Killer Quad Day Redefining Intensity!

1999 NPC Nationals LH 6th, 2000 NPC Nationals HW 7th, 2001 NPC Nationals HW 15th

(This routine is designed for trainers who have advanced clients who may have stalled in their progress or are looking for another challenge. This is, in no way, to be attempted by beginners or even moderately experienced trainees. Note: the article is geared to trainers working with clients.)

Go into any gym where experienced weightlifters gather, and ask any one of them to define intensity. More than likely they will respond with answers along the lines of, “pushing as much weight as you can handle”, leaving out any mention of proper form.

Gyms are filled with inexperienced members. Unfortunately, these members are usually the loud ones who are more than willing to share their misinformation with anyone in shouting distance. Granted, increasing poundage in lifts is one aspect of intensity, but there is much more to it.

The next time you go to the gym, challenge these gurus to complete the quad training regimen below. I know for a fact that it works because I have tried it myself. I have passed it along to many that would dare attempt it, and they are now believers. You see, an increase in intensity can be achieved by decreasing the weight, and increasing the reps. This is an increase not to the 15-20 range, but rather, the 35-50 range!

Let me first begin by saying that I don’t mean to poke fun at gym rats, for I would definitely fall into this category. I have been training for over 11 years and currently compete nationally in bodybuilding, Still, I’d be the first to admit that there are a lot of humorous (or better yet, ridiculous) aspects to the art of weight training.

An important note here is that the workout below is intended for advanced clients, not beginners unless your intention is to scare them away for good.

First and foremost, tell the participants to keep their pre-workout meal light, and take it no sooner than 1 1/2 hours prior to the workout. This is to prevent or lessen the opportunity of sharing with your partners, and the rest of the gym, exactly what you had for lunch.

Secondly, tell your clients to mentally prepare themselves for the overload to come. The initial thought of getting under a leg press and busting out 50 repetitions may seem intimidating. This is when the power of mental preparation becomes crucial.

The Workout

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Warm-Up: Walk on the treadmill or ride the bike for 5-10 minutes.

Exercise One: The Leg Press. Keep feet about 4 inches apart and be sure to push from the middle of the foot. Keep the speed of movement moderate. Near the end of the set, clients tend to increase the rate of the repetitions. Do not let your client do this.

  • Set One – 50 Repetitions
  • Set Two – 45 Repetitions
  • Set Three – 40 Repetitions
  • Set Four – 35 Repetitions

A warm-up set of 20 repetitions may precede set one, but I’ve found the weight is low enough on the first set to avoid injury.

Be sure to increase the weight with each set. This adds to the mental and muscular challenge. Recommended increases are a 25-45 pound plate on each side of the machine.


Exercise Two: The Barbell Lunge. Perform by alternating legs. Left leg, followed by the right leg equals one repetition. Use a full range of motion, but pay close attention to form. This will maximize gains and prevent injury.

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  • Set One – 15 Repetitions
  • Set Two – 12 Repetitions
  • Set Three – 10 Repetitions
  • Set Four – 10 Repetitions

As with leg press, increase the weight with each set.

Exercise Three: Smith Machine Squats. Keep feet approximately 6 inches apart. Perform each repetition until the knee is at 90 degrees of flexion, or slightly beyond.

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  • Set One – 15 Repetitions
  • Set Two – 15 Repetitions
  • Set Three – 15 Repetitions
  • Set Four – 15 Repetitions

Try to increase the weight with each set, although this may only be possible with your more experienced clients.

Exercise Four: Leg Extensions. Perform these at a moderate tempo, taking special care to control the weight in the eccentric portion of the exercise.

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  • Set One – 30 Repetitions
  • Set Two – 25 Repetitions
  • Set Three – 20 Repetitions
  • Set Four – 15 Repetitions

As with all the other exercises, try to increase the weight with each set.