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Wheels of Steel Program: 15 Quad Exercises For Mass in 12 Weeks

There are a million leg programs out there… So what more is there to say about quad exercises and leg training?

A lot, as it goes.

Approaches to quad training have evolved over the last few years and the old style. Generic quad programs have been improved.

I’m also going to share with you a few coaching tips and exercises I’ve identified as helpful over my 20-year career in fitness. The reality is we’re not all built to squat ass to grass, but there are quad exercises we can pick that maximize the range of movement.

In 12 weeks of following the wheels of steel program, you’ll develop strong, powerful, and healthy quads. You’ll also benefit from improved athleticism, reduced injury risk, and healthier joints with a greater range of mobility.

These workouts are designed to be suitable for a home gym user.

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Wheels of Steel program: Upgrade your quad exercises

Quad exercises general infographic

Any time I think of leg workouts, I think of the Ronnie Coleman quote… 

Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight.

This is never truer than with leg training. Big, strong quads don’t happen by accident. Your legs are built to work – they carry us around all day. They’ve got a great work capacity, which means in order to shock them into growth, you’ve got to do something pretty special!

It’s not all hard work without reward though. Here are a few of the benefits you’ll get from following the Wheels of Steel program for 12 weeks…

Benefits of quad exercises

Benefit 1: Athleticism will skyrocket

I can’t think of a single sport where having a stronger lower body won’t be a benefit. Running, swimming, cycling, football, rugby, basketball, weightlifting, lacrosse… you name it, being stronger and more powerful in your lower body is a huge asset.

By following this program you’ll be stronger. You’ll improve your range of movement, which means you’ll be able to generate more force. That means you’ll be able to run faster, jump further and higher and you’ll have more 

Benefit 2: Knee injury risk and pain will decrease

The knees are one of the most common injury sites on the body. We also know that strong quads will help to reduce the feelings of pain in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

It has long been known that strong muscles will help to reduce the incidence of injury, but the fact that strengthening can help to reduce pain in people who already are injured is impressive. 

The other good news is that strong quadricep muscles can also be linked to injury (in particular ACL injury) prevention. Research by Bodor in 2000 concluded that ‘weaker quadriceps may be responsible for the higher rate of non-contact ACL injuries among young female athletes’.

Benefit 3: You’ll grow muscle all over your body!

This one is known in professional training circles, but it’s so often ignored by beginners… When you train your legs, everything else grows!

This is because when you train muscle, you stimulate the release of human growth hormone. The more muscle you train, the more growth hormone you release.

The legs are the biggest muscle group in the body, so when you train them you stimulate a huge release of growth hormone. Growth hormone isn’t muscle-specific, it benefits everywhere. Training using these quad exercises will elicit a large release of growth hormone.

Even better, Shaner et al concluded in their 2014 study that

“Free weight exercises seem to induce greater hormonal responses to resistance exercise than machine weight exercises using similar lower-body multi joint movements and primary movers.”

Benefit 4: You’ll get stronger

Linked to the benefit above, the stronger your legs are, the stronger the rest of your body will be. This is down to 2 factors…

  1. The growth hormone will grow muscle all over the body. More muscle usually means more strength.
  2. The legs are involved in lots of other lifts, so if they’re stronger they provide more assistance. Strong legs improve your olympic lifting, deadlift, push pressing, competition bench pressing etc.

Strong legs are a cheat code to strength across the rest of the body. Use it wisely!

Benefit 5: You’ll develop healthy, mobile joints

Sore joints aren’t a badge of honor. You don’t win anything for kicking the crap out of your body, so why bother? Training should help you, not screw you. If your workouts leave your joints feeling like crap, they’re not very good.

In the Wheels of Steel program we’re working across the full range of movement. This means we’ll be working hard to improve the range of movement in your knees and your ankles, making them much better.

Even if your hip mobility limits your squat depth, the Wheels of Steel program contains quad exercises that will help us get around the issue!

Steve doing back squats with a barbell

5 Steps to Use the Wheels of Steel program to Get Bigger, Stronger, Quads

Step 1: Complete the three workouts every week

The Wheels of Steel program will demand a lot from you. It’s a tough program of quad exercises, but it’s effective. As I mentioned earlier, legs have a high work capacity. If you want them to grow, you basically have to bully them.

There are three workouts…

  1. The range of movement workout (ROM Workout)
  2. The strength workout
  3. The volume workout

All of these workouts have to be completed every single week if you want to maximize the results you get from the program. Although movement patterns may be repeated across the workouts, the emphasis is different each time.

