What is the training of Ronnie Coleman, basic principles and exercises

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How to train 8-fold Mr. Olympia. His training principles, selection of exercises, and the nuances of compiling a diet.

In the sports world, no bodybuilder would not know about such an athlete as Ronald Dean Coleman. This person is an athlete with a capital letter. Over the years of his career, he eight times became “Mr. Olympia”, became famous in wide circles of representatives of power sports. Ronnie was born in 1964 in the United States (Texas, Arlington).

Body Features

Coleman managed to conquer the world with a unique body, which in his youth was not particularly distinguished by “meatiness”. By the constitution, Ronald is a mesomorph. The average weight is 149-150 kilograms, but during the competition, it was reduced to the level of 135-138 kg. In the bench press, Ronnie achieved a result of 250 kg, and in the deadlift – 365 kg. The start of training is 1987.

Colemen had no equal for a very long time. His body is a “mountain of muscles”, which are perfectly formed and look from all angles. It is detailed and embossed. In many poses (especially from the back) the athlete was not equal.

athlete uniform

Coleman’s principles

Ronnie achieved success in sports due to following some principles:

  • Patience. Since 1992, the athlete regularly took part in the Mr. Olympia competitions, but could not win. Only six years later, fortune smiled at him. In 1998, Coleman still took the first figurine. From that moment until 2005, he annually took the Grand Prix.
  • The test “copper pipes.” Ronnie is a world celebrity, millionaire. But he entered the new role without any problems, left his job as a police officer and today travels around the world, giving out useful tips and giving masterclasses.
  • Tenacity. The athlete admits that he achieved success in sports thanks to his perseverance and willingness to give all the best in training at 100%. Otherwise, it would be impossible to unleash the potential.
  • The ability to fight. During the competition, he was not afraid of anyone. Moreover, he was always considerate and patient, knew how to be a leader in the team, and quickly earned respect.
  • Support. Close to the athlete were always close people who supported him and gave him faith in himself.


The training program of Ronnie Coleman has the following features:

  • The athlete’s training strategy is focused on the use of different types of load – pump and power. To achieve results, each option alternates once every 1-1.5 months. This technique is known among athletes, but Coleman managed to achieve the best result.
  • Power cycle. While in the gym, Ronald was completely devoted to classes and trained with maximum efficiency. In the training program, the number of basic exercises is 1-2. The number of sets is 5-6, and the reps are 4-6. In some cases, the athlete increased the number of repetitions to 8-10 (during the drying period). Because in the process of training large weights were used, rest between sets was made more (3-5 minutes or more).
    When doing the exercises, Coleman worked in a quick style, and repetitions were done non-stop in the final positions. It was not in his rules to extend the joints to the end. Ronnie believes that it was thanks to this forethought that he managed to avoid serious injuries. At the moment when the body was on the verge of overtraining, the athlete switched to the pumping mode.
  • Pump cycle. This training period lasts 1-1.5 months. Unlike power, the number of sets increases to 10-13, and repetitions – up to 12-15. There is almost no rest between sets – 1-2 minutes. As for exercises, the program includes 2 basic and 2 isolating ones (in both cases deviations were made in the direction of increase or decrease).
  • Break. Unlike other athletes, Ronald did not give the body rest. Only periodically he provided for pauses for 5-7 days, no more.
  • Base. During training, the athlete paid attention to large muscle groups, including the back, chest, and legs. At the end of the session, the emphasis was placed on the calf, triceps, and biceps. When asked how to gain weight, he recommended focusing on three exercises – deadlift, squats, and bench press.
  • The number of repetitions. As already mentioned, Coleman loves intense training, which allowed him to “swing” huge muscle mass and achieve success in sports. At the same time, he tried to constantly increase working weights, trying to improve the results of training. The athlete says that for a long time he made mistakes in the training process and awareness of this came late. He did not do enough repetition and pressed hard.
  • Attitude to cardio. Ronnie did not ignore aerobic exercise and gave her 40-45 minutes four times a week. Thanks to this, he managed to maintain at a decent level the cardiovascular system and the general condition of the body.
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training rules

Muscle groups and training features

8 times Mr. Olympia had personal secrets regarding the training process for each muscle group:

