Lee Haney's Workout Routine, Diet Plan & Supplements

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 16, 2024
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Lee Haney's nickname "Total-Lee Awesome" is more than just an intended wordplay.

He may be the greatest bodybuilder of all time — unmatched body symmetry, exceptional mass, and skillful posing, winning eight Mr. Olympia titles in a row. Yes, more than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

So, I delved into interviews, training videos, and articles about Lee Haney, sharing his workout routine and diet plan.

If you aim to build a bigger chest, upper back thickness, and muscular forearms — sculpting an aesthetic physique, and being able to lift heavy weights, then you have to listen to this man.

His Stats

  • Age: 61 years old
  • Height: 5'11"
  • Weight: 255 - 265lbs (115.7 - 120.2kg)
  • Waist: 31"
  • Arms: 20"
  • Chest: 56”

Lee Haney's Workout Routine

A man flexing his muscular arms

I remember the first time I tried Haney's approach to muscle stimulation. He emphasizes training splits, and I can vouch for its effectiveness.

Following his 4-day training split, with three days of intense workouts and a day of rest, was both challenging and rewarding for me.

Here’s how the 4-day split looks like: 

  • Day 1: Chest and Arms
  • Day 2: Legs
  • Day 3: Back and Shoulders
  • Day 4: Rest

Now onto the workout.

Routine #1

shirtless man doing leg pressed and another one doing a bench press

Day 1: Chest and Arms

  • Bench Press: 4 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Barbell Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Preacher Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cable Tricep Extensions: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Skullcrushers: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

Day 2: Legs

  • Leg Extension: 4 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Leg Press: 4 sets, 10-12 reps (but only do this exercise in 1 out of 3 workouts)
  • Squats: 4-5 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Leg Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift: 3-4 sets, 8-10 reps (but only do this exercise every 3rd workout)

Day 3: Back and Shoulders

  • Front Lat Pulldown: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Barbell or T-Bar Row: 4 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Cable Rows: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Military Press: 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Side Lateral: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Upright Row: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

Day 4: Rest

Routine #2

men working out with weights in a gym

It pays to train the same group of muscles with various exercises as it keeps your training routine interesting and improves the results.

Here’s another 4-day training split with different exercises.

Day 1: Chest and Arms

  • Bench Press: 4-5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Incline Bench Press: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Flye: 4 sets, 10 reps
  • Chest Dip: 3-4 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Cable Crossovers: 3-4 sets, 12-15 reps, performed every other workout
  • Barbell Curl or Dumbbell Curl: 4-5 sets, 6-8 rep
  • Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Concentration Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cable Tricep Extensions: 4 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Seated One-Arm Dumbbell Extension: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Reverse Grip One Arm Cable Tricep Extension: 3-4 sets, 10-12 reps

Day 2: Legs

  • Leg Extension: 4-5 sets, 12-15 reps
  • Leg Press: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Squats: 4-5 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Leg Curl: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlift: 3-4 sets, 6-8 reps (every other workout)

Day 3: Back

  • Narrow Grip Lat Pull-down: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
  • Barbell Row: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Cable Rows: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row: four sets, 8-10 reps
  • Military Press: 4-5 sets, 6-8 reps
  • Side Lateral: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
  • Upright Row: 4 sets, 6-8 reps

Day 4: Rest

His Workout Principles

Here are some of the workout principles of this Mr. Olympia champion.

Stimulate the Muscles

A man focused on stimulating muscles

I've always been a firm believer in Haney's advice about muscle stimulation. Once, I pushed myself too hard, training a muscle group until failure, and ended up with a strain. Haney's wisdom about not annihilating the muscles is spot on.

Instead, if you train the muscles enough, you can recover faster than when you train until failure.

Bodybuilder Lee Haney also uses the pre-exhaust method like doing leg extensions before squats, making his workout routines intense.

While his workout routine and training techniques look good on paper, he recognizes that we may have our off days. When our body feels fatigued, he suggests modifying the number of sets and weights until our body fully recovers.

