Bodybuilding was introduced to truly massive quads by Tom Platz. Since Platz’s day, the expectations for leg development are truly on another level. Skipping leg day is not an option. There are many good options for hitting the quads, but the one that isolates them to the greatest extent is leg extension. It’s also the exercise that allows full activation of the rectus femoris. When performing leg extensions, be sure to position yourself in the seat so that your knee lines up with the axis of the hinge of the lever arm. More important than worrying about pointing your toes in or out is focusing on contracting the quads and using a consistent tempo of one second up and one to two seconds down. Don’t “kick” the weight up. Focus on the muscle, not on the weight.


  • Leg press with narrow stance
  • Split squat with emphasis on back leg


If your quads are a weak body part, train them first. Do your heavy compound movements such as squats or leg presses first, then move to leg extensions.


The quadriceps are made up of four muscles, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and the vastus intermedius. The origin of the rectus femoris is on the ilium. The origin of the vastus muscles is along the body of the femur from the trochanter to the condyles. The insertion for all four muscles is on the tibial tuberosity by way of the patellar tendon. The quadriceps serve to extend the knee, with the rectus femoris also assisting in flexing the hip. 


  • Squat | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12–15 
  • Split Squat | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12–15
  • Leg Extension Machine | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-15