12-Week Ronnie Coleman Workout Routine with PDF

When we talk about the size, strength, and muscle definition of a bodybuilder, one of the names always tops the list, and that is the great Ronnie Colemen.

Ronnie Coleman is known for his massive and muscular physique, absolute strength, dedication, and discipline, and mainly for his eight consecutive Mr. Olympia titles.

Being a fitness enthusiast and inspired by his personality, I’ve tried one of his training programs recently.

It was challenging but effective and helped me gain noticeable strength and muscle mass in a few months.

I thought there may be thousands of others looking for the ultimate Ronnie Coleman Workout Routine, so I’ve decided to share that in this article.

I’ve taken his training program from his autobiography – Yeah Buddy – My Incredible Story.

12-Week Ronnie Coleman Training Program

The program I followed involved training every muscle group two times a week. It is a split workout that includes working out six days a week (four upper-body and two lower-body sessions) with one day of complete rest.

Program Summary:

  • Split Type: Upper/Lower Split
  • Sessions/week: Six
  • Duration/session: 75-120 minutes
  • Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Target Gender: Preferably for Men
  • Recommended Program Duration: 12 Weeks

Ronnie Coleman Weekly Workout Schedule:

  • Monday – Back, Biceps, and Shoulders (Workout A)
  • Tuesday – Legs and Glutes (Workout A)
  • Wednesday – Chest and Triceps (Workout A)
  • Thursday – Back, Biceps, and Shoulders (Workout B)
  • Friday – Legs and Glutes (Workout B)
  • Saturday – Chest and Triceps (Workout B)
  • Sunday – Rest/OFF

He also performed crunches at the end of the usual workout to train his abs four days a week.

My personal tip on warm-up: It is best to perform some warm-up exercises, such as treadmill jog, stationary bike, and some bodyweight cardio exercises to increase your body temperature and oxygen and prepare your muscles for intense workouts. You can also do one lightweight set prior to each different exercise to get your muscles ready to lift heavy.

Monday – Back, Biceps, and Shoulders

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Conventional DeadliftBack412, 10, 8, 6
Bent-over Barbell RowBack415, 12, 10, 8
T-Bar RowBack415, 12, 10, 8
One-arm Dumbbell RowBack410/side
Standing Barbell CurlBiceps415, 12, 10, 8
Alternating Dumbbell CurlBiceps310-12
EX-Bar Preacher CurlBiceps310-12
Standing Cable CurlBiceps310-12
Seated Barbell PressShoulder415, 12, 10, 8
Incline Lateral RaisesShoulder415, 12, 10
Front Dumbbell RaisesShoulder415, 12, 10
Ronnie Coleman’s workout plan

Tuesday – Legs and Glutes

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Leg ExtensionQuadriceps520, 15, 12, 10, 8
Barbell Back SquatThigh & Glute515, 12, 10, 8, 6
Hack Squat/Leg PressThigh & Glute315, 12, 10
Lying Leg CurlHamstrings315, 12, 10
Walking LungeThigh & Glute310/leg
Donkey Calf RaisesCalves415, 12, 10

Wednesday – Chest and Triceps

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Flat Bench PressChest415, 12, 10, 8
Incline Bench PressChest315, 12, 10, 8
Decline Bench PressChest315, 12, 10, 8
Flat Dumbbell FliesChest312, 10, 8
Cable PressdownTriceps415, 12, 10, 8
Seated Overhead DB ExtensionTriceps312, 10, 8
Parallel Bar DipsTriceps315, 12, 10
Reverse Grip Cable PressdownTriceps315, 12, 10
Ronnie Coleman workout split

Thursday – Back, Biceps, and Shoulders (Workout B)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
T-Bar RowBack412, 10, 8, 6
One-arm Dumbbell RowBack415, 12, 10, 8
Wide Grip Pull-upBack315, 12, 10, 8
Front Pulldown/Seated RowBack310/side
Alternating Dumbbell CurlBiceps410-12
EZ-Bar Preacher CurlBiceps310-12
One-arm Cable CurlBiceps310-12
Concentration CurlBiceps315, 12, 10, 8
Smith Machine Overhead PressFront Delt415, 12, 10, 8
Lateral Raises (Drop-Set)Side Delt220, 15, 10, 8
Dumbbell Front RaisesFront Delt315, 12, 10
Bent-Over Lateral RaisesRear Delt315, 12, 10
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises: Perform four subsets (20, 15, 10, and reps) in each set. Decrease load after each subset and perform the suggested number of reps.

