Bodybuilding icon Dorian Yates reached the top of the Men’s Open division with hard work and a granite physique. In a recent Instagram post, Yates laid out the two-exercise abs routine that helped him achieve six Mr. Olympia titles.
Dorian Yates was a trailblazer in the Men’s Open division mostly throughout the 1990s. He was next to take the throne after the great Lee Haney, who left the sport as an eight-time titleholder. While dominating his class, Yates had a major influence on the overall look. As time passed, bodybuilders with overbearing size continued to find success years after his departure.
Yates followed an unconventional training style on his way to becoming one of the world’s best bodybuilders. He ignored commonly used practices regarding reps and sets in the weight room. Instead, Yates trained to the brink of failure regularly and pushed his body to extremes whenever he decided to train.
In retirement, he’s an open source of bodybuilding knowledge for everyone. Whether he’s talking about the mindset it took to reach the top or reliving a hallucinogenic ayahuasca journey, Yates leads a busy and exciting life. This time, he’s offering fans two of his favorite abs exercises he used during the prime years of his career.
Dorian Yates Reveals Mr. Olympia-Winning Ab Routine: “I Usually Trained Abs Once Per Week”
Yates said ab training was typically included after a ‘heavy-duty shoulders and triceps session.’ His two-exercise routine consisted of two sets of bodyweight crunches to failure and two sets of bodyweight reverse crunches to failure.
“I usually trained abs once per week.
They were usually done after my heavy duty shoulders and triceps session. This was because I felt that shoulders and triceps was probably the ‘easiest’ workout of the week (well, easier than the others!) and didn’t take as much out of me, so I added them on to the end here.
My abs routine was simple:
2x bodyweight crunches to failure
2x bodyweight reverse crunches to failure
The six-time Mr. Olympia shared that he completed these exercises with hard contractions and a big exhalation of air at the peak of each movement. Personally, Yates never found ab training ‘that important’ because he was usually keeping a low body fat percentage during days of active competition.
But these were done with a hard contraction and a big exhalation of air at the peak contraction. We would squeeze our abs so hard that they’d be on the verge of cramping almost!
The physique that inspired me when I was younger, especially abs wise, was Bruce Lee’s, he had great abs. In my youth, I’d always be doing bodyweight exercises like sit-ups and pushups, with a poster of Bruce Lee watching over me!
As far as I remember, I always had a visible set of abs. In my early bodybuilding days, I would train them with weights but I noticed that they would grow fairly quick and would potentially look quite ‘blocky’.
So I switched to contraction work with just my body weight.
In my opinion, it wasn’t really that important to train my abs as they were always visible due to my low body fat year round and my genetics did play a part here in helping me stay lean.
Everyone has abs… it’s just a case of revealing them by lowering your body fat.” Dorian Yates shared.
In addition to maintaining his own health, Yates loves to offer wellness advice to his followers. He routinely offers guidance and tips on building muscle. One of the last topics he approached was training time. The legend explained that he preferred to keep his body guessing by training at times it wasn’t accustomed to.
Dorian has long been respected for his nuanced training methods and tactics. He’s learned and drawn from a number of legends such as Mike Mentzer and Tom Platz, who is highly regarded for his advanced, intense, and downright gritty leg training workout strategies. Last year, Platz extended his gratitude for Yates and was proud Dorian took his teaching seminar to heart decades ago.
At 61 years old, longevity has become a priority for Yates. Just last week, ‘The Shadow’ shared that he recently underwent a stem cell therapy procedure. After the treatment, Yates says he has more energy and mentioned his nagging shoulder pain is feeling better.
Given his contributions to the sport, the bodybuilding community is fortunate to have a figure as forthcoming as Yates. Even in retirement, he continues to influence generations of bodybuilders after him.