Bodybuilding legend Lee Priest‘s competitive resume is a testament to his training methodologies in the gym. From his first-place finish at the 2006 IFBB Ironman Pro to his win at the 2013 NABBA Mr. Universe contest, the 50-year-old strives to maximize recovery while training through a busy schedule.
As long as you’re getting a good workout in…do what you feel and works for you.
In a video uploaded to the Sam’s Fitness YouTube channel on April 30, 2023, “The Blonde Myth” shares how he used to train his entire body thrice a week — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — and how minor improvements lead to larger change over time. Check it out below:
Lee Priest’s Full-Body Workout
Here’s a breakdown of Priest’s full-body workout discussed in the video above:
- Leg Extensions
- Leg Curls
- Lat Pulldowns
- Dumbbell Rows
- Seated Rows
- Chest Press
- Chest Flyes/Pec Deck
Leg extensions are excellent for engaging the quadriceps, but need to be done with proper positioning to prevent applying too much stress to the knees. The knee joint should be aligned with the fulcrum of the leg extension machine.
Imagine a pipe moving through the fulcrum of the machine and the knees. The alignment of the knees and the fulcrum ensures the load is handled by the quads rather than pressuring the knees.
Squats and Leg Curls
Back squats are an excellent compound movement for building mass on the legs. Hack squat or front squat variations are also viable for those who don’t have the requisite shoulder mobility to maintain a barbell on their shoulders comfortably. For this movement, Priest recommends slow and steady weight progression.
Leg curls target the hamstrings. Similar to leg extensions, the knees should align with the fulcrum of the machine. Focus on driving the calves into the back of the legs as possible with each rep before controlling the eccentric to the starting position.
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Lat pulldowns are an essential movement for back thickness. A wide grip just beyond shoulder width will bias the lats. In bodybuilding, wider lats help generate the aesthetic V-taper that gives the illusion of a smaller waist.
When performing lat pulldowns, engage and depress the scapula, then think of pulling down with the elbows rather than the hands. This cue can help provide a more optimal line of pull to bias the lats rather than the rear delts.
Dumbbell Rows and Seated Rows
Dumbbell rows are cheekily known as “chainsaws” for mimicking the motion of starting a chainsaw. While bent over in a hip hinge or kneeling on a weight bench for better stability, pull the dumbbell to the hip by driving the elbow up — again this is a cue to help engage the muscle fibers of the lat and prevent turning this into a shoulder exercise.
Performing dumbbell rows with one arm at a time (i.e., performing them unilaterally) can help correct any strength imbalances. Seated cable rows help add thickness to the lats and can bias the midback depending on the width of the grip attachment used.
Chest Press and Chest Flyes/Pec Deck
Priest’s finished his full-body workouts comprised of seven exercises across 20 sets with anterior upper-body movements followed by accessory exercises, starting with chest press variations — incline, flat, decline, dumbbell, or barbell — to train in the shortened and midrange positions. Priest recommends the pec deck or cable chest flyes to train the pecs in the lengthened position — each rep consisting of strong contractions paired with big stretches.
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Priest recommends two exercises for the chest. Priest’s general guideline for hitting full body is training each major muscle group for two or three exercises with three to four working sets in the eight-to-14 rep range.
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Featured image: @leepriestofficial72 on Instagram