Friday – Legs and Glutes (Workout B)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Leg ExtensionQuadriceps420, 15, 12, 10
Barbell Front SquatThigh & Glute515, 12, 10, 8, 6
Hack SquatThigh & Glute315, 12, 10
Romanian DeadliftHamstrings315, 12, 10
Seated Leg CurlHamstrings410/leg
Standing Calf RaisesCalves410-15
Seated Calf RaisesCalves410-15

Saturday – Chest and Triceps (Workout B)

ExerciseTarget MuscleSetsReps
Incline Dumbbell Bench PressChest415, 12, 10, 8
Flat Dumbbell Bench PressChest515, 12, 10, 8, 6
Decline Dumbbell Bench PressChest315, 12, 10
Flat Dumbbell FliesChest312, 10, 8
Close Grip French PressTriceps415, 12, 10, 8
Lying French Press/SkullcrusherTriceps312, 10, 8
Dumbbell Triceps KickbackTriceps315, 12, 10

Ronnie Coleman’s Key Foods and Supplements

Food is fuel in muscle building. Ronnie says without sufficient fuel, your progress will stagnate, and your effort won’t be entirely optimized.

A balanced diet must include good-quality proteins and healthy carbs and fats.

Ronnie Coleman used to consume turkey, chicken, and lean beef for protein, grits and baked potato for carbs, and a lot of supplements for vitamins.

He suggests consulting a nutritionist who can tailor your diet based on your budget and goal.

Protein Sources: Turkey, Chicken, and Lean beef

Carbs Sources: Grits and Baked Potato

Vitamin Sources: Multivitamins

Pre and Post Workout Supplements: Creatine, BCAA, Protein Shakes

Ronnie Coleman Tips for Achieving Optimal Results

1. Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy helped Ronnie build a massive and defined physique. He says doing bodybuilding exercises with heavier weights not only increases strength but also helps you grow mass and improve muscular definition.

2. Use Free Weights

Barbell and dumbbell exercises are usually known as free weights. Free weight exercises build raw strength, engage muscles effectively, and elicit higher muscle activation. Ronnie recommends including 75% free weight exercises in your workout program.

3. Intense Training

To increase strength and size, lift as heavy as possible, keep the rest time between sets shorter, and continuously challenge your muscles with heavier weights.

4. Train to Fatigue

Coleman suggests Training to fatigue instead of training to failure. He meant to say that you should push your muscles to the point of exhaustion without going to complete failure. This helps stimulate muscle growth and strength gains while reducing the risk of overtraining or injury. It’s a balanced approach for effective and sustainable workouts.

5. Stick to The Schedule

Ronnie says instead of constantly varying your workout, stick to your schedule to achieve decent results over time. You can replace some exercises but try to follow the split as outlined for a certain period of time. If that does not work, you can try different splits.

6. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key for good health, especially if you lift weight. It helps prevent muscle cramps, enhances performance, and promotes recovery. Inadequate water intake can lead to fatigue and hinder muscle growth and overall fitness progress.

7. Avoid Cheat Meals

If you want to build quality muscle, you have to eat clean. Ronnie Coleman said he never had a cheat meal during his entire bodybuilding career. He says frequent cheat meals can hurt the entire progress.

Download The Ronnie Coleman Workout Routine PDF

Disclaimer: Ronnie Coleman may have tried various training programs. However, it is the one he mentioned in his autobiography “Yeah Buddy – My Incredible Story” for his fans who want to explore his program and use it to build muscle.

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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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