It's a posterior-chain world when it comes to leg training these days, with plenty of focus on glutes and hamstrings (and for good reason, too). But that doesn't mean you can't give your quads a little bit of extra attention, especially if you want massive, powerful thighs.
And if you want your quads to grow, sometimes they need a bit of attention. You can get that with Goblet Squat Quad Destruction, a vicious superset series from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. "My quads are generally pretty stubborn," says Samuel. "So I need to spend extra time working on them. This series has become a go-to move that I use in the endgame of my leg sessions to drive an extra quad pump."
The key piece of the move comes in the first portion of the superset, a narrow-stance, heel-elevated goblet squat. That heel elevation and narrow stance is key too. "It pushes the knee in front of your toes when you lower," says Samuel. "And that's what makes the quads a more critical mover as you begin to stand up."
Adding in well-timed pauses and explosive reps makes the entire package of moves even more well-rounded. You'll lower with control, emphasizing the eccentric phase of the movement, on the initial rep, then hold an isometric contraction briefly at the bottom, challenging quads. Then you'll stand explosively and do another explosive rep, allowing you to capitalize on stretch reflex. "It's a well-rounded series of moves," says Samuel.
There's more ab work than you think here, too, especially if you train with a heavy load. "By it's nature," says Samuel, "the goblet squat will tax your core. So you get that benefit, too."
The best part: It works with a variety of equipment. Dumbbells and kettlebells are ideal, but a large water jug or backpack can also function as your load. And sure, a plate makes for a great elevation, but a step or stack of books could also work, too.
Stand with your heels on a elevated surface, either a 45-pound plate or two, or a step, or a stack of books. Use a closed stance. Hold a kettlebell, dumbbell, or other implement at your chest, core tight. This is the start.
Keeping your knees close, lower your torso down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and pause.
Press back to a stand, then lower again, pressing quickly up after that second rep. That's 1 pair of reps. Do 5 to 6 pairs of reps this way.
Place your weight on the ground and get off the elevation, then do 6 pairs of jump lunges. Rest 60 seconds.
That's 1 set. Do 3 sets.
Goblet Squat Quad Destruction works well in a variety of settings. It can easily be the sole leg exercise you do in a total-body blast. It's also a great leg-day finisher, says Samuel, coming on the heels of heavy squats and deadlifts. And if you're really focused on quad growth, you can also use it as the first exercise in your leg session. "Then you can challenge yourself with a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell, and really overload those quads," says Samuel.
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