I’d suggest you split your training week like this…

Monday: Range of Motion (ROM) Workout

Tuesday: Strength Workout

Wednesday: Upper Body Workout (pushing exercises)

Thursday: Upper Body Workout (pulling exercises)

Friday: Volume Workout

Weekend: Rest

This allows you to maximize the workout effectiveness each time (the ROM workout isn’t especially heavy or high volume), meaning you can give it your all.

Step 2: Warm up sensibly

The warm up for the Wheels of Steel workouts is very basic – it’s 5 minutes of cardio with an emphasis on the lower body. This could include running, cycling, rowing, cross trainer or skipping.

Once you’ve completed the 5 minutes, it’s simply 5 sets of 10 bodyweight squats. That will be sufficient – most of the quad exercises here are variations on a squat pattern. There’s no need to over-complicate things.

Perform the first set of each exercise with a very light weight to set the movement pattern. Once you’ve done that, away you go.

Step 3: Prepare yourself mentally

This one might sound a bit wishy-washy, but I promise you it’s important. Most people don’t particularly like training their legs at the best of times, so if you’re going to commit to 8 weeks of leg training, you’ve got to get yourself mentally ready.

Set your workstation out (easier if you train in a home gym), and get your equipment ready and to hand. Get your drink ready. If you’re a fan of intra-workout carbs, get them close by.

Have your workout either printed out, written on a whiteboard, or easily found on your phone. Don’t allow for distractions.

Cover all of your bases so you’re ready to focus 100% of your attention on the job at hand. The more focused you are, the better the workout will be, the faster you’ll get through it, and the better the results will be.

Step 4: Don’t mix your workouts

As with many programs, one of the questions I’m asked is “If I’m short on time, can I do two workouts in one?”

The answer here is no. These workouts all have a different emphasis and I don’t want you to mix them up. To give you an idea of how different these quad exercises workouts are, here’s the training plan for each one…

Range of Motion (ROM) Workout

ExerciseSetsReps
Pistols (Supported if needed) 310 (per side)
Rear foot elevated split squats410 (per side)
Heel elevated goblet squat412
High Box Step Ups412 (per side)
Barbell Jump Squats310

Strength Workout

ExerciseSetsReps
Back Squat55
Front Squats46
Lunges48 (per side)
Landmine Goblet Squat45
Kettlebell Front Squat36

Volume Workout

ExerciseSetsReps
Back Squat415
Walking Lunges420
Farmers Walks625 yards per length
Spanish Squats150
Box Jumps310

When you see the difference in exercises, sets and reps, you’ll see why they shouldn’t be mixed. Additionally, if you can manage to combine two of these workouts, you aren’t training hard enough!

Step 5: Train to technical failure on the last set

When we say train to failure, there’s a little bit of confusion. What I mean by technical failure is that by the last rep or two of the final set, you should be really working hard to maintain form. This means another rep would see your form break down.

I don’t want you to be a shaking mess on the floor, unable to stand up – that’s complete failure! The final set should be a gut-busting challenge though. The final rep should take a huge amount of effort to look like a passable rep.

If you feel as though you could carry on lifting without your form breaking down when you reach the last rep of the last set, do so – I want you to achieve technical failure. Just make sure you increase the weight next time you do the workout.


Notes on the Wheels of Steel program design

This program is designed to focus on quad exercises, which is why you don’t see any direct calf or hamstring training in there. Depending on your goals, this can be used to rehab an injured knee (with the prior approval of your medical professional), or as a way to bring up a lagging body part.

It’s also a great way to shock your legs into serious growth and strength.

Personally though, my favorite use for this approach is to rebuild functional strength patterns in the legs. The combination of range of movement workouts, strength workouts and volume workouts cover all of the bases…

  • Helps build healthy joints
  • Improves a functional range of movement
  • Develops strength throughout the full range of motion
  • Builds a lot of muscle
  • Reduces your injury risk

One-dimensional leg programs that just focus on building muscle neglect so much of what the legs could and should be capable of.

When we consider the evidence in support of strong quads helping to protect the knees, and in many cases halt the progression of existing osteoarthritis, it’s really important that we look beyond vanity here.

This is a program that will help a lot of people age in a healthier way. If you’re in your 20s reading this you may laugh, but time catches up with us all eventually!

Why three different workouts?

There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one is about volume. If I programmed 15 quad exercises (not including a warm up) in a single session, it’d take you about 3 hours to complete and about 15 days to recover from!

That’s no good to anyone.

