Bodybuilding is a sport of extremes. Competitors are judged not only on their raw muscle size but also on lean and well-proportioned. Many train all year just for a small handful of shows, as it’s almost impossible to stay in top competition shape for more than a couple of days at a time.
Over the years, bodybuilding has changed out of all recognition. Advanced training methods, cutting-edge supplements, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs mean that modern bodybuilders are bigger and leaner than ever before. The current crop of bodybuilders dwarfs even famous old-school stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
While modern bodybuilders ARE generally bigger than their golden-era counterparts, many would argue that they are not as athletic, and their physiques are less relatable.
One of the biggest and most successful bodybuilders in history is Ronnie Coleman. Coleman had an outstanding professional career and holds numerous records, including most Mr. Olympia titles (eight) and 26 professional title wins. Many consider Ronnie Coleman to be the best bodybuilder in history, which helps explain his nickname: the King.
In this article, we lift the lid on the Ronnie Coleman Workout Routine and also look at his dietary and supplement regimen.
Who is Ronnie Coleman?
Ronnie Coleman is a retired professional bodybuilder. He gave up competitive bodybuilding back in 2009. Ronnie Coleman won eight consecutive Mr. Olympia titles during his career, dominating the sport of bodybuilding from 1998 to 2005. Former police officer Coleman was born on May 13th, 1964, in Monroe, Louisiana, and lives in Arlington, Texas.
He went to Grambling University and graduated cum laude in 1984, earning a BSc in accounting. At university, Coleman played football and was also a powerlifter. Ronnie Coleman was known for being one of the biggest professional bodybuilders around…
- Height – 5’ 11”
- Contest weight – 287-300 lbs.
- Off-season weight – 315-320 lbs.
- Chest – 60”
- Arms – 24”
- Thighs – 34”
- Calves – 20”
- Forearms – 18”
- Waist – 41”
However, years of intense training have taken a real toll on Ronnie Coleman’s health, and he has had to endure several major surgeries to repair damage to his spine and replace both hips. He now spends much of his time confined to a wheelchair, as he cannot walk very far.
Despite this, the King says he regrets nothing about his bodybuilding career and wouldn’t do anything differently.
His Weekly Workout Routine
Ronnie Coleman was known for being one of the strongest bodybuilders ever. He lifted huge weights and was known for yelling “ain’t nothing but a peanut” and “lightweight baby” during his workouts.
His love of heavy strength training probably stems from his time as a powerlifter. His training philosophy was built around intense workouts using very heavyweights, and, like all bodybuilders, Ronnie Coleman changed his workouts frequently to avoid progress plateaus. Because of his injuries and health issues, Coleman no longer follows a bodybuilding routine.
However, at his peak, this is how the King used to train:
Monday – Back, biceps, shoulders
- Deadlifts, 4 sets 6-12 reps
- Barbell rows, 3 sets 12 reps
- T-bar rows, 3 sets 12 reps
- One-arm dumbbell rows, 3 sets 12 reps
- Barbell curls, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated alternating dumbbell curls, 3 sets 12 reps
- Preacher curls, 3 sets 12 reps
- Cable curls, 3 sets 12 reps
- Military presses, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated dumbbell press, 4 sets 12 reps
- Front dumbbell press, 4 sets 12 reps
Tuesday – Legs
- Squats, 5-6 sets 12 reps
- Leg presses, 4 sets 12 reps
- Lunges, 2 sets 100 yards
- Stiff-leg deadlifts, 3 sets 12 reps
- Seated hamstring curls, 3 sets 12 reps
Wednesday – Chest, triceps
- Bench press, 5 sets 12 reps
- Incline barbell press, 3 sets 12 reps
- Flat bench dumbbell press, 3 sets 12 reps
- Flat bench flyes, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated cambered-bar triceps extensions, 3 sets 12 reps
- Seated dumbbell triceps extensions, 4 sets 12 reps
- Close-grip bench press, 4 sets 12 reps
Thursday – Back, biceps, shoulders
