single leg quad workout

Single-Leg Quad Workout to Improve Leg Symmetry

You walk in front of the mirror, pull up your shorts, and flex your quads as hard as you can.

You’re proud of leg definition and striations but there’s one problem…

One quad is slightly bigger than the other!

That’s okay, I’m going to help you so keeping reading…

The best way to improve your leg symmetry is by doing some single-leg exercises for your quads. And in this post, I’m going to give you a specific workout that you can do to help make both of your quads the same size.

Now, this is not going to replace your current leg day. You’ll do this workout as a 2nd leg workout each week, about 3-4 days after your normal leg workout.

And at the end of the post, I’ll also show you how to use these training methods with your regular leg workout without taking away from your dual-leg exercises (like squats).

Why Your Quads Are Not Symmetrical

Having uneven quads and muscle imbalance, in general, is a problem most every bodybuilder and physique athlete will face at some point.

You may be saying:

‘I do squats, leg presses, and leg extensions and put the same effort into both legs…how are my quads unsymmetrical? It doesn’t make sense!’

There are a few reasons for this:

  • One side (or one leg) may naturally be a little stronger than the other.
  • Often times you’re subconsciously putting more stress on one leg than the other.
  • You may have a prior injury to where you’re more cautious of one side of your body (back and knee injuries can cause this).

This can cause you to compensate for the weaker leg during your leg exercises. And you probably won’t see it right away, but over time you may notice one leg that’s just a little bigger than the other.

The best way to even your quads out and get that symmetry is by doing some single-leg exercises. But we’re actually going to take it to the next level in this post.

I want to make sure you can look in the mirror and see both quads huge, ripped, and symmetrical!

Single-Leg Quad Workout

You can watch the workout video above, but I’m also going to write everything out for you and further explain each component.

After that we go through the workout, I’m going to show you something you can do on your regular leg day (aside from this workout) to improve symmetry and make your looks look more balanced.

Important notes about the workout:

  • For starters, this is not a full leg workout; this is meant to be done in addition to your regular leg workout, about 3-4 days later.
  • In this specific quads workout, you’re only going to be doing 3 exercises.
  • However, you’re going to pump out more sets for each exercise.
  • Your rest time between sets should be about 45 seconds.
  • Rest between exercises for about 2 minutes.
  • Don’t stay seated on the machine between sets. Get up and walk around between sets and exercises.
  • Don’t rush through the reps! Make sure you’re controlling each rep and contracting your quads throughout each rep. This is crucial for leg development!
  • There are notes and tips below that pertain to each exercise.
ExerciseSets x Reps
Single-Leg Leg Extensions7 x 15
Single-Leg Leg Press7 x 12
Dumbbell Lunges4 x 10

I want to reiterate that this is not meant to be a complete leg workout. This workout is going to be your 2nd leg workout of the week.

So do this about 3-4 days after your regular leg workout (I’m going to give you some tips to make that workout more effective for balanced quads as well!).

Here’s an example of how you can schedule your leg workouts for the week:

  • Monday: Chest and Biceps
  • Tuesday: Legs (your regular leg workout)
  • Wednesday: Back
  • Thursday: Shoulders and Triceps
  • Friday: Single-leg quad workout
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

This is the typical Monday-Friday training schedule but you can cater it to your schedule. For example, many like to have a rest day in the middle of the week so you could do that and move your 2nd leg workout (for quads) to Saturday.

I’m a big fan of training legs twice a week. It’s the largest muscle group in your body and too many bodybuilders don’t spend enough effort on their legs.

You can read more about training legs twice a week in my post: Training Legs Twice a Week: How to Get Bigger Legs

Training Tips for Each Single-Leg Exercise for Quads

Now that you’ve got the workout, you’re probably ready to go hit the gym! I don’t blame you because adding this extra leg workout to your routine is going to make your quads grow, and help bring more symmetry to your lower body.

But before you head off to the gym, I want to take you through each of the 3 exercises in this workout. I’m going to show you some ways to make these exercises more effective for muscle growth.

These techniques are also specific to the workout above.

Single-Leg Leg Extensions

Single leg leg extensions - leg exercises

Personally, I always start every leg day with leg extensions. It’s a great way to warm up your quads and get the blood flowing. And I actually find that I’m able to feel my quads more on every leg exercise thereafter because leg extensions also help pre-fatigue your quads.

