Everybody true lifter know that squats are the Mother and the Father of legs gains! It’s a basic move that engages all your legs muscles: hamstrings, glutes and quads. But what do we do if we suffered an injury and we can’t do squats, for whatever reason? Read below and you’ll find out!
There are at least 3 exercises better than squats for your quads, especially when squats make more damage than good, and when it hurts like hell when trying to do a single squat. So here are 3 Exercises Better Than Squats For Your Quads:
1. Incline Leg Press Machine: Using a leg press machine, sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should make a perfect 90-degree angle. This will be your starting position. As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle.
Pushing mainly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale.
Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and ensure to lock the safety pins properly once you are done. You do not want that platform falling on you fully loaded. See photo below to be sure what muscles are engaged.
2. Hack Squat Machine: Place the back of your torso against the back pad of the machine and hook your shoulders under the shoulder pads provided. Position your legs in the platform using a shoulder width medium stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Tip: Keep your head up at all times and also maintain the back on the pad at all times. Place your arms on the side handles of the machine and disengage the safety bars (which on most designs is done by moving the side handles from a facing front position to a diagonal position).
Now straighten your legs without locking the knees. This will be your starting position. Begin to slowly lower the unit by bending the knees as you maintain a straight posture with the head up (back on the pad at all times). Continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes slightly less than 90-degrees (which is the point in which the upper legs are below parallel to the floor). Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Tip: If you performed the exercise correctly, the front of the knees should make an imaginary straight line with the toes that is perpendicular to the front. If your knees are past that imaginary line (if they are past your toes) then you are placing undue stress on the knee and the exercise has been performed incorrectly.
Begin to raise the unit as you exhale by pushing the floor with mainly with the heel of your foot as you straighten the legs again and go back to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions. See photo below to be sure what muscles are engaged.
3. Last, but not least, the classic ol’ lunges!: Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down). Always engage your core. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. See photo below to be sure what muscles are engaged.
CONCLUSION: There you go! If you want to develop your quads and you just can’t do classic squats for whatever reason, I’ve just gave you top 3 best exercises better than squats for your quads. But you must remember: perform a good warm-up before every workout! Do at least a few squats or sissy squats or beginner squats with only your bodyweight, and then proceed to this exercises.