Flex Excerpt: Ronnie Coleman's Chest Test!

Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman doesn't mess around when it comes to chest training. Here's an excerpt from the June 2007 issue of Flex Magazine detailing the training strategies that put his pecs over the top.

Coleman's Chest Test!

Think your pecs pass the test? Take this quiz that covers all the aspects of Ronnie Coleman's chest training - then put the answers to work for you.

So you think you know everything about Ronnie Coleman's training, and there's nothing more to be learned from another article about the eight-time Mr. Olympia, 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.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Ronnie Coleman.

    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."

2. Which of the following is not featured in a typical Coleman chest workout?

  1. Smith machine
  2. Gloves
  3. Elbow wraps
  4. Spotter (and NPC competitor) Robert Lee
  5. Orbit sugarfree gum
  6. Extremely loud music

    The answer is (a), a Smith machine. Many champion bodybuilders utilize machines for chest and shoulder pressing, but not Coleman. He sticks to the free-weight basics in the offseason as well as precontest. "I don't have anything against machines, I just like free weights better," he says with a grin. Then he clarifies, "I like free weights better because they work better."

 Are Free Weights Or Machines Better For Results? Are Free Weights Or Machines Better For Results? This is an old question, but one that keeps coming up with new trainers. Should use only use free weights in your quest for muscle growth? Or should you use machines to get the same or better results, but with more safety?
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    As for the other items on the list, he always wears gloves when training, and he wraps his elbows before pressing lifts. Welterweight amateur Robert "The General" Lee spots him and helps load and unload weights. The MetroFlex sound system is eternally quaking with brain-jarring rap or heavy metal. And Coleman chews Orbit sugarfree gum throughout every workout, sometimes blowing bubbles between sets.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Ronnie Coleman.

To see all 10 questions, and Coleman's chest workout, check out the June 2007 issue of Flex, on newsstands May 15.