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Author Topic: Why was there such an improvement in pro leg mass after the 1970s?  (Read 6657 times)
Zugzwang
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« on: December 17, 2005, 03:06:40 AM »

It can't all be about a change and availability in drugs, surely? Back in Arnold's day - and before - the general consensus is that steroids were purer, more easily available (i.e., legal) and cheap.

If you look at that recent Photoshopped picture of Arnold and Ronnie together, their upper mass - from the front at least - is pretty comparable. Yes, Ronnie has better separation, lower BF etc, but there's not an enormous difference in the mass stakes. Their legs, however, are a world apart - Ronnie's look almost twice the size.

What actually changed after, say, the mid-1980s, that saw legs really start to grow in the majority of pros? Judges started actually looking at them?

I can't quite see that drugs have made any difference, so was it something like the availability of the leg press/hack squat machines etc that let to pros being really able to add weight and thus bulk to their quads, or did pros back in the day simply not pay as much attention to legs, and it was only uber-trainers like Platz who managed to take them to the next level, probably because he was doing as much/more work than the modern pro?
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2005, 03:16:45 AM »

Personally i don`t think anyone prioritized the legs,but in 1977 Platz had this leg development,that for the time looked outstanding.One year later when he won the World Champs,they had improved considerably,and by 1981 they reached a level that still to this day has not been matched.


* Tom Platz.jpg (69.61 KB, 176x272 - viewed 1688 times.)
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2005, 03:22:20 AM »

Oh, I agree. But Platz always seems to be the exception that proves the rule - he would be a freak now in that area, but back then he was a super-freak.



But he is one of only a few.

Less impressive here, obviously.



Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2005, 03:25:43 AM »

No-one really came remotely close to his development in the late 70s,then in 1981 in the Mr America Tim Belknap bacame probably the second guy to be known for his legs.


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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2005, 03:30:07 AM »

The thing is that someone usually appeared showing a "new" bodypart,that then made evryone else try to emulate them,it was the same with Samirs christmas tree lower back in 82 and 83,the Gaspari`s ripped glutes in the 85 NOC.
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2005, 05:20:16 AM »

Comparing Coleman to Schwarzenegger distorts the picture, since Arnold always had slightly smallish legs even back in the day but knew how to hide it. Distracted from the thighs with excellent calves and good posing. Waller did same.

Better comparisons would involve Oliva, Callender, Robinson, Padilla, Fox, etc. Considering them, it looks like there's been an overall increase in development of all all muscles, even abs, not legs in particular.

If there was a difference in leg development, ie Schwarzenegger, or worse still Draper &  Szkalak, it might just be that the bar was lower. Less competition, greater opportunity to win without the work required to achieve overall balance, rather than any difference in nutrition and drugs on specific muscles. Darwinism at work.
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2005, 06:20:54 AM »

Back in the day, legs development wasn't given much attention until in the mid 80's.
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2005, 11:22:04 AM »

Personally i don`t think anyone prioritized the legs,but in 1977 Platz had this leg development,that for the time looked outstanding.One year later when he won the World Champs,they had improved considerably,and by 1981 they reached a level that still to this day has not been matched.


Branch Warren ??
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2005, 11:38:30 AM »

maybe the drugs they use now makes legs grow more than upper body. also maybe in the 70's they didn't work quads and hams seperate.
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2005, 12:23:03 PM »

well my take on this is that they simply didnt care, and legs wasnt something they strived for, even to this day it hasnt really changed that much has it, how many times (outside of forums like this) do people comment or care about someones legs? and when it comes to moviestars, models and other celebrities it's never about their legs or calves development.
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« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2005, 12:46:59 PM »

Tim Belknap was SICKKK. He was a diabetic too. Maybe he introduced slin to the bb scene haha. Either way, after Tom Plats, the legs became an integral part of the show so all the pros started doing more leg work, no more squatting only.
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« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2005, 12:49:12 PM »

I don't think it was due to Platz or anyone else as much as raising the bar via increased competition that didn't exist in the 60s especially.

Lots of guys prefer working just the vanity muscles unless forced by others to cover all bases.

I see the biggest difference in legs and lats, compared with back in the day.

Increased drugs probably work more effectively on areas that are ignored relative to others.

Tim never impressed much in photos, except for thickness. Maybe in person or on film.
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« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2005, 06:35:02 PM »

I firmly believe the invention of the 45 degree leg press (which many gyms didn't even have until the early 80's) has increased the leg mass of bodybuilders more than any other factor.

