Blitz Your Quads With This Simple Adjustment To A Squat

Smiling woman carrying weight plate in gym
(Image credit: M_a_y_a / Getty Images)

Love them or hate them, leg workouts are an essential part of any training routine, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to the formula of four sets of eight to 12 reps. And taking a new approach can unlock strength gains galore. 

Try tagging this two-move finisher on the end of your next leg session. Devised by certified personal trainer Jocelyn Podolski, it uses just one dumbbell, one weight plate and one exercise to challenge your quads, boost your muscular endurance and stimulate muscle growth. 

Podolski uses the weight plate to elevate your heels during a squat to place more emphasis on your quads than the conventional movement, which means you put greater demands on the muscles in your posterior chain (the back of your body) like the glutes and hamstrings. 

The general rules of squatting still apply though: Make sure your hips are in line with or below your knees at the bottom of each rep and keep your chest up throughout.

Watch Podolski’s video below to see her demonstrate the two moves, then prepare to feel a lower-body burn like never before. 

Why This Workout Is So Effective

Workout finishers are short add-ons designed to squeeze every last ounce of energy out of your muscles at the end of a session. They’re usually intense and follow formats with short rest times like circuits and supersets.

Podolski’s routine falls into the latter camp, challenging you to complete 10 to 12 heavy heel-elevated goblet squats immediately followed by 10 to 12 heel-elevated unweighted squats. Rest for 60 seconds, then repeat a total of four times. 

Performing a set with a weight, then immediately performing the same exercise with a lighter, or no weight, is reminiscent of a drop set. This hypertrophy training technique aims to fully fatigue the muscles, which research suggests can lead to enhanced muscle growth. 

If you’re looking for more lower-body finishers to spice up your gym sessions, try The Rock’s leg day finisher. Or if you want to put in more work on the front of your legs, try this quad workout

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.