Come on down to the old gyms and you’ll see some familiar exercise splits being used by most people doing leg presses, push-ups, and sit-ups. But they are not the ones once popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, and Dorian Yates, are they? While the Arnold and Ronnie “pushes” are useful as a conditioning exercise, I prefer to use a “pull” with my push-ups and sit-ups, as these movements really put the muscles through a full range of motion. And in order to truly maximize the benefits of the pull, you can’t just perform a push or a pull like most people do, you need to do them “the Coleman way”.

There’s nothing more motivating than seeing the results of your hard work pay off in the mirror. Unfortunately, that’s not what most people see when they see their hard work pay off. If you’re like most people, a lot of your hard work is hidden away from prying eyes in the form of washboard abs, bulging biceps, and the like.

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!. Read more about ronnie coleman training program pdf and let us know what you think.

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!

The push/pull/legs split is one of the most effective training combinations ever devised. This split helped many bodybuilders, including the famous Ronnie Coleman, achieve their finest results.

This post is for you if you want to understand how a world champion bodybuilder utilizes the push/pull/legs split to develop muscle.

Introduction

  • Ronnie Coleman’s Push Workouts, Part 1
  • Ronnie Coleman’s Pull Workouts, Part 2
  • Ronnie Coleman’s Leg Workouts, Part 3

In this thorough tutorial, I’ll show you how Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia title eight times in a row and became the best bodybuilder of all time by using the traditional push/pull/legs split.

The push/pull/legs split is a method of scheduling your exercises in which you train your whole body on three different days: 

  • Push-ups = chest, shoulders, and triceps
  • Workout for the back and biceps is known as a “pull.”
  • Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves are all included in the “legs” exercise.

Because it minimizes overlap between various muscle groups, the push/pull/legs split is very effective.

You train your chest, shoulders, and triceps whenever you do an activity like the incline bench press. It makes sense to train these muscle groups together on your “push” day since it provides your muscles the most opportunity to recuperate between exercises.

Ronnie Coleman was a firm believer in the push/pull/legs split and utilized it throughout his bodybuilding career.

Ronnie used a six-day push/pull/legs split in order to exercise each muscle group twice a week. Consider the following scenario:

The Legs / Push / Pull 6 Day Split

  • Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps on Monday
  • Tuesday: Biceps / Back
  • Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves on Wednesday
  • Thursday’s workout is Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps.
  • Friday: Biceps / Back
  • Quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves on Saturday
  • Sunday is a day of rest.

Ronnie loved this training split because it allowed him to work each muscle group twice a week and utilize a variety of exercises for each one.

Ronnie Coleman was a highly educated guy who put a lot of thought into his exercises, something most people are unaware of. He alternated between two distinct exercises for each body region, and he utilized various training methods for his strong and weak muscle groups.

Ronnie, for example, worked hard on his chest and back workouts but kept his bicep and tricep exercises mild and focused on the pump.

One of the biggest benefits of the push/pull/legs split is that you don’t have to exercise each muscle group separately. To gain as much muscle as possible, you may opt to exercise heavy for some muscle groups and lighter for others.

In this article, I’ll show you all of Ronnie Coleman’s techniques for getting the most out of his 6-day push / pull / legs split.

Let’s get down to business now…

Ronnie Coleman’s Push Workouts, Part 1

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!

Every Wednesday and Saturday, Ronnie Coleman worked on his chest and triceps. On his “pull” day, he really worked on his shoulders, but I’ll put them here to make things easy.

One of the most impressive aspects of Ronnie Coleman’s training regimen is that he did two separate exercises for each muscle group.

When you look at his chest exercises, it’s clear that he knows what he’s doing. Take a look: 

Chest Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 5-15 repetitions with a flat BB bench press
  • 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on an incline BB bench press
  • Exercise #3: BB bench press with a decline, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie’s first chest exercise is straightforward. He does many heavy sets on the flat bench press, incline bench press, and decline bench press, among other exercises.

Ronnie does multiple warm-up sets and one all-out working session with a very heavy weight for each exercise.

Ronnie gets up to 495 pounds for 5 repetitions on the flat bench press in this video – impressive!

For his second weekly chest workout, Ronnie Coleman switches things up by concentrating on dumbbell movements. Take a look:

Chest Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Flat DB press (3-5 sets of 5-15 repetitions) is the first exercise.
  • DB press on an incline, 3-5 sets of 5-15 reps
  • Flat DB fly (3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions) is the third exercise.

