To talk about the most famous bodybuilders of the 1970s and 1980s is to mention Tom Platz , known as "The Golden Eagle" , for his blonde hair; or "The Father of Quadriceps" , because of his enormous legs. Platz was born on June 26, 1955 and competed several times in the Mr. Olympia contest, where he even faced great athletes like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The most notable thing about Tom Platz is his quadriceps.

Tom was part of Vince McMahon's short-lived World Bodybuilding Federation (WBF). He crashed the 1990 Mr. Olympia closing ceremony to announce his creation after attending the event with McMahon, both as representatives of Bodybuilding Lifestyles magazine.

The biography of bodybuilder Tom Platz

Tom was born in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, United States. At 11 years old, Tom Platz was looking at the bodybuilding magazine Mr. Universe. So, he decided to become a professional bodybuilder . At 15 years old, he weighed about 75 kilograms (165 lbs). He recognizes that he was a pretty big boy for his age. Platz then joined the Armento gym and hooked up with Olympic weightlifters Norb Schemansky and Freddie Lowe. Thanks to them, Platz learned to do squats correctly. Quickly, he developed strength and size of his muscles. With just $50, Tom moved to Venice, California in 1977 and began training at the famous Gold's Gym . That same year, Platz won the Mr. Universe bodybuilding category .

Tom Platz Statistics

Age/Date of Birth : June 26, 1955

Tom Platz Height : 174 cm (5' ft 8 1/2'')

Weight : 102.1-106.5 kg (225-235 lbs)

Competition weight : 90-100 kg (198-220 lbs)

U.S. citizenship

Bicep measurement : 49.5 cm (19.5'')

Chest : 127 cm (50'')

Waist : 76 cm (30'')

Thighs : 76-81 cm (30-32'')

Calves : 51 cm (20'')

The story of bodybuilder Tom Platz, "Golden Eagle"

Tom's Adolescence

At 11 years old, Tom already had the idea of ​​becoming a bodybuilder. He wrote a letter to popular bodybuilder Joe Weider asking for an evaluation of his physique. Joe Weider told Tom Platz that it was important for Platz to improve his legs.

At age 15, Platz moved to live in Kansas City and became a personal trainer there. Platz was working illegally, but this was because his employer saw so much enthusiasm in him that she had no choice but to hire him. While he was practicing his profession, he began to train his legs by learning to do squats correctly. At first, the young man could only lift about 95 pounds (43 kg) in 3 sets of 10 repetitions. He didn't even like leg training! At this time, his legs were quite thin.

Young Tom Platz

Inspiration and Tom Platz's legs

What was initially a weakness, in the end, became the most notable thing about this bodybuilder. Today, everyone knows Tom for his huge, defined legs . Even today, when Tom is in his 60s, his legs are still gigantic and impressive. 

To know how Tom Platz arrived at this development, you have to know the whole story. Tom actually had lower back problems that prevented him from doing squats early in his bodybuilding career. Even at the age of 9, Tom Platz had already done some weight training. He was inspired by a Dave Draper poster. In addition, his father encouraged him to start training, which at first took place in the basement of the house, and showed him some exercises. A curious anecdote is that Tom's younger brothers learned to count numbers by counting the repetitions that Tom did in training. It was common for his brother, his sister, and his father to go down to the basement with him to accompany him while he carried out his training.

He also said he was inspired by figures like Arnold or Frank Zane.

Second move and learning the squat

Tom moved again, this time to Detroit, and began attending a gym full of Olympic lifters. They taught him how to really train his legs. In that gym, Platz developed the form and technique of the squat until he became an expert in this exercise. This was when his legs really increased in size.

Platz doing the squat

Tom Platz at Gold's Gym with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Tom Platz met Arnold Schwarzenegger and told him that he was going to train at Gold's Gym in Los Angeles, the gym where Arnold trained. At first, Arnold didn't believe Platz's word.

However, in 1978, Tom Platz arrived in Los Angeles to study with only $50 in his pockets. Platz was surprised that in the gym very few bodybuilders used the squat to grow their legs. Everyone said that the squat caused excessive growth of the waist and buttocks and that this was unfavorable. Of course, this was nothing more than a myth , so Platz used squats to their full potential and developed incredible legs that changed everyone's opinion of the exercise. Platz competed and competed, even reaching the west coast, and continued competing after...

