Ronnie Coleman and his training plan, diet and interview

Ronnie Coleman and his training plan, diet and interview

Ronnie Dean Coleman, born May 13, 1964, is an American professional bodybuilder and an 8-time winner of Mr. Olympia title which is a world record. In addition to these achievements, he also holds a record in the highest number of wins in IFBB Professional – 26 to be precise! Crazy, right? This is one of the reasons why he’s considered one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. We can only agree.

Ronnie Coleman
Author of the photo: Revanzo Hellas

Ronnie Coleman & basic information

  • Date of birth: May 13, 1964
  • Place of birth: Monroe, Louisiana
  • Off-season weight: 143 kg
  • Competition weight: 136 kg
  • Height: 180 cm

Ronnie’s measurements

  • Chest: 147 cm
  • Waist: 105 cm
  • Arms: 58.5 cm
  • Forearms: 46 cm
  • Thighs: 88 cm
  • Calves: 53 cm [1]

Interesting facts about Coleman

• In 1986, Coleman graduated with honors in Accounting at Grambling State University.

• From 1989 to 2000, he served as a policeman in Arlington, Texas and as a backup officer until 2003.

• At Mr. Texas contest in 1990, he defeated his coach Dobson.

• In 2013, Ronnie’s estimated value was $10 million. [2]

You might be interested in these products:

Ronnie’s surgeries:

• December 2007 – laminectomy (removal of the back of the vertebral arch) of L4-L5 discs

• July 2011 – L3-L4 disc decompression (freeing up space)

• December 2011 – neck vertebra joint, C4-C6

• July 2014 – replacement of the left hip joint

• August 2014 – replacement of the right hip joint

• July 2015 – L3-L4 disc joint

• February 2016 – 11-hour spine surgery [3] 

“A typical day in my life looks like this: diet, training and sleep.”[4]

The face of the former cop Ronnie will forever be one of the faces of world bodybuilding, not only because of the enormous number of wins, but also because he has set a new standard for muscle mass and its definition. In one competition, Coleman even showed himself as the biggest bodybuilder when the scale showed an unreal 136 kg.

The most important competitions

2006 Mr. Olympia – 2nd place

2002 Grand Prix Holland – 1st place

2001 Arnold Classic – 1st place

2001 New Zealand Grand Prix – 1st place

2000 Grand Prix England – 1st place

1999-2000 Mr. Texas – 1st place

1998-2005 Mr. Olympia – 1st place

1990 Mr. Texas – 1st place [1]

Ronnie Coleman
Photo by:

In 1998, right after the reigning Mr. Olympia champion – Dorian Yates – announces his retirement, Ronnie Coleman became the new holder of the prestigious title. For the next two years, Ronnie came first without any problems. It was not until 2001 when Jay Cutler posed a serious threat to his title efforts. The following year, Jay Cutler decided not to compete in order to gain more muscle thus defeat Coleman. Shortly after Mr. Olympia 2002, Ronnie was defeated by Gunter Shlierkamp at the GNC Show of Strenght.

The following year, Jay Cutler announced his return to Mr. Olympia and Ronnie was often left out in internet discussions and bodybuilding magazines. Everything changed when Ronnie climbed the stage in 2003 with an incredible weight of 130 kilograms. For a human being, achieving a weight of 130 kilograms at 5 kilograms of body fat is just incredible! Ronnie continued winning the title in 2004 with a weight of 134 kilograms, but was not as shredded as in previous years. In 2005, he won his last, eighth title. [5]

“Hard work and training. There is no secret recipe. I train hard with heavy weights and try to be the best in the world.” [4]

During this eight-year period, his 2003 body was the most dominant and shocking. Though he was bigger and heavier, over the years his muscles became asymmetrical. The figure he showed in 2003 can be considered the most dominant combination of size and symmetry ever achieved. [5]

Ronnie Coleman’s approach

You can read a lot about Ronnie’s approach, but as he claims, his training plan can be compared to “powerbuilding”. In the early days, he devoted himself mainly to powerlifting which included squat, deadlift and bench press.

Many bodybuilders train on the basis of a high number of reps and machine exercises while Ronnie Coleman has always used heavy weights. He is clearly one of the strongest bodybuilders of all time whose training is one of the most difficult ones because he has always been lifting heavy weights.

“Everyone wants to become a bodybuilder but nobody wants to exercise with heavy weights.” [4]

Although Coleman retired in 2007, his age, which is approaching 50, and his stamina do not allow him to retire altogether. He always had a good split game and each part of his body was exercised within two days. This allowed him to train really hard and difficult workouts, but also to perform a number of exercises per each muscle group. However, as a professional athlete, he had enough time to devote himself fully not only to education and training, but also to muscle regeneration and relaxation.