Short guys like platz can squat till the cows come home but a tall guy like arnold was never setup to be an effective squatter simply due to his structure.

If we could transport the black FLEX 45 degree leg press at the current golds back to the pacific avenue golds all those guys would have had better legs. They would have been lining up to use it.

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« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2005, 06:52:56 PM »


I firmly believe the invention of the 45 degree leg press
(which many gyms didn't even have until the early 80's) has increased the leg mass of bodybuilders more than any other factor.


Not just the 45 degree angled leg press, but also legs require much more sophisticated equipment to train than does arms or chest or even a complex muscle group like your back......and Nautilus started the ball rolling with innovative equipment design. Before Nautilus you only had very cheap leg extensions and even worse lying leg curl machines.

I remember when the first Nautilus leg extension machine came it-that machine to this day is state of the art and a huge improvement over the universal leg extension-what was popular in the late 60's....

Then came the lying leg curl that was V shaped-that was a huge improvement over other machines of that type......

Then Cybex came out with the first horizontal squat machine/leg press in 1985...and it all just snowballed after that........

The better the leg equipment-the better development you will have-
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« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2005, 07:14:39 PM »

Definitely.

I own a first generation nautilus leg extension (center knee pivot) and it is the best leg extension ever made.

Golds still has their one from the 70's on the floor.

I have one of the original Eagle leg presses you mentioned too which has stood the test of time well.
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« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2005, 07:26:19 PM »

Comparing Coleman to Schwarzenegger distorts the picture, since Arnold always had slightly smallish legs even back in the day but knew how to hide it. Distracted from the thighs with excellent calves and good posing. Waller did same.

Better comparisons would involve Oliva, Callender, Robinson, Padilla, Fox, etc. Considering them, it looks like there's been an overall increase in development of all all muscles, even abs, not legs in particular.

If there was a difference in leg development, ie Schwarzenegger, or worse still Draper &  Szkalak, it might just be that the bar was lower. Less competition, greater opportunity to win without the work required to achieve overall balance, rather than any difference in nutrition and drugs on specific muscles. Darwinism at work.

....I always find this kinda funny..like the judges say to themselves..."My word!...what SPLENDID development!"...and then they look at the photos of the show afterwards and go "Damn his eyes!!..he FOOLED US AGAIN with his POSING!...Damn you ARNOLD!".....and to have it repeat for 7 more occasions.

What did the guys EVER mean about being able to 'hide' ANYTHING from the judges?...I think the physiques were judged by a much different standard than today, that's a given.  But I think a lot of this 'hiding' nonsense was just muscle mag writers trying to overemphasize the skills needed to pose...giving them more to write about.

My personal opinion on the leg issue is this....better equipment, more (not better) drugs taken for longer periods, and better genetically gifted guys in the leg department on the whole. 

Basically, in the efforts to classify the 3 classic 'morph' body types, they wanted every average dude out there to think, hey,  I can do this!...when really, the dominators of today all have pretty much the same look to them....extreme overdevelopment of each bodypart to its limit, regardless of it's impact on balance and proportion.
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« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2005, 07:33:53 PM »

& everyone says the squat is the main reason for bigger thighs

 Roll Eyes

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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2005, 07:38:16 PM »

& everyone says the squat is the main reason for bigger thighs

 Roll Eyes

Jim Quinn's legs were easily 32 inches and he never did a squat in his life.........but I will

say this-the squat is a fantastic exercise, and once you learn to do it properly, it is, in my

opinion, the funniest exercise and most satisfying to do........ Grin I loved them.
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2005, 07:46:10 PM »

Jim Quinn's legs were easily 32 inches and he never did a squat in his life.........but I will

say this-the squat is a fantastic exercise, and once you learn to do it properly, it is, in my

opinion, the funniest exercise and most satisfying to do........ Grin I loved them.

Honestly....I just think alot of the bodybuilders from the golden era just didn't care about big thighs as much compared to big biceps, V-tapers, & big chests.  Even when Platz was on the scene I always felt he was scored against his best bodypart.

Every once in awhile I'll run into a guy that used to lift in the 40's, 50', or 60's & they all say the same thing.  "V-Tapers & wide shoulders".  Some of these guys laugh at todays bodybuilders with the large thighs. 

Another person that needs to be mentioned in this thread is Vince Gironda.  He basically was "the guru" in the 60's & 70's and he knocked guys down all the time for thighs being to big.

