Your quads might not be in need of work as much as your glutes and hamstrings — but that doesn’t mean that you should totally ignore the front side of your upper legs to completely focus on your posterior. 

Even though quads are sometimes an accessory or afterthought for leg days, the muscles are still a major key to a strong, shapely lower body. Hammering the group with a specialized workout can do wonders for your gains — especially if you’ve been avoiding the types of moves that typically address the lower body.

If you’ve suffered from knee pain for any length of time, you start to avoid the exercises that cause this pain: moves like squatting, lunging, running, and jumping.

Over time, this doesn’t help your knees. You just get weaker and your quads get smaller. The result is actually more knee pain and diminished performance!

Even if you don’t suffer from knee pain, building quads of the gods is one of the best ways to prevent knee pain. The quads work as key decelerators that absorb shock from your knees when landing from a jump or lunge or when quickly changing direction on the court or field.

From an aesthetics standpoint, an impressive set of quads is a complete game-changer. For some quadspiration, check out this photo of legendary bodybuilder Tom Platz, who was known for having the greatest quads in history.

Now, don’t expect to look like Tom. But do expect to make some serious gains.

I’ve created a routine that compiles everything I used to make my very own quad transformation shown in the photo below.

Follow this program, and you’ll be on the road to transforming your quadriceps into octaceps. 


Perform this routine 2 to 3 times per week exactly as outlined below. You can see me demonstrate every movement in the video above.

Hit your other muscle groups 1 to 2 times per week with just 2 to 3 sets of 6 to 12 reps of a single exercise, stopping 1 to 2 reps short of failure on each set during this time frame.

Conventional training wisdom has you start with compound movements first and save the isolation moves for later. But our goal here is not performance—it’s to build as much muscle as possible in a short period of time.

Therefore, we will be starting with a strategic single-joint movement to enhance the mind-muscle connection and pre-fatigue your targeted body part. This will allow you to “feel” the muscle working more throughout your training session.

The Quads Specialization Workout

Mobility Warmup: Do a couch stretch for for 2 to 5 minutes on each side.


The objective here is to pre-fatigue your quads and flood your knees and muscles with as much blood as possible. This will warm you up and improve your mind-muscle connection so that you “feel your quads” more throughout the remainder of your workout.

Flex your quads as hard as you can for 4 seconds at the top of each rep.

Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 reps. Rest 1 minute between sets.

Weeks 1 and 2: 3 sets
Weeks 3 and 4: 4 sets
Weeks 5 and 6: 5 sets


With 1.5-rep training, you do twice as many reps in the bottom position of the exercise, where you are weakest. It also extends your overall time under tension to spark new muscle gain in your targeted region.

Lower all the way down into the Bulgarian split squat, come up half way, go back down again, and then come all the way up. That’s 1 rep.

Perform 2 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps on each side. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between sides.

Weeks 1 and 2: 2 sets
Weeks 3 and 4: 3 sets
Weeks 5 and 6: 4 sets


This move is designed to overload the eccentric/lowering portion of the exercise to spur muscle damage and subsequent growth.

Plus, by working one leg at a time, you’ll shore up weaknesses and imbalances between sides. After all, symmetry is key to aesthetics.

Lower for a full 5 full seconds, then stand back up.

Perform 2 to 4 sets of 5 reps on each side. Rest 30 to 60 seconds between sides.

Weeks 1 and 2: 2 sets
Weeks 3 and 4: 3 sets
Weeks 5 and 6: 4 sets


Front-loaded squats allow you to stay more upright, which works your quads more.

Pausing at the bottom of the squat eliminates your stretch reflex, or the rubber-band-like tendency of your muscles and connective tissues that helps power you through movements. The pause also extends your quads’ time under tension and sets the stage for movement mastery.

Following a loaded strength movement with an unloaded power movement for the same muscle groups—known as contrast training—is a research-proven method to increase force production. The phenomenon is known as post-activation potentiation.

Ultimately, it translates into greater gains.

Perform 8 to 12 reps of squats, holding the bottom of the squat position for 4 full seconds on each rep. Then immediately perform 10 box squat jumps.

That’s 1 superset. Repeat the superset for the corresponding number of sets.

Weeks 1 and 2: 3 sets
Weeks 3 and 4: 4 sets
Weeks 5 and 6: 5 sets


Your quads have a lot of slower-twitch endurance muscle fibers that you need to hit if you want to max out your muscle growth. That’s where these 2-minute work sets come into play.

Though the leg press may not be as functional as squatting, it provides the extra stability you need to push past your comfort zone as safely as possible.

Perform as many reps as you can in 2 minutes, using a continuous 2 to 3 seconds down, 2 to 3 seconds up tempo. In order to put continuous tension on your quads, don’t fully extend your legs at the top of the movement.

Do 1 to 3 sets. Rest 1 minute between sets.

Weeks 1 and 2: 1 set
Weeks 3 and 4: 2 sets
Weeks 5 and 6: 3 sets


Without question, one of the most important parts of my leg transformation (particularly for my quads) was continuous lunging for 10 or more minutes.

You’ll bulletproof your knees, improve hip mobility, and shred up your legs.

It’s that sweet spot where strength meets conditioning—a legitimate metabolic magic act. I think it’s the perfect finisher!

By holding a dumbbell on one side of your body at a time, you enhance the work for your core, hips, and thighs and give your grip a break so you can keep going non-stop without setting the weight down.

Hold a dumbbell in one hand by your side and continuously perform alternating forward lunges for 5 to 10 minutes, switching hands every 30 seconds.


Week 1: 5 minutes
Week 2: 6 minutes
Week 3: 7 minutes
Week 4: 8 minutes
Week 5: 9 minutes
Week 6: 10 minutes

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