The second is about goals. I want each workout to have a specific target. In this case, there are three targets…

  1. Range of movement (to improve your joint health and functional range of movement)
  2. Strength (to make your muscles fundamentally stronger)
  3. Volume (because I’m a big believer in volume being important for muscle growth, especially in the legs)

With each workout having a different focused outcome, dividing the program into three workouts just made a lot more sense, both physically and practically.

Forcing variety in a joint with limited movement capability

The knee is a hinge joint, which means it largely has one plane of movement – back and forth. That means that, unlike the shoulder, the hip, or even the back and core, there’s a real limit on the movements it’s capable of.

That means there are a lot of repeating movement patterns because there’s only really one plane of movement we can work in. 

It means we have to extract training variety by playing with volume, load, and intensity. We can also achieve a training effect by putting the joints into different positions as we load them (case in point being the Spanish squats).

Why is a range of movement workout important?

A range of motion workout is unique in this sense. You’ll see lots of leg workouts on the internet… but you won’t see any enforcing range as a priority. That’s because they’re not written by professional trainers. Anyway, I’m ranting. Back to the point…

There are a number of reasons for this. The first one is functional – working your legs through a full range of motion is important for the joint health, stability and strength through a full range.

It increases the time under tension, which helps to build muscle in the quads. It also helps to make you more athletic.

There’s a vanity element to this as well. By hitting great (beyond parallel) depth in a squat, lunge etc, you activate the VMO (vastus medialis) more. This muscle is integral to knee stability. Strengthen this and your knees will thank you.

What if I can’t break parallel in a squat?

Worry not, amigo. I have you covered. You can use a squat wedge/slant board/VMO board or plates under your heels to maximize squat depth. You can also use weightlifting shoes to help improve your squat mechanics.

Here’s a short video to help explain why it’s a good idea…


Equipment you’ll need for the program

This program is designed to be home gym friendly, so most of what you’ll need in order to do in the program is pretty standard home gym equipment. Here’s the list of what you’ll need to do the whole Wheels of Steel program without any adjustments…

With all of these items, you can do the program as it is intended to be done. If you haven’t got one or two of these items, take a look at our suggestions on the website – you’ll find the best, most in-depth fitness equipment reviews on the web here.


Wheels of Steel program – the workouts

There are three workouts in the program, each with a different focus. You already know the warm up – it remains the same for all three workouts. It’s 5 minutes of lower body cardio, followed by 5 sets of 10 bodyweight squats.

Range of Motion Workout

The Range of Motion Workout

The purpose here is to make the quads work through a long range of motion. Really emphasize this by working the whole way through each rep. Even if that means reducing the weight, do so in order to make each rep as effective as possible.

ExerciseSetsReps
Pistols (Supported if needed) 310 (per side)
Rear foot elevated split squats410 (per side)
Heel elevated goblet squat412
High Box Step Ups412 (per side)
Barbell Jump Squats310

1. Pistol Squats

Pistol squats are an advanced quad exercise, but don’t be put off by that – there’s a way of scaling them using the TRX, or by using a rack to support you (see video below). Whilst this isn’t a direct replication of the exercise and is a much easier version, it’s still helpful.

If you can do pistols though, go for it. They’re both functional and effective and challenge you through a full range of movement. Here’s a video to help you with supported Pistol squats…

Equipment needed for pistols:

  • Bodyweight
  • TRX/Rope/Rack/Box (if doing the scaled version)

How to do pistols:

  • Stand upright, balancing most of your weight on the ‘working’ leg
  • Push your non-working leg out in front of you
  • At the same time, bend your working leg and single-leg squat down
  • Keep the non-working leg straight out in front of you
  • Lower yourself right down, until your hips are lower than you knee on the working leg
  • Drive back up to a standing position
  • Repeat as many times are required per leg

2. Rear foot elevated split squats

The rear foot elevated split squats allow for great squat depth, plus the single-limb nature of the exercise reduces strength imbalances between limbs.

Equipment needed for rear foot elevated split squats:

  • Weight bench
  • Dumbbells

REP AB-3000 Bench

REP AB-3000 Weight Bench
Read our best weight bench guide here

This is the weight bench we recommend for ‘most people’.

We compared over 70 benches against 12 criteria. This is our highest-ranked flat, incline & decline (FID) bench.

Some adjustable benches can be a bit wobbly when on the incline. But the AB-3000 is very sturdy.

With a height 18mm it’s comparable to benches that cost twice as much.