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie concentrates on three “meat and potatoes” dumbbell movements for his second chest workout: the flat dumbbell press, the incline dumbbell press, and the flat dumbbell fly.

Despite the fact that he is using dumbbells, Ronnie continues to exercise hard. Ronnie actually utilizes the 200-pound dumbbells for his first two workouts — impressive!

In a typical chest workout, many professional bodybuilders do up to 4-6 movements. Because he trains each muscle group twice a week, Ronnie adheres to only three chest movements for each sessions.

One of the benefits of the 6-day push/pull/legs split is that you may keep your sessions shorter due to the high training frequency. 

Let’s take a peek at Ronnie Coleman’s shoulder training. Take a look:

Shoulder Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of seated barbell military press
  • Exercise #2: DB lateral raises from a standing position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Exercise #3: Front lifts with a barbell, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on the rear delt pec dec
  • Exercise #5: DB rear delt raises in a bent-over position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Exercise #6: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing DB shrugs

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie puts a tremendous amount of volume into his shoulder training. He works his front, side, and back delts with six different workouts!

When it comes to shoulder training, Ronnie employs a straightforward approach: he does one strong overhead pressing exercise followed by five isolated exercises with lower weights and greater repetitions.

Many prominent bodybuilders, like Phil Heath and Dorian Yates, have utilized this approach in their training.

If you’re doing several movements for your shoulders with a push/pull/legs split, you may want to follow Ronnie’s lead and do one big complex exercise with several smaller isolated exercises.

Ronnie’s second shoulder program includes a variety of exercises, but the basic approach remains the same. Take a look:

Shoulder Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: DB overhead press from a seated position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Machine lateral raises (3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions) are the second exercise.
  • Exercise #3: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on a machine overhead press
  • DB front raises (3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions) are the fourth exercise.
  • Exercise #5: Rear-delt pull-apart with a cable, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of cable bent-over rear-delt pull-aparts

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie is well-known for his incredible upper-body strength, which he demonstrates in this video. Ronnie reps the 160 pound dumbbells overhead – impressive!

Ronnie does one hard shoulder workout followed by five smaller isolated exercises to pump blood into his shoulders. For most bodybuilders, doing six shoulder exercises twice a week would be excessive, yet it worked like magic for the one-and-only Ronnie Coleman.

Ronnie went on to his triceps workouts after working on his chest. Take a look:

Triceps Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of seated unilateral DB french press
  • Exercise #2: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on the hammer strength machine
  • Exercise #3: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing cable tricep pushdowns

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie’s triceps regimen is very straightforward: he does three movements with lower weights and greater repetitions. He’s already done a lot of heavy pressing workouts for his chest, so all he has to do now is finish off his triceps with some higher-rep pumping.

Ronnie’s triceps program is one of my favorites since he utilizes three separate movements to work all three heads of the triceps.

The triceps long head is targeted by the dumbbell french press, the machine dips overloads all three heads of the triceps equally, and the cable pushdowns target the triceps medial and lateral heads.

With your push / pull / legs split, you don’t have to utilize three triceps movements, but utilizing various exercises to target the different heads of the triceps is a fantastic concept.

Let’s take a look at Ronnie’s second triceps workout of the week. Take a look:

Triceps Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions lying ez-bar extension (behind head).
  • Exercise #2: Bench press with a tight grip (with an ez-bar), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: sitting DB french press with two arms, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • DB tricep kickbacks with two arms bent over, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie concentrates on a range of triceps workouts to target all three heads of the triceps once again.

Ronnie does a unique triceps superset, which consists of ez-bar skull crushers followed by close grip bench presses with the same weight. This is known as a pre-exhaustion superset, and it’s a fantastic method to promote additional muscle development by increasing the amount of time your set is under stress.

My post on triceps pre-exhaust supersets can be found here: 

The 5 Best Arm Superset Exercises!

Ronnie concentrates on isolated workouts and prepares for a massive pump. He’s previously done his chest workouts with 200-pound dumbbells, so all he needs to do now is “finish off” his triceps with lower weights and greater repetitions.

This is a fantastic technique to include into your own push/pull/legs workouts: Compound exercises should be used to strengthen your chest and shoulders, while isolation exercises should be used to strengthen your triceps.

Ronnie Coleman’s Pull Workouts, Part 2

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!

