Your favourite exercise for quad development that *isn't* a squat...

Discussion in 'Other' started by Chrisdavisjr, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. Chrisdavisjr

    Chrisdavisjr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I'm looking to build my quadriceps primarily to improve my weightlifting (also because I just want big ol' legs) and was wondering what exercises everyone here had found particularly effective (or particularly ineffective, for that matter).

    Obviously squats (particularly front squats) are the numero uno* but I don't have regular access to a squat rack (I do have kettlebells from 16kg to 40kg, a barbell with 100kg of plates and some floor) so it'd be nice to find some supplementary exercises I can fit in outside of my gym sessions.

    To get the ball rolling, I did find that regular sprints up stairs worked wonders for my quads. It might be worth including more leg power drills to see if that'll spur on some growth.

    *Leg press and knee extension machines don't count, obviously.
  2. Antti

    Antti More than 2500 posts

    If you're opposed to squats because you don't have a rack, how about zercher squats?
  3. Alaska80

    Alaska80 Double-Digit Post Count


    If you want to fry your quads without squats there are dozens of options. I train year round for mountain hunting in Alaska and focus heavily on my quads for obvious reasons and the most effective quad developers I have found aside from BB FSQ and Back Squats are as follows:

    - Loaded single leg lunges
    - Low walking lunges
    - Sled/Tire push and pulls. I will load sleds and tires in excess of 300 lbs. Front drag down rear drag back. You will find new muscles in your quads.
    - Plate pushes (45lb) on turf or some other low friction surface, attacks at different angle then the tire/sled.
    - Weighted step ups for time or reps
    - Jump squats loaded or unloaded
    - Jumping lunges loaded or unloaded

    There are more, but these are my favorites. Rob Shaul from mountain athlete has a great complex on his site called the quadzilla complex, if that is all you ever did you would have some powerful legs.

    Hope this gets the mental juices flowing.
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  4. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Chrisdavisjr You dont have access to a rack, but why not double kettlebell squats? even if its uneven bells.
  5. PeterLuffman

    PeterLuffman Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Bulgarian split squats
    Step ups
    Double bell reverse lunges.
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  6. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    Cycling hills....
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  7. PeterLuffman

    PeterLuffman Triple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Belt squats
    20 rep goblets
    Sissy squat machine (very cheap for home use)
  8. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Chrisdavisjr and Pavel Macek like this.
  9. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Senior Instructor


  10. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    I started adding in Sissy Squats - IMHO they are a close cousin to the Hack Squat with more core activation.
    I no longer feel like my quads need extra work and (at the risk of TMI) have mothballed all my knit boxers as the legs don't fit anymore.
    Chrisdavisjr likes this.
  11. LukeV

    LukeV More than 300 posts

    I know they are looked upon with the same scorn as barbell curls in the squat rack but I've always got excellent results from the leg press. High volume, 20+ reps, HIT style single set to failure
  12. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    Forward leopard crawling hits my quads pretty strongly. Aleks Salkin has also reported a Double KB Front Squat PR after a month of crawling only.
    Steve W. likes this.
  13. Nate

    Nate Triple-Digit Post Count

    Similar to belt squats, does anyone like dead squats (just holding a pair of heavy kbs between legs -- maybe standing on risers for extra range of motion)? Similar to Face the Wall Squats in S&S book, but without wall so knees can track over toes as needed. Feels I can put far more stress on legs than with goblet position.
  14. Papa Georgio

    Papa Georgio Triple-Digit Post Count

    Strength snobs are gonna hate on this, but if you're just after size, you need to cut to the chase, and get some garbage volume in. After your squats, burn yourself out on some leg extensions. You probably want to balance it up with leg curls. Isolation work is best way to get some pump volume without fatiguing your whole system. Post some pics when you're wearing spandex jeans. Good luck!
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  15. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count


    Lateral and axial leopard crawling too.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  16. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    +1 to backwards sled drag and pushing across the floor.
  17. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Sitting on an invisible chair, supported by your back on a wall.
    Isometric hold. Yes it's a squat.
    An old classic.
    I minute hold, rest x5. As a start, or end for that matter.
    Stick your arms out at 90 for some shoulder grief.
    No equipment other than a wall.
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  18. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I did tons of these when I was young and worked up to over 5 minutes at a time. You will definitely feel the burn...
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  19. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Me too!
    Skiers use it. Especially mogul skiers who tend to have giant redwood quads.
    Chrisdavisjr likes this.
  20. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Actually, been thinking about adding it into my current routine's a perfect minimalist movement, inspiring even Neil Diamond and immortalised in song....

    "I am"... I said
    To no one there
    And no one heard at all
    Not even the chair
    Chrisdavisjr likes this.

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