By Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT | Editor-at-Large
June 4, 1980
Zabreh, Czech Republic
Prague, Czech Republic
210–212 lbs. contest; 240–245 lbs. offseason
Career Highlights: 2011 IFBB Toronto Pro 212, 1st; 2010 Arnold Amateur, 4th
Two weeks. Stateside, that’s the standard amount of paid vacation you’re gifted when starting a new job. Most of us cherish a vacation for what it is — time away from the grind, a license to decompress. Workloads, commutes and gym time are usually replaced by leisurely indulgences and nutritional excess.
But for Czech Republic native Lukas Osladil, two weeks is the longest break he’s taken from the gym in his 12 years of training as a bodybuilder. For this ambitious young 212-pounder, it’s been less about trophies and medals — though he’s won a few, most recently in his first pro show in Toronto last June — than it’s been about a pure, incorruptible love for lifting heavy iron.
“I knew it was about using weights and growing muscles,” Lukas says about his knowledge of bodybuilding as a 10-year-old. But still, for reasons he can’t explain, one day he simply felt called to it. “I don’t know why I made the decision to start training that day. Maybe it was a dream? But a few weeks after that, I found two old dumbbells while visiting my grandparents in Slovakia. I started training and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
The sight of a scrawny, short Lukas training with weights was something of a spectacle to his friends and family. But young Lukas was immune to their barbs, whispers and mocking chuckles — and soon enough the teasing stopped. As he began to fill out, Lukas found himself ascending to the rank of top kid in school sports.
“I was good in running and other sports in class because I got some muscles,” Lukas says in English, which isn’t his native language. Overall, he was living a comfortable, uneventful childhood in the Czech Republic — he loved school, he had friends, plenty to eat. But stability can breed complacency.
Then, when he was 15, family turmoil befell the Osladil clan. “My parents divorced and I didn’t feel good during those years,” Lukas recalls. “I was depressed often. I felt emptiness. So I started looking for a way to feel better.”
Luckily, this adolescent crisis didn’t send Lukas running for comfort in the dubious company of a bottle or an opium den. Instead, it served to refocus his intensity in the gym.
“I focused more on bodybuilding. It helped me forget all the bad things that were happening.”
His first contest would come the same year.
“I saw many good young bodybuilders there and I found out how much I have to work on my body to became a champion,” he says. “I got big motivation at the contest. When they asked me onstage what I wanted to accomplish, I said: ‘I want to get to the Mr. Olympia.’ And everyone was laughing because they thought I was too small to get there. But 16 years later I’m competing for the Mr. Olympia 212-pound category.”
With a population of just under 15,000, Zabreh could hardly be considered a bustling center of commerce in this central European nation. As a result, all of its gyms were devoid of the extravagance that could distract from the task at hand, something that Lukas used to his advantage. Hooked by his initial competitive experience in bodybuilding, he would stay the course despite scant resources, surpassing the handful of other competitors who called Zabreh home.
“There were two main gyms and a few small gyms at school buildings,” Lukas said. “I used to go to the gym that was by the [community] swimming pool. It wasn’t a big gym but for Zabreh it was a good gym. There were some bodybuilders but few who competed. We also had a few female bodybuilders. But I’m the only one who became Czech Republic champion or European champion.”
Like many young bodybuilders, Lukas cites Arnold Schwarzenegger as his biggest influence. But he also attributes much of his success to Dorian Yates, who he met in 2007. “He told me he liked my posing routine and he invited me to train with him at Temple Gym in the U.K.”
But when Lukas elaborates on those who have influenced his career, something becomes clear. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, Steven Spielberg. It’s not success, necessarily, but the obstinate insistence on achieving it that’s key to Lukas.
“I like reading about these people and I want to meet them and talk to them — to find out how they did what they did,” he says.
And so we’re back to the two weeks. In the last 12 years, his body has had very few breaks. And from the high-volume, highly diverse routine on these pages, you can see he’s no stranger to intensity or innovation. Never afraid to take risks, he seems more afraid of what could happen as a result of diminished effort. If he pumps the brakes, he figures that’ll only give others a chance to outpace him on his way to his ultimate goal.
“I want to be the best bodybuilder on earth in the 212-pound division,” he says. “After that, I’ll make other plans. But for now, I love the feeling after a good workout and seeing my body getting into better shape and condition. It’s the possibility of being the best that drives me.”
Lukas' Leg Workout
Barbell Squat (heels elevated) 4 Sets x 15, 12, 8-10, 6
Barbell Lunge 2 Sets x 8 Reps (each leg)
Leg Extension 3 Sets x 10, 8, 6 Reps
Bodyweight Squat 3 Sets x 5 Reps
Hip Adduction Machine 3 Sets x 10, 8, 6 Reps
Hip Abduction Machine 3 Sets x 30 Reps
Sumo Squat 3 Sets x 70 Reps
Lukas' Training Split
Day 1 - Quads, Glutes
Day 2 - Front/Middle Delts, Triceps, Abs, Calves
Day 3 - Chest, Biceps, Glutes
Day 4 - Back, Rear Delts, Hamstrings
Day 5 - Rest
Day 6 - Cycle Repeats
Lukas performs seven working sets of calf raises — three seated, two standing and two sets each on one leg while standing.
Lukas does 20–25 minutes of cardio 4–5 times per week in the four weeks leading up to a contest. He prefers running stairs or doing step-ups on a chair to provide additional conditioning for his legs.
