Cutler's Quad Quiz

Jay Cutler answers 10 questions about thigh building.
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Jay Cutler knows quads. Not only is he propelled through life on two of the world’s widest wheels, but he has also analyzed how to train, rest and diet to make those legs bigger and better. Do you know what he knows? Jay Cutler is featured frequently in these pages, so you may feel you know all there is to know about his training. OK, hotshot, prove it. Grab a number-two pencil and take the Cutler quad quiz. No cheating (Cutler advocates strict form) and no talking (Cutler believes results should speak for themselves). Those who score a perfect 10 are Cutler quad experts. All others should commit the answers to memory and march to the nearest squat rack.


Which exercise is best for quad mass?

A Leg extensions

B Leg presses

C Cable side laterals

D Squats

CUTLER’S ANSWER: D. Nothing builds quad mass like heavy free-weight squats. A lot of experienced guys tend to stay away from them for various reasons, but I would recommend that all bodybuilders squat. Pyramid up to heavy sets of six to eight reps. I squat using a shoulder-width stance and with my heels elevated on 10-pound plates to move the stress away from my glutes and on to my quads. I also angle my toes out slightly. I go very deep, and I pause at the top of each rep and then flex to fully contract the quads. I usually pyramid up to five plates on each side.


Which exercise bookends Cutler’s quad workout?

A Leg extensions

B Leg presses

C Side bends

D Lunges

CUTLER’S ANSWER: A. I start with two warm-up sets of 15 leg extension reps, just to get my knees warm. Over the years, heavy lifting has taken its toll on my knees, so I want to get the blood flowing in my quads and around my knees before I move on to squats and leg presses. I also finish up with leg extensions — four heavy sets with drops. With those, I’m really focused on blasting and squeezing each rep. I perform six to eight reps with heavy weights. I try to go for full extension, keeping my toes pointed straight, and I hold each contraction for a count of two, flexing hard. Then, after six to eight reps, when I’ve reached failure, I reduce the weight by about half and try to bang out another five or six reps for each set. I do four sets like that, and my legs are screaming when I’m done.

Finishing with leg extensions really gets the blood in there. Leg extensions can be a great mass builder, as well as somewhat of a detail movement. I attribute a lot of my quad detail and shape to leg extensions. I pick and choose the machine I use, because some have worked better than others, but I especially like the Life Fitness machine.


In addition to squats and leg extensions, what other two exercises does Cutler consider essential to intermediate and advanced quad routines?

A Lunges

B Leg presses

C Hack squats

D Rope skipping

CUTLER’S ANSWER: B and C. I do leg presses in every quad workout, starting with one or two warm-up sets of 10 reps. Then I do two or three full-on working sets of seven to nine reps. I try to drop the backrest as far back as it’ll go to get the deepest rep possible, and I like to keep my feet at a shoulder-width position. I move through each repetition very quickly, but I sometimes pause at the top for a count of one or two. I always get a full extension — I never do halves or quarters. Full reps build maximum muscle. I also always do two or three sets to failure of hack squats. For these, I keep my feet at shoulder width, toes pointed out slightly. I really try to go deep and stretch my quads to focus on building the lower area near the knees.

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