Finding his training style

In the 80s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best-known bodybuilder, and he advocated high-volume training. Tom Platz acknowledges that at that time he tried to imitate Arnold's training, an anecdote that he explained with some irony:

"I did everything Arnold did. If he had a blonde girlfriend, I got a blonde girlfriend. If he drank coffee, I started drinking coffee. Arnold trained six days a week and twice a day? I trained six days a week and twice a day! Until I realized that this was making my muscles smaller and making me fat. So, I decided to take three full weeks off, and then I changed my training to three or four days a week. Then, my muscle growth skyrocketed!"

Arnold and Tom Platz at Gold's Gym

Arnold and Tom Platz training at Gold's Gym.

Platz explained the importance of recovery . Tom explained that if something worked well for Arnold, it didn't have to work well for himself. Platz discovered that training fewer days and resting properly is better for results, and this is what he recommends to all amateur bodybuilding practitioners. 

Tom Platz is known for his very intense training, where he did everything possible and took things to muscular failure, like Mike Mentzer and his Heavy Duty method . He stated that he had never liked to leave the gym feeling like he could have done more (for example, when you think you have reached muscle failure, but you could still do another 5 reps).

His most famous exercise took place during leg training days. You can watch videos of him doing insane amounts of squat reps and crazy sets on accessory exercises to muscle failure.

The 1982 biceps incident

Everyone knows the extreme competitiveness of Arnold Schwarzenegger and what he could do to eliminate his rivals. Tom Platz explains that he was training for the '82 Olympia and, while doing cable crosses, he tore his biceps. He asked several doctors if he could compete in the Olympia event, but the answers were always negative. Then, one of the doctors told him that, if he seemed ready, he should try to compete. But Platz made the mistake of explaining to Arnold about the torn biceps. Arnold immediately told the judges.

Tom tried to hide his bicep injury pretty well, so that no one would notice. When Tom Platz was on the Mr. Olympia stage, the judges asked him to move to the front and show off his left bicep. The judges discovered the torn biceps and Platz had to leave the competition.

Tom Platz's honors

Tom Platz Bodybuilding Competitions

Tom Platz participated in many major bodybuilding competitions, but he never took first place. However, his record is extensive. Here are all the competitions he attended and his positions:

  • 1995 Honorary Mr. America – AAU
  • 1987 Detroit Pro Invitational – IFBB, 6th
  • 1986 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 11th
  • 1985 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 7th
  • 1984 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 9th
  • 1982 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 6th
  • 1981 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 3rd
  • 1980 World Pro Championships – IFBB, Mr. Universe
  • 1980 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 8th
  • 1980 Night of Champions – IFBB, 12th
  • 1979 Mr. Olympia – IFBB, 8th Place
  • 1978 World Amateur Championships – IFBB Mr. Universe
  • 1978 Mr. America – AAU, Short, 2nd
  • 1977 Mr. Southeastern USA – AAU
  • 1977 Mr. America – AAU, Short, 2nd
  • 1976 Mr. America – AAU, Short, 3rd
  • 1975 Mr. Michigan – AAU
  • 1974 Junior & Senior State Powerlifting Championships – AAU, 220 Class Champ
  • 1974 Teen Mr. America – AAU, 2nd
  • 1973 Mr. Adonis – AU
  • 1973 Mr. Ironman – AAU

Platz's Training

How did Tom manage to train his legs to achieve such great size and detail? When he met the famous Olympic lifters in Detroit, they taught Tom everything they knew to make his legs big and strong.

Tom Platz says that, at age 17, he took the advice of Olympic lifters to heart. They taught him how to improve the flexibility of his ankles, which is very important to be able to do a complete squat with good technique. Even these athletes Tom trained with saw real potential in the young man. They mentioned that the boy had good genetics in his legs, he just needed to know how to exploit them. They were never wrong. As soon as these men planned his training, Tom's legs mutated.

Also, Tom Platz noticed that one particular guy at the gym was quite skinny but a great bodybuilder. This guy had an incredible separation in his quads from him, so Tom thought that surely he knew what he was doing. He taught Tom a method called the "hack squat" , which managed to give the quads a lot of separation.

Not all of Tom's training secrets involve brute strength. Tom came up with some very clever tricks to help trick the mind and push the limits. One technique he used was to imagine that he was much shorter than he really was in order to be able to lift more weight on the bar. The theory is this: if you think you are shorter, you are more likely to lift more weight. This is how Tom tricked his mind.

