Lee Lebrada was a classic bodybuilding in the heady days of the 1980’s and 1990’s. With 22 major titles under his belt, he definitely understood the game of bodybuilding and built an impressive physique that was only limited by his height in the top competitions.
He trained a bit differently than the rest of the mainstream at the time and his program bears looking at because of the obvious results as reflected by his career and the body he was able to attain with it.
Lee used a hybrid 2-on-1-off routine. While part of his routine seems similar to others he placed extra value on training his chest, shoulders, and triceps.
- Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Day 2 – Back, Biceps
- Day 3 – Rest (or light cardio and abdominals)
- Day 4 – Legs
- Day 5 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Day 6 – Rest (or light cardio and abdominals)
Now for sets most people at the time were blasting away with 20 per body part. But Lee had read some of the thoughts of Mike Mentzer and started incorporating more high intensity techniques and lower set counts. He used 6 to 8 sets for smaller body parts like biceps, triceps, and calves then 10 to 12 sets for larger body parts. He would go to failure on each work set with as much weight as possible. Then he would do 3 to 4 exercises for small body parts and 4 to 5 exercises for larger bodyparts.
He also made sure to workout 60 minutes or less, used strict form, and followed a strict diet and supplement program. Basically he was doing everything right that a natural bodybuilder should do at a time when most programs required some extra juice to be effective because of more sets and time lifting.
Here is a sample of how Lee trained featuring his back routine. He believed in working the V-taper to ensure a classic look from the front and the back. Each set includes 1 warm-up set and 2 work sets to failure.
- Pull-ups – 3 sets of X reps – He believed in going to exhaustion each set. If you did more than 10 reps than add weight via a weighted belt.
- Low Cable Rows – 3 sets of 12 reps – On the last set perform a drop set.
- Barbell Rows – 3 sets of 8 reps – On the last set perform a drop set.
- Deadlifts – 4 sets of 8 reps – On the last set perform a drop set.
Each exercise is done with strict form over struggling with excessive weight.
If you are looking for something to change things up you should give serious consideration to following Lee’s training methods. They make sense and built him a very impressive body that still looks great even in his 50’s.