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Lee Haney’s Workout Routine
Diet Plan & Supplements

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: November 8, 2021

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”

Career Highlights

  • Teen Mr. America (1979)
  • Eight-time Mr. Olympia champion (1984-1991) — the record matched but not broken by Ronnie Coleman
  • Inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame (2011)
  • Instated into the International Sports Hall of Fame (2014)
  • Hosted the first bodybuilding TV show known as Lee Haney’s Championship Workout 
  • Authored several books, including Totalee Awesome: A Complete Guide to Body-building Success

Lee Haney, a boy from South Carolina, started at age 12 with just a dumbbell, a weight set, and a couple of bodybuilding brochures and paved his way through bodybuilding competitions, becoming one of the youngest bodybuilders who won the Mr. Olympia title at age 24.

With his hard work, talent, and determination, he dominated the bodybuilding stage before retiring at age 31.

Lee Haney is now a successful gym owner, physical fitness and bodybuilding consultant, and family man.

Lee Haney's Workout Routine

shirtless Lee Haney in a gym

Haney's training goal is to stimulate each muscle group adequately, so he prefers doing training splits. His workout routine includes doing a 4-day training split, consisting of three days of training and one day of rest.

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

man showing off his body muscles

Haney's piece of advice to bodybuilders is to stimulate the muscles but never annihilate them. He says that if you train a muscle group until failure, it only increases the risks of injury.

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, and 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.

Possess the Mind of a Conqueror

man holding up a dumbbell while showing off his biceps

Lee Haney not only possesses a body like that of Samson or Hercules, but he also has the mind of a conqueror.

One of his great motivations for bodybuilders out there is to develop the mindset that you can conquer anything.

In his workout videos, he wears a do-rag which, to him, was his Superman cape. And when he wears it, he sets his mind to do the work.

"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, and 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

protein smoothie drinks in a glass, and a plate of cooked chicken

Lee Haney also puts huge importance on eating properly to fuel his training sessions. For him, you can't train hard like a horse and eat like a bird.

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

spoon, fork, apple and a measuring tape on a white plate

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

Lee Haney created his line of fitness supplements, so we can learn something about what he recommends for the 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.

Are You Going to Try the Lee Haney Workout Routine?

As Lee Haney always tells bodybuilders, you can’t force time, and so, you can’t force your body to become bigger and stronger overnight.

Lee Haney himself is living proof that building the body you want takes time, hard work, and passion.

Though Haney has a classic physique and does an old-school workout, you can use his workout routine to improve aesthetics and reduce body fat.

And if you decide to give Lee Haney’s workout regimen and diet plan a go, make sure to be patient with the results, and have fun all the way.


Reference:

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

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