body to muscular body.
All in all, it is up to you to build the body that you desire. If you want beast quad muscles, you are going to have to put in the work. And these exercises are a great start. Workout, eat enough, and be consistent. That is the formula for building muscle.