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.
- 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
|Conventional Deadlift||Back||4||12, 10, 8, 6|
|Bent-over Barbell Row||Back||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|T-Bar Row||Back||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|One-arm Dumbbell Row||Back||4||10/side|
|Standing Barbell Curl||Biceps||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Alternating Dumbbell Curl||Biceps||3||10-12|
|EX-Bar Preacher Curl||Biceps||3||10-12|
|Standing Cable Curl||Biceps||3||10-12|
|Seated Barbell Press||Shoulder||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Incline Lateral Raises||Shoulder||4||15, 12, 10|
|Front Dumbbell Raises||Shoulder||4||15, 12, 10|
Tuesday – Legs and Glutes
|Leg Extension||Quadriceps||5||20, 15, 12, 10, 8|
|Barbell Back Squat||Thigh & Glute||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
|Hack Squat/Leg Press||Thigh & Glute||3||15, 12, 10|
|Lying Leg Curl||Hamstrings||3||15, 12, 10|
|Walking Lunge||Thigh & Glute||3||10/leg|
|Donkey Calf Raises||Calves||4||15, 12, 10|
Wednesday – Chest and Triceps
|Flat Bench Press||Chest||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Incline Bench Press||Chest||3||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Decline Bench Press||Chest||3||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Flat Dumbbell Flies||Chest||3||12, 10, 8|
|Cable Pressdown||Triceps||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Seated Overhead DB Extension||Triceps||3||12, 10, 8|
|Parallel Bar Dips||Triceps||3||15, 12, 10|
|Reverse Grip Cable Pressdown||Triceps||3||15, 12, 10|
Thursday – Back, Biceps, and Shoulders (Workout B)
|T-Bar Row||Back||4||12, 10, 8, 6|
|One-arm Dumbbell Row||Back||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Wide Grip Pull-up||Back||3||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Front Pulldown/Seated Row||Back||3||10/side|
|Alternating Dumbbell Curl||Biceps||4||10-12|
|EZ-Bar Preacher Curl||Biceps||3||10-12|
|One-arm Cable Curl||Biceps||3||10-12|
|Concentration Curl||Biceps||3||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Smith Machine Overhead Press||Front Delt||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Lateral Raises (Drop-Set)||Side Delt||2||20, 15, 10, 8|
|Dumbbell Front Raises||Front Delt||3||15, 12, 10|
|Bent-Over Lateral Raises||Rear Delt||3||15, 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)
|Leg Extension||Quadriceps||4||20, 15, 12, 10|
|Barbell Front Squat||Thigh & Glute||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
|Hack Squat||Thigh & Glute||3||15, 12, 10|
|Romanian Deadlift||Hamstrings||3||15, 12, 10|
|Seated Leg Curl||Hamstrings||4||10/leg|
|Standing Calf Raises||Calves||4||10-15|
|Seated Calf Raises||Calves||4||10-15|
Saturday – Chest and Triceps (Workout B)
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||Chest||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Flat Dumbbell Bench Press||Chest||5||15, 12, 10, 8, 6|
|Decline Dumbbell Bench Press||Chest||3||15, 12, 10|
|Flat Dumbbell Flies||Chest||3||12, 10, 8|
|Close Grip French Press||Triceps||4||15, 12, 10, 8|
|Lying French Press/Skullcrusher||Triceps||3||12, 10, 8|
|Dumbbell Triceps Kickback||Triceps||3||15, 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.