It's a fact: if you want a powerful physique, you need big quads. Your quads are the largest muscle group in your body and comprise half of your physique – so skipping that leg workout can lead to disproportional development and a lack of functional strength and muscular symmetry. Ultimately, this can lead to injury.
While squats are undeniably effective not only for leg development but for overall development and strength, science shows that dumbbell step-ups are, in fact, superior to all other leg exercises for quadriceps strength development and muscular growth.
How so? It's simple: squats place the weight load across your back in a balanced fashion, but dumbbell step-ups not only work your quadriceps but also force you to develop and use maximum control over your body balance in order to properly execute the exercise and maintain correct body position from beginning to end.
So while squats are an indispensable, foundation exercise, and while many other exercises are useful growth-triggering tools in your arsenal, do step-ups if you want to build big quads.
Source: Strengthening Conditioning Journal, 28:60-61, 2006.
- FUSION Research Team