Every Monday and Thursday, Ronnie Coleman combined his back, biceps, and shoulders. Ronnie’s shoulder exercises were covered in part 1 of this post, so we’ll simply concentrate on his back and biceps now.

Ronnie Coleman had the greatest upper back in the history of bodybuilding, therefore his back regimen is well worth studying.

Ronnie exercises his upper back as two distinct body segments.

He has a “back thickness” day on Monday, when he concentrates on hard deadlifts and rowing workouts to thicken his back. Then he has a “back width” day on Thursday, when he concentrates on lat movements like cable pulldowns and dumbbell pullovers to widen his back.

Ronnie’s back thickness exercise looked like this most of the time. Take a look:

Back Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: Deadlift (conventional), 3-5 sets of 4-8 repetitions
  • Exercise #2: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions with a barbell bent-over row
  • T-bar row (3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions) is the third exercise.
  • Exercise #4: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing 1-arm DB row

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

What a grueling back exercise! Ronnie concentrates on deadlifts and three old-school rowing movements in this session.

Ronnie doesn’t always put forth a lot of effort on every workout. Ronnie, for example, will do lesser deadlifts or even omit the workout certain weeks. Throughout his whole bodybuilding career, though, this was his go-to back thickness regimen.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Ronnie Coleman’s training regimen is that he never did any lower back isolation workouts such as back extensions. Rather, he concentrated only on heavy barbell workouts such as deadlifts and t-bar rows.

I suppose you don’t need any lower back isolation workouts when you’re t-bar rowing 450 pounds!

Let’s take a peek at Ronnie’s second weekly back workout. Take a look:

Back Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of lat pulldowns (wide / overhand grip).
  • Exercise #2: Lat pulldowns behind the neck (wide / overhand grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Exercise #3: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions seated cable row (v-handle)
  • Exercise #4: DB pullovers in a lying position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

This is a bodybuilding exercise in the conventional sense. Ronnie prepares for the pump by doing multiple sets of each exercise with fairly heavy weights.

Most bodybuilders will obtain greater results combining back width and back thickness exercises in a single session rather than doing them separately.

The DC Training program, for example, requires you to do one back width and one back thickness exercise each session.

For most individuals who use a push / pull / legs split, doing all of your back thickness exercises in one session is generally excessive. Ronnie, on the other hand, had the greatest back development of all time as a result of this approach!

Let’s take a look at Ronnie’s bicep exercises now. Take a look:

Biceps Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Preacher DB curl (supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Ez-bar curl (broad / supinated grip), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Alternating DB hammer curls in a seated position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

The bicep workout of Ronnie Coleman is very straightforward. He chooses three biceps workouts and concentrates on lifting lower weights for high repetitions and pump training.

Ronnie has lifted big weights in his back exercise, so all he has to do now is finish off his biceps with some lesser solo training.

This reminds me of his triceps program, in which he concentrated on completing his triceps with high repetitions after pounding his chest with insane heavy weights.

Let’s take a look at Ronnie’s second bicep workout. Take a look:

Bicep Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Exercise #1: Preacher curls on the machine, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Exercise #2: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing alternating DB curls (supinating grip).
  • Exercise #3: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing cable ez-bar curls

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie trains the long and short heads of the biceps with three distinct biceps workouts.

If you’re building muscle with a push/pull/legs split like Ronnie, I suggest focusing on lighter isolation workouts for your biceps. There’s no need to lift ultra-heavy weights on your biceps isolation exercises if you’ve previously done 2-4 upper back workouts.

Even if you tried, your biceps would be exhausted from all of your hard back exercises, and you wouldn’t be able to raise much weight.

Ronnie Coleman’s Leg Workouts, Part 3

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!

On Tuesdays and Fridays, Ronnie Coleman worked on his quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.

Ronnie, as usual, targeted these muscles with two distinct exercises. Ronnie, for example, began his first weekly quadriceps exercise with back squats and finished with front squats in his second weekly quadriceps workout.

To avoid training plateaus and completely strengthen his legs, Ronnie believed that rotating between these two kinds of squats was critical. Take a look:

Quadriceps Routine #1 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Back squats (3-5 sets of x 4-12 repetitions) are the first exercise.
  • Leg press (3-5 sets of 8-20 reps) is the second exercise.
  • Leg extensions (3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions) are the third exercise.