- Bent-over barbell rows, 5 sets 12 reps
- Low pulley rows, 4 sets 12 reps
- Rear Lat pulldowns, 3 sets 12 reps
- Front lat pulldowns, 3 sets 12 reps
- Incline alternating dumbbell curls, 4 sets 12 reps
- Machine curls, 3 sets 12 reps
- Standing cable curls, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated dumbbell press, 4 sets 12 reps
- Front lateral dumbbell raises, 3 sets 12 reps
- Machine side raises, 3 sets 12 reps
Friday – Legs
- Leg extensions, 4 sets 30 reps
- Front squats, 4 sets 12-15 reps
- Hack squats, 3 sets 12 reps
- Standing leg curls, 3 sets 12-15 reps
- Lying leg curls, 4 sets 12 reps
Saturday – Chest. Triceps, calves, abs
- Incline dumbbell press, 4 sets 12 reps
- Decline barbell press, 3 sets 12 reps
- Incline dumbbell flyes, 3 sets 12 reps
- Decline dumbbell press, 3 sets 12 reps
- Skull crushers, 4 sets 12 reps
- Machine triceps dips, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated triceps extensions, 4 sets 12 reps
- Donkey calf raises, 4 sets 12 reps
- Seated calf raises, 4 sets 12 reps
- Crunches, 3 sets failure
Sunday – Rest
Ronnie Coleman’s Diet Plan
It goes without saying that building a body as large and powerful as Ronnie Coleman’s required a lot of food. On average, Coleman consumed 6000 calories per day just to fuel his workouts and maintain muscle mass.
When eating to gain weight, this number soared to as high as 10,000 calories per day. Like most people, Ronnie Coleman ate different foods on different days, often based on how he was feeling and what he was in the mood for.
However, every day he ate large quantities of food to provide his body with the nutrients he needed to train, recover, and grow. So, while there is no official Ronnie Coleman diet plan, a typical day of eating for the King looked something like this:
- Breakfast – 2 cups of egg scrambled egg whites, 2 cups of grits, 1 cup of coffee
- Snack – pre-workout weight gainer protein shake
- Lunch – 500 grams of chicken, 1 ½ cups beans, 1 ½ cups rice, 2 slices of cornbread
- 2nd lunch 500 grams chicken breast, 1 baked potato, broccoli
- Dinner – 250 grams of beef, 150 grams of chicken, 2 baked potatoes, green beans
- Pre-bad snack – 4 scoops of whey protein
Needless to say, if you don’t train like Ronnie and don’t weigh 300 pounds, this sort of massive eating plan is NOT recommended!
Ronnie Coleman Supplement Regimen
Like many professional bodybuilders, Ronnie Coleman used performance-enhancing drugs when he was competing. These drugs will have included testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin. In addition to PEDs, Coleman also used the following supplements:
Despite having retired from competition over a decade ago, Ronnie Coleman is still considered to be one of the best bodybuilders in history, and many consider him THE best. His combination of massive muscle size and incredible definition changed the face of bodybuilding, and his eight-year Mr. Olympia streak cemented his reputation as the King.
Ronnie Coleman had a very no-nonsense approach to training and followed the “go heavy or go home” approach to working out. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Coleman made it his mission to not just look strong but be strong, too. The weights he lifted during training are almost beyond belief.
While Ronnie Coleman’s hardcore approach to training won him admiration, fans, and his eight Mr. Olympia titles, it took a tremendous toll on his joints. He has since suffered severe spine problems, which have required extensive surgery, and has had both hips replaced.
Even so, Ronnie Coleman is still an advocate of bodybuilding and has no regrets. He pushed himself to the absolute limit in the pursuit of bodybuilding glory, and he’s happy enough to pay his dues.
So, should YOU train and eat like Ronnie Coleman? Probably not! He was blessed with incredible genetics and was a full-time professional bodybuilder. For most people, the King’s approach to bodybuilding is too extreme.
However, while you should probably be kinder to your body than Coleman was to his, there is nothing wrong with being inspired by his dedication and determination to be the best, whatever the cost.