“The Quadfather”, “Quadzilla”, and “The Golden Eagle” were all nicknames given to Tom Platz, one of the most distinct and charismatic characters in competitive bodybuilding history. A Mr. Universe winner and seven times Mr Olympia competitor, this unique bodybuilder took leg development to a whole new level -read on for more in our series, Bodybuilding Legends – Tom Platz!
Tom Platz had an early introduction to the Iron Game, starting to lift weights at just under 10 years old. He was inspired by world class bodybuilders such as Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like many young weight trainers, he mainly focused on training the upper body muscles. He began leg training at age 15 and had the fortune of being coached in squatting techniques by Olympic weightlifters. Tom started training hard on his legs to bring them up to the standard of his upper body.
Platz soon became well known for his voluminous and brutal leg workouts. He had a genuine passion for squatting. He excelled on this exercise and would constantly push his own boundaries. Some examples of his incredible superhuman squat performances included: 635lbs x 15 reps, 500lbs x 23 reps, 350lbs x 52 reps. Platz simply trained to the extremes. Bodybuilding legend Robby Robinson said Platz was an “absolute beast” in the gym!
Hack squats, leg extensions and leg curls were other favourites for Platz. He trained intensely on these to demand the most from every muscle fibre in his gargantuan thighs. The Golden Eagle could handle sets of hack squats with up to 500lbs and sometimes he would just spend an hour performing leg extensions, not counting sets or reps. His massive calves were built by using variations of calf raises, utilizing techniques such as drop sets and partials. This hard leg training demanded a high calorie intake and Platz would sometimes consume up to 6000 calories a day.
Platz may be famous for his incredible leg development but he also owned a well developed upper body too. He favoured basic compound exercises like chin ups, behind the neck presses and incline dumbbell presses in his training sessions. He also used a selection of isolation exercises. In some of his ab workouts, Platz would perform incline situps for 10 minutes with 90lbs of weight across his chest. He would squeeze the muscles as hard as he could on some exercises to fully exhaust the desired muscles.
Hear Tom’s inspiring words below as he talks about squatting as a key to the domination of life and yourself…
Mental conditioning was of paramount importance in Platz’s success. It would be difficult to find a bodybuilder with a mindset to rival that of the Quadfather’s! He would plan his squat routines a week or more in advance, visualising the stupendous weights that he would be lifting. Paying attention to small details such as what he was wearing also aided his performance; wearing red and yellow clothing made him feel powerful. Needless to say, he gained plenty of mental toughness as a result of his extreme training sessions!
Acting, writing and guest speaking were all further ventures for the Golden Eagle during and after his competitive career. He is still involved in bodybuilding right now.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of bodybuilders from the pre-steroid era, the Golden era or the modern bodybuilding era, there’s no denying the excellence of Tom Platz. His astonishing work ethic, sheer determination and creative thinking earned him tons of admiration and enormous success, a true superstar of bodybuilding. And in case you’re wondering, yes he’s on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!