  • Shoulders. Ronnie understood from personal experience that even a minor injury to the deltas could put an end to his career. That’s why he didn’t really like lifting the bar from behind his head and did not abuse the weights. Instead, he found that the shoulders “respond” to the intensity and volume of the workout. In this case, the basis was taken to work with dumbbells and a block simulator. The number of workouts on the shoulders – 2 times a week. The scheme is simple – three approaches with a mandatory increase in weight in each subsequent set. Favorite exercises are swinging to the sides with dumbbells, lifting in front of you, and frontal lifting of the barbell. To increase the back beam of deltas, swings are made to the sides in a slope.
  • Biceps. For many bodybuilding professionals (not to mention beginners in this sport), Coleman’s biceps were ideal. At the same time, the champion trained the biceps only twice a week. He was sure that such a volume was enough to achieve results. The basic training consisted of three sets in three exercises. The number of repetitions is 8-12. The main rule was to slowly raise and lower. In the process of work, swaying, twitching, or connecting the back to work is prohibited.
    The first exercise is standing dumbbell lifts. There is no need for large scales. The main goal is to work out the muscles precisely. In the top position, Ronnie paused for 1-2 seconds to allow his biceps to contract more. The next exercise is lifting dumbbells with supination in a sitting position. In conclusion, he “finished off” the biceps on the lower block.
  • Triceps. Training began with the extension of the arms on the block. Ronald assures that this exercise works out the muscle better than others and prepares it for further work with dumbbells and a barbell. Each approach increases weight. The number of sets is 3-4. Then there was an extension of the arms from behind the head (on the upper block). Three sets of 12-15 repetitions are also made here. Next – extension of the arm in an inclination. The dumbbell is the main instrument. Because this exercise loads the elbow joint, Ronnie rarely started with it. Most often it was final. At one time, the champion experimented with triceps training and concluded that a large amplitude provides better results. Instead of the French bench press, priority was given to the bench press with a narrow grip. To obtain an isolated load, a dumbbell lift from behind the head was necessarily added.
  • Legs. Ronald knew that without the relief muscles of the legs, competition results would not be possible. Mr. Olympia’s program always started with squats. The number of repetitions starts at 10, after which weight is added, and the number of repetitions remains unchanged. Squats athlete did deep to give the greatest load to muscle groups. The second exercise is the leg press in the simulator. Here the number of repetitions reached 12-15. The number of approaches is 3-4. The third in the program included the so-called hack squats. The amplitude, as in past cases, should be maximum.
    To study the biceps of the thigh, the champion used the capabilities of a classic simulator. Flexion lying was performed in 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. At the same time, Ronald tried not to change weight, which allowed him to work out his muscles well. Before the competition, lunges and deadlift were added.
  • The back. The training of this group began with a warm-up and stretch, without which it would be unrealistic to avoid injuries. To increase efficiency, all exercises alternated. When working on the upper block, Coleman completely straightened his arms and brought the handle to the chest. The number of approaches is 4, repetitions are 12-15. For the thickness of the muscles, deadlift and rod thrust was made in the slope. The next exercise was the T-bar pull. In the process of training, gloves and an athletic belt were used. “Achieved” the back by pull-ups.
  • Chest. Here Ronnie paid more attention to dumbbells, which he considered and considers the best option for the development of pectoral muscles. At the same time, he tried not to go in cycles, alternating them with a barbell.training process
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Nutrition rules

The champion never went in cycles concerning a diet, but in his diet, there was always a limited set of products. Among them are turkey, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, rice, and oatmeal. As a drink – only pure water. Sometimes Ronnie made “violations” in the form of pizza, but no more than 2-3 times a year. Specialized supplements were required in the diet. Among them are proteins, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and other complexes.

Coleman, like some other athletes, is sure that nutrition is the main thing in bodybuilding. If something does not work out in the gym, then it is worth revising the diet. Sometimes, in terms of muscle gain, food is more important than training. During mass gain, the number of receptions is 5-6. Saturation of the diet with meat is mandatory – without it, it is difficult to imagine stable growth.

The effectiveness of the athlete’s diet is also confirmed by its results. So, in 2003, in one year he gained 15 kilograms of clean muscles, which was a phenomenal result and a record for many.

Exercise complex and Ronnie Coleman arms workout

In his training, Ronnie Coleman prefers the principle of the pyramid. He believes that weight gain after each set helps prevent muscle injury. However, in terms of advanced training, Coleman does without negatives, since he believes that they are useless.
If you notice in your figure the greatest lag in the muscles of the trapezium or back, then you need to work out these muscles twice a week. Also, each workout should include exercises for various muscle groups. In the offseason, Ronnie Coleman trains 5 times a week, and before the tournament 6 times.

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  • Deadlift, 4 sets of 6-12 reps
  • Thrust with emphasis on the chest with a barbell, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • T-bar thrust, 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps
  • One-handed dumbbell barbell tilt 3 sets of 10-12 reps


  • Arm curls with dumbbells, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Alternating arms with dumbbells, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Curved barbell curl, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Standing flexion, 4 sets of 12 reps


  • Army bench press, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Sitting Dumbbell Bench Press, 4 sets – 12 reps
  • Front dumbbell lift, 4 sets – 12 reps
  • Our video article about shoulders



  • Squats, 5-6 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Leg Press, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Lunges, 2 sets of 50 steps
  • Leg mixing in the simulator, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg extension, 3 sets of 12 reps



  • Bench press, 5 sets of 12 reps
  • Bench press lying on an inclined bench, 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Dumbbell bench press lying on a horizontal surface, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Machs on a horizontal surface, 4 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Our video article about the features of the chest muscles


  • Extension of arms on the upper block, 3 sets of 12 repetitions
  • Dumbbell bench press, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Narrow grip press from the bench, 4 sets of 12 reps



  • Tilt dumbbell bar, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Concentrated bending the arm with a dumbbell, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Bending the arms on the lower block, 4 sets of 12 reps


  • Dumbbell bench press, 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Double sideways dumbbell lift, 3 sets – 8 – 25 reps
  • Breeding hands in the crossover, 3 sets of 8 – 25 reps



  • Leg breeding in the simulator, 4 sets of 30 reps
  • Dumbbell Sumo Squat, 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps
  • Huck squats, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Flexion of one leg while standing, 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
  • Leg curl, 4 sets of 12 reps



  • Dumbbell bench press on an inclined bench 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell bench press on a flat bench, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Breeding dumbbells to the side on an inclined bench, 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Breaking dumbbells to the sides on a flat bench, 3 sets of 12 reps


  • Pullovers, 4 sets of -12 reps
  • Bench press in the simulator, 4 sets – 12 reps
  • Dumbbell bench press with both hands from behind the head, 4 sets of 12 reps

Calf muscles

  • Rise on socks in a slope “donkey”, 4 sets – 12 repetitions
  • Leg extension sitting in the simulator, 4 sets – 12 reps
  • Lifting on a horizontal bench, 3 sets – to failure

This article has 2 Comments

    1. 546g protein, 474g carbs, and 150g fat while the calorie intake is 5562 calories. His diet plan includes chicken, lean beef, eggs, potatoes, beans, rice, and vegetables with frequent servings of protein powders and other supplements.

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