Get Huge with Kings Coleman’s Favorite Exercises!
He was a king among the rest and the greatest bodybuilder of all time (With Lee Haney), Ronnie Coleman would definitely know a thing or two about being massive. He was a total freak and we’ve yet to see anyone like him.
Coleman was known to train brutally and it earned him eight Sandow trophies but he did it strategically, using certain exercises which would pack on tons of rock-hard muscle. He believes there is one best, old-fashioned exercise for each body part and without doing them, you won’t reach your maximum potential (His opinion of course).
These 6 amazing exercises hit the muscles hard and thorough; which is why Ronnie Coleman fully recommends them for the most size possible. Coleman says these should be the center of your workout routine…
Coleman is convinced that the bench press is the absolute greatest chest movement because it allows for the most weight to be used and it really, fully activates the chest muscles. According to him, “No other exercise synergizes the entire complex of chest muscles as efficiently as barbell bench presses”.
Ronnie Coleman Bench PressHe may have a point… seeing as nearly every bodybuilder with amazing chest development throughout history has achieved this by making the bench press a staple in their routines.
The bench press definitely allows a lifter to use the max amount of power generation and weight due to using a barbell in a lying down position.
How to best perform the bench press
Ronnie Coleman doesn’t necessarily agree with the current way we’ve been taught to bench press (Lowering bar to rib cage). He explains that the bar should lower over the chest and that a grip should be beyond shoulder-width to really get a wide stretch in the pecs.
“As the bar is lowered, resist with your pectoral muscles. Press by contracting your pecs. I use a fairly wide grip, beyond shoulder width, to accentuate the spread of my pec muscles”.
The chest should rise during the lowering part of the press and your shoulder blades should squeeze together to get the best stretch possible.
Sets and Reps: Coleman recommends pyramiding up in weight through 5 sets, starting with 12 reps and ending with 8.
If you didn’t see this one coming then you must not know much about the best mass-building exercise ever… the squat!
If you want massive legs, start doing more squats and make them the main lift in your routine.
Now, the legs muscles must work synergistically to power through each repetition and each muscle must carry its own weight. This is why the squat is so prized because if there’s a weak link (Individual leg muscle) well… it won’t be for long as it has no choice but to adapt and keep up.
How to do squats properly
Make sure the abs are tight with a slightly wider than shoulder-width stance and flex your traps to rest the bar comfortably on them so that you’re not leaning too forward or backward. Then, make sure you’re squatting through your heels and glutes to get the most out of your repetitions without placing unnecessary stress on the knees.
Always perform squats in a constant fluid motion without stopping at any point during the movement.
Sets and Reps: Coleman pyramid’s up in weight for around 5-6 sets while progressively increasing the weight each set. He makes sure to warm up thoroughly before starting with 12 repetitions for the first set, followed by a pyramid down to 2 reps (12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2).
Undoubtedly one of the greatest movements for ultimate back development, barbell rows are amazing and anyone would agree they need to be a part of your back training regimen.
Coleman states the back as being the most complex muscle group and so he chose this exercise wisely.
“It needs to be developed simultaneously for thickness, width, drape, and detail, and that requires very heavy three-dimensional weight resistance, which coordinates all of its muscles, as well as those of the trapezius complex. Only the barbell rowing movement accomplishes this”.
Performing the barbell row for maximum effectiveness
First off, you never ever want to arch your back, as you’ll be asking for some serious problems and pain.
Keep your back at a 90-degree angle and pull the barbell to the mid stomach and always make sure the glutes and lower back are tightened (Decreases lower back stress).
“Reps are explosive but controlled, never with a slack point at the bottom. My glutes and lower back are flexed tightly throughout the set. If they aren’t, I will feel stress more in my lower back than in my lats”.
Coleman bends his knees as the weights get heavier during the pyramid up in weight. It’s essential for protecting your back and improves balance for maximum power through the movement.
Sets and Reps: Coleman does 4 heavy working sets, going from 12 reps down to seven.
Seated Military Press
Now, since there are three heads to the shoulder muscle group, Ronnie Coleman trains all three separately.
He believes in only one solution for making the deltoids as big and wide as possible… that is the Military press. You’ll only use a free weight barbell Coleman says this spreads the stress laterally across the shoulders. It also distributes the stress from front to back as well which is necessary for full development.
