IFBB Pro League Competitor Heather Dees' Quad-Focused Workout

Sculpt a showstopping lower body with IFBB figure star Heather Dees’ quad-focused pre-contest workout.

IFBB Pro Heather Dees' Quad-Focused Workout
Chris Nicoll
Chris Nicoll
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

One thing's for certain—Heather Dees knows how to look stunning onstage. The 34-year-old IFBB figure pro, personal trainer, posing coach, and master aesthetician and cosmetologist expertly covers all the bases of perfect presentation, translating that knowledge into 20 top-five finishes thus far in her decade-long pro career, including third at this year’s Figure International competition.

Here, she outlines her favorite workout for a body part that often gets lumped in with hamstrings—and suffers as a result. “It’s hard to get maximum muscle hypertrophy when you train both quadriceps and hamstrings together on the same day,” Dees says. “There’s not enough gas in the tank for both. That’s why I split my legs over two workouts and train hard and heavy on both.”


Dees begins her workouts with a few minutes of dynamic stretching. “The purpose is to effectively stretch the muscle with movement to warm up and prevent injury,” she says. Her typical routine:

  1. Body-weight lunges with arms overhead x 12 to 15 reps per leg.
  2. Walking lunges with a torso twist, placing the opposite elbow on the outside of the forward lunged knee while opening up the chest and reaching the opposite arm toward the ceiling x 24 steps.
  3. One-leg stiff-leg deadlifts, arms out to each side x 12 to 15 reps per leg.


Dees believes in reaching failure during her working sets—but with safety in mind. “When I train alone, I choose a weight I can do through my entire set with correct form,” she says. “When I train with my husband and coach, Justin, he pushes me to failure in every workout—but he’s there spotting me in case I cannot finish a rep.”


The finisher is seven sets of sissy squats, leaving Dees’ quads quivering even without added resistance beyond her body weight. “I do the standard version, butt to ankles, focusing on using my quads and glutes to power my body back to standing position,” she says. “I’ll hold on to the support of a Smith machine or power rack, trying to use as little arm strength as possible to keep 100% of the focus in my legs to get myself up to standing.” And while she rests 45 to 90 seconds between her other working sets, for sissy squats, Dees cuts that to 30 seconds max. “This basically finishes off my workout,” she says, “and pushes me to failure.”

Exercise 1

Leg Extension How to
Leg Extension thumbnail
4 sets
12-15 reps
-- rest
*After 2 warmup sets of 15–20 reps.

Exercise 2

Leg Press How to
Leg Press thumbnail
6 sets
12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Walking Lunge You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Walking Lunge  thumbnail
4 sets
8 per leg reps
-- rest
*On each step, Dees holds 5-pound dumbbells and does a “triple lunge,” dropping her knee toward the floor and rising to a stand 3 times before her next step.

Exercise 4

Sissy Squat How to
Sissy Squat thumbnail
6 sets
15 reps
-- rest