Stand erect holding a bar across your upper back with your feet about shoulder width apart, knees unlocked and your toes turned out slightly. Take a careful, deliberate step back to place your heels on small weight plates. Both heels are now elevated.
Keeping your head neutral, abs tight and torso erect, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body, as if you were going to sit in a chair. Pause when your legs reach a 90-degree angle, and then forcefully drive through your heels extending at your hips and knees. Lukas doesn’t come all the way up; he does partial reps covering the lower two-thirds of the range of motion.
“I do it this way because I feel it in my outer quads, which was my weak part years ago. I do it slowly and I go all the way down but not all the way up. I stay in the bottom two-thirds of the rep because it’s more intense and you can’t rest between reps.”
Holding a barbell across your shoulders, stand erect with your feet together.
Take a stride forward with one foot, lowering yourself while making sure your front knee doesn’t pass the vertical plane that comes up from your toes. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor and reverse direction, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to the start. Alternate your feet on each rep.
“Make sure that you go low enough that your back knee almost touches the ground. You don’t want that knee to touch the floor, as that puts stress on the joint and momentarily reduces the tension on the muscle.”
Adjust the seat for your body frame, and then sit squarely in the machine. Hook your feet under the padded bar. Keep your head straight and hold the handles for stability.
With your feet pointed forward, extend your legs as high as you can, while remaining seated flat on the machine. Squeeze your quads hard at the top, and then slowly lower the weight until just short of the weight stack touching down.
“I always use these to finish off my quads, never as a mass builder, which can be dangerous for your knees. I also keep my toes pointed straight up at all times — never angled in or out.”
Hip Adduction Machine
Sit in the hip adduction machine carefully, with your legs and knees firm against the pads provided. At the start your legs should be spread wide.
Contract your inner thighs to bring the pads together. Squeeze for a count, then slowly release and return to the start position.
“After every set of this exercise, I stretch my adductors either by doing a full-split or holding my leg up on a platform for 20–30 seconds. I do this to keep myself flexible.”
Hip Abduction Machine
Sit in the hip abduction machine carefully, with your legs and knees firm against the pads provided. In this machine your legs are close together at the start.
Contract your hips to spread the pads apart. Squeeze for a count, then slowly release, allowing the weight to push your legs together again. Don’t allow the weight stack to touch down between reps.
“I feel this on the outside upper part of my glutes, but I also do it another way: When I lean forward I feel it more on the bottom part of my glutes. I do 20 reps leaning back and 20 leaning forward.”
Stand with a wider-than-shoulder-width stance and turn your toes slightly outward.
Keeping your chest high, inhale deeply and descend into a squat to a point in which your knees are bent roughly 90 degrees. Drive through your heels and extend at the knees and hips to return back to the start position.
“With the wide stance I feel this much more in the lower portion of my glutes; I don’t feel it in my quads at all. I keep the rest periods very short and only use the bottom few inches of the range of motion.”
7 Ways To Boost Leg Growth
By Lukas Osladil, IFBB Pro
1 Go High:
“Don’t be afraid of high reps for legs,” says Lukas. “I do three sets of 30 on the hip abduction machine and superset that with sets of 70 of a partial sumo squat. This is good not just for size but detail.”
2 Get Creative:
“Don’t lock yourself into one way of doing things. My quads were weak for so many years, and then I started using a closer stance of standing movements and leg presses and it really helped my sweep.”
3 Lunge On:
“The lunge is a great move for beginners and advanced athletes because it requires a lot of muscle to do properly.” Research also shows the lunge can strengthen your hamstrings.
4 Flexibility Matters:
Lukas suggests that regular stretching — both between sets and post-workout — is crucial for maintaining flexibility or increasing range of motion on exercises, which can translate to greater strength and fewer injuries.
5 Think Unconventional:
Not a fan of the hip abductor? “I’ve been doing it for over 10 years,” Lukas says — and the benefits for his glutes, which help to win contests, are evident. “Don’t be afraid to keep rest periods short on shaping moves like extensions. The additional intensity can cause greater gains.”
6 Fan the Flames:
To trigger a good leg burn, Lukas uses very slow reps in almost every workout. “I also focus on the top half of the movement where there’s a lot of peak contraction, and I use drop sets for leg extensions as well. As with my sumo squats, I also use partials.”
7 Weightless Warm-Up:
Some people like to jump under the bar for a few light sets to warm up. Lukas prefers his own bodyweight, using high-rep sets of squats and lunges to get blood flow going to his hips, knees, ankles and muscle bellies.
5 Things You May Not Know About Lukas
1) He’s a consummate showman onstage.
His “rolling glutes” and “one-legged 180-degree turn” moves — as he colloquially refers to them — may as well be trademarked, seeing as few other bodybuilders would consider trying these show-stopping poses.
2) He’s got an eclectic taste in music.
His official Facebook page lists Abba, Nirvana, Depeche Mode, Paul Oakenfold, The Beatles and Madonna as his favorites.
3) Lukas is renowned for his intense, multi-muscle-group workouts.
On any given day he’ll mix and match bodyparts — frequently 3–4 in a single workout — working his abs, delts, triceps, calves and more.
4) His amazing flexibility sets him apart from the field.
“I’ve always stretched before, during and after training since taking up bodybuilding,” he says. “I use my flexible poses in my routines to show something new and unusual.”
5) If not a bodybuilder, he says he would’ve been an Olympian.
“I would probably train as a sprinter — the 100-meter dash. I’m a fan of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps and I like watching track, swimming and gymnastics during the Olympic Games.”
Czech out the video below to learn more about Lukas' intense leg training routine!