But what about dumbbells? Nope! Coleman still believes a barbell is best and that dumbbell is good for isolating the delts (It looks like we’re sticking with the barbell).
How to do the Military press properly
Use a slightly wider than shoulder grip and keep the core tight while also making sure you have a good grip for maximum strength during the movement.
Don’t worry about “when” to perform the Military press as it’s just as effective at any point in your shoulder workout due to the fact that only this exercise can exhaust all the deltoid heads.
Sets and Reps: Coleman does four sets of 10-12 reps for building mass.
Lying Tricep Extensions
The reason Coleman prefers the lying extension is that it allows you to hit the tricep muscles hard without having to use the rest of your body to stabilize the weight. You can also use a lot of weight for this exercise and it works the triceps amazingly well.
Ronnie explains it as
“my favorite for pulling the horseshoe of muscle down the back of my arm, so my triceps look like a separate bulging twisted-steel body part of their own”.
Performing the lying triceps extension
So, to stimulate the triceps effectively, you want to make sure your elbows are pointed at the ceiling while only extending the elbows up. Do not mistake this exercise for a “pull over” because your shoulder joint should stay put and not rotate.
Sets and Reps: Now, Ronnie Coleman does 6 sets of 12 reps but this might be a lot for some people. You can cut down on the sets if you need to.
He also has a technique he does for these so feel free to try it out… “Do one set, release it, take a breath, do a second set, release it, take a breath and do a third set. After a brief shakeout, repeat that sequence”.
So you might want to know that Coleman doesn’t believe the preacher curl is the best mass-builder out there. That’s right… that title goes to the standing barbell curl. However, for maximum biceps peak, hardness and splits in the muscle, he thinks preacher curls are the best, period!
“It packs my biceps so hard that they end up feeling as solid as forged steel. I credit preachers more than any other exercise for the hardness and cannonball shape of my biceps and for the deep split in their peaks”.
How to perform effective preacher curls
Listen (Or read) carefully… the bicep is an easy muscle to tear so you must do this exercise properly. We don’t want to scare you but we’d feel bad if we didn’t at least warn you of the dangers. Going too heavy or overextending your elbow with a lot of stress on the bicep is risky.
So, make sure to not hyperextend your elbows during the curl and keep your body tight. You never want your arms too far away from your body without some support.
Don’t cheat, keep a moderate pace and squeeze at the very top for a peak contraction.
Sets and Reps: Coleman likes to superset preacher curls with another two-arm curling exercise every other workout and he does 4 sets of 8-12 reps for the most mass gains.
Ronnie Coleman’s Favorite principles for Gaining Mass
Follow Coleman’s principles if you’re serious about making gains because his advice is seriously invaluable to anyone who desires to progress in their training.
He has “walked the walk” and no one would ever doubt the fact that he knows what the heck he’s doing (Might we remind you he’s won the most Olympia titles ever).
No Cheating – Feel the muscles working and don’t use too much momentum. This takes away from the muscle doing the work and therefore you won’t develop as much dense muscles.
Be Consistent – Stick with a routine and be consistent or else the results won’t come. Gaining muscle mass takes a lot of time and when you take too much time off, it takes longer to progress.
Push yourself – Don’t worry about hitting plateau’s as they mean you are progressing. Keep pushing every workout and strive to become stronger every chance you get.
Get a good pump – Get the best pump possible and feel the muscles swell. This is a good indicator that you’re thoroughly working the muscles.
Here’s a sample workout you can do for each muscle group:
Bench press: 5 sets x 12,10,10,8,8 reps (Pyramid up in weight
Incline bench press: 4 x 10-12 reps
Cable Flyes: 3 x 10-12 reps
Squats: 5-6 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 (Pyramid up in weight for each set)
Stiff-legged deadlifts: 4 sets x 12 reps
Hip thrusts: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
Calf raises: 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Barbell Rows: 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 7
Pull-ups: 3 sets x as many as you can do (Use assist machine if necessary)
Dumbbell pullovers: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (Squeeze your lats through the whole movement)
Military press: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
Side lateral raises: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
Reverse shoulder flyes: 3 x 10-12 reps
Lying extensions: 6 sets x 12 reps
Dips: 2 sets x 10-12 reps
Preacher curls: 4 sets x 8-12 reps
Hammer curls: 2-3 sets x 10-12 reps