Posted by: PFB
Q: I need to increase the size of my quadriceps. What do you recommend?
A: First I'll tell you what I don't recommend: leg extensions. Between the shear force and the lackluster loading, they rank at the bottom of my list. Stick to the exercises that allow you to use the largest load possible. That's precisely the reason why squats are better than leg extensions for quadriceps development (ie, you can use a much larger load).
Two of my favorite movements for quad hypertrophy are narrow-stance, high-bar back squats and barbell hack squats.
Narrow-Stance High-Bar Squats: Place a barbell as high on your traps as comfortably possible. Stand with your heels 4-6 inches apart. Rotate your feet out to approximately 45 degrees. Elevate your heels on two 25 lb plates (one under each heel). Initiate the movement by pushing your knees forward. Once you can no longer push your knees forward, sit back and down. In other words, you should try to keep your torso as vertical as possible to maximize the stress placed on the quadriceps.
Barbell Hack Squats: This technique is very similar to the high-bar back squats mentioned above. The difference being that you hold a loaded barbell behind you. Squat down and lift up the barbell so it's behind your legs. Place your heels on two 25 lb plates (one under each heel). Your stance should be less than shoulder width apart with your toes pointing forward. Initiate the movement by pushing your knees forward as far as possible. From there, sit back and down until the barbell touches your calves. Keep your torso as vertical as possible.
I recommend you alternate between these two movements throughout the week. You should train the quadriceps 3x/week and use one exercise for each session. For example, Monday you would perform High-Bar Squats; Wednesday Hack Squats, Friday High-Bar Squats; the following Monday perform Hack Squats, etc. Perform 3 sessions each week with different parameters. Alternate your parameters throughout the week with set/rep guidelines such as 8x3, 2x20, and 4x6.
Get ready for some soreness and growth of those quads!