Sometimes he wore high socks to look shorter in the mirror! He developed small strategies to move more weight, techniques that only he used. Could anyone argue that they didn't work?

Leg training

Tom Platz's leg routine

As it could not be otherwise, we bring you an example of training for Tom's most notable muscle group. Let's look at one of the workouts he did for his legs. Keep in mind that Tom Platz was a world-class professional bodybuilder, so it is not necessary for you to do as many sets as he did, as you may not be able to recover well.

*Note : It is not clear if this training volume was spread over several days of the week or everything was part of a single session.

  • Squats : 8-10 sets x 20-8 repetitions (he moved 288 kg/635 lbs in this exercise).
  • Hack Squat : 5 sets x 10-15 reps (he used up to 227 kg/500 lbs in this exercise).
  • Leg extensions : 5-8 sets x 10-15 repetitions (he reached a maximum weight of 159 kg/350 lbs).
  • Leg curls : 6-10 sets x 10-15 reps (he used a maximum weight of 109 kg/240 lbs).
  • Standing Calf Raises : 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps (he used a weight of 227 kg/500 lbs for this exercise).
  • Seated Calf Raises : 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps (he moved 102 kg/225 lbs in this exercise).
  • Hack Machine Calf Raises : 3-4 sets x 10-15 reps (he used a maximum weight of 181.5 kg/ 400 lbs in this exercise).

As a curiosity, we added the big weights that Platz was able to use for leg exercises.

High repetitions : Tom Platz was also a fan of high repetitions, which he used for some exercises such as the squat, in which he could do sets of even 30 or 50 repetitions .

In a video, Tom expressed that he does not like to include the deadlift exercise, as he believes that the risks of doing so outweigh the benefits. However, we must bear in mind that Tom suffered from back problems since he was young.

"Baby reps"

One of Tom's best-known intensity techniques are the famous "baby reps" , which consist of doing small partial repetitions when muscle failure has already been reached in a set. 

There is a very famous video where Tom Platz is training another bodybuilder and, when he can no longer do full squat reps, Tomo yells at him: "Keep going! Give me baby reps! Give me baby reps!" This has given rise to many internet memes.


Many have criticized Platz's mentality and training systems claiming that it is too much volume and that no one could handle it unless they took huge amounts of anabolic steroids . However, Tom has spoken about his anabolic steroid cycle and said that he only used two substances. Therefore, his hard effort, dedication and intensity in training did a lot of the work. Obviously, he was not a natural athlete.

Platz before and after using steroids

Strength and Powerlifting

Although few know this facet, Platz once competed in powerlifting, where he obtained the records of 249.5 kg (500 lbs) in the squat, 286 kg (630 lbs) in the deadlift and 165.5 kg (365 lbs) in the bench press. He thus achieved a total of 700.8 kg (1545 lbs). With these numbers, he won the  1975 Michigan Senior State Powerlifting Championships. However, Platz said that powerlifting did not seem exciting enough to him, so he decided to leave that sport.

Regarding his strength training, he has achieved the following feats:

  • Pull-up workouts lasting 20 to 25 minutes .
  • Back pulldown : 113 kg (250 lbs) x 20 repetitions + 20 partial repetitions.
  • Pull-over : 68 kg (150 lbs) dumbbell.
  • Incline press : 80 kg (175 lbs) dumbbells x 6 repetitions.
  • Strict dumbbell curl : 32 kg (70 lbs) x several repetitions.
  • Deadlift : 272 kg (600 lbs) x 4 repetitions and 184 kg (405 lbs) x 20 repetitions.
  • Calf Raises : 453.5 kg (1000 lbs).

The squat was always Platz's most notable movement and where he achieved his best-known feats:

  • 102 kg (225 lbs) for 10 minutes x more than 100 repetitions.
  • 143 kg (315 lbs) x 50 repetitions.
  • 347 kg (765 lbs) x 1 rep max.
  • 238 kg (525 lbs) x 23 repetitions (his most recognized feat) .

Platz's record of 238 kg (525 lbs) was surpassed by The World's Strongest Man of 2023, Mitchell Hooper, who managed to do 24 repetitions.

Tom's photographs

Tom Platz's great legs

Platz's enormous legs were his most prominent muscle group.

