Muscular, defined, and diced legs separate men from the boys and pros from the amateurs. It does not matter how shredded a competitive bodybuilder’s midriff is; it’s game over for them if their opponents step on stage with side-walk-cracking wheels.
It is no secret that bodybuilders with big legs are looked at with respect. They are the envy of casual lifters and a source of inspiration for serious athletes.
14 Best & Biggest Legs in Bodybuilding History
The legs you are about to witness are so monstrous that they are almost flirting with an alien status.
Note: Apologizes for the misleading article title. Although the header reads 14 legs, you’ll technically be looking at 28 legs.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, below are 14 bodybuilders — in no particular order — with the best legs in bodybuilding history:
You cannot have the best legs list without Tom Platz. Dubbed The Quadfather for his insane wheels, Platz was ahead of his time in the leg development department.
The Quadfather could give the mass monsters of today a run for their money with his 30-inch wheels. Platz was known for his intense training style; he once squatted 223 kilograms (500 pounds) for 23 reps.
Trivia — Tom Platz made the now-banned moon pose popular. The pose required an athlete to bend over while keeping their knees locked, flexing their glutes, calves, and hamstrings while facing away from the judges.
Tom Platz Leg Workout
- 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
- Lying Leg Curl — 6-10 x 10-15
- Standing Calf Raise — 3-4 x 10-15
- Seated Calf Raise — 3-4 x 10-15
- Hack Machine Calf Raise — 3-4 x 10-15
If you are a pro bodybuilding fan, chances are you were expecting Big Ramy to be on this list. Mamdouh Elssbiay, also known as Big Ramy, is the 2020 and 2021 reigning and defending Mr. Olympia champion.
Big Ramy dwarfs his competition with his 300+ pound frame. His quads look like they have quads of their own. Besides insane size, Ramy’s legs have picture-perfect conditioning and separation.
Big Ramy Leg Training Principles
Elssbiay abides by the following leg training rules —
- Focus on compound exercises.
- Perform full reps for overall development.
- Master the squat, and always maintain proper form.
- 10-25 reps work best for quads.
- Train your legs once a week.
- Machines often have advantages over free weights.
Big Ramy Leg Workout
- Leg Extension: 3 sets x 20–25 reps
- Squat: 4 sets x10–15 reps
- Leg Press: 4 sets x 15–25 reps
- Machine Squat: 4 sets x 10–15 reps
It’d be safe to call Dorian Yates the father of the mass monster movement in bodybuilding. The Englishman’s dry, grainy, and zainy physique catapulted him to the top of the pro bodybuilding world. He won six consecutive Mr. Oympia titles (1992-1997).
According to some experts, The Shadow achieved his peak in 1996; his posing routine at the 1996 German Grand Prix is the stuff of legends. You could see every muscle fiber, line, and separation in his legs.
Yates’ famous high-intensity training style resulted in balanced and symmetrical legs. At his peak, The Shadow’s legs measured 30-inches. The seven-time Mr. Olympia champ believed most in the quality, not the quantity of his training. Therefore, he used one all-out set per exercise as his training guiding principle.
Dorian Yates Leg Workout
- Leg extension — 2 x 10-15
- Leg press — 2 x 10-12
- Hack squat — 2 x 10-12
- Lying leg curl — 1 x 10-12
- Stiff-legged deadlift — 1 x 8-10
- Single-leg curl — 1 x 10-12
- Standing calf raise — 1 x 8-10
- Seated calf raise — 1 x 8-10
Dorian Yates Intermediate Mid-volume Legs Routine
- Squats — 4 x 6-10
- Leg Press — 4 x 6-10
- Leg Extension — 3 x 10-12
- Romanian Deadlift — 3 x 6-10
Speaking of mass monsters, the eight-time Mr. Olympia champ Ronnie Coleman had some of the biggest and nastiest legs in bodybuilding history. His legs were so thick and vascular that you could see his veins popping through his tights during his competitive days.
As per sources, Coleman’s legs measured a mind-boggling 36-inches in his prime, meaning his 800-pound squats weren’t for nothing. Ronnie Coleman’s mammoth lifts proved that he is one of the strongest bodybuilders of all time.
Coleman’s lower body size, separation, conditioning, symmetry, and vascularity put him in a league of his own.
