Log in to BOXROX Pro

What Is The Best Exercise For Quads

Continue reading our “the best exercise for” series.

Another one for BOXROX’s guide trying to discover the best exercise for quads. Although a difficult task to narrow it down to simply one, we think we’ve nailed it. Previously, we also discussed the best exercise for chest.

As we have done in the past, we have to explain what we are looking for to discover what is the best exercise for quads. Check it out.

What to Take Into Consideration

When looking to discover the best exercise for any particular muscle group, we have to take into account four main things:

  • How effectively it targets the muscle group
  • Is it easy to apply progressive overload?
  • Is it safe to do it
  • Can you find this equipment nearly in any gym around the world?

Although the last argument is not that important, it could play a decision-making role when we set out to discover the best exercise for quads.

With that in mind, let’s see what we came up with.

Woman does leg press at the gymSource: Scott Webb / Pexels

The Best Exercise For Quads

Taking into consideration the arguments presented above, there are a few common exercises which we can exclude.

Although versatile, the bodyweight squat is better for building endurance rather than hypertrophy. The L-Sit is quite difficult to achieve and it targets much more than just your quads and you could fail the exercise if you are not strong on other parts of your body such as glutes, triceps or even your grip strength.

The pistol squat is one of the toughest lower body exercises one can master and, for that reason, it is also not taken into consideration.

When it came down to it, there were three big contenders:

Honestly, anyone can make the case for any of the exercises listed above as the best exercise for quads, but hear us out.

The Bulgarian split squat can fix strength imbalances one might have by working each leg individually. Although that is impressive, it gets difficult to properly overload the exercise (even with a barbell) as you can easily lose balance. You might hold a pair of dumbbells and utilise a weighted vest to add even more weight, but those are a lot of equipment you need to do one exercise and that is why Bulgarian split squat is not the winner here.

best exercise for quads
Bulgarian split squat is one of the best unilateral lower body exercises.

The hack squat can also be argued to be the best exercise for quads. Simply put, you can overload it easily on a hack machine and the way it is designed will alleviate pressure on your lower back – it will however put more stress on your knees. It is also a very safe machine as you won’t need a spotter even when you are trying to PR.

The only reason we are not nailing the hammer on the hack squat being the best exercise for quads is that your will target your quads immensely and with precision, but you will only be able to produce that power in that specific position and range of motion that you trained in the machine.

In the end, we have the front squat and back squats as the contenders. They are both awesome to target your quads, but if we need to choose one we would pick the front squat as the best exercise for quads.

crossfit team quarterfinal
The front squat is the best exercise for quads.

Why the front squats?

  • Precision – the front squats target your quads more than the back squat
  • Easy to overload it – add weight to the barbell
  • Full range of motion – you can deep squat to reap more benefits
  • Relatively safe – if you are squatting heavy, you will need to roll the barbell forward away from your body, which is safer than the back squat
  • Any gym in the world has a barbell and that is all you need to do this exercise.

Why Should You Train Your Quads

By training your quads with the front squat, you will carry over the strength you build on your quads to other sports and activities such as running, jumping, functional fitness, powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting.

Although we now established that the front squat is the best exercise for quads, it is important that you train your quads and lower body with different exercises so that you don’t plateau. Check out these other BOXROX articles you might find interesting.

BIGGER QUADS – 5 Mistakes Keeping your Legs Skinny

Best Leg Workout Tips for Bigger Legs

Best Science-Based Lower Body Workout to Grow Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves

The Smartest Push Pull Legs Routine

Good Leg Workouts at Home for Stronger Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes

Image Sources

Related news