Without any doubt, Kirk Karwoski and Andrey Malanichev are my favorite powerlifters. Both of them are “responsible” for raising the standards in the world of powerlifting and both of them are phenomenal squatters (only RAW or in single ply suits).
If you are into this world, then you’ve probably seen them on youtube. Today we’re going to talk about Kirk Karwoski’s training routine, especially of his leg workouts.
It’s important to understand that Kirk was a beast by nature. Back in the days when he was competing, he used to have some of the biggest thighs this sport has ever seen. In fact, there was little difference between his legs and the legs of a NPC bodybuilder.
Despite his weight (he used to compete in the 125 kg class), his body fat was insanely low for a powerlifter. Compare the left picture with the body of any of the today’s powerlifter that compete in the same class and you will see that nobody has big legs.
Louie Simmons once said that some russian weightlifter couldn’t squat more because his legs were too big. Sure, I’m not as popular as Louie Simmons, but I call his statement bullshit. Captain Kirk proved several times, and so did other bodybuilders with powerlifting background. Ronnie Coleman and Stan Efferding proved it, and hell, even Ronnie Coleman used to squat over 800 lbs. You can’t say about these guys that the couldn’t squat because their legs were too big, can you?
How did Captain Kirk build those insane legs? By squatting for hours. He didn’t have any secret, nor did he ever use special techniques. However, due to his crazy genetics, but also by his capacity of focus 100%, he was able to use in training a very high volume.
Kirk Karwoski’s leg workout consisted of:
1) 5-6 sets of 8 reps;
2) 2-3 sets of 5 reps;
3) 1-3 sets of 1 rep with a progressive load on the barbell;
In the first days of his career, this was all he was doing for the thigs. After several years, he also started to train the biceps femoris, but also added several sets of heavy leg presses and heavy extensions.
Many people don’t know it, but Kirk could squat for reps up to 765 lbs without his wraps and without a suit. Kind of impressive, isn’t it?
The second days was arms day. He used to do at least 6-7 sets of close grip bench press, ez curls, dumbbell curls etc. In fact, he was training more like a bodybuilder. All the sets were performed in the purest form one could see and yet, the weight was monstruous each time.
The third day was dedicated to deadlifting. Many people don’t know but Kirk used to have major problems with the grip. This is why he as much he wanted to use the same pattern from the squatting day, his grip failed him. He was still able to train hard, but only with lots of doubles and triple sets. Fair enough!
The fourth day of training was dedicated to bench pressing. He used to do lots of sets of 5 reps. Up until 12 weeks to the competition, he did not use a shirt as raw power was more important for him. After bench pressing, he used to add a couple of wide grip bench presses, some lateral raises and incline presses or OHP’s.