The Quad Blaster Returns
WNBF natural pro bodybuilder John Bartlett was in town this weekend, so we hit a leg session at Strong and Shapely Gym. There’s certainly no shortage of “toys” to play with on leg day at Strong & Shapely, but when I asked John if he had ever used the QUAD BLASTER before and he said no, I knew I had to break that puppy out again, throw it in my car and haul it out to strong & Shapely…
Here’s what our session looked like; the commentary is below
- A1 Front Squats
- warm up: 95 X 15 reps
- warm up: 135 X 12 reps
- warm up: 165 X 10 reps
- Set 1: 195 X 18 reps
- Set 2: 215 X 13 reps
- Set 3: 235 X 7 reps
- B1 Barbell Back Squat
- Set 1: 185 lbs X 26 reps (17 reps w continuous tension, brief pause, then 9
- C1 Quad Blaster
- 3 sets X 30 lbs X 12, 11, 9 reps 3020 tempo, drop dumbell, rep out with body weight
- D1 Dumbbell Walking Lunges
- 2 sets X 35 lbs X 42, 40 reps (20-21 reps per leg)
- E1 Bulgarian split squat (static lunge with rear foot on bench)
- 1 sets X 35 lbs X 12 reps 3020 tempo
- A1 Glute ham raise (aka “hamstring death drops”)
- 3 sets X bodyweight X max reps with partner assist
- B1 One legged hyperextensions
- 2 sets X bodyweight X 10-12 reps
- C1 Strive (variable resistance curve) lying leg curl machine
- set 1: 12 reps with overload at top (contracted position)
- set 2: 10 reps with overload at bottom (stretch position)
Note: 4-point tempo prescriptions are as follows:
2010 tempo =
2 = negative/eccentric action
0 = pause in stretch position
1 = positive/concentric action
0 = pause in contracted position
Tempo is noted where it is important to achieve a desired effect. When no tempo is noted, reps are simply “controlled”, (not fast, not slow)
We kicked it off with front squats, a perrenial favorite of mine (I even prefer front squats over back squats because its easier on my lumbar spine and it builds the quads more than the glutes).
My poundages were a bit off my peak, but I was pleased nonetheless as it was my best in about 5 months, since I pulled a hip muscle over the summer and had to stop squatting completely for 4 weeks, and then rebuild strength back up from scratch.
I’ve written about the front squat previously here:
The greatest quad builder that no one wants to do
Front squat, bottom position
we hit the quad blaster second in the workout. Doing it after intense front squats of course, is more difficult, but I wanted to hit the blaster after I was already warmed up and had some blood in the quads.
When I walked into the gym carrying the quad blaster – a big plank of wood with a bunch of straps dangling off it, the girl at the front desk gave me the weirdest look…. I gave her a weird look back (kind of “evil”), and said, “It’s a medieval torture device… wanna try it?
The quad blaster with dummbell
Quad blaster drop set – rep to failure with dumbbell, drop the weight and then keep going with bodyweight!
Natural bodybuilder John Bartlett “experiencing”
the quad blaster for the first time
John’s a pretty tough guy, so just so we don’t embarrass him too much, we won’t post the photos of him crumbled on the floor on his hands and knees after the set was over… But seriously, no need to make fun of him because I’ve never seen anyone push to total failure in this thing the first time using it. I mean, what’s the worst that can happen – if you fail and collapse, its not like a weight is going to fall on you and its only a couple feet down to the floor, right? (lol)
John liked it! He’s “evil” that way… like me… he “gets it”… if it hurts and almost kills you… we like it… because as Neitszche said, “that which does not kill you makes you stronger…” That’s hardcore bodybuilder philosophy and opening quote from Conan The Barbarian by the way, but those who are hardcore already know that… all those who are not hardcore, please disregard… (and if youre not hardcore, then what are you doing here on this site? Isnt there a “muscle toning” site where you should be hanging out? Go play with your inner-outer thigh machine…. just kidding… or not….)
