There is one Mr. Olympia that stands out the most for me, and that’s Ronnie Coleman. There is the obvious fact that he is the co-record holder of winning Mr. Olympia 8 times.
But what I admire most about him is his workout routine and discipline.
His professional career went from a poor pizza delivery guy to a police officer, before he finally became a professional bodybuilder with a fantastic competitive record.
And here’s what we’ve been able to find out about his workouts and diet from numerous interviews.
The Ronnie Coleman Workout Routines
Let me start by saying that I know very few people who would be able and committed enough for a Ronnie Coleman workout routine.
Here’s what’s involved:
Monday: Back, Biceps, Shoulders
- Deadlifts: 4 sets of 6 - 12 reps (increasing load)
- Barbell Row: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Bicep Curls: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Seated Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Overhead Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Standard Squats: 6 sets of 2 - 12 reps (increasing load)
- Leg Press: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Lunges: 2 sets over 30 yards
Wednesday: Chest, Triceps
- Bench Press: 5 sets of 12 reps
- Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Lateral Raises: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Close Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Seated Dumbbell Extension: 4 sets of 12 reps
Thursday: Back, Biceps, Shoulders
Mix of Monday’s exercises plus these.
- Barbell Row: 5 sets of 12 reps
- Close-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Machine Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Standing Leg Curl: 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps
- Front Squat: 4 sets of 12 - 15 reps
- Leg Extension: 4 sets of 30 reps
- Hack Squat: 3 sets of 12 - 15 reps
Saturday: Chest, Triceps, Calves, Abs
- Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Standing Calf Raise: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Dips on Parallel Bars: 4 sets of 12 reps
- Decline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Decline Bench Press: 3 sets of 12 reps
- Crunches: 3 sets to failure
Sunday: Rest Day
- And it’ll be a well-deserved rest.
“Hard work and training. There’s no secret formula. I lift heavy, work hard, and aim to be the best.”
- Ronnie Coleman, Champion Bodybuilder
Workout Routines of other Champions:
The Daily Ronnie Coleman Diet
Ronnie Coleman has spoken a few times about how he structures the massive amount of 5,500 calories per day. That’s a lot of food, and in part, he gets it from supplements.
More on those shortly.
But here’s what he would commonly eat in a day.
- 1 cup of grits with cheese
- 2 cups of egg whites
- 2 full chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups of brown rice
- 1.5 cups of beans
- 2 slices of cornbread
- Afternoon Snack:
- 2 full chicken breasts
- 1 large potato
- 1 lean filet steak
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 large potato
As you can see, there’s a lot of attention to eating lean meat for plenty of protein. But there’s also plenty of carbs for the raw energy needed.
You’d have to be exercising a lot for that kind of diet.
How Supplements Play A Role
Ronnie Coleman seems to rely a lot on his diet for all the nutrients his body needs. But there are some specialized supplements that he uses daily.
Ronnie starts his day with 5 grams of L-Arginine. He also takes a second dose later in the afternoon.
L-Arginine may provide you with faster muscle building and recovery, based on medical research .
He also takes pre and post-workout supplements in the form of BCAAs. These have been shown to play a role in muscle protein synthesis .
Rest And Recovery
Ronnie Coleman takes one rest day per week, as you can see in the above workout routine.
Some people find that surprising as there are bodybuilders and athletes out there who work non-stop. They might reduce sets and reps on a particular day, but don’t really take a day off.
Based on Ronnie’s success rate, it would seem that giving his body time to recover is a key to being able to bulk up so much.
It’s certainly something that our team at Total Shape is in favor of.
Would You Be Able For The Ronnie Coleman Workout Routine?
There’s no doubt that it takes a lot of work to bulk up like Ronnie Coleman. But we would guess that even doing 50% of what he does could have amazing results on your size and shape.
You have to keep in mind, though, that it’s not just putting in the hours with heavy weights.
If your diet isn’t designed to support your goals, you could end up wasting a lot of time and effort.
Remember: you can’t out-exercise a bad diet.