I have always enjoyed training legs because many of the exercises that you perform for developing muscular quads are combination movements which involve the entire body, they are not only a good way to develop muscular quads but they are also great exercises for speeding up your metabolism so that you can more efficiently burn calories at a higher rate.
Today I will be talking about weight training for legs and developing muscular quads. Once in a while I receive questions on leg training, and just recently I received a question based on which is the better exercise between squats and leg presses.
I will be covering the efficiency of squatting and the benefits of various forms of squats, as well I will be covering the benefits of leg presses, dead lifts and other power movements and what rep and set schemes work best for developing muscular quads.
The benefits of squatting:
For decades, many proven successful athletes have applied squatting to build an ample amount of muscle size and strength, but many times people might ask, what is the best exercise when it comes to building muscle size and strength in the quads?
This is a good question, because there are many great exercises that a trainer can include in their workout that can both increase muscle size and strength. When it comes to any one-single exercise that can build strength and muscle, not only zoning in on quads, but will help you in achieving results for the overall package, I would suggest hands-down, the squat is the number one exercise for achieving these results.
Squatting is a great exercise for building muscle size and strength in the quads, but will also help with developing your core, the gluts, your back and an all around overall body workout which it is hard to find another exercise that can accomplish so much.
Squatting vs the leg press:
Squatting has its many benefits when it comes to catapulting your results for muscle size and strength, but you simply don’t want to base your entire workout around one single exercise, it is necessary to incorporate a variety of exercises in your training program.
This is where the leg press comes in, leg presses have always been one of the top exercises for developing the quads and leg presses are also essential for directly targeting your quads.
There is also another perspective that we need to take a look at, and that is based around what your goals are. Squats are a great exercise for developing quad muscle size and strength but not everyone is interested in building big bulky muscular thighs.
For someone that is simply interested in toning up their thigh muscles and maybe adding a little muscle to their legs, the leg press is an ideal exercise for doing this. Even though the squats are viewed as an exercise that is great for building thigh muscle, that is another relevant point to look at.
How many reps should you do? If you are interested in incorporating the squats in your training routine for building larger muscles, then you should follow a rep system of 8 to 10 reps per set.
If you want to incorporate squats for firming and toning your muscles but are not interested in building bigger muscles, you can still follow a good training routine incorporating squats, but you should follow a higher rep system of 15 to 25 reps per set.
Squats are an all-around great exercise no matter what your goal is, but it should basically come down to how many reps you do per set, and if squatting is an exercise that you feel uncomfortable with and want to shy away from, the leg presses are a great alternative for any type of goal system.
Various forms of squatting:
There are also various types of squatting that you can perform aside from the standard way of performing squats when you hold a barbell across the back of your neck. Other forms can include front squats which are performed the same way except you are holding the barbell in front of your neck.
Another form of the squats are referred to as hack squats which are generally performed on a hack squat machine and these are a great way to incorporate muscular development in your training program as well.
The major difference when performing squats with different various forms is they will generally target your quad muscles from different angles giving your quads a more rounded workout giving your quads more targeted development.
Deadlifts are another great exercise that you can use for developing your quad muscles, but the dead lifts are an exercise that is usually structured around the type of training routine that someone would incorporate for building strength.
Deadlifts are a specialized exercise for building strength and can also develop the entire core, gluts and back, the same as the squats do. Deadlifting is also a great way to increase your metabolism which will help you with burning calories faster, even in a rested state.
Other power movements:
These exercises are generally performed by power lifters and can increase quad size and strength but are generally not included in the typical training routine, as by someone who is simply interested in building muscle.
The Best set and rep schemes for mass:
As I stated previously that the best rep system for building muscle would fall in the category of 8 to 10 reps per set, this should be a pretty good system to follow for anyone interested in building muscle, whether it is the squats, leg presses, any other various forms of squats, dead lifts and other leg training exercises such as leg extensions, leg curls and lunges.
For weight trainers that are interested purely in building strength, the best rep system to follow would fall into the category of 1 to 6 reps per set and it would be a good idea to include dead lifts and other power movements such as the snatch the clean and jerk.
If your goal is for endurance, you will need to target a higher rep system such as 15 to 25 reps and keep your resting minimal, no longer than 30 seconds of rest between sets.
There can be many variables when it comes to setting up a proper leg training routine, it basically comes down to what your goals are and what your preferences are.
In my own personal experience, I usually have a tendency of shying away from performing exercises like the squats because they can have a tendency to put more tension on the lower back, if you are anything like me and have lower back issues, you may want to use the leg press as an alternative.
If you are in a similar situation as this, other great exercises that can have a minimal impact on the lower back other than leg presses are the leg extensions, leg curls and lunges.
I hope that I have given you some positive information to take away and you can use something you may have taken away on this for setting up your own personal leg training routine.
Some exercises mentioned above have their dangers, so there is always a necessity to exercise caution when performing some of these exercises like the squats. Always warm up thoroughly and wear protective gear to keep your back from obtaining any unnecessary injuries.
Keep in mind that along with following a structured training routine for building muscle or whatever it is that your goal is structured around, you will always need to follow a healthy diet and keep in mind supplementation always has its benefits as well.