Anyway, after the quad blaster, John was talkin about the leg extensions and I said, “yeah, we could do that, but that would be the easy way out. I say we grab some dumbbells and start walking! So walking lunges it was. Just for good measure, after 2 sets of 40 (20 reps per leg), I did one last set of static lunges (aka, the dreaded “Bulgarian split squat” where the rear foot is elevated behind you by putting it up on a bench or platform.)
We were pretty toasted after all that, so we both mutually agreed to pass on the stiff leg deadlifts, but that did NOT mean we were going to do an easy hamstring workout…
We started with the glute-ham raise, which I affectionately refer to as “hamstring death drops”. Sorry, I blew it and didnt snap a picture of this one, but thats because we had to spot each other. It takes a little while to build up to doing these solo with body weight and added poundage. I’ll spotlight the technique on this exericse with photos in a future article.
This can be done on a special apparatus or you can kneel and have a partner hold down the back of your ankles. Shapely had a special bench just for this. You begin on your knees, (most appropriately, as you need to say your prayers before doing this insane exercise), with your torso upright. Then you simply do a controlled “fall” forward, under the power of your hamstrings. It does work the whole posterior chain, but there is really a tremendous load placed on the hamstrings.
most people cant do a single rep with controlled tempo the first time so they need a spotter. An alternative if you are solo is to hold yourself up with a broomstick and spot yourself with the broomstick.
If you try these yourself, go slow and easy the first time and make sure you are warmed up – this is a new stress on the hams you may have never felt before. Rather than the body being fixed and knee flexion occuring by moving the feet, its the exact opposite – your feet/ankles are fixed and you are pivoting your entire upper body, hips and thighs around your knee joint. You may also notice soreness in a place you have never felt it before – i felt it in my lower, outer hamstring.
Second for hamstrings, we moved on to another unusual exercise – the one legged hyperextension. Most people reading this page are probably very familiar with the hyperextension, also known as the low back extension. Well, try that sucker with one leg at a time. Simply fix one ankle behind the pad and let one leg be free, above the pad. Wicked good hamstring and posterior chain exercise. (On a side note, Ive been told this is a great exercise for improving vertical jump).
Last but not least was the strive leg curl machine. If you don’t have access to one of these, well then, poor you. You wish you could train at my gym… hahahahahahaha. (sorry, I like to rub it in).
Anyway, there’s hope – there is a way you can mimic what this machine does – it has an adjustment lever for the cam which allows you to shift greater resistance to either the top, middle or bottom portion of the exercise. In other words, when you shift the lever to “top” position, you get increased overload at the top and it gets harder to finish the exercise, or when its in the bottom position, there is more load on the bottom range of motion and it gets easier to the top.
Your hamstrings will have no idea what hit them when you use one of these machines for the first time. If you dont have one available, but you do have a training partner, you can simply have your partner add manual resistance at the top or at the bottom of the movement.
That was all she wrote. John and I were up late night – pulled an all nighter actually – in the gym shooting some exercise video clips, and it was insane how both of our legs – quads and hamstrings got more and more sore by the passing hour. By 12 hours after this workout we were feeling it! By the day after, we were limping pretty good… but its all good… good pain that is!
Til next time… train hard and stay clean
PS. I almost forgot — I heard from Carlos Dejesus, a short while back and he finally put up his website where there is info on the quad blaster:
I get no financial remuneration for mentioning this, I just figure some people might want a quad blaster of their own, and Carlos is the only place you can get one, since he is the inventor and he holds the patent on it. Sorry I have no other details – dont know how much it costs or how long it takes for him to make each one (he makes them by hand at this point – there is no manufacturing facility).
PPS. I have instructed carlos not to sell one of these to anybody who might be competing against me in bodybuilding in the near future!!! (jest kidding…)
For more info, see my previous posts
Introducing the quad blaster
Introducing the quad blaster