Six-Time Figure Olympia Champion Cydney Gillon’s Leg Day Doesn’t Need Heavy Weights

Gillon performs high reps with lower weights to maintain her championship-winning physique.

Bodybuilders at the most elite level of the sport, either vying for an Olympia title or maintaining the Figure Olympia title for six consecutive years, like Cydney Gillon, have an acute awareness of how their body responds to training and nutrition. Gillon’s dynasty in the Figure division stems from her ability to bring a combination of fullness and conditioning that compels the judges to award her near-perfect scores every time she steps on stage.

On Jan. 13, 2023, Gillon took to her YouTube channel to pull back the curtain on how she trains during her leg days to build the lower-body muscle that separates her from the competition. Unlike many other bodybuilders, Gillon trains with relatively light weights compared to what many might presume, given the quality of her physique. Check it out below:

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The session in the video above was Gillon’s first leg day since winning her sixth consecutive Olympia in December 2022. She opened the workout on a squat machine while wearing a lifting belt.

Her first order of business addresses the apparent lighter weights she’s using:

It’s heavy enough for me and what I need.

Since the needs of every bodybuilder are different, as are their structures, Gillon suggests that lifting “10 million plates” may not benefit everyone. That same notion goes for volume, as Gillon only performs four sets per movement, each in the 15-25 rep range.

I just want to maintain where I’m at. I focus on full range and controlling the motion.

Gillon’s second movement is an inverted leg press with an extremely narrow foot placement — her feet are tightly together — in the center of the platform. This helps her engage her quads properly to develop her quad sweep. Her full range of motion is achieved when her hip flexors engage.

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Gillon’s third movement is a staple of her lower-body training: leg extensions. She follows that with glute-ham raises, focusing on keeping her head and chest tucked so that the concentric movement is sustained by shortening her glutes and hamstrings.

The fifth movement of the workout is a reverse lunge on a machine for added stability to sustain more load. The slightly raised platform where her front foot is planted allows her to further stretch the glute in the fully lengthened position.

Gillon closes her workout with single-leg inverted leg presses with a high foot placement on the platform. The top half of her foot remains off the platform, so the drive is through her heel for each rep. This will bias the glute without incorporating too much quad, as her knee does not reach full flexion.

Featured image: @this_is_bodybuilding_2 on Instagram