Ronnie Coleman’s Biceps Routine

8-time Mr. O Ronnie Coleman talks about his guns

As we countdown to the 45th anniversary of the Mr. Olympia on September 24-25, let’s check in with the man who entered a record 15 O’s and won a record-tying eight. This year will mark the third anniversary of his last O appearance and the fifth anniversary of his last O win, and yet his lengthy reign casts a long shadow. For a whole generation of bodybuilding fans, Ronnie Coleman was the king. Two of the reasons why were his right and left biceps. Ronnie tells us what makes his biceps training unique and shares a typical routine he was doing when he was scooping up the Sandow every autumn.


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Ronnie Coleman Out of 2010 Mr. Olympia; Career Over?

THIS IS A MUSCLE SPORT MAG EXCLUSIVE – After a year of speculation, Ronnie Coleman has decided not to compete in the 2010 Mr. Olympia. In an e-mail sent to our publication, the 8-time Sandow winner plainly stated, “I’m definitely not doing the Olympia.”

It was last June that Coleman first announced live on MuscleSport Radio that he was making his comeback and training for the Olympia and the story was the talk of the bodybuilding industry. When the man who is tied for the most Sandows in the history of the sport speaks of donning the posing trunks again, that is to be expected.

Now after having some time to think it over, “The King” has decided that the time was not right for him to join the ranks in Las Vegas this September.

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Ronnie Coleman’s chest test

So you think you know everything about Ronnie Coleman’s training, huh?

Pop quiz, hot shot. Sharpen your No. 2 pencil, put aside your old issues of FLEX and journey with us to MetroFlex Gym in Arlington, Texas, to watch the legend train chest. The Coleman comprehension exam begins now.

1. True or false: Coleman built his physique with heavy weights for low reps.
FALSE. Coleman has long used prodigious weights, including such legendary lifts as an 800-pound squat (for one rep) and an 805-pound deadlift (for two reps), but these feats don’t reflect the manner in which he has regularly trained during his 15-year pro career.
Over the years, Coleman has almost always kept his reps in a moderate range of 10-12 per set. In the workout we witnessed – only two weeks before the 2006 Olympia – he did 365-pound bench presses for 10 reps and 315- pound incline presses for 12.
“I go for 10 reps per set,” he says. “Sometimes I might only get eight or nine, but I was going for 10. Missing 10 doesn’t happen very often, though – maybe just the last couple sets of a workout. If I can keep going at 10, I do, but if I get more than 12, the weight was too light, and I’ll use more next time.”

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Ronnie Coleman Biography

Birthdate: May 13, 1964
Birthplace: Monroe, Louisianna
Education: Bastrop High School 1982; Grambling State University, 1986 (BS in Accounting, Cum Laude)
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 300 lbs. (contest); 330 lbs. (off-season)
Current residence: Arlington, TX

Ronnie Coleman: His Rise to the Top and How He Stayed There!

From humble beginnings

Ronnie Dean Coleman came into this world on May 13, 1964, in Monroe, Louisiana. He grew up in nearby Bastrop, raised by single mother Jessie Benton along with a younger brother and two younger sisters. Always big for his age, Ronnie tried various sports but excelled at football. His high school coaches and teammates remember him as the hardest-working kid on the squad, the only one who hit the weight room all summer long to get bigger and stronger for the gridiron in the fall. Ronnie was also a hard worker when it came to helping out his family, always holding down one or two jobs after school and on weekends to do what he could to ease his mother’s financial burdens. After high school he played football for Grambling State University, but was also quite serious about his studies. He graduated Cum Laude with a BS in Accounting. A stable career as a CPA was his plan at the time. Had his plan come to fruition, chances are we would never have heard of Ronnie Coleman in the bodybuilding world.

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All-time Arnold

By now, we all know the Arnold Classic brings out the best of the best. But who’s the best among those best? Heading into the 20th edition of what has become one of the biggest events in bodybuilding, we decided to go to someone who’s seen them all – FLEX Group Editorial Director Peter McGough – in ranking the five all-time best physiques to ever step onstage at the Arnold.

Simply the best physique I’ve ever seen onstage. At 245 pounds King Ron was full and shredded from head-to-toe: his cuts being deeper than Bill Gates’ pockets. His delts, arms and chest were spectacular, his back really beyond description. Ten seconds after he first walked out the contest was over.

This was Flex’s best ever shape. He was chiseled to the max, exhibited more balance than the Cirque du Soleil, and his back double biceps was a thing of beauty. Although he competed until 2003 he was never again as good as he was in his second pro contest that dramatic Columbus night in 2003.