Ronnie Coleman
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Ronnie Coleman’s training plan

Monday: Back/ Biceps/ Shoulders

• Deadlift – 4 sets of 6-12 reps

• Barbell Row – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

• T-Bar Row – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

• Dumbbell Row – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

• Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curl – 3 sets of 12 reps

• EZ-bar Bicep Curl on bench – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Cable Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Overhead Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 10-12 reps

• Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Dumbbell Front Raise – 4 sets of 12 reps

“I achieved my weight by hard training and using heavy weights.” [4]

Tuesday: Legs

• Squats – 5-6 sets of 2-12 reps

• Leg Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Lunges – 2 sets of 30m each

• Deadlift with straight or slightly bent legs – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Leg Curls – 3 sets of 12 reps

Ronnie Coleman
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Wednesday: Chest / Triceps

• Bench Press – 5 sets of 12 reps

• Incline Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Dumbbell Press – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Lateral Raises – 4 sets of 12 reps

• EZ-bar Tricep Extension – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Seated Dumbbell Tricep Extension – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Close Grip Bench Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

Thursday: Back/ Biceps/ Shoulders

• Barbell Row – 5 sets of 10-12 reps

• Low Pulley Row – 4 sets of 10-12 reps

• Close-Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

• Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 10-12 reps

• Seated Alternating Bicep Curl – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Machine Bicep Curl – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Barbell Bicep Curl – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Low Cable Bar Curl – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Overhead Shoulder Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Front Raises – 3 sets of 8-25 reps

• Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 3 sets of 8-25 reps

Friday: Legs

• Leg Extension – 4 sets of 30 reps

• Front Squat – 4 sets of 12-15 reps

• Hack Squat – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Standing Leg Curl – 3 sets of 12-15 reps

• Leg Curl – 4 sets of 12-15 reps

Saturday: Chest/ Triceps/ Calves/ Abs

• Dumbbell Incline bench Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Decline Bench Press – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Incline Dumbbell Flys – 3 sets of 12 reps

• Decline Dumbbell Flys – 3 sets of 12 reps

• EZ-bar French Press – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Parallel Bars Dips – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Seated EZ-bar Tricep Extension

• Standing Calf Raise – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Seated Calf Raises – 4 sets of 12 reps

• Crunches – 3 sets till failure [5]

Sunday: Free day

Ronnie Coleman & diet

“Fuel” for a hardcore bodybuilder like Ronnie is certainly very important. He usually consumed classic foods that belong to bodybuilding such as chicken, potatoes, rice, lean beef, eggs, oatmeal, beans, and a lot of vegetables. Sure, he recharged his energy with whey proteins, too.

For Ronnie, consuming enough food was always a big struggle. If it was off-season, he usually ate hamburgers and fried chicken. But if he needed to lose some weight, he ate chicken and a lot of vegetablesboring but effective.

“I have always considered myself the greatest adversary. I am not trying to offend anyone, but I cannot see other competitors as my competitors because I cannot control them. I can only change what I look like.” [4]

Calories: 5562

Fats: 150 g

Proteins: 546 g

Carbohydrates: 474 g

Ronnie Coleman and Nutritional Supplements

10:00 – Arginine (3- 5 g)

10:30 – ¾ cup of semolina, 2 cups of egg white, cup of coffee

12:30 – Pre-workout stimulant, Post-workout supplement, Arginine 16:00 – 450 g Chicken breast, 1 ½ cup of red beans, 1 and ½ cup of brown rice, 2 slices of corn bread

18:30 – Arginine

19:00 – 500 g chicken breast, 1 baked potato, water

22:00 – 250 g Beef, 140g Chicken breast, 1 baked potato, 120 g French fries, 230 ml Lemonade.

00:00 – Post-workout supplement

01:30 Whey Protein: 4 scoops [6]

Interview with Ronnie Coleman for Gymbeam

We’re glad that we had the opportunity to ask Ronnie Coleman some questions about his life and bodybuilding career. Watch our video: 

Interview with Ronnie Coleman for

1. What was your main motivation to start and continue with bodybuilding?

“My main goal was to do what I enjoy. I was paid enough during my career, but I only considered that a bonus. It was the love of sport what daily motivated me.”

2. How is your life different today when you are no longer preparing for Mr. Olympia?

I was under enormous pressure during each preparation for Mr. Olympia . Still, I managed to get rid of it. Every year, I was looking forward to the upcoming preparation. Nowadays, I’m a little bored. I somehow miss even pre-competition training and diet.

