Australian bodybuilding coach and trainer Eugene Teo is sharing his favorite pre-fatigue superset to help you grow bigger quads. (He previously shared his two favorite exercises to help you grow your quads from his “2 Best Exercises” series.) Thankfully, for anyone without access to a gym, he also shares some alternatives you can do without gear at home.
According to Teo, the combination of these exercises is perfect if you are short on time—or if you just hate long, drawn out workout sessions. This specifically emphasizes different ranges of motion and flexion to really target your quads.
To start, do 12 to 15 reps on a leg extension machine, with a three second hold at the top of each rep.
“Leg extensions get a really bad rep with people saying they’re really bad for your knees,” says Teo. But he finds that using the machine is the most reliable ways to train your quads in its fully contracted position.
If your knees do hurt during them, it might have something to do with your set up and alignment.
“The biggest one is not lining your knee up with the pivot point of the machine, which puts a lot more stress on the joint unnecessarily,” says Teo. “Another cause is rotating your legs to hit different parts, which will come at the expense of proper joint mechanics and is something you should avoid as much as possible.”
At home, you can grab a resistance band and try a variation without the machine, which requires you to either elevate your feet on a platform or secure the band to an anchor point. “Due to the feet being placed on the ground or a bench instead of floating through space, you’ll be able to generate a little more stability around the knee joint, which may assist with things like pain,” he says.
Next, choose a squat pattern of your choice.
“I prefer something supportive like a leg press or a hack squat at this point due to the stability and how that will allow you to focus more work on the quads,” says Teo.
If you don’t have access to that gear, he says anything from a barbell squat, front squat, a goblet squat, or split squat variations will also serve. And since squats are so versatile, you can use whatever variation you choose at the gym at home, too.
“Whatever you choose, try to choose something that has your feet at a slightly inclined position so your heels are raised slightly. This will help you get deeper into the range of motion at the knee joint, which is so important for stretching out the quads after spending time in the contracted, short position,” says Teo.
In whatever move you choose, you will be doing full and one-quarter reps, emphasizing the bottom position with the maximum stimulus being placed on the legs and emphasizing lock outs.
“To do this you will go all the way down, then a quarter of the way up, then all the way down again, then all the way back up, and that counts as one rep,” says Teo.
Do sets of 8 to 10 reps with this technique.
Overall, you should do 2 to 3 sets of each move with 2 to 3 minutes rest between sets. Overall, that should only take between 10 to 15 minutes.
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