Australia’s Lee Priest remains enamored with the sport following a decorated career. He competed for decades en route to cementing his name as one of the best. In a recent Jujitoine Podcast on YouTube, Priest, joined by Milos Sarcev, opened up about training legs with bodybuilding legend Tom Platz.
Before settling into retirement, Priest claimed a pair of victories in 2006 at the NOC New York and the PDI Night of Champions. He came back in 2013 for his final competition, which saw Priest leave the sport on top with a big win at the NABBA Mr. Universe. Priest remains a beloved figure in the sport despite his controversial nature.
Tom Platz, on the other hand, is a golden era bodybuilder known for his remarkable lower body strength and defined legs. His intense workout methods have been lauded for generations. Platz helped shape many competitors after him, such as six-time Olympia winner Dorian Yates, who attended some of Tom’s teaching seminars years ago.
‘He Was Demented & You Had to Go With Him’ – Lee Priest Looks Back on Training Legs with Tom Platz
Priest, a popular member of the Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, distinctly remembers a gruesome leg training session with Platz. Hours after the workout, Priest said he thought he was having a heart attack in the middle of the night.
“When I trained with Tom, Tom Platz, we would always mainly stick around four or five plates and just really rep them out. You know, Tom was crazy on static holds, whether it be leg press, hack squat, go halfway, hold it, then he would start pulling on the fucking thing, saying, ‘Go back up Lee, come back down.’ I’m thinking, fucking hell, have you ever trained with Tom, Milos?
When he went to that place in his mind, you’re like, ‘Oh fucking hell.’ He just went demented and you had to go with him. I’d get home that night and wake up in the middle of the night thinking I’m having a heart attack because my nervous system is so fucking fried from doing legs with Tom. I’d wake up in a sweat at 1 o’clock, like, ‘I’m having a heart attack, this is it, I’m fucking dying,'” shared Priest.
Sarcev shared his experience training with Platz as well. He said Platz eventually jumped on top of the machine he was using to make the workout more difficult.
“One time, he was coming to the Coliseum Gym and I was finishing calves. Here it is, from the door, he’s coming in. He saw me, okay. I’m on the seated calf. He didn’t even say hello right? ‘You’re doing my set, he says. I’m doing your set, what is it?’ I had two plates on the seated calf, he put another one, then put another one, put another one, as many as – shit – then he jumps on it, you know,” shared Sarcev.
“Something as simple as dumbbell laterals. I’ll do my set, Tom does his, he’d be like this and get lower and lower five minutes later, [he’s barely moving] he’s still going,” added Priest.
Priest remembers asking Tom to make a comeback, but Platz would always say he couldn’t compete again because he’d have to adopt a ‘crazy’ mindset.
“I used to say to Tom make a comeback, he said, ‘Oh Lee I couldn’t. If I got in that mindset I’d just go crazy.’ I couldn’t do it,” said Priest.
“He was doing with Monica Brant some cover shoot. Legs, were exactly like they were back in the day,” said Sarcev.
“In Gold’s Gym he had his green belt on doing squats. His legs had the shape, but as soon as he flexed them, they doubled in size, it’s like what the fuck?” Priest said.
Priest on Being Marked Down for Bloated Stomachs in Bodybuilding: ‘Certain People Were, Other People Weren’t’
According to Priest, the IFBB Pro League announced a rule discouraging bloated stomachs and bubble guts back when he was competing.
“Remember, because we were all competing back then when the judges brought out that rule, ‘If you have a bloated stomach, you’re going to be marked down, you’re going to be marked down.’ Certain people were marked down other people weren’t. To be bigger, everyone was like I got to get bigger, I got to get bigger.
So really, back then, there were a lot of great Classic Physique bodybuilding, the judges just let it go too far and ruined it. So, if they just judged how they are meant to judge, they would have gone to those grotesque bloated stomachs and shit. If someone has a bloated stomach, and you put him in seventh, that’d be like, ‘Fuck. I got to fix this problem. I can’t come in like this or I’m not going to place well.’ But if you give them first or second, they’re not going to change how they look,” said Lee Priest.
“Think about this: how can you let yourself as a bodybuilder get the bubbly gut, big stomach, how can you let yourself? It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get bigger because once you see this is coming up, I say you have to do something about it,” said Milos Sarcev.
Even at 68 years old, Tom Platz hasn’t slowed down his leg training. He still pushes at the gym with the same principles he adopted as a bodybuilding star. Earlier this month, Platz showed why age is just a number with a jacked quad physique update.
Platz’s energy and training techniques are difficult to replicate, as was his iconic 525-pound squat record for 23 reps. However, reigning World’s Strongest Man and Arnold Strongman Classic champion Mitchell Hooper broke Tom’s record in May by a single rep.
To this day, Tom Platz remains an influential figure in bodybuilding. His attention to detail and tenacity inside the gym turned him into a one-of-a-kind talent. Priest, who had the benefit of learning from Platz, was blown away by his training practices.