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  1. #1
    Registered User fitfanatic123's Avatar
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    Do step ups work quads or glutes?!

    I struggle to find good quad exercises. I know everyone thinks back squats hit quads but for me, the stance I have to take and the fact that I have to do low bar, back squats hit my hamstrings and glutes WAY more than quads. So anyway, I have been trying to find quad exercises and one that I keep seeing is step ups. But I also see people use step ups for glutes. So which is it? Or does it just depend on where you "drive" from? seems like if i drive from the heel, it's glutes but if i drive from toes/balls of my foot its quads. Is this true?
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    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Quads are the prime mover in a squat, low bar or not. Regardless of where you feel it.

    Never tried step ups, my go too for Quads would be Front Squats, Leg Press (narrower stance), and if I had access leg extensions
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    Unregistered User stevebec's Avatar
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    If you're looking for quad exercises, try front squats or hack squats. Hack squats in particular fry my quads.
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    fit,
    Aside from front squats, consider the front loaded rear foot elevated (Bulgarian) split squat and short step walking lunges.
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    WOATbrah of peace :) sooby's Avatar
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    try

    front squats
    paused squats
    lunges (shorter steps)
    bulgarian split squats
    leg extensions
    sissy squats
    hack squats
    leg press


    step-ups work both quads and glutes, I can imagine tho the higher step you take it will probably work glutes more, not 100% sure though. Can even try front loading your step-ups with a kettle bell or barbell. but with those exercises I would go by feel. if you feel it in your quads I would go with that one.

    I don't do most of these exercises but if you do BSS you will most definitely feel it in your quads and will have the most insane quad pump.
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    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    It depends on how you do them.
    As you mentioned focusing on driving through the heel and trying not to let the knee go forward past the toe,and staying fairly upright focuses on glutes/hams.
    Driving through the ball of the foot with knee coming forward and body leaning a bit forward hits the quads more.
    Remember you can't totally isolate but direct more stress to a targeted area.
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    Replies in 1/2 hr - 3 day GeneralSerpant's Avatar
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    When you switch over to single leg in exercises such as squats you force a lot more stabilizing pressure on the glutes. The limited range of motion also gives the quads less to work with so it also makes it more glute-ham dominant.

    I kinda liked one-legged box squats, and I don't feel like they neglected the quads that much. Especially once you get the balancing down, there's less pressure in stabilizing. Otherwise, the above informations are good in my humble opinion.
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    Originally Posted by fitfanatic123 View Post
    I struggle to find good quad exercises. I know everyone thinks back squats hit quads but for me, the stance I have to take and the fact that I have to do low bar, back squats hit my hamstrings and glutes WAY more than quads. So anyway, I have been trying to find quad exercises and one that I keep seeing is step ups. But I also see people use step ups for glutes. So which is it? Or does it just depend on where you "drive" from? seems like if i drive from the heel, it's glutes but if i drive from toes/balls of my foot its quads. Is this true?
    All compound leg exercises work both quads and glutes/hamstrings along with all the other lower-body muscles.


    As has already been mentioned, probably the most quad-centric exercise is Front Barbell Squats. Of course, glutes will still be greatly involved, but for most people, at least a bit less so than with most other such exercises. That said, don't spend a bunch of time and effort on this; just stick with a decently-balanced leg workout (2-3 "quad" exercises and a couple of "glute/ham" exercises, and you'll be good to go; quad vs glute/ham strength has to be proportional in order to help insure knee health.
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  9. #9
    Registered User fitfanatic123's Avatar
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    sorry, i should have added that i already do a bunch of quad stuff. i split my leg days into glutes/hamstrings one day and then i have a separate quad day because I have focused on glutes/hams SO much the past 2 years and totally neglected quad work... because it was all about the butt for a while, now i feel like quads are lacking. And i'm still convinced that back squats work my hamstring and glutes MORE than quads.

    quad day i do:
    - front squats
    - heel elevated cannonball squat (basically heels elevated on plates and feet SO close together and squat)
    - leg extensions

    and then i wanted to add one more exercise in, and when i research quad exercises, almost EVERY article i see says to do step ups which really confused me (b/c i thought they were a glute exercise)

    i do bulgarian split squats on glute/hamstring day.

    i guess i could add narrow stance leg press or a hack squat machine exercise. i feel like the hack squat machine hurts my knees when i tried it last time though.
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    Registered User RK42's Avatar
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    I always feel like step-ups hit my quads really hard, more so than any other compound lift I have tried. Of course they hit the glutes as well, but I feel much more quad focus with step-ups compared to for example back squats or lunges.

    I have to publicly confess that I've never done front squats, though. I know that everybody says that they're full of awesomeness, I just never got around to learning them yet...
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