How to do rear foot elevated split squats:

  • Place the back foot on the bench behind you and hop your front foot ahead
  • Hold the dumbbells at your sides and engage the core
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, bend your back knee towards the floor and lower the front thigh until it reaches parallel to the floor
  • Drive front foot into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

3. Heel elevated goblet squats

Elevating the heels when squatting is a very effective way of improving the range of movement that your body is capable of achieving in the squat. It’s also a great way to keep the torso more upright throughout the full squat. This little change has a surprising effect on the effectiveness of the exercise.

Equipment needed for heel elevated goblet squats:

  • Kettlebell
  • Squatting wedge or a weight plate

How to do goblet squats:

  • Tightly grip the kettlebell on the round section at chest height
  • Stand on a wedge or weight plate with your heels, to raise them off the floor
  • Hold the kettlebell in front of you, keeping the bell steady throughout the movement
  • Keep your chest up, your core tight and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or lower)
  • Pause and drive back up under control
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

4. High box step ups

The step up is a unilateral exercise, forcing each leg to work on its own. This helps to strengthen the core too. The other benefit is that you challenge your grip (if the weight is heavy enough). Importantly, the use of a high box forces you to achieve a greater angle at the hip, increasing the range of movement of the exercise and therefore the time under tension for the quads. If your bench or box isn’t high enough, place it on weight plates to make it higher.

Equipment needed for high box step ups:

  • High box or weight bench to step on
  • Dumbbells

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Adjustable Dumbbells

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Classic
Read our best adjustable dumbbell guide here

These are the dumbbells we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 50 hours of research and compared over 100 dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells make sense for most home gyms as they save space.

The Nüobell dumbbells go all the way to 80lbs per hand. This means they are much more versatile than most 50lbs adjustable dumbbells. You can use these for heavy shrugs, squats and bench press etc.

The main reason they are the top pick is because of their shape. They actually feel like real dumbbells and are not awkward to lift like some others.

How to do high box step ups:

  • Place the front foot on the step 
  • Hold the dumbbells at your sides and engage the core
  • Step up onto the box by pushing up through the front foot – don’t cheat by springing off the floor using your bottom foot
  • When both feet are on the box, lower the back leg down slowly and under the control of the front leg
  • Repeat as many times as required per leg

5. Barbell jump squat

This quad exercise is a great way to literally force the quads into a longer range of movement, because the weight forces your knees into a deeper bend. It also has a genuine athletic crossover. It’s a very simple exercise to set up, requires very little in the way of equipment and is super effective at targeting the quads. The barbell on the back is also easier to deal with for some people than the dumbbells in the hands.

Equipment needed for barbell jump squats:

  • Barbell
  • Plates

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plate
Read our best bumper plates guide here

Bumper plates are ideal for a home gym.

They can last a lifetime and allow you to do additional lifts which require you to drop the bar.

Our team has compared over 100 types and the Rogue Fleck plates came out on top.

They are great value, use color allowing you to quickly see how much you’re lifting and the pattern will give your home gym a unique look.

How to do barbell jump squats:

  • Hold the barbell across your upper back (NEVER across your neck), standing straight upright
  • Keep your chest up and slowly bend your legs – your thighs should be parallel with the floor
  • At full squat, drive your feet hard into the floor, extending your chest up and jumping as high as you can
  • Keep the barbell pulled into your upper back throughout the movement – you don’t want to have it come crashing into your back upon landing
  • Land with a slightly bent knee, cushioning your landing to avoid injury
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

Range of motion workout summary

That concludes the Range of Motion workout. Don’t confuse the focus on range with an easy workout – it’s really not! Work hard with every rep, forcing a stretch in the muscle each time.

If you’re not exaggerating the depth of each rep, you’re not doing it properly. Focus on range every time.

Strength Workout

The Strength Workout

The strength workout is designed to do exactly what it says on the tin – increase the strength in the legs. This gives athletic carryover, improves the ability to train across different rep ranges, and helps build power in the legs.

ExerciseSetsReps
Back Squat55
Front Squats46
Lunges48 (per side)
Landmine Goblet Squat45
Kettlebell Front Squat36

6. Back Squats

The back squat is arguably the most functional and important leg exercise of them all. It works the quads through a huge range, allows you to lift a lot of weight and is excellent for progression – you’ll add a lot of weight onto the bar quickly with this program. It’s also a pretty simple exercise to perform.

Equipment needed for back squats:

  • Barbell and plates
  • Squat rack

Rogue Ohio Cerakote Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar Cerakote
Read our best Olympic barbell guide here

This is the bar that we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 120 hours of research and tested over 100 barbells.

