5 favorite assistant quad-builders

Some of my favorite, none-barbell, quad exercises. Now, there are several more good quad exercises, these are just a few easily done at home variations.

Squats on toes
1. Stand with your feet close together, keep your torso erect and squat down all the way. Let your heels lift from the floor. Emphasize the outer part of the thighs
2. Stand with your heels close together and your toes pointing outwards. Keep your torso erect and squat down all the way. Your knees should point out where the toes point. Emphasize the inner part of the thighs.

I first saw these in a training book from the 1940’s written by Bob Hoffman. Later I’ve also seen these described and pictured in an even older publication by Alan Calvert. These squat variations emphasize the lower part of the thighs, the muscles around the knee joint. I use them mainly as body weight/ light resistance exercises in circuit training, which could be considered as endurance training rather than strength training. Gives a good pump anyway. When you become more familiar with the movement you can ad resistance. The movement would make a mainstream physical therapists head explode, which is why I love these squat variations even more.

Goblet squat
This is a great beginner exercise for learning the squat movement. Hold a dumbbell or a kettlebell (or whatever available) like you would hold a goblet in front of you. Squat as low as you can without “spilling”. Tuck in your elbows so they come down between your thighs. In this way you will learn to spread your knees and squat between your legs. Great for warm up and/or as a finisher.

I often super set the two variations of squat on toes with goblet squat.

Lunge walk
I’m a fan of all forms of one leg exercises, but the favorite is the lunge walk. I simply take a pair of dumbbells in my hands and walk back and forth with long and deep strides. Good for.. everything really.

Petersen step-up
Learned this step-up-variation from Charles Poliquin. See separate article here.
Very good exercise for activation and training of the famous inner thigh muscle, Vastus Medialis Oblique (VMO).
Stand with one foot on a step placed by your side, and the other foot on the floor. Place the floor-foot so the heel is right in front of the step-foots big toe. Stand with the step-foot on it’s toes and keep the knee pointing slightly outwards, balance your weight on the outside of this foot and press yourself up till your step-leg is fully extended. When you press up, make sure you don’t cheat by pushing with the floor-foot. To avoid cheating, keep the toes up.

Petersen step-up