"If it’s possible, get at least eight hours of sleep and 45 to 60 minutes of nap in the day. Though that can be hard for someone with a busy schedule, getting enough sleep will go a long way to build the quality mass you aim for."

— Lee Haney, 8-time Mr. Olympia, & Retired IFBB Professional Bodybuilder

Pyramid Training

Haney advocates for pyramid training, starting with lighter weights and higher reps, then gradually increasing the weight while reducing reps.

This approach minimizes injury risks.

Possess the Mind of a Conqueror

A fit man doing arm workout

Beyond his impressive physique, Haney emphasizes the importance of a conqueror's mindset.

He believes in mental strength, symbolized by his do-rag, which he likens to a Superman cape, gearing him up for intense workouts.

Haney's emphasis on a conqueror's mindset resonated deeply with me. I've always felt that mental strength is just as crucial as physical prowess. I even adopted the habit of wearing a special wristband during my workouts, inspired by Haney's do-rag, to remind myself of the power of mindset.

"If it’s possible, get at least eight hours of sleep and 45 to 60 minutes of nap in the day. Though that can be hard for someone with a busy schedule, getting enough sleep will go a long way to build the quality mass you aim for."

— Lee Haney, 8-time Mr. Olympia, & Retired IFBB Professional Bodybuilder

Pyramid Training

The Mr. Olympia champion does not jump off to his heaviest weight off the bat because he does not want to risk injury. Instead, he does pyramid training.

Pyramid training begins with lighter weights and higher reps and progressively increases the number of weights but with fewer reps.

Other workout routines:

Lee Haney's Diet Plan

Vegetables for Diet Plan

I've learned the hard way that diet plays a pivotal role in training outcomes. Haney's mantra, "you can't train hard like a horse and eat like a bird," is something I've experienced firsthand. Balancing intense workouts with proper nutrition has been key to my fitness journey.

In one of Haney’s interviews, he mentioned that he always eats balanced meals, even after he has become a retired bodybuilder. His balanced meals consist of:

  • Proteins: chicken, whole eggs, fish, lentils
  • Carbohydrates: sweet potatoes, spinach, oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice
  • Fruits: eat fresh pineapple, apples, pears, papaya
  • Fats: almonds, walnuts

Back in his competition days, he spent many hours in the gym training to build large muscle mass. During this period, he needed to support this training intensity with enough nutrition, so he had about 6-7 meals a day.

Here’s a sample Lee Haney meal plan:

  • Meal #1: oatmeal, almonds and nuts, fruits, eggs
  • Meal #2: chicken, lentils, rice
  • Meal #3: protein smoothie with fruits, eggs, and milk
  • Meal #4: rice, sweet potato, spinach
  • Meal #5: protein shake, fruits, eggs
  • Meal #6: chicken breast, rice, veggies, salad

Diet / Nutrition Principles

Healthy Vegetables

Some of his diet/nutrition principles include the following:

Eating Whole Quality Foods

Lee Haney mentions he always stayed on top of his diet for his competitions, which means eating balanced meals including protein, carbs, fruits, fiber, and fats.

A diet consisting of whole foods is great for losing weight and staying healthy.

Staying Hydrated

It’s also equally essential to keep your body hydrated throughout your workout routines. Water energizes your muscles, helping you perform strenuous physical feats.

What Supplements Does He Take?

protein powder and supplements pills on a floor

Haney, having his own line of fitness supplements, offers a glimpse into his recommended workout support.

Multivitamin with Protein Powder

Lee Haney takes protein powder to ensure he gets about 20-30 grams of protein after workouts.

A good multivitamin for bodybuilders also provides you with needed vitamins, such as vitamins A and D, which play a crucial role in muscle growth and recovery [1].

Detox Supplements

Bodybuilders and athletes consume high-protein diets, which can be hard on your liver, kidney, and colon. That’s why it is crucial to detoxify the body after a competition.

Detox supplements help eliminate toxins, boost health, and promote weight loss.


Reference:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3497950/
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