It is affordable but comes with some high specs. The Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength mean the bar will last a lifetime in a home gym.

It is a multi-purpose bar with a 28.5mm diameter shaft and composite bushings in the sleeves. This means it’s balanced for heavy slow bench presses but you can also perform snatches and fast overhead lifts.

How to do a back squat:

  • Place the bar across the upper back – not the neck
  • Take a breath in and engage the core – this keeps the lower back safer
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive feet into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

7. Front Squats

The front squat is arguably the most functional and important leg exercise of them all. It’s the squatting pattern that I feature most in my own training and that of my personal training clients. It is fantastic for building leg strength, has excellent athletic cross over and it spares the lower back more than back squats. Front squats may protect the knees slightly more than back squats, ideal when you’re doing a quad program!

Equipment needed for barbell front squats:

How to do a barbell front squat:

  • Hold the bar in the rack position – open hand grip, elbows up, chest up
  • Take a breath in and engage the core – this keeps the lower back safer
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive feet into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

8. Lunges

Lunges are a fantastic quad exercise. They’re unilateral, meaning both legs are trained the same. They’re functional (one of the 7 human movements). They’re easy to set up, easy to learn and super effective. In this version, we repeat the reps on each leg, unlike the alternating or walking version where we swap sides between lunges. It makes for a tough exercise!

Equipment needed for lunges:

How to do lunges:

  • Take the barbell and place it across your upper back
  • Keep your chest up and your core tight
  • Lunge forward, so you have one foot in front of your body and one behind
  • Keeping your chest upright, bend the front and back leg at the same time
  • When the back knee almost touches the floor, pause and straighten both legs
  • DO NOT RETURN TO THE START POSITION AND SWAP LEGS YET!
  • Repeat as many times as necessary, THEN swap sides

9. Landmine Goblet Squats

The Landmine Goblet squat is an under-utlizied squat pattern in my opinion. Having the barbell in a fixed position and having the movement pattern governed is a way to place a lot of load directly on the quads. You can move slowly and deliberately here, making them work very hard. This is achieved by taking on all of the weight across a very deliberate range of movement.

Equipment needed for landmine goblet squats:

How to do landmine goblet squats:

  • With the bar loaded up, take it in both hands and hold it directly in front of your chest
  • Keep your torso leaning slightly forward throughout the movement – this maximizes your range
  • Slowly lower down into the squat, going as deep as you can
  • Pause at the bottom, then stand back up
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

10. Double kettlebell front squats

The double kettlebell front squat can be held in a rack position without needing too much mobility across the shoulders. It allows you to hold the weight in a solid position, brace the core and tap into the benefits of the exercise without needing to adopt a position you can’t reach. It also means you can focus on lifting heavy weights with good technique.

Equipment needed for double kettlebell front squats:

  • Kettlebells

How to do double kettlebell front squats:

  • Lift the kettlebells to chest height, with them resting on the outside of each forearm
  • You can keep elbows high and out to the side, or resting in front of your chest – whichever is most comfortable
  • Keep your chest up, your core tight and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or lower)
  • Pause and drive back up under control
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

Strength workout summary

If you needed reminding, the strength workout is about hitting heavy loads. Be strict with yourself here – if you feel like you can lift more weight, do so. Don’t hold yourself back at all – this workout is in here for one reason only. To get you stronger.

A person working out with a hefty weight load

Volume Workout

The Volume Workout

This is the workout where we focus on high rep, high reward (and high fatigue) training. This workout is tough, but the good news is that you’re not expected to lift heavy, but you are expected to hit fatigue by the end of the set.

The Volume Workout is designed to shock the muscles with high-volume work.

ExerciseSetsReps
Back Squat415
Walking Lunges420
Farmers Walks625 yards per length
Spanish Squats150
Box Jumps310

11. Back Squats

In this case, the back squat is a high rep exercise. Although the technique doesn’t change, the emphasis does. You need to pick a challenging weight, but work hard to maintain that proper squat form throughout the set. Keep your chest up, maximize depth with every rep and ensure it’s a high quality movement pattern. Use your mind-muscle connection to get those quads engaged and working hard.

Equipment needed for back squats:

  • Barbell and plates
  • Squat rack

How to do a back squat:

  • Place the bar across the upper back – not the neck
  • Take a breath in and engage the core – this keeps the lower back safer
  • Keeping the chest up throughout, push your hips back and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor
  • Drive feet into the floor and stand back to the start position
  • Repeat as many times as required.

