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Flex Magazine, June 1991.

Flex Magazine, June 1991.By Frank Zane, MA. Property of Weider Publications

It had been 18 years since I'd trained with Dave Draper, and as I walked into his World Gym in Santa Cruz, California, I reminisced of those bygone years. The last time we trained seriously together was during the summer of 1972 at the old Gold's Gym on Pacific Avenue in Venice while preparing for the Mr. Universe contest. Dave, Arnold and I could usually be found in the gym at the same time and we'd work legs together more often than not. Leg extensions, leg curls, heavy squats, hacks, donkeys, standing and seated calf raises were our usual fare. We never did aerobics in those days - not to each other's knowledge anyway. We were content to get an aerobic effect from our weight training workouts by not resting more than a minute between sets.

Our training day would start with a phone call from me to Dave at 5:45 am. Dave was always up and it wasn't long before I was off to the gym where I would meet him by 7 am. It was too early for anybody without serious training motivation to be there and the gym atmosphere seemed spiritual; the loudmouths usually didn't start arriving until 9 am.

As I looked around Dave's new gym, it reminded me of the original Gold's where we spent our formative years. Solid, bold and mighty, Dave's gym is filled with a plethora of free weight training equipment, custom-made precision pieces by Excalibur, and all the latest Eagle Cybex machines, plus an upper balcony of Lifecycles, StairMasters, Lifesteppers, rowers and a Versaclimber. I knew immediately that this was my kind of gym and that I would get a great workout here. Then I spotted Dave, tanned, oiled and pumped as he performed slow concentrated reps for Chris Lund's magic lens. Dave was ripped and in great shape and looked like the Draper of the early 70's. At that moment I wished I had dieted down more strictly for the training photos we were scheduled to take the next day. Dave's delts and lats impressed me most as he did a variety of cable raises and pressdowns.

The next day we began our leg training at 9 am. Dave agreed to do my usual program rather than his, and so we started off with leg extensions. I was amazed at the separation in Dave's quads as well as the vascularity throughout the length of his thighs. We knocked off four sets of 10 to 15 reps increasing the weight after each set.

Next were leg curls, again done for four sets of 10 to 15 reps with increased weight on each set. Dave's leg biceps were really separated to the extent that you could visibly notice the tie-in between the outer leg biceps head and the gluteus!

Then we moved to the Double Leg Blaster and did four sets of 15, 12, 10 and 8 reps in the squat with the upper body leaning slightly backward. This strict position forced the thighs to do all the work: I used 95, 115, 135 and 155 pounds for each successive set, while Dave worked up to 175 pounds on his last set of 8 reps. I followed Leg Blaster squats with Leg Blaster lunges for three sets of 10 reps with light weight of 35, 45 and 55 pounds. I finished off my thigh routine with Leg Blaster step-ups using 55 pounds for three sets of 10 reps while Dave did five sets of barbell full squats starting with 12 reps with 225 and increasing the weight to 405 while decreasing the reps on each set.

Before launching into calf work, we took a few minutes break because our thighs had become extremely pumped from resting less than two minutes between sets. Although Dave had a nice variety of calf machines in his gym, we decided to do five sets of 20 reps of standing calf raises plus five sets of 20 reps of donkey calf raises, using the Leg Blaster for both exercises. We used the tall side on the Double Leg Blaster with a heavy duty calf block that Dave had built. The pump was incredible, as we rested between sets only long enough to permit the other to complete his set. It's important to get a burn with each and every set of calf raises if you want your calves to really grow.

It had been a long time since I had been pushed so hard through a leg workout, and I felt that Dave was training even harder now than he had 18 years ago. The workout left a lasting impression on my body - I was sore for several days afterwards - and in my mind, for it brought back memories of days when bodybuilders trained together for the camaraderie and sheer joy of great workouts.

By Dave Draper

One day nearly a year ago, I received a surprise "gym warming" gift from Zabo Koszewski - a double-sided gym model of Frank Zane's new Leg Blaster. We bolted it into the floor of our new World Gym here in Santa Cruz, and a group of members quickly gathered to critique the new piece. We'd all seen pictures in the magazines, but none of us had seen or used the Zane Leg Blaster itself.

Like the Excalibur equipment we have, the Blaster is more heavy-duty than most of the modern equipment; it reminds me more of the older, more hardcore equipment from the days at Joe Gold's old gym. It requires you to do the work but gives assistance for knee or back weakness areas, encouraging a squat movement for a person who otherwise couldn't squat.

For ultimate thigh development, front squats are, in my estimation, superior to all leg exercises, including the honored full squat. But the arrangement of the bar across the shoulders is precarious and painfully abusive to the upper body. The Zane Leg Blaster's rugged harness provides the same resistance on the thighs without the discomfort or uncertainty of a standard barbell setup. Complete quadriceps action is achieved as you squat directly up and down, precisely as in the standard squat. The Blaster puts a healthy demand on both the hamstrings and the glutes, adding power to the thighs without the overload on the back and knees.

Frank stands close to the apparatus and leans back as he performs the movement (much the same as a sissy squat) to gain the thigh advantage and development he prefers. The ease of foot placement allows and encourages you to vary your movement within the set, a unique freedom to direct the pressure and to isolate certain areas, enhancing leg growth.

We have a number of members here who were accustomed to the squat movement and know that squats pack on the size, but due to previous recurring injuries, had given up on this powerful movement. The Zane Blaster proved to be great for the people who weren't able to do regular squat movements due to back or knee injuries or weaknesses.

While there are a number of different movements, we've noticed that most people use the Zane Leg Blaster for the traditional squat movement, preferring lower weights and more control for maximally directed thigh increases.

The World Gym Santa Cruz members and I would like to thank Zabo for such a great gift and to commend Frank for his efforts on this piece; it's effective, popular, and, better yet, safe for injury-free squat work. The Zane Leg Blaster has become an essential piece of leg training equipment in our gym and its use is in high demand.


Workouts are a dime a dozen; it's the consistency and intensity with which you perform them that counts. Basics are agreeably the best, and there's nothing more pure and simple (although not easy) than the following order of exercises for leg development relying on basics and the Zane Leg Blaster movements.

One superset of leg extensions and leg curls (20 reps per set) to warm up the muscles and joints, raise the heart rate and get in gear.

Five sets of full squats (pyramid: 12, 10, 8, 6)

Five sets of the Zane Leg Blaster squats (sets of 15)

Four supersets of leg extensions and leg curls (20 reps on the extension, 15 on the curl)

Five sets of standing calf raises or Blaster curl raises on a block, supersetted with five sets of seated calf raises (15-25 reps on both exercises)

At first glance this is a typical superpro leg workout. What's new? The Leg Blaster addition is new, and you're burning thighs will tell you exactly that. With the Leg Blaster, your level of raw intensity will continue to develop, as will your form and your personal style.



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