Modified Tom Platz Leg Workout Less Intense

Welcome to the ultimate guide to the Tom Platz Leg Workout – a modified version.

This is for the everyday gym goer, because there’s no way I’m doing 30 or more sets of leg exercises in one session! I won’t be able to walk for a week. 

As a certified personal trainer, I’ll help explain the principles and exercises that defined Platz’s leg training and offer insights into how you can incorporate his methods into your own workout routine.

If you’re aiming to build sculpted legs and lower body strength, Tom Platz’s techniques are sure to challenge you. Here’s what’s coming up.

A Note About Tom Platz Leg Workout Results 
Who Is Tom Platz? 
The Original Tom Platz Workout 
The Modified Tom Platz Workout 
3 Leg Workout Tips For Best Results 
Bottom Line 

A Note About
Tom Platz Leg Workout Results 

You can have good size legs! Factors that contribute are genetics, nutrition, consistency with resistance training, a good program, and adequate rest. 

But be aware that as a natural (natty) lifter, it’s not possible for most to pack on a much muscle mass as Tom Platz. Why not? 

Because mass monster bodybuilders like Tom Platz have admitted to steroid use in the past. 

In a video, Platz tells us how he used Winstrol (20 mg/day ) and a shot of Decca (100/mg per week) before competing at Mr. Olympia.

Bodybuilders use anabolic steroids to unnaturally increase lean muscle mass while weight training.

In a video, Platz tells us how he used Winstrol (20 mg/day ) and a shot of Decca (100/mg per week) before competing at Mr. Olympia. Bodybuilders use anabolic steroids to unnaturally increase lean muscle mass while weight training.

Even though Tom Platz chose to enhance with steroids, his attitude is what made him a legend. 

If you want to try the original Tom Platz leg workout, be ready for pain. No joke. But I also have a modified version available that’s still hardcore but manageable. Remember that results will vary for individuals. 

Who Is Tom Platz? 

Tom Platz rose to fame during the 1970s and 80s as one of the most iconic bodybuilders of his time. His nickname was Golden Eagle, but more appropriate was The Quad Father. 

His career was distinguished by extraordinary leg development and a training philosophy that emphasized high volume, intensity, and a relentless focus on squatting

Squatting was a movement Platz believed to be essential for building massive legs.

Platz competed in many bodybuilding competitions and won Mr. Universe in his weight class in 1978.

He went on in compete in 7 Mr. Olympia contests. Although he never won a title, he did achieve a top 3 placing in 1981. 

Platz’s aesthetic physique and intense training style continue to inspire bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts worldwide. He is a sought after coach and still trains today at the age of 68. 

The Original Tom Platz Workout 

  • Back Squat: 8-12 sets x 5-20 reps
  • Hack Squat: 5 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Leg Extension: 5-8 sets x 10-15 reps 
  • Leg Curl: 6-10 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise: 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps

Back Squat 

Where gravity meets determination, you get the king of leg exercises. It’s a compound movement that targets the quadriceps, glutes, lower back, and core. 

How To Do It

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards.
  • Place a barbell across in a high-bar position on your traps, or low-bar position on your rear deltoids. 
  • Inhale, Engage your core, keep your chest up, and lower your body by bending your knees and pushing your hips back.
  • Hold your breath and lower down until your thighs are parallel to the ground or as low as comfortable.
  • Drive through your heels to return to the starting position, keeping your back straight throughout the movement. 
  • Exhale at the top and repeat. 

Best Practice Tip

Focus on maintaining proper form and depth throughout the exercise to maximize muscle activation and minimize the risk of injury.

Hack Squat 

When life gives you lemons, turn them into leg gains with this killer quad builder. This machine variation of the squat places more emphasis on the quadriceps.

How To Do It

  • Stand on the hack squat machine with your shoulders and back against the pads.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform, with your toes slightly pointed outwards.
  • Inhale and unlock the safety levers. 
  • Hold your breath and lower the platform by bending your knees until they reach a 90-degree angle.
  • Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout the movement.
  • Push through your heels to extend your knees and return to the starting position and exhale. 

Best Practice Tip

Control the descent to fully engage your quads, and avoid locking out your knees at the top of the movement to keep tension on the muscles.

Leg Extension 

Because who doesn’t love a good quad burn? This isolation exercise specifically targets the quadriceps to build strength and definition in the front. 

How To Do It

  • Sit on the leg extension machine with your back against the backrest and your knees aligned with the machine’s axis.
  • Adjust the pad so it rests comfortably on your lower shins, just above your feet.
  • Grasp the handles for stability and press your glutes hard into the seat. 
  • Straighten your legs, lifting the weight until your legs are fully extended.
  • Hold for a brief pause at the top, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position.
  • Maintain control throughout the movement, avoiding swinging or jerking motions.

Best Practice Tip

Squeeze your quadriceps at the top of the movement to maximize muscle contraction, and use a full range of motion while avoiding locking out your knees. 

Leg Curl 

Where the hamstrings finally take center stage in posterior chain performance. This exercise targets the hamstrings, aiding in knee flexion and promoting balance to your leg development.

