Board >> Workouts >> Eric Heiden's Legs

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Some of you may remember or know about Madison native Eric Heiden, the olympic speed skater who dominated the sport during the early '80's. Not only was he a monster on the speed skating track and a successful competitive cyclist, he had some of the best leg development this side of Tom Platz. (Behold: How does someone get legs like that, you ask? I came across this post by the man himself on an internet forum which I thought some here might appreciate (especially the ONE HOUR wall sit!):

"Before the 1980 Olympics it wasn’t uncommon for us to do the following:

Find an old truck tire intertube and cut out about one third of the tire (where the valve is). Seal one end by tying and taping with duct tape.

Fill intertube with either lead shot or pennies until alomost full. Seal off other end. I made several sizes but the biggest ones I figured weighed about 150lbs.

Swing the anaconda on your lower back and assume the speed skating position. Do 1 x 100 squats with each leg. Do that 5 x. Then repeat with both legs. Going down to slightly below 90 degrees.
Typically we did these in a skating position keeping our backs parallel to the floor and keeping your chin in line with the knee of the leg doing the work. The resting leg was slightly behind with the toe just off the floor. Goal was to use all of one leg with no cheating. I would do them either near a wall or table in case I needed to touch something briefly for balance. Arms were usually on my back.

Right after these we would drop the tube then do 15 - 20 squat jumps as high as you can bringing your legs up to your chest a the peak.
Usually the last one you would fall down because you could not support your weight anymore.
..and that was only workout number 1. Usually we did 3 workouts a day.

1. Weights
2. Dryland skating simulation (duckwalk for 10k)
3. Cycling/Running

We were training at the OTC at the Springs and I think it was 1978 and a buddy challenged me to see if I could do a wall sit for an hour.
Basically in a sitting position with your back against the wall, legs at 90 degrees. Arms hanging down at your sides.
Legs were shaking like a banshee at the end but I did it. Some squirt supposedly bested my time of 60 minutes with 61, but he didn’t have a witness… you know how that goes."


That is an awesome post, thanks for sharing.

hey paul, i actually got to meet eric back in the day, he was the ref for some of my soccer games and his legs were huge!! like 34" and his waist was 33"!! he also use to do resisted skating against tubing, that is how i actually got started doing skaters against tubing, from watching him do it! but that tire with pennys sounds like a great idea. we got to make a few of those for sure, tape off the ends so they are about 8" to a foot long so when they're around the back you can still hold it pretty well. but 60 minutes? that is sick:) you know the stuff people did back in the day or even way earlier was just amazing, now that was some hard core training...and for sure it paid off...5 Golds:)
good job getting that article paul,

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