Training

Welsh Wheels

Flex Lewis’ six steps for strong, thick, detailed legs.

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WORKSTATION #1

Slip into the bodybuilding fast lane with foundational moves

“I started as a powerlifter, doing the squat, deadlift, and bench press,” Lewis says of his early iron days. “I know some people feel squats are the bread and butter, and for some they might be, but I didn’t really feel any benefit from them. I think they have nothing on the leg press, to be honest.”

That doesn’t mean you

shouldn’t try squatting—“everyone should do them when they’re starting, because they may be great for you,” he says—but you need to take stock of your body’s reactions to all of your exercises each step of the way.

His other advice is born of his own trial and error. “You need to warm up a lot, and you shouldn’t go sloppy heavy,” Lewis states.

Lewis’ warmups aren’t just limited to his first exercise. As he transitions to the leg press, he starts with a “mediocre” couple of plates per side before marching up by 90 to 180 pounds per set. “It’s a working warmup,” he explains. “I’m finding my range. And it can change from week to week. If I just got off a plane from Australia, where I’ve been flying for 24 hours, I can’t just pile on what I did two weeks ago. I’m being cautious, because otherwise you can end up crippled when your competing days are over. Pushing a stupid amount of poundage is only about ego—it’s ridiculous.”

That said, you also need to get the most out of each set, and that means taking advantage of every single pound you’re moving. “I’ll do 15 reps per set, but during the first few sets I’ll make that 15 heavier...I’ll slow down each rep,” Lewis says. “Then as the weights go up, I’ll become more explosive.”

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