Arnold, Lou, & a few others were just to tall to seriously pack on a lot of thigh size to begin with.
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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2005, 07:51:00 PM »

Another person that needs to be mentioned in this thread is Vince Gironda.  He basically was "the guru" in the 60's & 70's and he knocked guys down all the time for thighs being to big.

Knny-did you ever make it up to Vince's Gym? I kick myself in the ass for never visiting that place!


Arnold, Lou, & a few others were just to tall to seriously pack on a lot of thigh size to begin with.

Gunter and some of the newer guys are as tall as Arnie and Lou and these newer guys have good wheels....so I think Lou and Arnie could have packed it on of they had better equipment...and as you have stated....they made it job#1 to go with the V Taper instead of legs........
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« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2005, 07:55:28 PM »

Better leg machines shouldn't make much difference actually, since the squat is better than all other leg exercises combined, then or now.

With leg press machines the only advantage i can see is if guys are more willing to use em because they're less exhausting-a person's height won't make any difference on squats! Even if the newer press machines are an improvement, why would that help when they had squats and vertical leg press back in the day-where's the improvement from the 45 degree angle machines?

Probably not the equipment, more likely they were just vain, wanted muscles to show off walking down the street rather than caring about contests. Newer machines would NOT have packed on more size than squats. It's not height that held back Schwarzenegger or Ferrigno on leg development, it's a combo of genetics and lack of desire-especially then these guys were fairly vain, probably didn't attach more importance to developing legs. Gunter's development is less due to better equipment i'd say than to genetics and desire to work them.

Quote
But I think a lot of this 'hiding' nonsense was just muscle mag writers trying to overemphasize the skills needed to pose.


Basically you're devaluing the importance of good posing. Of course good posing's effective at accentuating certain attributes while de-emphasizing others. Arnold didn't have a lot of thigh size, knew it and compensated  by (1) turning the thighs to the side in various shots, (2) always ensuring the size he did have was well cut-up, and (3) having great calves. Those guys were more interested in vanity muscles, thighs don't qualify and are a tough workout.
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2005, 07:59:19 PM »

Knny-did you ever make it up to Vince's Gym? I kick myself in the ass for never visiting that place!


Gunter and some of the newer guys are as tall as Arnie and Lou and these newer guys have good wheels....so I think Lou and Arnie could have packed it on of they had better equipment...and as you have stated....made it job#1 to go with the V Taper........

No...never went to Vinces.

Actually talked to a guy the other day that used to workout there.

Vince today must be rolling in his grave.
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« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2005, 08:08:35 PM »



Basically you're devaluing the importance of good posing. Of course good posing's effective at accentuating certain attributes while de-emphasizing others. Duh! Arnold didn't have a lot of thigh size, which he compensated for by (1) turning the thighs to the side in various shots, (2) always ensuring the size he did have was well cut-up, and (3) having great calves.
Quote


...but today you can't hide the fact you have ANY weak bodyparts.  Don't get me wrong, I think posing is an art that is integral to bodybuilding.  I'm saying that the idea of posing to 'hide' your weakparts is not a technique that would help someone today 'get ahead'.  If you have weak ANYTHING, it's discovered during prejudging, wouldn't you agree? 

Ronnie is a moot point.  He's a freak in every sense.  The system can't seem to fault his 'lacking' calves (which are still huge compared to many pros) is light of his massive "everything else".
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« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2005, 08:12:42 PM »

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the idea of posing to 'hide' your weakparts is not a technique that would help someone today 'get ahead'.

It must have some value otherwise posing wouldn't be necessary. It's a subtle thing, knowing how to angle the body slightly differently to gain advantage. How they scrutinize today's physiques wouldn't necessarily apply 30 years ago.

If the new leg press machines make a difference, it must be psychological more than physical, they're easier to do than squats.
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« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2005, 08:25:08 PM »

....the reason I would say (educated guess?) is that those without the frame for proper squatting technique could have used their mental toughness to grind out more reps at a higher intensity using a 45 degree machine versus the 90 degree one, or squatting with spotters could.

That being said, many pros have said that the 45 deg leg press is the reason why so many guys nowadays have less than stellar leg development, so who knows...can't find many pros who dont' believe the squat is king.

..and finally, prejudging rounds have mandatory poses which make it very clear who has what and who's lacking parts.  Posing rounds aren't used much after prejudging to sort out the final winner in a show...unless of course you're Jay and Ronnie back in 2001.
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