12. Walking Lunges

Walking lunges in this context can be done with any type of load – kettlebells, barbells or my favorite, dumbbells. I prefer dumbbells because they’re easy to hold and you can keep them closer to your sides than most kettlebells, which can be bulky as they get heavier. The dumbbell design has a thinner handle section which helps.

This quad exercise is designed to load up each leg for large rep numbers, so pick a challenging weight.

Equipment needed for walking lunges:

  • Dumbbells/barbell/kettlebells
  • Plates (if using a barbell)

How to do walking lunges:

  • Take the weight and hold it in position
  • Keep your chest up and your core tight
  • Lunge forward, so you have one foot in front of your body and one behind
  • Keeping your chest upright, bend the front and back leg at the same time
  • When the back knee almost touches the floor, switch sides by stepping forward with the opposite leg
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

13. Farmers Walks

Farmers walks are a combination of simplicity with excellent results. Consult any strength coach and they’ll tell you how fantastic a loaded carry is for building quad, glute, back, grip and core strength. The Farmers walk can be done with any type of double arm loading, whether that’s barbells, a hex bar, kettlebells or dumbbells. Just make sure it’s heavy enough to generate a training effect.

Equipment needed for Farmers walks:

  • A suitable loading method – barbells/hex bar/kettlebells/dumbbells

How to do Farmers walks:

  • Take a weight in both hands – it’s got to be heavy though
  • Keeping your back straight and your core tight, use your legs to drive directly upwards, picking the weight off the floor
  • Standing tall, walk directly forwards for as long as needed. When you reach the end, put the weights down by your side and turn around
  • When facing the opposite way, pick them up as you did in the first place and walk back to the start position
  • Repeat as required

14. Spanish squats 

Although mostly used as a rehab exercise, Spanish squats are an amazing way of isolating the quads during a squatting pattern. By taking out most of the rest of the muscles, it forces all of the effort onto the quads, which results in a lot of fatigue from a simple bodyweight exercise. Spanish squats need a band and an anchor point.

At first, you probably won’t need any additional weight, but as and when you can manage all 50 reps in a single go, look to add extra weight with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Equipment needed for Spanish squats:

How to do Spanish squats:

  • Secure the resistance band around an anchor point
  • Stand in the band, then move back to create a lot of tension in the band
  • Keep your chest up, your core tight and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor (or lower)
  • Ensure the knees don’t cross over the toes
  • Pause and drive back up under control
  • Repeat as many times as necessary

15. Box Jumps

I like the box jump because it’s super simple. It trains power, explosiveness and coordination, requires little technique and equipment, plus it has HUGE athletic carryover. Jumping is such a useful movement to maintain as well, because it’s an ability you either use or lose. By staying bouncy and explosive, you’ll perform much better long into your advanced years!

Equipment needed for box jumps:

  • A plyo box, plyo table or bench

How to do box jumps:

  • Set the box/table/bench into position and stand a few inches behind it
  • Keep your chest up, then bend down into a deep squat
  • Drive your feet hard into the floor and explode into a jump, propelling you forward and into the air
  • Land on the box with two feet flat
  • When you’ve landed, stand up to make the landing deliberate – don’t rush to jump down
  • Step down one leg at a time (don’t jump backwards – it’s a pointless risk)
  • Repeat as necessary 

Volume workout summary

It goes without saying our focus here is volume. We’re trying to maximize the work done by the quads, so push them to the limit. You should be hitting full fatigue here, leaving nothing in the tank by the end. Do this workout properly and you’ll be glad of the rest!


Wheels of Steel quad exercises program: The bottom line

To really grow your quads, you’re going to have to work them both hard and consistently. The Wheels of Steel program is designed to do just that.

In this program, you’ll cover all of the bases for maximizing the growth and strength in your quads. You’ll work them hard through a full range of movements. That will help to improve your joint health.

You’ll lift heavy weights, which will improve muscle and connective tissue strength. Finally, you’ll perform high-volume work, which will increase muscle size and endurance capability.

This isn’t an easy program, but give it 12 weeks and you’ll build quads you wouldn’t believe you could ever have!

All you need to do is work hard, and that’s down to you. How much do you want it?
Check out our back exercises program if you’re looking for an upper body workout to complement this one.

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Hi! My name is Steve Hoyles. I’m a personal trainer, gym owner and fitness copywriter. Since graduating with my Sports Science degree in 2004 I’ve worked in the fitness industry, helping thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals. My writing has been read by millions of people in over 200 countries.

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