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Train To Gain: Review

Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable

In 1996 Dorian Yates set a new standard for bodybuilding training videos with the release of his hardcore tape ‘Blood and Guts.’ It’s only fitting that the video to raise that standard should come from Dorian’s successor to the throne of Mr. Olympia, none other than Ronnie Coleman himself.

In ‘Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable,’ Mitsuru Okabe has collaborated with the three-time Mr. Olympia to create the most incredible display of brutal, hardcore training ever witnessed. After viewing the tape for the first time, I had to wonder if Coleman is even human because the workouts he performed only five weeks away from the 2000 Mr. Olympia contest were anything but.

The video chronicles a week of Coleman’s preparation for the Mr. Olympia contest. A true training tape, it includes four workout sessions that cover every bodypart, beginning with delts and traps. Ronnie states that his goal while training for the Mr. Olympia is to use the same poundages that he routinely uses in the off-season, even though he’s limiting the calories and carbs that he eats.

During his delt workout Coleman easily performs seated military presses with 315 pounds for 12 reps. After the basics are out of the way, he demonstrates his version of giant sets as he applies them to lateral raises. His incredible delts look like oversize coconuts as he pumps them up with set after set.

After the workout Ronnie gets ready for work as a police officer with the Arlington, Texas, police department. The sight of the 285-pound Mr. Olympia as he arrives at a domestic disturbance is hilarious. Having Ronnie show up at your door has to be quite a sobering experience.

Coleman’s dedication is evident as he fits his training and diet around his work schedule. He’s on the treadmill for an hour at 7 a.m. and then again at midnight after a long day at work. In between, you see him eating his home-cooked chicken in the squad car as he attempts to get his meals in on time.

The second workout is an incredible back-training session. Beginning with deadlifts, Ronnie warms up with several sets before displaying world-class powerlifting strength as he pulls a gargantuan 805 pounds off the floor for two reps! Has any bodybuilder done that before, let alone one who’s five weeks out from a contest? Then he does barbell rows with 495 pounds with relative ease’after the deadlifts’but he’s not done yet. He ends with T-bar rows with 12 plates’540 pounds’for an amazing nine reps. Ronnie delivers the most quotable line in the video at this point: ‘Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody want to lift no heavy-ass weights!’

For his chest and triceps Coleman manhandles 200-pound dumbbells on the dumbbell bench press for an easy 12 reps. I’m telling you, this guy is not human.

All of Coleman’s workouts take place in the Metroplex Gym in his hometown. After seeing so many of bodybuilding’s superstars with their support teams working out in some of the most glamorous gyms in the country, I was shocked to see Mr. Olympia training alone in a hardcore gym with no support and no help. Ronnie doesn’t even have a training partner, and he often has to call for gym owner Brian Dobson to come from behind the front desk to give him a spot.

The video concludes with a leg workout that has to be seen to be believed. A proponent of basic exercises and heavy training, Ronnie demonstrates what intensity is all about as he begins with front squats. In what has to be some of the most incredible training footage ever filmed, Coleman pumps out reps with 585 pounds. You’ll watch in amazement as the bar bends under the strain of the weight, and Ronnie’s head looks as if it’s going to pop off from the tension. After four reps Ronnie drops the bar but comes back the next set to pump out an easy 10 reps with a mere 495 pounds. Superheavy hack squats are next, followed by walking barbell lunges in the parking lot of the gym. Coleman looks like a modern-day Hercules as he toils under the hot summer sun, walking the length of the parking lot with 185 pounds on his shoulders.

Even more amazing than Coleman’s strength and physique are his attitude and character. There’s never a hint of self-pity or despair during his superhuman workouts. Ronnie truly loves bodybuilding, and I could not imagine him any happier than he is when he’s lifting heavy weights and pumping up.

The video concludes with his tribute to gym owner Dobson. He touchingly refers to Dobson as his own personal angel. Ronnie states that he believes everyone has a purpose in life, and his purpose was to be Mr. Olympia. When Dobson approached Ronnie in 1989 and offered him a free gym membership if he would enter a bodybuilding contest, he set into motion a series of events culminating in Ronnie Coleman’s three Mr. Olympia wins and his status as one of the biggest and most intense bodybuilders on the planet. We should all be thankful. IM

Editor’s note: ‘Ronnie Coleman: The Unbelievable’ is available for $39.95 plus shipping and handling from Home Gym Warehouse, 1-800-447-0008 or visit

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