Ronnie Coleman Leg Workout
- Front or rear squat — 5 x 10 reps
- Leg press — 4 x 12-10 reps
- Walking lunge — 2 x 100 yards
- Leg extension — 3 x 20 reps
- Standing one-leg curl — 4 x 15-10 reps
- Lying leg curl — 4 x 15-8 reps
If Ronnie Coleman comes, can Jay Cutler be far behind? The four-time Mr. Olympia winner went head to head with Coleman for his maiden Mr. O win. He placed second behind “The King of Bodybuilding” four times before winning the Sandow for the first time in 2006.
The quad stomping mass monster had some of the best outer quad sweeps in the game. Cutler followed a high-volume training routine to develop thick and full legs. It wasn’t uncommon for him to perform 20-30 sets per workout.
Cutler utilized advanced training principles like supersets, drop sets, and giant sets to increase rep volume without inflating workout time. He avoided high rep sets as he believed it led to a drop in his training intensity.
Jay Cutler Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 2 x 10-15
- Squat — 4 x 6-10
- Leg Press — 3 x 7-9
- Hack Squat — 3 x 8-10
- Stationary Barbell Lunge — 2 x 8-10
- Stationary Dumbbell Lunge — 2 x 8-10
- Smith Machine Front Squat — 3 x 8-10
- Leg Extension — 4 x 6-8 (dropset)
Check Out: 27 Best Backs in Bodybuilding History
Kai Greene is considered one of the best to have never won the coveted Sandow. He arguably has the best quad sweep on the list. His diced, minced, and striated outer sweeps are second to none.
Greene’s vastus medialis, also known as teardrop muscle, is fully developed and enhances his quadricep separation. His legs measured 33 inches and forced his competition into playing catchup.
The Predator’s workout videos are popular for his training techniques. He uses weights as tools to sculpt his physique, which is a departure from Coleman’s go big or go home philosophy.
Kai Greene Leg Workout
- Lying Leg Curl — 4 x 15-20
- Standing One-leg Curl — 4 x 12-15
- Stiff-leg Deadlift — 4 x 15-20
- Walking Lunge — 3 x approximately 40 yards
- Leg Extension — 4 x 20, 15, 12, 12
- Squat — 4 x 20, 15, 12, 12
- Leg Press — 4 x 15-20
In his prime, Schlierkamp was one of the biggest bodybuilders of his time. Notably, Günter is the only bodybuilder to have dethroned “The King of Bodybuilding” during his eight-year-long reign by beating him at the now infamous 2002 GNC Show of Strength, effectively ending The King’s 14 consecutive show win streak.
The German bodybuilder had the size and conditioning to make him a threat to Coleman and Cutler. However, Schlierkamp peaked in 2002 and was never as good again.
Günter Schlierkamp retired after a 10th-place finish at the 2006 Olympia; fifth place being his best at the 2002 Olympia.
Günter Schlierkamp Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 4 x 20
- Leg Press — 4 x 15-12
- Hack Squat — 4 x 15–6
- Smith Machine Squat — 4 x 15–6
- Leaning Leg Extension — 4 x 15–12
Do not let his name mislead you; Branch has tree trunks for legs. In his heydays, Warren had some of the densest, most muscular, and vascular legs.
Warren is the second Texan on the list. Like the eight-time Olympia champ, Warren trained at the Metroflex gym in the scorching Texan heat. His short frame, muscular physique, and no-BS work ethic helped him beat some of the most genetically gifted bodybuilders.
Although Warren had great calves and hamstrings, his defined, vascular, and muscular quads drew the most attention. How did he develop his signature leg conditioning, you ask? Warren performed three sets of 30 reps on the leg extension at the beginning of every leg workout.
Trivia — Branch is the only pro bodybuilder to come back from a full quadriceps tear and win a major title, the 2012 Arnold Classic.
Branch Warren Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 3 x 30
- Squat — 5 x 6-10
- Hack Squat or Leg Press — 3 x 8-10
- Walking Lunge — 3 x 100 yards
- Lying Leg Curl — 4 sets 15-20
- Standing Leg Curl — 3 x 15-20
Besides his striated and defined quads, hamstrings, and glutes, Flex’s calves are amongst the best in the business. Unlike most other bodybuilders on the best legs list, Flex Lewis is not a fan of the squat.
“I’ve never been a big squatter, to be honest,” says Lewis. “I did squat when I was a powerlifter, but I didn’t see or feel any real benefit from them.” Lewis prefers the leg press over the squat.
