Coming into the 1981 Olympia, he was 26, a middling pro, noted as much for his lack of upper-body mass as his outstanding legs. But that summer he had pushed his workouts into new realms of torture and made one of the most dramatic one-year transformations in the history of bodybuilding. Not only was his upper body catching up to the previous high standards of his legs, but — forget symmetry — his legs were traveling where none had gone before, and many believe his wheels still have not been surpassed. He stunned the physique world with a third at the controversial ’81 Olympia and was the talk of bodybuilding for the following year. “I’ll win or die trying,” he famously said of the Olympia, but a much smaller tragedy — a torn biceps — derailed his dream the following year when he was favored for victory but finished sixth. His physique was never the same. Still, that brash and brutal sentiment summarized Platz’s too-brief but legendarily intense quest for the Sandow.
PLATZ'S '81 LEG ROUTINE
- Squats, 8-10 sets, 20-8 reps, 635 lbs max weight
- Hack squats, 5 sets, 10-15 reps, 500 lbs max weight
- Leg extensions, 5-8 sets, 10-15 reps*, 350 lbs max weight
- Lying leg curls, 6-10 sets, 10-15 reps*, 240 lbs max weight
- Standing calf raises, 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps*, 500 lbs max weight
- Seated calf raises, 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps*, 225 lbs max weight
- Hack machine calf raises, 3-4 sets, 10-15 reps*, 400 lbs max weight
*NOTES: Final sets of each exercise were drop sets extended even further via partial reps. This is not reflected in rep totals.