Tom Platz during training, old photo

Photo of Tom training.

Rare photo of Tom Platz on the beach

Rare photo of Tom.

Tom Platz Moon Pose

The "moon pose" was very characteristic of Tom, but it was banned in competitions. You can imagine why...

If you want to know more about this curiosity, visit: 

Tom Platz Diet

Tom's nutrition was the same as that of most bodybuilders of his time: the diet consisted of high protein meals consumed regularly. To compensate for his intense training, Tom knew he had to keep his nutrition at the highest level and never miss a beat. Platz was a 100kg/220lb bodybuilder, so he had to make sure he followed a proper diet with enough daily calories.

Elite bodybuilders train hard, very intensively and for several days a week. Therefore, they must ensure that your recovery is complete. Tom Platz ensured this by eating well. Do you want to see an example of Tom Platz's diet ? His daily meals included a variety of foods rich in protein, carbohydrates and fruits. Also, from time to time, Platz would consume some ice cream to boost caloric intake, something very common among bodybuilders of the time when they wanted to gain weight.

First meal - Before training

  • 2 whole wheat toasts with butter and jelly.
  • Juice or milk.
  • Some coffee or caffeinated supplement.

Second meal - Lunch after training

  • 3-6 eggs.
  • Hamburger with sliced ​​tomato and two slices of bread.
  • Juice.

Third meal - Snack

  • Abundant cheese.
  • Crackers.
  • Milk.

Fifth meal - Dinner

  • Salad with extra large ribs, cottage cheese and walnuts.
  • Bread with butter.
  • Ice-cream.
  • Coffee or milk.

Sixth meal - evening snack

  • 2 bowls of ice cream or a bag of nuts.

Full biography of Tom Platz Wikipedia

Platz Tom's career and professional life

Tom has a master's degree in Exercise Science, a bachelor's degree in Physiology and Nutrition from Wayne State University and Michigan State University, and a master's degree in Business Administration from the University of California. His first serious competition was the 1973 Mr. Andonis. He competed in the amateur category for another five years until winning the 1978 World Amateur Championship in the middleweight division.

Tom's professional career spans bodybuilding, teaching and managing a well-known company for over 14 years. From the age of 9, Tom worked very hard to turn his passion into a full-time career.

After graduating in 1978, Tom Platz moved to California with the dream of succeeding in the Mr. Olympia. In his long and successful career, Tom competed for nine years. He was considered one of the league's best, but he never won the title he wanted. However, Tom Platz placed in the top 10 competitors on many occasions. Furthermore, Tom came third in 1981. Here he retired from professional bodybuilding.

Today, Platz is known for speaking at seminars about his life, work, inspiration and motivation , and for helping train bodybuilders such as David Hoffman.

Tom Platz Bodybuilding Seminars

Other biographies:

Beyond bodybuilding

Although Tom Platz retired from bodybuilding in the late 1980s, his influence on the sport lives on. Afterwards, he has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge and passion for bodybuilding through seminars, training and fitness events. As an educator and motivator, Platz continues to inspire new generations of bodybuilders with his invaluable knowledge of training, nutrition, and the mental aspects of the sport.


  • Pro-style Bodybuilding , written by Tom Platz and Bill Reynolds.


  • Who Killed Johnny Love? (1998).
  • 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag (1997).
  • Flex... Body Love (1991)
  • Book of Love (1990)
  • Twins (1988)
  • The Comeback (Arnold Schwarzenegger - Total Rebuild to Mr. Olympia) (1980).

Personal life

According to Wikiepdia Tom Platz is married to Cha Nikito-Platz and is still very involved in the Fitness industry. What happened to Tom Platz? In August 2023, he was diagnosed with Bell's palsy, which affected the nerves on one side of his face.

Tom Platz and his girlfriend

Tom Platz website

Countless athletes have adopted Platz's intensity and leg training principles . This bodybuilder maintained an unwavering commitment to the sport and a legendary work ethic, which inspired people around the world. For this reason, "The Golden Eagle" has become a true bodybuilding icon .

Tom Platz is an old school bodybuilder with an extensive career. He provided us with innovative training systems and delighted us with leg development like we had never seen before. Although his legs and his squat were the highlight, one must not forget all the overall strength this man possessed. He had legendary power and remains one of the most respected bodybuilders of the 80s.

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