If you want to build muscle in your thighs, there are several exercises that can help you achieve your goal, but there are two specific exercises that can help you achieve it faster and with far more dramatic results. In fact, these two exercises can give you thighs that are bulging with muscle in just a matter of weeks. Moreover, Arnold Schwarzenegger, seven-time winner of the Mr. Olympia title, highly recommends them for men who want massive thighs. They’re the full squat and the hack squat.
Bulk Up Thigh Muscles by Doing Full-Squats
According to Schwarzenegger, the full squat is traditionally one of the best “mass-building exercises for the entire body,” but its primary focus is “developing all four heads of the quadriceps” (p. 464). Of course, as is the case with everything else one does in life, there’s a right way to execute a full squat and a wrong way, so in order to perform this exercise correctly:
- Put an Olympic bar on the squat rack.
- Load weights on the bar (Start with a lower weight for the warm-up set then increase poundage with subsequent sets).
- Step under the bar (It should rest across the back of your shoulders).
- Lift the bar off the rack.
- Step away from the rack.
- With head up and back straight, bend knees and lower yourself until you’re thighs are just below parallel to the floor.
- Push yourself back up to the starting position.
Guidelines for Building Thighs Fast with Full Squats
Schwarzenegger says that in order to get the most out of full squats, it’s important that you keep certain guidelines in mind. For one, you should try to go below parallel when initially learning this exercise in order to develop your strength through the entire range of motion. Why? It’s because if you don’t develop sufficient strength, you could injure yourself when you begin using heavier weight. Some other recommendations he makes are these:
- As you bend your knees while ascending with the weight, keep your head up and back straight, which takes the lower back out of the equation and stresses the leg muscles.
- Avoid tilting your head forward since you will put more stress on the lower back and less on the thighs, where the stress belongs. However, as Schwarzenegger says, this is usually more of a problem for bodybuilders with long legs than those with short legs.
Increase Thigh Muscle Mass with Hack Squats
According to Schwarzenegger, the hack squat is an especially good exercise for developing the lower area of the thigh. However, you need to use proper form and execute the squat correctly.
In order to execute a hack squat the right way:
- Put weights on the hack-squat machine (Warm up with a lower weight then increase poundage with each set)
- .Stand with shoulders under the padded bars.
- If the machine has handles (not all do), hold on to them.
- Keep feet close together and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Lower yourself into a deep squatting position.
- Slowly return to the standing position, stopping only when legs are fully extended.
Tips for Getting the Most from Hack Squats
Schwarzenegger says that when doing a hack squat, as you press upward during the final reps, if you arch your back a little and ease your hips away from the machine, without locking your legs, it will emphasize the separation between the biceps and quadriceps, which will make your thighs look “huge.”
Guidelines for Effective Workouts to Build Thigh Muscle
In order to get the most out of any workout, whether concentrating on legs or another body part, Schwarzenegger says, “You should ‘train to failure’ in each set.” In other words, you should continue doing repetitions until you’re unable to do any more. As Schwarzenegger maintains, this “ensures that you have stimulated as much muscle fiber as possible.” (p. 118) However, you should use sufficient weight to “cause you to fail at or near a specific number of repetitions;” for example, use a weight for the first set that causes you to fail at around 15 repetitions; then for subsequent sets:
- Second: Failure around 10 repetitions.
- Third: Failure around 8 repetitions.
- Fourth: Failure around 6 repetitions.
- Fifth: Using the same weight as the fourth set, try to do another 6 reps.
Note: Some additional exercises to help build thigh muscle are leg extensions and leg curls, although you might consider adding a few sets of seated calf raises to your workout if you’d like impressive looking calves to go with your impressive looking thighs.
In summary, if you’re man who wants impressive looking thighs, doing full squats and hack squats can help you achieve that goal and do so within only a matter of weeks. After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger says it’s entirely possible, and since he’s a recognized expert on bodybuilding, then Arnie should know.