Thomas Steven Platz is an American retired professional bodybuilder. His nicknames are "The Golden Eagle" and "The Quadfather". In an old interview Tom explained Bill Reynold how he developed his widely-envied, huge and hard thighs.
"You probably wouldn't believe how thin my thighs were when I first started working them. The before pic in the April issue (of Muscle Builder) was taken about then, and you can see that my thighs measured only about 20-21 inches. Like so many beginning bodybuilders I got carried away by the showy arm and chest muscles, totally neglecting my leg for the first year and a half. I finally got into leg training, because there were a lot of powerlifters in the gym where I trained. If I didn't squat hard, they wouldn't let me walk out of the gym.
And when I squatted hard I'd have trouble walking out anyway, so I was getting hit both coming and going.
They really made me work. I made progress quickly, which got everyone going on my case even harder. I very quickly worked up to 10-12 sets of squats, using a light weight to the heaviest possible set of five reps one day and one rep the next training day.
I also began doing hack squats. Early on, I found that leg extensions tended to keep my squat poundages down. Eventually I also started to throw in a few sets of leg curls at the end of my routine.
From day one I had good leg workouts, and in fact have never really had a bad one. Today I can do one set of squats and my thighs blow up like balloons. This is because I was immediately able to make a strong link between my mind and my thighs.
It took three or four years to develop this ability for my arm workouts, but from the first training session I could feel my legs.
There was an immediate mental interplay with the muscles of my legs.
The heavy work in thigh training has always been enjoyable to me. It reminds me of football practice when I was in high school. I leave the gym with the inner satisfaction that I've given 110 percent effort. I like the feeling handling enormous poundages, hearing the deepthroated rattle of five or six 45-pound plates on each end of the bar as I squat.
In competition, I lifted 600lb in the squat at 198lb bodyweight. For reps I've done 28 with 405 and 52 with 350lb. Prior to the 1977 Mr. America, I was also doing 10 straight minutes of squatting with 225, which must have been over 100 reps each workout."
Tom gave a typical routine that he used while building such huge thighs:
1. Squat 8-10 sets 20 - 5 reps, working up in weight each set over 500 pounds
2. Hack Squat 5 sets 10-15 reps
3. Leg Extensions 5-8 sets 10 - 15 reps
4. Leg Curls: 6-10 sets 10-15 sets
These were all straight sets, with up to two minutes rest between squats sets and less than a minute between sets of all other exercises.
Prior to hist last Mr. Universe win, he had evolved a routine that he planed to used the rest of his bodybuilding career.
Wednesday-Saturday thigh workout
1. Squats: 1 set 40-50 reps 315-325lb (Wednesday only)
2. Hack Squats: 3 sets 20-30 reps
3. Leg Extensions 4-6 sets 10-25 reps
4. Leg Curls: 4-6 sets 15-20 reps
The reps are extremly high, "because I feel I've gained enough size in my legs and am now interested in increasing the shape and overall cuts of my thighs. Heavier weight and lower reps would only add more mass."
Tom Platz: "If I need more mass anywhere in my thighs it would be in the hamstrings, so I'm doing something a bit different on the leg curls. I've been having a training partner push down on the weight as I lower it toemphasize the negative part of the movement. He puts on enough pressure to make me really grunt in resisting the weight"
"The amazing thing to me is that most bodybuilder don't squat correctly. I watch guys squat, and 80 percent don't do the movement right. It's a very basic movement, but usually the feet are too far apart, the seuat depth is too shallow, they're doing only bench squats, or they lean too far forward as they squat. The squat is a gigantic thigh movement, but it has to be done correctly."
"To begin with, the bar is placed high on the shoulders, at the top of your traps. I place my hands on the bar about halfway between the plates and my body. My feet are set at about shoulder width, the toes pointed slightly outward. Now I'm experimenting with putting my heels very close together, which has had an excellent effect on my tigh shape. Your head should be kept up, which in turn keeps the back straight and upright.
Take a deep breath and sink slowly all the way down, letting your knees travel out directly over your toes. Do not bounce at the bottom. Stay tight in the low position, which means keep your back and torso muscles tensed. Come back up to the starting position, being careful not to lean forward and repeat for the required number of reps.
After a good set of squats I feel very breathless, and I have some dificulty walking normally. There's an overwhelming desire to sit down, but I resist the temptation. I'll never sit down. Instead, I will walk around the gym to keep the blood circulating. This helps me recover more quickly for the next set.
Another factor in building good thighs is the stretching I do before every workout. This has kept me very flexible, and I think flexibility is vital to building good muscle tissue. I do two basic stretches - the hurdler's stretch for the fronts and backs of my legs, and a harmstring stretch with straight legs while standing on a flat bench"
Tom Platz' instagram @tomplatz