T Nation

Natural Bodybuilder Legs


Now I am not generalizing the whole population of natural bodybuilders here at all; so take no offense to what I am about to ask: Why do natural bodybuilder always seem to have small legs compared to the steroid using bodybuilder when in contest shape?

Right, the obvious is in the question steroids. But what I am trying to get at is, that when you look a at natural on a bulk they do have quite big bulk legs and can squat a huge amount " for a natural of course"; but when they seem to get ready for a contest all that leg muscle they bulit seem to disappear, and when comp comes they seem to only be slightly better off than when they stared bulking. If you look at a steroid user they seem have bulk legs even when in contest shape.

I no there is no comparison to the natural and steroid, but it dose make you think are naturals doing something wrong in there training for contest to not to keep optimal size on there legs maybe they do to high rep range, too much volume, too little volume, not enough weight or frequency; or is it just they a natural is predisposed to losing leg mass every time in contest shape.

I would like to here your comments and also, if you are a natural or no steroid user and have notice this.

p.s I do realize that a steroid user will up dosage to keep mass, but the result should be the same less calories, more chance of muscle loss, but why never their legs?


Good post, I've noticed the same with the differences

As a natural, my legs hold more fat than I was aware of before I dieted, so when you diet they do shrink quite a lot. It's that point that you realise how much work you've still got left on them lol



Lol @ generalizations


OP this post is useless without pics of the natural bodybuilders you are talking about.


Agreed. Jeff Rodriguez in my display picture certainly doesn't look to have lost too much of his leg size from cutting down. But I don't follow enough competitions to know if losing leg size as a natural is an actual trend, someone else is better placed to comment on that..


Whether Rodriguez is natural is another matter all together.

Dude competes in the Team Universe. That show is a joke.


Ive heard people are skeptical about that show? but i don't know why, could you explain?


I always felt a similar way about competitors backs. Natty backs just don't seem to have the crazy thickness and width that guys on gear do even the top guys. It really shows in the rear lat spread. Maybe because legs and backs are two bigger muscle groups its more noticeable (difference between natty and assisted).


Personally, I think it all comes down to genetics or work put into those groups...to get legs to really grow, it take a ton of pain...

Now, don't take this as a "assisted lifters don't work as hard" comment, but if you are assisted, you will obviously gain muscle easier than if not...since leg training involves a pain tolerance threshold, it might be easier to gain muscle there assisted than natural because many natty guys simply don't push it to the limit in the same way or push as hard as an assisted guy, they just simply won't see the same gains.

Kinda confusing, but I think this might have something to do with it. You can probably apply this to any bodypart, but IMO it applies to legs the most.


I've noticed this as well, on stage I've noticed a trend that natty BB'ers legs always look stringy and not quite filled out.


That show being "a joke" in testing terms is probably the only reason he didn't win the overall fairly comfortably by now, if I'm going to get pessimistic. Kiyoshi Moody competed also as a natural in the heavys and the muscle mass difference between him and J-Rod is unreal. If you look at J-rods overall mass and judge that it is impossible for nattys then I personally think it's pessimistic, though I'm not really into following each and every bodybuilder/show, J-rod in particular is probably the one I am absolutely sure beyond any shadow of a doubt that is natural. He sometimes using ephedrine before his leg days but that's as crazy as he's got. Who knows why he recently disbanded with Species nutrition, but after his 2cnd place TU finish when he's clearly a freak and always come in on point, I would stick my neck out and say they could have been putting on the pressure for him to "progress a little more". If you look at his contest and off-season weights at 5ft 9" he certainly isn't holding enough overall mass to justify being accused of anything other then a natty. His interviews given are genuinely believable when he's saying he can literally name about one steroid nevermind know anything about them.

He just trains hard in a "hitting the muscle" low volume high intensity way combined with some of the most precise eating ever. Up until this recent off-season I'm pretty sure he considered an off-season sushi buffet "his worse cheat meal".

Natty guy that just posted above has some insane wheels & triceps and the rest of J-rod seems to be perfectly achievable for those with the right genetics and nutrition


@ BONEZ217


@ BONEZ217


For some reason I have tried to reply back to some of the comments on here but they don't seem to be displaying.


It seems it not only me that has notice this. But what I have notice that maybe a natural bodybuilder might benefit from a Olympic lifting leg workout, cause if you look at most Olympic lifters, even the 70kg under they still have very impressive legs.

The natural bodybuilder I were talking about was, layne norton, jim cordova, Johon hansen, Paul Revelia, all seem to have good legs in offseason, but disappear when comp comes.


I'm not sure about olympic lifting leg workout, but maybe olympic style squat or at least below parallel, sure many bodybuilders are shortchanging the squat a little if they don't try it deep. But I will say bodybuilders definitely know how to build the biggest legs, just as every other bodypart, your initial question was about them losing the mass, so if that were the case they would already found the best way to get the mass. I am interested if loads of people say dieting down "as a natty" reduces leg size proportionally more then everything else, but I'm not sure if I believe it does or not yet..


When I read this thread, I was thinking Olympic lifters the whole time as well, considering they have the best looking legs of any athletes I can think of. However, there are two issues there:

1) Elite Olympic lifters are very likely to be assisted, so it's irrelevant what their legs look like.

2) All of their training works the legs, so in essence they spend 25-30 hours a week training them. Obviously it's completely ridiculous to even consider that a bodybuilder could replicate that.


they also arent in bodybuilder contest shape, ever


Rob Hope. Looks redic as a natural .... "Natural" :wink:


I may be totally wrong, but at least Layne Norton and Jim Cordova are not known for having the best legs. In Layne's videos he talks about how they are his weakest bodypart.

Doug Miller is an IFPA Natural Pro and has some freaky legs.