Fitness & Health

Leg Day: Quads Circuit

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5 Moves to Build Your Quads

I have already done one leg day circuit post, but since legs are my favorite to work I figured I’d do another post. I will probably do more in the future as well just  because there is such a variety when it comes to working legs. This post will primarily focus on quads which tends to have different variations of squats!


Some things to be careful with on leg day:

  • Don’t let your knee go over your ankle otherwise you may end up hurting yourself (specifically with lunges or squats)
  • Ever hear, “lift with your legs, not your back?” Try to work on using your legs in all the workouts and not your back. You may notice when you first do these workouts (especially if you are not used to them), that your lower back will be sore. That means you need to rely more on your leg strength. It takes a lot of thinking while doing the exercise, but then you’ll be working the right area!
  • If you have knee issues you may want to wear a knee brace or sleeve. Hamstring workouts tend to really bother my knees, so I sometimes go lighter on those workouts.

I do 4 sets of each workout. You can decide how many reps to do based on your level of intensity. Over time, you should either increase reps or weight.


Workout: Barbell Squats
Muscle Group: Quads
Instructions: 

Barbell squats can be very challenging and require a lot of focus in order to have the right form. If you are a newbie at these I suggest going light and having someone spot you until you feel comfortable. Squats still make me nervous when I go up in weight. I’m constantly trying to find ways to improve my form by asking for my sister’s opinion. It also helps to watch yourself in a mirror if possible.

  • Start off by warming up with the bar which is usually 45 pounds. This helps you get your form right.
  • Your stance can vary, but I tend to point my toes out very slightly and prefer a more wide stance.
  • Position the bar comfortably on the back of your neck and shoulders. Try not to let the bar roll directly on your vertebrae on your neck. This will cause a lot of discomfort.
  • Use a light grip with your hands on the bar. I typically leave my fingers up instead of around the bar. I do this because before I found that I was gripping the bar so tightly that it was putting more unnecessary pressure on my shoulders and neck.
  • Start to squat down like you are sitting in a chair. You should try to get your butt to at least be parallel to the floor.
  • Try to keep your chest up and your back neutral. You don’t want to arch it too much or curve it too much because then you are applying more pressure on your back instead of your legs.
  • When coming up from the squat think about driving all your weight into your feet and only relying on your legs to push you up.
  • At the top of the movement, squeeze your butt and thrust your hips a forward a bit. This may feel awkward at first, but it makes the workout more effective.

Workout: Sumo Squats
Muscle Group: Quads
Instructions: 

  • Get a single dumbbell that you can hold with both hands (I typically do 50 pounds).
  • Stand with your feet in a wide, but comfortable stance with your toes turned outward about 45 degrees.
  • Grab the weight with both hands, but keep your arms straight the whole time.
  • Squat until the weight almost hits the floor, but doesn’t ever really touch.
  • Stand up while squeezing your leg and glutes at the top.

Workout: Leg Extensions: Double Leg and Single Leg
Muscle Group: Quads
Instructions: 

  • Adjust the leg extension machine to your height and comfort
  • Start with both legs using a heavier weight
  • Then in the same set, lower the weight and only lift with your right leg.
  • Then switch to your left leg.
  • Each set is double-single-single….YES! Your legs will feel like they are on fire! 🙂

Workout: Seated Leg Press
Muscle Group: Quads
Instructions: 

  • Adjust the seat leg press to your height and comfort
  • Put your feet so that they are hip width apart
  • Push your body back with your legs and then lower back down without re-racking the weight
  • Try not to lock your legs and make them completely straight as this can be dangerous.

Workout: Cable Squats
Muscle Group: Quads & Glutes
Instructions: 

  • Lower the cable all the way to the ground.
  • Attach a close grip handle.
  • For the weight you can probably start fairly heavy as legs tend to be stronger than arms. I generally use about 50 pounds here.
  • Grab the close grip handle with both hands and take about 2 steps back. Stand with your feet under your hips.
  • Squat low to the ground and then come up with control to squeeze at the top (your body will slightly be angled) without re-racking the weight.
  • This is going to be more challenging to control because of the pull from the cable.

After a day of working quads I usually am drenched in sweat, super sore, and pumped. Hopefully you felt the same! Did you try these workouts? What did you think?

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