How To Do It

  • Lie face down on the leg curl machine with your legs straight and the pad resting just above your heels.
  • Grasp the handles for stability and ensure your hips are flat on the bench.
  • Flex your knees to lift the pad towards your glutes, squeezing your hamstrings at the top of the movement.
  • Hold for a brief pause, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position with control.
  • Maintain a smooth and controlled motion throughout the exercise.

Best Practice Tip

Focus on maintaining tension in your hamstrings throughout the entire range of motion, and avoid using momentum to lift the weight by controlling the movement both up and down.

Standing Calf Raise 

Elevate your calves and leave the ground quivering in awe. This exercise primarily targets the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calves. 

How To Do It

  • Stand with the balls of your feet on the edge of a raised platform or calf raise machine, with your heels hanging off the edge.
  • Hold onto a stable surface or the machine handles for balance.
  • Rise up onto your toes by pushing through the balls of your feet, lifting your heels as high as possible.
  • Pause at the top of the movement, then lower your heels back down below the level of the platform, feeling a stretch in your calves.

Best Practice Tip

Focus on achieving a nice stretch by lowering your heels as far down as possible, then rising up as high as possible to contract them.

Seated Calf Raise 

Sit back, relax, and give your calves the VIP treatment they deserve. This exercise targets the soleus muscle of the calves and is performed in a seated position, providing a different angle of resistance. 

How To Do It

  • Sit on a calf raise machine with your knees bent at 90 degrees and the balls of your feet on the platform, heels hanging off the edge.
  • Adjust the machine so the padded lever rests comfortably on your thighs just above your knees.
  • Grasp the handles for stability and press the balls of your feet into the platform to raise your heels as high as possible.
  • Hold for a brief pause at the top, then lower your heels back down below the level of the platform to stretch your calves.

Best Practice Tip

Emphasize both the contraction and stretch of the exercise to get the most out of the weight. 


The Modified Tom Platz Leg Workout

The modified Tom Platz Workout will build functional strength and lean muscle mass with compound moments. The back squat and hack squat will get your quadriceps, glutes, and lower back pumped. 

Next, the isolation of the of your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will leave your legs feeling like jelly. 

Give your body the right cool down, stretching, nutrition, and rest it needs to recover from this monster of a workout. But be on the lookout for the end result of legs that can handle anything.

  • Back Squat: 3-4 sets 
  • 3-8 reps heavy weight for strength
  • 10-15 reps mid weight for hypertrophy
  • 15-20 reps lightweight for muscular endurance
  • Hack Squat: 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps 
  • Leg Extension: 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Leg Curl: 3 sets x 10-15 reps
  • Standing Calf Raise OR Seated Calf Raise: 2-3 sets x 10-15 reps

What’s Different? 

  • The sets are reduced from 5 sets to 3-4 sets for back squat, hack squat, leg extension, and leg curl.
  • The back squat as options to adjust the rep range based on weight. But the remaining exercises should aim for 10-15 reps. 
  • The calf work is reduced by half to one exercise. You can alternate between the standing calf raise and seated calf raise.  
  • The sets are reduced from 3-4 sets to 2-3 sets for calves.

3 Leg Workout Tips For Best Results 

tom platz leg workout

Time Under Tension
Matters More Than Reps  

Time under tension is the duration that muscles actively engage during an exercise. This includes both the concentric (lifting) and eccentric (lowering) portions of the lift. 

The more time that’s under tension, the more muscle fibers are recruited and put under stress. Slow and controlled movements are better because they increase load on the muscles. 

Doing more reps is great as long as the tempo is slow and controlled. Otherwise, the reps half less value compared to controlled repetitions. 

Isolation Exercises Make A Difference   

Isolation exercises play a valuable role in a complete leg workouts by targeting specific muscles. 

While compound exercises hit multiple muscle groups simultaneously, isolation exercises allow you to refine the muscle. 

A benefit of isolation exercises is they challenge muscle imbalances to promote symmetry of size and strength. Think of isolation exercises as fine-tuning the muscle to improve athletic performance and aesthetics. 

Full Range Of Motion
Takes It To The Next Level   

Doing an exercise with full range of motion means to complete the entire movement arc of the contraction and stretch of the muscle.

Full range of motion will keep muscles flexible and mobile. When you prioritize full range of motion, you give your muscles the opportunity to be strong in every moment of the lift. 

If you want more lower body work, check out this glute workout.

Bottom Line 

The original Tom Platz Leg Workout is not for the faint of heart. That’s why I crafted a modified version for normal gym goers to give a try too. 

Incorporate Platz’s principles of intensity, volume, and precision into your leg training routine, and you’ll begin to embrace a mindset of pushing past limits and achieving greatness. 

Remember, as a natural lifter, results won’t come overnight. But with consistency and determination you can sculpt aesthetic and powerful legs. Give your legs the attention they deserve! 

Looking for more ways to workout? Check out these Over 20 Ways To Workout.

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!

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