Build powerful, tree-trunk legs with SQUATS!

by Caleb Lee on July 17, 2008

Do you know what your most powerful muscles are?

Do you think it’s your bulging biceps which you’ve probably wasted countless hours in the gym working on? Or do you think it’s Your herculean chest? The answer is: neither one!

The truth is:

You may not have spent much, if any time training your strongest muscles.

The answer is Your legs!

Your quadriceps in particular are the strongest muscles you have in your whole entire body! A lot is asked of these workhorses of the human body in just about every sport (if you don’t know where they are these would be the muscles of the upper legs) and even bodybuilding.

It’s really a pretty simple matter to increase the power of these muscles to their full potential. It never fails to mystify me when someone has worked out every other part of their body, yet has underdeveloped quads.

Everyone listen up, because today I’m going to help you unlock the power of these powerhouses (and if you’ve read my article about building a bigger chest and arms… then you know working your legs can actually increase the size of the other muscles in your body!).

SQUATS! The King of Exercises!

Squat exercises are far and away the most efficient way to build your quads and are easy to work into your weightlifting regimen.

I’m not going to lie and tell you that it’s totally painless – your legs have a lot of endurance already (you stand and walk on them well, all the time, right?) so you will have to put in some effort.

Read on for two great squat exercises to help you make the most of the strongest muscles you have. But before you do that, you should know that there are benefits to be had from squats beyond just building the quads – your abs will also benefit from these exercises (or “core” in today’s fitness parlance) and you’ll gain muscle everywhere else much easier.

How to do the two most popular squats:

  1. Back Squats -
    • place a bar at the right height for you on a squat rack – and walk under it– the bar should rest on the back of your shoulders.
    • Get a good grip on the bar, raise it up off the rack and take one step backwards (go slowly for safety).
    • Remember to keep your legs as far apart as your shoulder span and your back straight (a slight c-curve is ok).
    • Then it’s a simple as bending you knees, lower yourself under control until your hips are just slightly less than 90 degrees from the floor, then slowly return to your starting position.
    • Remember not to overdo it, but make sure you’re getting a workout for your quads here. (unless you have a good spotter (or a power rack) it’s not a good idea not to go to failure here)
  2. Front Squats – This one will build the outer sweep of your quads. This works much the same as regular squats, but of course with the barbell held in front.
    • Start with a barbell at chest height, place it on the tops of your shoulders and step back after lifting from the rack.
    • Keep your elbows high and your head up (so your back is straight)
    • All the other rules about proper form apply here from the back squat
    • Squat down and stand up normally, like you would with the back squat.

These exercises can get your quads to where they need to be – built up just as much as the rest of your body.

Symmetry is important in bodybuilding (and definitely athletics) and it would be a shame to neglect such an important set of muscles; especially when they are the most powerful ones in the human body.

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