“What exercise will bring out tear drops in my quads?”

Ahh, tear drops – in the quadriceps muscles, that is! The hallmark of a great pair of legs is the visibility of so-called tear drops, when the insertion points of the quad muscles are visible through the skin.

I recommend several exercises for tear drops (which won’t be visible unless your body fat percentage is low enough, of course), and they are squats and leg extensions.

But let’s focus on leg extensions since they are so incredibly easy to do.

However, the leg extension should be performed in a certain way to maximize the visibility of quad tear drops.

In addition to working the quads with leg extensions, you must also have a low enough body fat percentage for the visibility to occur.

Two Requirements

Thus, two requirements (in addition to squats) for tear drops are: 1) Leg extension workouts, and 2) Low body fat.

This is why people can have low body fat yet absolutely no tear drops whatsoever, not even a hint of them.

Banging out only heavy lifts with leg extensions isn’t the most effective way to get tear drops. I suggest drop sets to the point of inducing a searing burn in the quadriceps.

Drop set leg extensions are one of the most “painful” exercise routines; a high tolerance for lactic acid burn is necessary, and when you bring it to this point, it’s maddening.

Shutterstock/ lunamarina

For the first set, find the weight you need for an 8-12 rep max on the leg extension.

You must be able to complete 8 to 12 reps with good form; i.e., bring the legs up nearly all the way (don’t lock out knees) and then lower with control, rather than let the weights drop down.

At the bottom of every rep, don’t let the weights touch back to where they come to rest; this is cheating. Come down to within an inch of this point and then lift back up again.

The weight for this first set should allow you to complete 8-12 reps, but with quite a bit of difficulty, yet without cheating.

Promptly after completion, repeat this protocol for 30 pounds less weight.

Again, right after completion, reduce weight load by another 30 pounds. Now you can take a 90 second break. Repeat the drop set routine five more times.

Perform once or twice a week on your leg days. If your leg days are only once a week, do this once a week.

Leg extension drop sets done this way should hurt like crazy; the burn should be very intense.

Tear drops should start becoming visible within several weeks, but only if your body fat percentage is low enough to allow this.

Just how low varies among people. Those extreme tear drops you see in bodybuilders and physique competitors on stage are enhanced by extremely low body fat levels, but you need not get that low in order to see tear drops in the quads.

A “lean” body will have no problem showing tear drops in the quadriceps once the leg extension program is set into place.

To emphasize the outside tear drop, point feet as outward as possible during the leg extensions.

Another exercise you can add to your goal of achieving sculpted quads is the angled leg press, as shown below:

Shutterstock/Free around

The range of motion should be at least a 90 degree angle formed by your femur and shin bones, with feet FLAT on the sled. Eight to 12 reps; take two seconds to lower the sled; keep your hands off your knees.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 

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Top image: Shutterstock/Ajan Alen