The following article was published by bodybuilding legend Don Ross in 1976. In this article he will explain how Tom Platz lived, ate and trained - Mr. Berg
"Michigan has never been rated as a bodybuilding state. No magazine publisher or barbell companies are located here to attract outside talent, nor is our climate spectacular for that deep tan that seems to be so much in emphasis these days. Michigan is a heavy industrial state populated by workers. People move to Michigan to work. Recreation, aside from watching football, baseball or the races, is of little importance here. This reflects in the lives of lifters and bodybuilders who live in this state. Up until recently, we've had several Mr. Michigan winners who were good enough to go on to national competition, but few have. Those of you who were reading physique magazines in the 1950's will remember Michigan's Vic Seipke who won Jr. Mr. America. In the early '60s we became somewhat of an Olympic lifting center with Norbert Schemansky, Joe Puleo, Steve Manseur and several other weightlifting superstars. Recently, however, bodybuilding ha created great interest in these parts. The 1972 AAU Mr. America and the 1975 WBBG Mr. USA were held here. Our local contests have presented such guest posers as Frank Zane, Chris Dickerson, Franco Columbu and Sergio Oliva. Also, in the early '70s, several Mr. Michigan’s started moving up. Ron Thompson won the AAU Mr. America and Mr. World;Kent Keuhn won the IFBB Mr. USA; Rick Giofu was IFBB's Mr. North America and Second in Mr. America; Mike Forgione took second in the AAU Mr. World Short Class at 47 years of age!
Roger Callard won IFBB Mr. Western America and placed high in Mr. America; Pat Ruelle won his height class in the AAU Mr. North America. Michigan has produced one of its most colorful and rapidly rising physique stars, Tom Platz.
As I said before, Michigan is a state of hard workers. I've been to gyms all over the country, including the famous Gold's Gym in L.A. and still I've yet to see anyone train harder and more seriously than Michigan bodybuilders. Tom Platz makes the workouts of the most serious Michigan bodybuilder seem like child's play - this man trains HARD!
I first met Tom a few years ago when he was in his mid-teens and of average potential. His interest in bodybuilding was strong enough to convince Tony Armento to let him join his gym at 16 years of age. You usually have to be 18 to train there. As usual, Tony put Tom wasn't satisfied with that. Soon he was training like a champion and began making rapid gains on routines that most beginners would burn themselves out with. He certainly picked up my methods of hard, fast training, but this is where the similarity between our training methods ends.
Where I abandoned powerlifting in order to excel in bodybuilding, Tom incorporated powerlifting with bodybuilding with a strong determination to excel in both. Excel he did!
In 1974, at 18 years old, Tom Placed second in the Teenage Mr. America, won Best Legs and Most Muscular in that contest! Next, he won Mr. Iron Man and in 1975 won the coveted Mr. Michigan title. In that contest, he was also "Most Muscular", won Best Back, Chest and Legs. A few months later, he won the Senior State Powerlifting Championships with a 365lb bench press; 630lb deadlift and 550lb squat!
Tom's physique is very thickly muscular and remind me of Casey Viator. His chest is also exceptional as a result of heavy bench pressing and incline pressing. Tom as more than muscle mass to back him up in his bid for the AAU Mr. America title. Aside from a full six day week training schedule and a full time job as a security guard, Tom is also attending Wayne State University, working toward his Degree in Physical Education. His future plans are to earn his Doctorate and teach Anatomy on the college level.
The AAU gives up to five points on personality and are looking for an all-American man of the highest moral standards. In this category, Tom will get all five points. He is very intelligent, well spoken, strictly adheres to rules of health. He has never smoked, drank alcoholic beverages, nor taken any kind of drug. he won't even take an aspirin for a headache. His well balanced diet keeps him in good health at all times.
Unlike many bodybuilders who go on meat and water diets to get cuts, Tom regulates his intake of starches and grains to get definition. This way, he maintains great size as he gets cut up. His diet always includes lots of meat, fruits and vegetables, juices and dairy products. He cuts out bread and potatoes before a contest.
He also supplements his diet with multiple vitamins, desiccated liver, B-complex, Vitamin E, kelp and Vitamin C.
Tom stays in shape all year around. At 5'8" Tom's bodyweight fluctuates between 190 and 220 pounds. He'll occasionally bulk up for powerlifting meets during which time he loses some symmetry as his legs and chest get monstrous, but still, he's in shape to give a posing exhibition at any time! On holidays and whenever he gets a chance, Tom flies down to Florida for some sunshine. All year he maintains a tan that's the envy of even Florida bodybuilders.
In the mid 1960's Larry Scott captured the minds of bodybuilding fans and experts alike with his very muscular and perfectly proportioned physique combined with his handsome facial features. Even with the new super stars of the same caliber, the bodybuilding public is nostalgically searching for a "New Larry Scott."
Magazine articles tagged several up-coming men as the "New Larry Scott" including Don Modzelewski, Ehrling Wahlgren and most recently, the 1975 AAU Mr. America, Dale Adrian. So far, Dale has come the closest, mainly because of similar facial features. Tom Platz looks more like Larry Scott facially than any top caliber bodybuilder so far. Tom's arms aren't of Larry Scott caliber, but he is specializing on them now and will have them way up in size by the time of the next AAU Mr. America.
At this time I predict nostalgic fans will be divided in calling Tom the "New Larry Scott" and the "New Casey Viator." In any case, it's a strong possibility that Tom, who is a "Dark Horse Candidate" for the title, may step into the spotlight suddenly, as Dale Adrian did last year, and win the Mr.America title."
Tom's current training routine
He does each set until failure; works each body part twice a week - one day with heavy weights and low reps, the second day with lighter weights and higher reps.
Monday and Thursday
Incline Press - 14 sets, 10 reps (from 60lb dumbbells up to 125lb dumbbells for 10 reps)
Incline Flyes - 6 sets, till failure with 80 and and 70lb dumbbells. (Note: Tom is not bench pressing this months, though he usually does).
Press Behind Neck - 12 sets, 5-10 reps (up to 210lb)
Side Laterals - 10 sets, till failure (up to 80lb dumbbells)
Bent Over Laterals - 4 sets, till failure
Deadlifts - 8 sets, 5-10 reps (up to 600lb)
Bent Over Row- 10 sets, 8-10 reps (up to 325lb)
Pullovers - 4 sets till failure (90lb dumbbells)
Calf Machine - 10 sets, 15 reps
Calves on Leg Press - 10 sets, 15 reps
Barbell Curls - 8 sets, 10-15 reps super set with Triceps Pushdown - 8 sets, 10-15 reps
Triceps Extension - 4 sets, 20 reps super set with Dumbbell Curls - 4 sets, 20 reps
Dips - 4 sets, till failure
Crunches - 4 sets, 100 reps
Sit-ups - 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Leg Raises - 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Sit-ups till failure - 1 set
Calf Work - (Same as Monday and Thursday)
Wednesday and Saturday
Squats - 5 sets, 5 reps
Squats - 3 sets, 3 reps (500lb)
Squats - 1 set, 20 reps (405lb)
Hacks - 4 sets, till failure
Abs - same as Tuesday and Friday!
Photo courty of Richard D. Falcon
Text by Don Ross