Ask anyone with great legs, and they’ll be happy to tell you how important squats are for lower-body development as well as overall size and strength gains.
Squats are a big key to developing your legs to the max.
But the big question is, do you have to squat heavy to grow?
There’s no arguing that heavy squats are great for building strength, but can you build great quads without excessive weight compressing your spine?
Gym rats who treat the squat rack like the holy land might tell you that moving massive weights is the only way to go, but there’s more than one way to build impressive leg muscles.
The fact is, if you’re squatting massive amounts of weight all the time, you’re probably training with very low tension times, and that’s not necessarily the best way to grow.
Sure, you might be the strongest person in the gym, but if your goal is size over poundage, then you may want to try something different. Spending more quality time under the bar might just be exactly what you need.
Low rep numbers and heavy weights also put you at higher risk of injury, and they may not be the most efficient way to hit the most muscle fibers possible. For that, you need longer tension times.
Here’s a Burn-to-Grow Quad Routine to prove that a little less weight with a lot more time under tension can lead to some impressive results. And don’t let anyone tell you you’re not working hard enough with less weight… Long tension times do NOT mean easy work.
Burn-to-Grow Quad Routine and Notes
|1. Squats||3||20, 15, 12|
|2. Sissy Squats||3||10|
|3. Leg Extensions||4||10|
|4. Reverse Lunge||3||10|
For all exercises, use a medium cadence of approximately two seconds on the eccentric (negative) movement and approximately 1.5 seconds on the concentric (positive) movement.
Squats: Don’t rush through the reps. The first 10-12 reps may feel easy, but you’ll start to feel the intense burn as you get close to 20 on your first set. Rest just 30-40 seconds between sets, and use the same weight for each set. If you find that you easily get the reps, increase weight next time.
Leg Extensions and Sissy Squats: Use a weight with which you could get 15 reps, but only do 10 on the first set, rest 30 seconds, do 10 again, and so on. The weight will seem light at first, but if you chose the correct weight, you should only be able to manage 8-9 reps at most on the final set.
Step-Back Lunges: The first time doing this routine, your quads may be fried by the time you get here, but do them anyway as a transition from quads into your hamstring work. Alternate legs for each reps and give yourself 30-40 seconds of rest between sets. Once finished with these, take 1-2 minutes of rest before going into your hamstring routine.
This is a relatively simple routine, but don’t let that fool you. Heavy weights may hurt and leave you a little breathless, but this will cause a new level of deep and searing muscle burn along with an intense, skin-stretching pump.
Try this for a few weeks and let us know how it works for you. The pain will be worth it!