10 Training Tips from the Legendary Ronnie Coleman

Achieving the pinnacle of bodybuilding success demands more than just lifting weights – it requires dedication, intensity, and a strategic approach.

Ronnie Coleman, an eight-time Mr. Olympia, stands as a testament to this philosophy.

ronnie coleman height
via ronnie coleman instagram

In this comprehensive guide, we unravel the training secrets of The King himself, presenting 10 invaluable tips that propelled him to bodybuilding greatness.

1. Dumbbell Presses Rule for Pec Mass

Ronnie Coleman’s chest development was nothing short of extraordinary, and at the core of it were heavy dumbbell presses.

Whether flat, incline, decline, or in various supersets and giant sets, Ronnie Coleman emphasized the importance of incorporating a variety of movements.

Dumbbell presses, in particular, stood out as they isolated each pec complex independently, ensuring balanced and symmetrical development.

ronnie coleman workout
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Include a mix of flat, incline, decline, and superset dumbbell presses in your chest routine.

Focus on fatiguing each pec independently, adhering to the correct form and a full range of motion.

2. You Can’t Just Shrug Your Way to Great Traps

Ronnie Coleman debunked the myth that shrugs alone suffice for impressive traps. Recognizing traps as a challenging muscle group to target, he advocated for exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, T-bar rows, seated low-pulley rows, power cleans, and upright rows.

These compound movements ensured comprehensive trap development, surpassing the limitations of conventional shrugs.

Implementation Tip:

Incorporate a variety of trap exercises, emphasizing compound movements like deadlifts and rows.

Train trips through different dimensions to ensure maximal and balanced development.

ronnie coleman exercise routine
via ronnie coleman instagram

3. Get Lean and Stay Strong

Contrary to popular belief, Ronnie Coleman emphasized that reducing body fat while maintaining muscle mass is achievable and advantageous.

He dismissed the notion that losing weight equates to a loss of strength.

By prioritizing muscle-to-fat ratio and preserving endurance through heavy training, Ronnie Coleman shattered the misconception that getting lean compromises strength.

ronnie coleman training
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Maintain or increase protein intake while gradually reducing body fat.

Focus on intense workouts with heavy weights, debunking the myth that higher reps are essential for fat loss.

4. Don’t Forget the Rear View

Recognizing the rear deltoids as a challenging muscle group, Ronnie Coleman shared his mental approach to prioritize and isolate them.

By imagining the specific contraction required for rear delts and focusing solely on them during exercises, he achieved unparalleled development.

Exercises like seated dumbbell side laterals and seated dumbbell presses played a crucial role in his rear delt training.

ronnie coleman last competition
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Mentally isolate rear delts during shoulder workouts. Incorporate exercises like seated dumbbell side laterals and seated dumbbell presses to target and develop this often-neglected muscle group.

5. Dumbbells for Triceps

Ronnie Coleman advocated for the inclusion of dumbbell exercises in triceps workouts, highlighting their unique ability to isolate each head of the triceps.

While acknowledging the effectiveness of straight bars and cables, he underscored the versatility of dumbbells, combining isolation with the natural gravity forces of free weights for optimal mass development.

Implementation Tip:

Incorporate one to three dumbbell exercises in your triceps workout routine.

Experiment with variations that target different triceps heads, ensuring a well-rounded development.

6. The Winning Formula

Ronnie Coleman emphasized the importance of time and intensity in training, stressing that proper execution of exercises is paramount.

Acknowledging that different body parts may require varying sets and exercises, he urged enthusiasts to focus on the muscle, ensuring it reaches fatigue first.

Time and intensity, when balanced with focus, create the winning formula for effective training.

ronnie coleman age now
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Tailor rest periods, sets, and exercises based on the intensity of your training.

Prioritize proper execution and ensure that the target muscle reaches fatigue first during each workout.

7. Chase the Pump

For Ronnie Coleman, heavy weights, perfect form, and achieving an optimal pump were interconnected.

He emphasized that pump-building, achieved through sets with 12 reps, was crucial for muscle growth.

Ronnie Coleman’s approach was not fixated on poundage but rather on the combination of weight and reps that produced the most satisfying pump.

ronnie coleman squat max
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Focus on building an optimal pump with your initial set, using as much weight as possible for 12 reps.

Experiment with increasing weight and decreasing reps in subsequent sets to maintain and enhance the pump.

8. Build a Set of Super Quads

Supersetting played a significant role in Ronnie Coleman’s leg training. While squats remained a cornerstone, he encouraged flexibility in exercise selection for specialization.

Supersetting, especially with exercises targeting specific quad areas, allowed for a sustained pump and burn, contributing to dramatic leg growth.

ronnie coleman highest weight
via ronnie coleman instagram

Implementation Tip:

Incorporate supersets in your leg training routine, focusing on exercises that target specific quad areas.

Experiment with variations to challenge and stimulate muscle growth effectively.

9. Press Your Way to Massive Delts

The military press emerged as the purest and most basic shoulder exercise according to Ronnie Coleman.

Advocating for both seated and freestanding variations, he highlighted their efficacy in achieving overall shoulder width and thickness.

Military presses engaged multiple muscle groups, ensuring compound distribution of stresses.

Implementation Tip:

Include both seated and freestanding military presses in your shoulder workout routine.

Focus on proper form and engage your shoulder girdle for stability, promoting comprehensive shoulder development.

10. The Ideal Number of Reps

ronnie coleman gainer
via ronnie coleman instagram

Ronnie Coleman dispelled the notion of a fixed number of reps, emphasizing quality over quantity.

His goal was to lift the weight necessary to achieve a satisfying pump in the target muscle.

Experimentation was key to finding the ideal combination of weight and reps, with a focus on muscle pump and fatigue.

Implementation Tip:

Experiment with different rep ranges to find the ideal combination for each muscle group.

Prioritize achieving a satisfying pump and fatigue in the target muscle, adapting the number of reps accordingly.


In unraveling Ronnie Coleman’s 10 training tips, we discover a blueprint that extends beyond the gym.

Ronnie Coleman’s approach emphasizes the marriage of intensity, focus, and strategic variation to sculpt a physique that defies limitations.

By incorporating these tips into your training regimen, you embark on a journey guided by the wisdom of a bodybuilding legend.

As Ronnie Coleman famously said, “Yeah, buddy!” – it’s time to take these lessons to the iron and build a physique worthy of The King himself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top