how figure competitors should train legs

One of the great tragedies in figure is the large amount of competitors who show up to these shows with absolutely no wheels.

When it comes to how to train legs for a figure competition, many women are lost at sea.

There is so much misinformation out here on the internet and social media.

Many women are following programs that will have them going nowhere fast in their quest to build bigger and better legs.

Women deserve the truth about how to train legs for a figure competition and the truth is not the snake oil you primarily see being promoted on Instagram.

Johanna Blume

Johanna Blume, a former Division 1 sprinter turned figure competitor, won the 2019 Ms. Natural Philadelphia.

2 weeks after winning Ms. Natural Philadelphia she placed second in the Jersey Natural Open.  She lost to a tough veteran competitor but the competition between them was closer than expected.

I was very proud of her winning and placing high at these shows.

What meant more to me was her going through the actual process.  You always find out who someone is when the going gets tough.

Many people think that winning comes easy for a champion but that is just not true.

Many first time bodybuilders and figure competitors do not understand what sacrifices you have to make during the pre-contest period.

Your life will be completely different for a few months as you prepare for the competition.

The things that you liked to do prior to contest prep will become an afterthought.  Your top priority during a proper contest prep is bringing your best physique to the stage.

how figure competitors should train legs

The bodybuilders and figure competitors who do the pre-contest right will end up with a lean, stage worthy physique.

The ones who just suffer in vain due to misinformation, poor coaching, and ego will stand out on stage for all the wrong reasons.

There were a few times where Jo almost mentally cracked as this was her first ever pre-contest experience.

I remember there was one specific workout where at the beginning of it she almost broke.

But her true character shined through because she did not break.

She endured and overcame the struggles of the pre-contest process to become a champion.  Jo definitely has some dawg in her.

Imagine if she had quit on week 10 of 16.  This article is never written and we aren’t even talking about her as a champion right now!

The diet, training, recovery, and focus you need to build a phenomenal body requires you to be extremely disciplined.

As Jim Rohn once said, discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.


For those that do not know, having “that dawg” in you indicates that an athlete or bodybuilder has the will to fight and overcome challenges regardless of the circumstances.

Soft athletes do not have any dawg in them as they always fold or back down in the face of adversity or challenges.

How To Train Legs For A Figure Competition


I’ve been to many natural bodybuilding shows since 2010 and one of the glaring holes for men and women is lower body.

I’ve also seen many of these figure competitors train in-person at the commercial gyms where I used to lift from 2003-2016.  The majority of the workouts are blasphemous.

If you think a fake hustle workout littered with half-squats, partial leg presses, leg extensions, and no true glute/ham/calf work is going to make you a stone cold stallion, you are crazier than the Joker.

For figure competitors, the goal is to create legs that have great size and shape.

Therefore having round quads, thick hamstrings, and glutes that sit high and tight like a Marine’s haircut will drastically improve your chances of winning your class.

When you walk on stage with pipe cleaners for legs your lower body will stand out in a bad way.

Your legs will also completely disappear and look ghastly when you get into your side and rear poses.

3 weeks out from Ms. Natural Philadelphia, Jo was filmed by DAHC Images during a strenuous lower body workout.

The way Jo trains legs is exactly how a competitor who wants phenomenal legs should train for a figure competition.

The way my athletes, bodybuilders, training partners and I train at The Center is all based on accountability.

This makes our workouts very difficult when you do them the way they are supposed to be done.

I don’t recommend you try Jo’s workout unless you are in great shape but even then you will be in major trouble.

The majority of bodybuilders and figure competitors will not be able to finish this workout today.

The great news is that if you have mental toughness and have some dawg in you, you might have a chance in the future to complete this workout at live speed.

It’s possible if you believe you can do it.  Jo’s workout for 4/16/19 was:

Dynamic Warm-Up

A) Safety Bar Split Squat 5 x 5

• ascending weight each set
• rest is about 30-60 seconds between legs and about 2 minutes between sets
• her sets were 5 x 125lbs, 135lbs, 140lbs, 145lbs, and 155lbs

B) Barbell Hack Squat 8 x 8

• rest is 30 seconds between sets
• her weight on the bar was 135lbs for rounds 1-4 and then 165lbs for rounds 5-8
• the final set has 1 and 1/4 reps and static holds

C) Barbell Hip Extension 8 x 8

• rest is 30 seconds between sets
• her weight on the bar was 105lbs for round 1-4 and then 115lbs for rounds 5-8
• the final set has 1 and 1/4 reps and static holds

D) Barbell Hip Thrust Pumper 3 x 12 (not in the video)

• rest was 1 minute between rounds
• her was weight on the bar was 355lbs for all 3 rounds
• the final rep also has a static hold

E) Prowler Conditioning for 12 Minutes (not in the video)

• Jo ran the Prowler on the Hill at The Center which is 45 yards up a decent incline
• her weight was 130lbs total for the sled

One thing that we never do during pre-contest is to start pumping iron with baby weights and high reps to “get cut.”

The only thing that gets you cut is adherence to your nutrition plan as you can’t out exercise a bad diet.

This “use high reps to get cut” theory is pure mythology.  There is no place for that in a natural competitors program.

You want to use weight that makes you actually work hard in your given rep range.

Jo weighed about 119-120lbs in this video and actually got stronger across the board during the pre-contest period.

There are no other competitors, male or female, who I’ve come across who I believe can train legs at the same pace or intensity with Jo.

You are willing to meet me at The Center and prove me wrong.

If you can complete the workout as written I’ll buy you lunch but when you fold I won’t even say I told you so.

The intensity and the pace of the session is in the same arena that it was for myself during my first natural bodybuilding run from 2010-2014.

I wanted to give her the tools needed to become a winner.  But without her having the right mindset it would not have happened.

Jo has the right mindset and she has that dawg in her.

She knows how to train legs for a figure competition and this is just one of the workouts that she did throughout the year.


In order to build incredible legs worthy of competition, you have to show up every workout.  Even on the days when you do not want to be there, you need to be there.

Champions have to do the things that others won’t so that they can earn the titles that others can’t.

If you are a woman in the Philadelphia area who wants to bring a better physique to the stage please fill out our application.

You cannot rush the process because it takes time and a consistent, quality effort to build a great physique.

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer

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