Written by Mike Over
Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash
The quads are a tough muscle to build for any physique competitor. The layers are made up of the rectus femurs, vastus intermedius and lateralis, as well as the medialis. Each one of these muscles have to be worked in both their shortened and lengthened state, which is why it does get harder for them to grow, since the vastus portions tend to be smaller and more uncanny to target via isolation.
The example I give below is also a great exercise to bulletproof your knees, by strengthening the muscle and connective tissue around the knee joint, like the quadriceps, the quadricep tendon, and the patellar tendon.
One big problem I see lifters in the gym do is bypass working them in both the shortened and lengthened state. It would be like eating ice cream without any toppings. It can be done, but it wont be pretty.
The issue with movements that hit the shortened position is that you are very limited. From leg extensions to sissy squats, you might run out of options quick, unless you welcome to the world of the heels elevated band resisted trap bar deadlift.
The setup I use here is a little better for quads since I am using a PurMotion attachment to allow me to lean for stability and still keep my body upright. This setup also will be much easier on the hips for the positioning than a normal deadlift.
From there, you allow the band to drive tension in the weakest (shortened) position and focus on keeping that body upright and pushing the knees forward. You will create more metabolic stress and you will get a sense of muscular fatigue.
For the setup, you want the front half of your foot off the heel wedge so you can gain enough stability to drive the weight up vertically. Often times, having your foot fully on the wedge will results in a difficulty to stay upright, so having this setup makes it much easier to control.
Then you descend and I like to keep the time at the bottom of the rep minimal since we are wanting to target the peak tension at the top. This is where you slow down.
While yes, the setup is a bit uncanny, I promise you that it will spice up leg day QUICK and give you a new love hate for quad gains. I like programming them for higher rep ranges such as 12-15 to really amp up sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments!