Bodybuilder Dorian Yates Gives Brutal Leg Workout to Mike Thurston

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Dorian Yates and Mike Thurston
Dorian Yates and Mike Thurston's Intense Leg Workout Session (Image via Youtube/Dorian Yates)

Dorian Yates — the man who popularized training to failure with high volume and intensity workouts — took YouTube user Mike Thurston through a series of leg workouts during his visit to the latter's gym.

The workouts, which works the legs, back, and chest, are extremely intense and will put any bodybuilder on their heels. The workouts are focused on adding mass and strength to all the muscle groups.

During Yates had an impressive six-year reign (1992-1997) as Mr. Olympia. Lauded for his intense workout routines, Yates had a dedication to the sport, which was highlighted by his relentless work ethic.

He approached training with a determination to get bigger and stronger. Yates focused on going till failure when he trained at the gym.

At 60, Yates has maintained his ripped physique through physical training. Thurston has been focusing on his health since retiring from the sport. It’s clear that his preference for high intensity training has helped him achieve success.


Dorian Yates and Mike Thurston's Leg Workout

Here are all the exercises demonstrated in the video:

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1) Deep Squat (Near Wall – Stretch)

To get ready for the workout, Yates asks Thurston to squat so that his muscles would be stretched. He also has Thurston place his hand between his legs on the floor to increase the stretch.


2) Lying Bent Knee Oblique/Leg Raise Twist

Yates guides Thurston through a warm-up exercise where the latter is required to lie on his side, twisting his hips from one direction to the other. Yates demonstrates that by twisting his body from side to side.


3) Leg Extension

Yates guides Thurston through a series of reps on the leg extension machine, explaining that he only did cardio for ten minutes a week. He suggests that during leg day, Thurston should not focus on the number of reps. He should look perform a set of perfect reps till he reached failure.


4) Lying Leg Press

Dorian Yates says that before working out his legs, he liked to stretch, as the lying leg press activates all the muscles in the hamstrings, glutes, and quads. He also says that adjusting the angle of the bench can impact how hard you work those muscles.


5) Hack Squat Machine

Yates and Thurston next moves on to machine hack squats. Thurston got some tips from Yates about how to do the exercise and also learned that as they weren't doing any cardio, there was no need to rush his sets.


6) Prone Leg Curl and Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlift

For the penultimate exercise, Yates guides Thurston through a prone leg curl. Yates says:

“The lesson to be learned here is not to push yourself beyond absolute failure with every single exercise. It’s very taxing on your nervous system as well.”

Dorian Yates gave Thurston a few tips on proper form while performing barbell stiff leg deadlifts.


After a 50-minute workout, Thurston is left exhausted, but he still has time for other exercuse. Recently, the six-time Mr. Olympia shared his tips for gaining weight. He thinks it's a good idea to count your macros if you're interested in building more muscle.

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Edited by Bhargav