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  1. #1
    Registered User williamsgood's Avatar
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    How to build quads without squats

    First, let me say this is an awesome forum and I have learned a lot in a short time from this site. This is my first post, but I've been here since February 2007, when I first began working out.

    I started working out in Feb 2007, doing strength training (major muscle groups on separate days) and 50 mins of cardio (eliptical or treadmill) 4 days a week. On leg day I would do Leg Press 2X8, Leg Extension 4X8, Leg Curl 2X8, and calf raise 2X8. After about 2 months, I stepped it up to about 6 days a week with same routine. About a month ago I changed my routine and started doing strength every other day and on alternating days I did 25 mins cardio plus abs.

    Both routines have helped a lot. I went from 230 lbs with a 39 inch waist and a flabby chest and arms to 206 lbs with 34 inch waist and muscular looking arms and chest. I feel good and look a hell of a lot better then I did 6 months ago.

    Now I want to continue to lose body fat (around 13.5% now) and get more definition in my legs. My legs (quads/hamstring) have always been small, even when I was 230lbs. I don't do squats because it feels like my knee is going to pop and I don't want to risk it. I felt that the other leg exercises plus the cardio would make up for the lack of squats. My calfs have definition but I want bigger/stronger quads.

    Is there any other exercises besides squats/lunges that will help me out in the quads/hamstrings? Or do legs just take a longer time to develop?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

    Additional info.
    I'm 31 years old, 5' 9 1/2", 206lbs, 13.5% bodyfat. I eat 170~200 grams of protein per day, diet is 50% protein, 25% good fats.
    Last edited by williamsgood; 08-05-2007 at 08:56 PM. Reason: adding information
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  2. #2
    Registered User porcupinetree's Avatar
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    stiff leg deadlifts for hamstrings work great.

    You could try doing light squats with a lot of reps.
    I never squat more that 225 anymore.
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  3. #3
    s kugelsack, brau mAssholio's Avatar
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    try out the hack squat machine for quads.

    for hamstrings there are also romanian deadlifts and glute-ham raises.
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  4. #4
    Registered User fitbodz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by williamsgood View Post
    I don't do squats because it feels like my knee is going to pop and I don't want to risk it.

    Is there any other exercises besides squats/lunges that will help me out in the quads/hamstrings?
    i can understand your hesitation at not wanting to do squats because of your knees. but you've also mentioned an aversion to lunges. there are some variations of the lunge which do not put the same amount of stress on the knee as squats do.

    specifically i'm talking about bulgarian squats, or the more generically titled "single leg split squats".

    they can be done with dumbells:

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...plitSquat.html

    or as i prefer to do them on the smith machine:

    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/...plitSquat.html

    these exercises totally blast my quads - the last set is always a psychological mountain to climb. also, the further out you extend your front knee the more you include the glutes/hams as well.
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  5. #5
    Banned -Lucifer's Avatar
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    Hack squats and barbell lunges.
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  6. #6
    -Bulking Group- LiFtHaTiRoN's Avatar
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    If you dont feel comfortable doing squats then you should do more sets of the BIG lifts for legs. Id say a model leg day for you should look like this:

    Leg press- 5x8-12
    Hack Squats- 4x8-12
    Stiff leg deadlifts- 4x8-12
    Single leg, leg extensions-4x15-20

    Sounds like your making some great progress with your body. thats always good to hear. Keep up the good work.
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  7. #7
    To 250 and beyond! Tallbill's Avatar
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    Baby jesus cries whenever a leg routine is completed and no squats are done. Maybe a knee brace + lower weight?

    Leg extensions, weighted step ups maybe if you cant do that.
    BTDT
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  8. #8
    Registered User JohnDM's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    As a kid I had a guy come and train some of the troubled lil kids in the neighborhood ( one of them was me ) he would train of in fitness and selfdefense to keep us out of trouble ..
    One thing he did which I still use today was kicking and punching exercises in a swimming pool ...its a great total body workout and Super for the legs and the stomach ..............Pm me for the workout
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  9. #9
    Registered User The Brotherhood's Avatar
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    You don't need squats for quadricep muscularity. Hack squats and leg presses are more effective at targeting the quads. Squats are just a great bang for your buck, make-a-man-out-of-you lower body exercise. They are not the best quadricep exercise when it comes to bodybuilding.
    Miscer
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  10. #10
    Keto FTMFW! Uriel_da_man's Avatar
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    He's saying he can't squat because it hurts his knees and you're all saying he should do hack squats? I don't know how the hack squat machines work out there but around here they are a lot harde on the knees than barbell squats...

    Anyways my 2: look up your form on the squat. You're probably staying too upright and so all the stress falls on the knees. And give leg presses a try.
    It's UriEl btw

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  11. #11
    fukctional strength MattyG's Avatar
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    ^^^
    LOL EXACTLY WHAT i THOUGHT.
    Give leg presses a try.
    SLDL for hams with leg curls too IMO.
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  12. #12
    Registered User jgreystoke's Avatar
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    First off, you've done a tremendous job of transforming yourself.

    You might just have bad knees from never flexing them fully. Jogging is much harder on the knees than any squat. I trashed my knees on the smith machine, and it hurts sometimes just getting out of the car or going up the stairs. When I go up a ladder into the loft my knees scream for days after.

    Yet I discovered this year, I can do ass to the grass squats! These are actually safer to the knees than pausing anywhere near parallel. The pull of the hams when rock bottom braces the back of the knee joint against the pull of the quads in front. Lack of this bracing makes leg extensions suck.

    Try doing free squats ie with no weight, as I did. To get the form right you should start adding a broomstick. Do this at home whenever you have a mind to, gradually accustoming your knees to lower depth. Eventually you'll be able to hit rock bottom ie atg.

    Unlock your knees and forget them! Think of sitting back onto an imaginary low stool.

    You won't injure yourself doing this and you won't burn out, even with dozens of singles every day and hundreds every week. You'll never go even near failure.

    IF you give this an honest try and still can't get over the knee issues, then we have to look at machines for the quads. The stiff leg dead will do for the hams and the leg curl certainly will help there too, tho' it is not a substitute.

    Leg extensions are actually harder on your knees than squats as explained. The hack squat is probably the worst squat of all for knee health, as Uriel pointed out.

    So we have to go leg press(Uriel and others will laugh to hear me admit this!).

    Try very hard to avoid locking the knees which can force your low back to round, because of the pull of the hams trying to extend the hip. Conditioning the back with the stiff leg deads will go a long way to making you injury proof in this department.

    If you work on it with light weights for a while, you will find a "sweet spot" on the plate that just feels right for your structure and natural groove.

    Depending on the angle etc, some leg press machines will allow a 250lb atg squatter to go way over 1000lbs.

    Check out exercise form in videos on www.youtube.com

    www.hardgainer.com has an excellent weights technique book.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by jgreystoke; 08-06-2007 at 04:49 AM.
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