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What’s the first thing that pops out at you when you see Roelly Winklaar posing onstage or in front of a camera? His arms, perhaps? That’s what most people say, and the guns are huge—arguably the best of all time. But his wheels have now become equally impressive, giving him top-to-bottom symmetry that figures to make noise in the IFBB for years to come.

HOW WINKLAAR MANAGED TO BUILD LOWER LIMBS THAT MATCH HIS UPPER ONES IS PRETTY SIMPLE:

He stuck to the basics. Nothing fancy, nothing earth-shattering. Just tried-and-true mass-building moves done with heavy weights and high volume, with a dash of quad-sculpting leg extensions thrown in for good measure. That’s what the leg workout on the following pages consists of. It may not be cute, but it works. 

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 SAFETY BAR SQUAT 

START | Put a safety squat bar in a power rack at about chest height. Get underneath the bar so that it’s resting high on your upper traps, with the pads on top of your shoulders extending forward and angled slightly downward—the intended position of a safety squat bar. Unrack the bar, step back, and begin in an upright position with your feet hip/shoulder-width apart (just as you would with a standard barbell squat). With your hands, either hold on to the columns of the power rack for support or grasp the ends of the bar in front on your shoulders (as Winklaar is doing in the photos).

EXECUTION Keeping your back flat, bend your knees to lower yourself straight down as if sitting down in a chair. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, forcefully contract your glutes and quads to stand back up to the start position without locking out your knees at the top. Focus on keeping your weight over your heels throughout; the safety squat bar should make this easier to accomplish.

ROELLY SAYS “I do different versions of the squat—regular barbell squats as well as squats with a safety squat bar. It’s good to have variety in your workout. With squats, it’s important to use a full range of motion. I don’t do half reps. I don’t believe in them. I go all the way down on each rep to at least [thighs] parallel to the floor.”

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 LEG PRESS 

START Sit on a leg press machine and place your feet hip-to shoulder-width apart on the platform. Press the weight up with your legs until your knees are extended, then release the machine’s safety catches. Hold on to the handles provided near the seat for stability.

EXECUTION Lower the weight under control until your knees form 90-degree angles or slightly less. (Your range of motion will depend on your size; go down as far as possible without letting your glutes lift up off the pad.) Extend your hips and knees explosively to press the weight back up to the start position, stopping just short of full lockout at the top. Maintain a slight arch in your lower back throughout; don’t let it round to conform with the pad.

ROELLY SAYS “It’s very important to not straighten your legs completely at the top of the rep—this applies to all leg exercises. Locking out the knees can put stress on the joints, which can lead to injury, especially when you go heavy.”

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 HACK SQUAT 

START Place your back against the pads and position your feet hip-width apart in the middle of the platform. Extend your legs and grasp the handles.

EXECUTION Unhook the safety latches and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are below parallel with the platform. Extend your hips and knees to press yourself back up to the start position. Don’t lock out your knees at the top.

ROELLY SAYS “I keep my feet close together to develop the outer sweeps of the quads; when your feet are wide, it hits the inner quads more. Hack squats allow you to use a big range of motion, so I always make sure to go down as low as possible on each rep.”

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 LEG EXTENSION 

START Adjust the seat of a leg extension machine so that your back is flush against the seat back and your knees are in line with the machine’s axis of rotation. Begin with your legs bent at least 90 degrees and the weight lifted a few inches off the stack.

EXECUTION Contract your quads to extend your knees until your legs are completely straight. Squeeze hard at the top, then return to the start position. To keep constant tension on the quads, don’t let the weight rest on the stack between reps. Stop a few inches shy of touching at the bottom and go right into the next rep.

ROELLY SAYS “I do leg extensions two different ways: both legs at a time and each leg individually. When doing both at the same time, I keep my legs in close together to target the outer sweeps, just like with hack squats. I warm up with leg extensions, but I use them at the end of my workout to carve in quad definition.” 

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 WINKLAAR’S QUAD WORKOUT 

  • Safety Bar Squat SETS: 5 | REPS: 12 REST: 1 min
  • Leg Press SETS: 5 REPS: 15 REST: 1 min.
  • Hack Squat SETS: 4 REPS: 10 REST: 1 min.
  • Leg Extension* SETS: 4 REPS: 15 REST: 1 min.

NOTES: Winklaar performs one to two light warmup sets of leg extensions and leg presses prior to squats.

*First two sets performed both legs at a time; next two sets performed one leg at a time (unilaterally), 15 reps per leg, per set.

Roelly Winklaar's Wheels

 WINKLAAR’S TWICE-A-DAY TRAINING SPLIT 

  • MONDAY
    • AM | Quads & Glutes
    • PM Hamstrings
  • TUESDAY
    • AM Chest
    • PM Shoulders & Traps
  • WEDNESDAY
    • AM Back
    • PM Biceps & Triceps
  • THURSDAY
    • AM Quads & Glutes
    • PM Hamstrings
  • FRIDAY
    • AM Chest
    • PM Shoulders & Traps
  • SATURDAY
    • AM Back, Biceps & Triceps (all done in the same workout)
  • SUNDAY
    • Rest

Winklaar trains abs and calves twice a week, but not always on the same days.

 FLEX 

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