Flex Lewis Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 4 x 10-12
- Leg Press — 4 x 10
- Hack Squat — 4 x 10-12
- Reverse Lunges with Barbell — 4 x 12
- Hip Extension — 4 x 12
- DB Lunge — 4 x 12
- Standing Machine Calf Raise — 4 x 12-15
- Leg Press Calf Raise — 4 x 12-15
Although William Bonac doesn’t have the biggest wheels in the sport, he has some of the most insane conditioning, especially in his glutes and hamstrings.
If you watched the 2022 Arnold Classic and 2022 Boston Pro, you’d agree that Bonac has some of the best legs in business right now. His quad sweep, lower body muscle separation, and conditioning make him a serious threat for Big Ramy’s throne at the 2022 Mr. Olympia, scheduled for Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, NV.
William Bonac Leg Workout
- Single-Leg Extension — 5 x 10-15
- Walking Plate Lunge — 5 x 10-15
- Hack Squat — 5 x 8-12
- Leg Press — 5 x 8-12
- Seated Leg Extension — 5 x 10-15
- Seated Leg Curl — 5 x 10-15
- Lying Hamstrings Curl — 5 x 8-12
- Seated Calf Raise — 5 x 15-20
Nick Walker jumped into the limelight after his surprise 2021 Arnold Classic win. He further fortified his position in the Men’s Open bodybuilding top ranks by securing a fifth-place finish at the 2021 Mr. Olympia on his debut.
Walker’s legs are thick, muscular, veiny, and display separation; his vascular claves justify his moniker “The Mutant.” The 2021 AC champ is presently on an extended off-season to prepare for the 2022 Olympia.
Nick Walker Leg Workout
- Front Squat — 4 x 10
- Leg Extension — 4 x 12
- Hack Squat — 4 x 8-12
- Cross-Body Single-Leg Hack Squat — 4 x 8-12
- Superset — Seated Leg Curl + Dumbbell Sumo Squat & Dumbbell Hip Thrust: 4 x 10-12
- Hip Adductor Machine — 2 x 15
Erik Fankhouser earns a place on this list for his monstrous calves. His 23-inch calves have a life of their own and could give Mr. O winners a run for their money.
Wondering how Fankhouser built his calves? You might be out of luck as he credits his genetics for his freakish lower legs. Per Erik, his calves were already their current size by the time he graduated from high school.
Eric Fankhouser Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 3 x 6-8
- Squat — 3 x 8
- Leg Press — 4 x 8
- Lying Leg Curl — 3 x 8
- Straight-Leg Deadlift — 3 x 8
- Barbell Lunge — 3 x 8
- Single-Leg Extension — 3 x 20
- Leg Press Calf Press — 3 x 20
- Seated Calf Raise — 3 x 20
Michal Krizo is an absolute unit. He is the only non-IFBB Pro League bodybuilder on this list; Krizo is an IFBB Elite Pro athlete.
While Krizo’s exclusive contract with the IFBB Elite Pro bars him from competing in the IFBB Pro League, things could change after his current contract expires.
If Michal Krizo decided to make the switch from IFBB Elite Pro to IFBB Pro League, he will not be the first bodybuilder to do so. The 2022 Indy Pro champ Blessing Awodibu underwent a similar transition.
Michal Krizo Leg Workout
- Hack Squat — 3 x 12
- Leg Press — 3 x 15
- Smith Machine Squat — 3 x 12
- Leg Extension — 3 x 15
Honorary Mention — Yun Long Ping
Yun Long Ping is a 212 division bodybuilder. The Chinese bodybuilder has some of the most insane legs in the current 212 circuit and reminds bodybuilding fans of Tom Platz.
Ping qualified for the 2022 Olympia by winning the 2022 Thailand Pro. It’ll be interesting to see how he stacks up against the likes of the defending 212 Olympia champ Derek Lunsford, 2020 212 Olympia champ Shaun Clarida, and Ahmad Ashkanani.
Legs are half of your physique, and you shouldn’t overlook training them, especially if you are an aspiring bodybuilder. While underdeveloped triceps or obliques might go unnoticed, skipping leg days memes are proof that even untrained eyes don’t spare a lagging lower body.
Each bodybuilder on the best legs in bodybuilding history list has a unique lower body structure. While some athletes are upper legs dominant, others display a more flowing and balanced lower body. Finally, we will let you decide who has the best legs amongst the 14 bodybuilders mentioned in the article.