For this quad workout, you’ll start out with single-leg leg extensions. And there are some things you can do to make this exercise build bigger and better quads:

Goal: 7 sets of 15 reps

  • Start out with light weight
  • Gradually go up in weight each set
  • Do controlled reps, forcing your quads to work harder
  • Flex your quads at the peak of each rep
  • On the final rep for each leg, get a good squeeze and hold that muscle contraction for 4-5 seconds

I mentioned ‘pre-fatigue’ earlier. This is an awesome method to force your muscles to work harder during your workouts. You basically pre-exhaust the muscle with an isolation exercise that targets that specific muscle.

This will lead to substantial muscle growth and definition. You can read more about this method and get a full workout using the pre-exhaust technique here: How to Pre-Exhaust Your Muscles (Routines for Each Muscle)

Single-Leg Leg Press

Single leg leg press - leg exercises

What’s the most common thing you see people do on leg press? They load up the machine with as many plates that can fit; however, they usually do this with a poor range of motion (going down 2 inches, at best!).

Doing single-leg leg press is completely the opposite. There’s no room for ego lifting here. Your goal is actually to make light weight feel heavier and I’m going to explain how to do that.

Goal: 7 sets of 12 reps

  • Like with leg extensions, start out with light weight
  • Gradually go up in weight each set
  • Take your time on the negative (eccentric) part of the rep, making sure you’re controlling the weight – this is super important for this exercise!
  • Don’t press with the ball of your foot; focus more on pressing with your heel (this helps prevent knee pain and also helps you contract your quads more during the rep)

Dumbbell Lunges

Dumbbell lunges - leg exercises

Your final exercise is going to be dumbbell lunges. You can do these one of two ways:

  1. Walking dumbbell lunges (if you have room to do this, or you can do this outside)
  2. Doing them in one place

I prefer the walking lunges but that’s not always feasible in the gym, and many gyms aren’t going to let you take the dumbbells outside. Either way, this is a powerful exercise for building up your quads.

Goal: 4 sets of 10 reps

  • Choose a moderate weight; don’t try to go too heavy on these (I typically stick with that same weight for every set on this exercise)
  • Make sure your movement is with intent – in other words, don’t allow your body to fall or use momentum to perform the exercise – focus on forcing your leg muscles to do the work
  • Be sure to step forward far enough so that your knee does not go too far over your foot (this cause sometimes cause knee pain)
  • Keep your quads flexed and engaged throughout each rep

Building Muscle and Symmetry During Leg Workouts

Again, what we just went over is in addition to your normal leg day. It’s not meant to replace your normal leg workout. You’ll do the single-leg quad workout 3-4 days after your normal leg workout.

But I also want you to implement some single-quad (and hamstring) work into your normal leg workout. This is going to help you have balanced leg muscles even more.

Complete Leg Working Using Some Single-Leg Exercises

ExerciseSets x Reps
Leg Extensions4 x 12
Squats4 x 6-8
Leg Press4 x 15
Stiff-leg Deadlifts3 x 10
Single-Leg Leg Extensions3 x 15
Single-Leg Lying Leg Curls3 x 10
Seated Calf Raises7 x 15

As you can see, this is a high volume leg workout. So give yourself a solid hour and 15 minutes to do this workout.

You’re ending your leg workout with single-leg exercises for both quads and hamstrings. This is a great way to get that final pump in your leg muscles. And you’re also developing symmetry.

You’ll also notice that you’re doing higher reps for quads (with the exception of squats).

You may find that your quads respond best to higher reps because of the types of muscle fibers they have (more slow-twitch). And your hamstrings may respond best to the 8-12 rep range.

This method works for many bodybuilders but, of course, you’ll need to try different things to see what works best for you.

I hope that you try the single-leg quad workout! Remember, just pick a day 3-4 days after your regular leg day. You can even add this extra day on the weekend.

After about 6 weeks, stand in front of the gym mirror and pull those shorts up. You should notice that you have more symmetrical legs and balanced quads.

Also, if you’re ready to take your physique to the next level, be sure to check out my elite programs.

Train with Passion,


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