Apart from the 2001 Mr. Olympia contest maybe the hardest he’s ever been. With deeply embedded abs and full thighs more ripped than Britney Spears’ copy of Hide and Seek For Dummies, Cutler relegated Chris Cormier to the third of what was to become a run of six consecutive runner-up spots.

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From Arnie to Ronnie: how 30 years of ‘evolution’ rewrote the rules of muscle

Bodybuilders are getting bigger than ever. Jon Hotten on the freakish world of rippling abs and exploding quads

There’s an undeniable thrill in standing next to the biggest man in the world. Of the six billion bodies on the planet, the vastest, the baddest, the most extreme, is just inches away, oiled and clad in sparkly posing trunks.

Ronnie Coleman, 41 years old, the reigning and seven-time Mr Olympia, comes from Texas and he’s as huge as the state, with comic-book arms, a superhero’s chest, widescreen thighs. When he fires up his six pack, the cuts in his abs are so deep you could slide a pound coin into one and never see it again.

The bare facts are impressive enough. In contest shape, he weighs 295lb (21st) with four-per-cent body fat (David Beckham has about 10 per cent). His upper arms have a circumference of 25 inches, one thigh is three feet around, several inches greater than his waist. His muscle dwarfs the bits of his body that refuse to grow. His head, his hands and his feet look like they belong to someone else, someone smaller.

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Ronnie Coleman’s Workout Routine

Monday: Back

Deadlifts – 805lbs – 4 sets – 6-12 reps
Barbell rows – 585lbs – 3 sets – 10-12 reps
T-bar rows – 585lbs – 3 sets – 10 – 12 reps
One-arm dumbbell rows – 200lbs – 3 sets 10-12 reps


Barbell curls – 200lbs – 4 sets -12 reps
Seated alternate dumbbell curls – 90lbs – 12 reps
Cambered-bar preacher curls – 150lbs – 12 reps
Standing cable curls – 200lbs


Military presses – 315lbs – 4 sets – 10-12 reps
Seated dumbbell presses – 170lbs – 4 sets – 12 reps
superset with
Front dumbbell presses – 60lbs – 4 sets – 12 reps

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Amidst brambly weeds in the sweltering Texas heat is a kennel, and in the lead pen–reinforced with steel bars so the occupant can’t tear through the chain-link door and kill one of its coworkers again–is a pit bull named Max.

Max is the “muscle” that delivers the crippling bites when he and his expertly trained kennel mates hunt wild boars in the dark. On all but the hottest nights, the dogs wear Kevlar, and even then the tusks of a 400-pound razorback can end a dog’s days.

Max has bucked the odds and thrived as the leader of the pack for more than seven years. Despite all challengers, so has the man who toils just a few feet away, on the other side of a crumbling gym wall: bodybuilding’s undisputed top dog, Ronnie Coleman.


It’s 98 degrees and exactly four weeks before the 2005 Mr. Olympia when photographer Kevin “Hardcore” Horton and I cruise down the craggy lane, past auto repair garages and junked autos, to MetroFlex Gym. “Home again,” Horton exhales. We love this place! We’re in Arlington, at the country’s most hardcore gym, where the world’s top bodybuilder trains alone. This is what I journeyed halfway across the country and Englishman Horton journeyed halfway across the world to capture. This is what bodybuilding is all about.

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Ask Mr. Olympia

Written by: By Ronnie Coleman, Seven-time Mr. Olympia

Q: My biceps are big, but my triceps are underdeveloped, even though I’ve spent plenty of time training them. What should I do?

A: Underdeveloped triceps are one of the most common problems among beginning and intermediate bodybuilders, but one that is accompanied with a 100% cure rate for those who are serious about solving it. In order for that to happen, however, keep the following in mind.

Bodybuilders don’t train what they can’t see. At the next contest you watch, notice that the most neglected bodyparts among competitors are their lats, erectors, upper back and traps, rear delts, biceps brachialis, hamstrings, calves and triceps. That’s because they tend to train hardest those bodyparts they see in the mirror when they pose, namely, biceps, chest, front delts and quads.

Biceps and triceps should not be trained alike. The assumption is that since biceps and triceps are on opposite sides of the same limb, they are equals and should therefore be trained equally. I shouldn’t have to tell you that every muscle group in your body is unique and should be trained accordingly. Triceps, as a larger muscle group than biceps, need to be trained much harder and heavier, and with more volume and compound movements, if you expect them to grow at the same rate.

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