3. Some people argue that you reached your ideal figure when you were lighter (122kg). Was there a look of your body that you liked the most?

During my first victory at Mr. Olympia. The competition was incredible. Nothing will ever replace my feelings after this contest, everything went exactly according to my expectations. That year, I had to overcome a lot to win the title. I stood on stage with my opponents who have been beating me for the last ten years. Nobody chose me as their favorite because I came ninth a year ago. I had to show people something incredible to remove their prejudices. That’s exactly what I eventually did.

4. What do you think has caused you to be ahead of your professional colleagues? Except for your obvious size and fitness?

It must have been my training approach. If you look at some of my training videos and compare them to other bodybuilders, you will see that my training was completely different and much more intense than theirs.

5. Did your muscles look denser because of all the strength trainings you did?

“Yes, exactly.”

6. Many bodybuilding sites and magazines often mention that you were the best bodybuilder of all time. Do you agree with this statement?

I’m not saying I’m the best nor that I’m not. The others say that. It’s a kind of compliment you just have to take.

7. When did you find that you could build a successful career as a professional bodybuilder?

It was at least five or six years later. It took me a long time to get to the phase when I started to make my living by doing this sport. For the first three to four years, I did nothing interesting as a pro. I didn’t reach TOP5 very often. I was happy to go through preparations for competitions because I enjoyed it and I got free fitness center membership. I was happy because I knew I was doing it to the maximum.

8. At your last Mr. The Olympia, you were clearly not in your best form. What do you think caused this loss?

All of the workouts I went through eventually caught up with me. I had serious problems with my back. I remember I felt a huge back pain during one workout which must have been caused by the weight I was lifting. In fact, I never took a long break to let my body fully recover.

9. How does it feel to be an inspiration to bodybuilding fans around the world?

“It’s a great feeling, but you don’t really think about it when you do this sport. During my career, I didn’t think too often about the money and inspiration I gave people because I enjoyed it so much.

10. If you were to sum up your career in one sentence, what would you say?

Ronnie Coleman
Author of the photo: Hari Bhagirath

The best career in the world! [7]

Ronnie Coleman’s career demonstrates a fundamental law in nature: for everything you gain, you have to lose something. It’s simply about whether the lost was worth the winnings. According to Ronnie, his hard workouts were worth it. He may live the rest of his life in pain, but his name will forever appear in topics about the sport he loved. Would he achieve a record of 8 Mr. Olympia titles if he weren’t so motivated, intense and extreme? Probably not.

Everything we do has the potential to cause long-term consequences, especially bodybuilding. Bodybuilding has the potential to contribute to a better lifestyle, but it also carries the potential to cause harm if the trainings are just too much. Squats with 360 kilograms are a performance that few people can do. Such a performance requires some extreme which will manifest in injuries or illnesses sometime later. Whether the past was good or bad, at some point, it will surely catch up. This also applies to greats like Ronnie Coleman.

Although his training was effective, it can be too physically demanding for a typical recreational or novice athlete! [8]

So you still want to become a bodybuilder like me and have the same training morale like me? As you can see, I’m an 8-time Mr. Olympia and I can’t walk. I went through a back surgery that lasted 11 hours.” Coleman says on his Instagram.

Ronnie had interesting genetics for strength and bodybuilding and his training program reflects his natural ability to gain muscle mass. His training plan and diet should be just an inspiration for every gym enthusiast. We are not trying to say that everybody should train like Ronnie. 

Do I have regrets? Would I change something if I had a chance to put bring back time? Yes, if I had another chance, I would change one thing. When doing a 360kg squat, I would do 4 reps instead of two. It’s the only thing I regret. These two repetitions haunt me to this day because I know I would have been able to do the four of them.[9]

A video where Ronnie squats with a weight of 360 kilograms.


We would like to hear your thoughts on Ronnie Coleman’s training plan and diet in the comments section. If you liked the article, feel free to share it, please.


[1] Pro Profiles, Ronnie Coleman Pro Bodybuilding Profile

[2] Siofra M, Building An Empire: The World’s 5 Richest Bodybuilders –

[3] Muscle & Fitness, Ronnie Coleman No Regrets

[4] Bornrich, Ronnie Coleman

[5] Paramount Training, Ronnie Coleman - An In Depth Look At The Training, Of The Most Dominant Bodybuilder Of All Time, In His Prime

[6], Ronnie Coleman's Get Huge Program –

[7] David Robson, Still Going Strong: An Interview With Bodybuilding Legend, Ronnie Coleman!

[8] Troy, Ronnie Coleman Workout

[9] Jonathan Leonard, 7 Surgeries Later, Ronnie Can’t Walk, but He’s Fighting

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