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

What a challenging exercise! Ronnie works up to a staggering 800 pounds for two repetitions on the back squat in the video above.

In an interview, Ronnie said that the one regret he had from his bodybuilding career is only squatting 800 pounds for two reps when he claims he had at least five reps in him!

Ronnie does significantly more repetitions on the leg press and leg extension machines after his big squats.

Let’s take a look at Ronnie’s front squat exercise. Take a look:

Quadriceps Routine #2 by Ronnie Coleman

  • Front squats (3-5 sets of 4-12 repetitions) are the first exercise.
  • 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions on the machine hack squat
  • Walking lunges (with a BB on your back), 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie Coleman is one of the few professional bodybuilders in the world that does front squats. Perhaps this explains why Ronnie’s leg growth was so superior to everyone else’s?

Ronnie works up to 585 pounds for 4 repetitions in the video above before lowering the weight to the ground.

Ronnie follows up his front squats with machine hack squats and walking barbell lunges. Ronnie’s legs are one of his strongest body parts, therefore he doesn’t need to perform a lot of workouts to strengthen them.

One of the major benefits of the push/pull/legs split is that you may simply raise the volume of your training for your weaker body parts while decreasing it for your stronger body parts.

Let’s take a peek at Ronnie’s hamstring workouts. Take a look:

Routine #1 for Ronnie Coleman’s Hamstrings

  • Exercise #1: 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions of standing unilateral leg curls
  • Exercise #2: Deadlift with stiff legs, 3-5 sets of 8-20 reps

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

Ronnie’s hamstring exercises are significantly shorter than those for his quadriceps. Ronnie did leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts for a couple sets each.

Ronnie’s hamstrings were one of his strongest body parts, so there was no need to overwork them with a variety of workouts.

Ronnie’s second hamstrings routine was seen below. Take a look:

Routine #2 for Ronnie Coleman’s Hamstrings

  • Exercise #1: Leg curls in a lying position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions
  • Exercise #2: Leg curls in a seated position, 3-5 sets of 8-20 repetitions

Here’s the link to the training video:

 

This hamstrings exercise was much easier: Ronnie just did a few sets of both lying and sitting leg curls.

Many other elite bodybuilders, notably Branch Warren, have utilized this technique in their training.

You should also bear in mind that Ronnie’s hamstrings receive a lot of work early in the week during his “back thickness” exercise. Even though it isn’t Ronnie’s primary purpose for doing them, exercises like deadlifts, barbell rows, and t-bar rows work the hamstrings and lower back extremely hard.

Conclusion

The Ronnie Coleman Push / Pull / Legs Split!

The push/pull/legs split is one of the most effective muscle-building splits available. I like how professional bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman utilize this split to enhance their physiques.

Ronnie trains his muscles twice a week with two totally distinct exercises using the 6 day push / pull / legs split. This is an excellent technique for preventing gym boredom and training plateaus.

Ronnie Coleman’s entire training regimen will be difficult for the typical bodybuilder to recover from, but there is a lot you can learn about planning workouts from him. Ronnie’s utilization of various methods for different muscle groups is very impressive.

Ronnie, for example, did a lot of repetitions and trained for the pump on his chest and back exercises, but he did a lot of reps and training for the pump on his shoulder and arm workouts.

This is something you can include into your own push/pull/legs exercises.

I’m a big Ronnie fan, so here’s one of his greatest lines to get you even more pumped:

“There were some difficult moments, and when they arose, I just relied on my mental power to get through them, knowing that my mind was in charge of everything.”

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I wish you the best of success in your strength-training endeavors!

Mike Jansen, M.D.

Thank you for visiting my website! I’m the creator of Revolutionary Program Design, and my name is Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT. You’ve come to the correct spot if you want to achieve your size and strength objectives quicker. My ambition is to create RPD the best strength training resource on the planet. So take a seat, sit back, and unwind. There has never been a better moment to lift weights or learn about the science and art of strength training program creation.

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Don’t let your muscles go to waste! Learn to master the push, pull and legs split techniques that have helped Ronnie Coleman build a body of steel. In this tutorial you will learn how to stay in the best shape of your life with incredible, toned and muscular arms, shoulders and traps.. Read more about ronnie coleman biceps workout and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Ronnie Coleman had injuries?

Ronnie Coleman had injuries because he was a bodybuilder.

Did Ronnie Coleman train twice a day?

Yes, Ronnie Coleman trained twice a day.

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