Sissy Sqauts: Best Exercise For Quadriceps

We are going to be talking about what I believe to be one of the best exercises to build and develop your quadriceps. They are the big muscles at the front of your legs.

You might be thinking, "Jaime, I already know what the answer is. You're standing in a squat rack, clearly, the answer is squats."

I love squats and I think that it is a great exercise. I think everyone should be doing it, but I do think that it has some limitations. Hear me out before you jump on the comments and call me an idiot, okay?

Traditional Squat Limitations

The limitation of a squat is that we have a barbell on our back. And what does that mean? That means that we are going to be limited by our spine because we're loading weights on our spine.

You might have felt it when you have been squatting and pushing close to failure. Typically, what will give way is going to be your spine or the muscles surrounding it.

So you might find that your lower back starts to flare up. You might find that your legs start to burn, but they don't burn quite as much as what they would when you're on something like a leg press or a leg extension where we don't have the limitation of our spine involved. In that instance, you can really isolate and focus more pressure on the legs.

There is a big difference between building the legs and building the quadriceps. Although the quadriceps are obviously a part of the legs, when we do movements like squats and I have to pick just one movement I would say that they are the best exercise to build the legs. But what if we had the goal of just building the quadriceps?

There's a big difference between a compound movement where we are stimulating many different muscles versus an isolation movement where we are trying to only focus on that one area. The squats, for example, are going to help build the legs in their entirety.

But we're going to build not only the quadriceps but also the glutes, the hamstrings, the calves to some extent, okay? Now, this is all a great thing, but again, what if we had the squats but we wanted to have something else to accompany it, to really focus and get the most out of our quadriceps that didn't limit us so we got the best results possible in our quads specifically. Well, in that instance, there really needs to be some other exercises incorporated into your routine. I don't think it's enough to just rely on the squat alone.

Other Machines That Builds Your Quads

Squats are something that everyone should be doing but if you want to get the most out of your quads and if you are specifically looking for growth then you need more. You need exercises that will not be limited by things like your spine, where you can be put into a position where the muscles are taken through a greater range of motion, and you can isolate them.

How are we going to do this?

Well, there are the leg press and leg extension. Those things are great but, like the squats, they have some limitations of their own. First, they take up a lot of space and, secondly, they are very expensive. Not everyone has a couple of grand to fork out to get a leg press or a leg extension.

Sissy Squat: Quad Machine For Limited Space

If you are someone that is training from home, you don't have a whole lot of space and a huge budget to work with. Then going with the Sissy Squat machine by Aussie Strength will be perfect. It provides a fantastic movement, and arguably one of the best movements we can do to build our quads. It doesn't take up a heap of room and it's super affordable.

Why is this movement so good? You might be thinking, "Well, a sissy squat? It's still a squat." It is still a squat but this machine is going to help position us in a way that directly places more emphasis and more load in the quadriceps alone.

Why is that?

Well, let me describe to you the movement if you've never seen it done so you can understand how it works. The user is going to position my feet in between the two pads of the sissy squat. There are rollers at the front and the back. There is also a pad at the back of the calf for support. Shuffle your feet and squat down.

Difference Between Sissy Squats and Regular Squats

The difference between sissy squats and regular squat is that instead of squatting straight down and keeping the midline of your body directly under your feet, this machine is going to enable you to sit right back into the movement, and then you can extend your knees and flex the quads at the top.

So you can see that's very different in comparison to where a general squat would be, a general squat you would be leaning forward. If you analyze the movement of a squat, you would notice that the weight is going to be distributed right in the midline of the body. In between your knees and hips, which means that these two joints (hips and knees) are going to take equal amounts of pressure, which means that the muscles surrounding those joints are going to take pretty similar amounts of load. That would further mean that the quadriceps, the muscles surrounding the hips, which are the glutes and the hamstrings, are going to get a lot of involvement.

But this machine enables you to sit right back in the movement. Looking like you sitting back and not leaning forward. This causes all of the pressure to be born directly through my knees. There's no pressure at my hips or very minimal. This means that the quads are going to take or the muscles surrounding the knees are going to take a huge amount of load and pressure which you really feel even just after a couple of reps.

You might be someone that has the luxury of having something like a leg extension available and you might be thinking, "Well, I can just use that to isolate the quads."

How Sissy Squats Helps Develop Quads

That's true, you could, but this exercise has a place. Because it works the quads in a very different way in comparison to the leg extension

The leg extension, if you've done one before shortens the quadriceps while the Sissy squats are lengthening it. Now, shortening starts when you kick the leg extension pad up to the top. That is where the peak contraction will be found and when the hardest point of the movement is going to be. It is the point where you really get a lot of stimuli from the quads.

But Sissy Squats works the quads in a very different way. You'll find that with this exercise and this machine that the peak contraction is actually at the bottom this is going to be a lengthening exercise, or at least the peak contraction is in the lengthened position.

What do I mean by that? I mean that the hardest part of this movement is at the bottom portion when you go down. The quads are under a huge amount of stretch and then you have to get yourself out of it.

Having a lengthening movement to accompany or complement a shortening movement such as the leg extension is really going to work the quads in a different way which will give you different stimuli that are going to help you get more out of your leg training. Better results in building your quadriceps.

Research has shown that the lengthening portion of a movement, which is generally found in the eccentric phase of a movement, is going to be what actually results in giving you more growth. If we can make that lengthening period or phase of any movement more difficult then that is going to stimulate more growth. That is why this machine definitely has its place

This is a fantastic piece of gear and exercise that I would definitely recommend you checking it out if you have the capability of having a machine like this, if you don't, I definitely suggest you get one.

I hope this was informative and helpful. If you do have any questions, any feedback, please drop a comment below. Always looking for some ideas on other topics that you might want to know about. Let us know and we can post some videos and help you guys out. Otherwise, we'll catch you guys in the next one, see you later.