Bodybuilder Cydney Gillon is the reigning and six-time Figure Olympia champ. Famous for her incredible shape, balance, symmetry, conditioning, and stage presence, Gillon prioritizes muscle stimulation over heavy weights in the gym. The winningest Figure Olympia champ has increased the educational bodybuilding content on her YouTube channel during the 2023 off-season.
On Jun. 21, 2023, Gillon took to her YouTube channel to share tips on how to grow the lower body without needing to lift too heavy. Check out it below:
Cydney Gillon Leg Workout
Unilateral Leg Extension & Deficit Plyo Lunges
The Georgia native opened with unilateral leg extensions on an iso-lateral machine, allowing her to focus on one leg at a time. Unilateral training can be effective at correcting muscle and strength imbalances and improving athletic performance. (1)
Gillon maintained a 2-1-2-2-rep tempo, meaning two seconds on the eccentric with a one-second hold at the bottom, followed by a two-second concentric and a two-second hold at the top. A rep-tempo scheme like this increases the muscle’s time under tension, leading to greater muscle fiber recruitment. (2)
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The Olympia champ superset unilateral leg extensions with deficit plyometric lunges. Gillon placed her front foot on an aerobic stepper with her rear foot on the floor. Plyo exercises can be effective for developing explosive strength and improving agility, stability, and balance.
Gillon emphasized the importance of moving through the full range of motion to maximize results. The lower knee should touch or be within a few inches from the floor at the bottom of the movement — meaning maximum knee flexion for the working leg. Gillon performed 15 to 25 reps for each set of leg extensions and lunges.
Pendulum Squat & Lying Leg Curl
Gillon performed the pendulum squat with a narrow stance. Her foot placement emphasized the rectus femoris and vastus lateralis muscles, which can help improves the appearance of the quad sweep on stage.
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Gillon followed with a superset of lying hamstring curls. Antagonistic (opposing muscle groups) supersets can help maintain higher training intensity, as quad-biased exercises don’t fatigue the hamstrings and vice-versa. Gillon pushed her hips into the leg curl machine pads to better isolate her hamstrings while maintaining a neutral spine and engaged core.
Belt Sumo Squat & Banded Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Gillon uses the belt sumo squat to target the adductors and vastus medialis. She maintained an upright torso to limit lower back engagement. Gillon wrapped up her leg day with banded Romanian deadlifts to target her hamstrings. The resistance bands help maintain constant tension on the hamstrings throughout the range of motion and potentially improve glute stimulation at lockout.
Road to 2023 Olympia
Gillon is the most dominant Figure Olympia champ of all time with two more titles than the second-most winningest athlete in the division, Nicole Wilkins. Gillon is expected to attempt another title defense at the 2023 Olympia, scheduled for Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL.
Zhang W, Chen X, Xu K, Xie H, Li D, Ding S, Sun J. Effect of unilateral training and bilateral training on physical performance: A meta-analysis. Front Physiol. 2023 Apr 13;14:1128250. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2023.1128250. PMID: 37123275; PMCID: PMC10133687.
Burd NA, Andrews RJ, West DW, Little JP, Cochran AJ, Hector AJ, Cashaback JG, Gibala MJ, Potvin JR, Baker SK, Phillips SM. Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiol. 2012 Jan 15;590(2):351-62. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.221200. Epub 2011 Nov 21. PMID: 22106173; PMCID: PMC3285070.
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