T Nation

30 Sets a Week?


This was called "Ronnie Coleman's Workout" and it looks like it got pulled, for what reasons I don't know. Anyway, it looks like Coleman would hit about 15 sets a wrokout per muscle group, twice a week. That's quite a lot compared to what I've seen recommended here and elsewhere. Is he more of the exception to the rule?


focus on short heavy sessions, dont grind away 4000 sets. bench deadlift and squat and do 2-3 more movements for each muscle to build it up some more.

if you still wanna drown yourself in an ocean of sets make sure you're on a gram of test a week and eating plenty.

i mean some of it is fine, but 30 sets of biceps a week together with 30 sets for back?

if it works for you...who am i to argue.


I don't think that's too extreme. I'd venture to say Arnold did twice that much each week per bodypart. Do what works for you. I do around the same amount of sets each week as Ronnie per muscle group. At the end of the day a message board can't tell you how many sets is too many, I think all these details are small and unimportant in the grand scheme of things (sets, reps, time in the gym, protein shake directly after training, etc.).


I think both Arnold and Ronnie did more than that, Ronnie had a gym in his house and was known to workout both inside and outside his gym. These guys are obsessive, they have to be they are the elite of the elite. If all it took was some good genes and a short 45 min workout there would be a lot more competitors.


30 sets - but how many reps per set? any guideline % of 1RM etc?


Standard stuff - mostly 12 reps. His routine looked like a very typical routine, except that he was working out 6 days a week on a 3 day split instead of 4 days a week on a 4 day split.


4 days a week on a 4 day split? That's typical? Is that why so few make progress?

Im not saying anyone aside from RC should be training like RC but come on. Lets set the bar a little higher.

Traning 6 days a week is not noteworthy. 6 days a week is very normal for many people who take this stuff seriously and who have the time avaiable for that.

How much volume you do per session depends on how much AAS you plan to take.


I don't think that's extreme at all. It really depends on the type of weight and how you lift that makes the difference. Hell, not even a month ago I was burning through 30 sets of back work in 35 minutes! It was lighter weight and the rest periods were short (30 seconds), but you know what? I was pumped to hell. Also, it did not in any way hamper my training week. Did the same for arms.

Now if you wanna go balls out heavy, then maybe 30 sets in 35 minutes is crazy. But I can easily do that much in a 2 hour lifting session.

DB rows 8 x 6-8 ramping up weight

top weight Kroc row 1-2 x 20-25

face-pulls 4 sets
rear delt barbell row 4 sets
pull aparts 4 sets

Chins 5 sets + 2 second hold at top

That's about 26 sets +/- 1, I can get that done in an 90 minutes easy.

And I do deadlift work on another day, including more back work. I don't think that's extreme at all. Again, with Bonez, I'm not saying anybody but Ronnie should train like Ronnie, but come on, 30 sets in a week isn't that extreme.

Another split I used:

DAY 1:
DB rows 8 sets ramping
Kroc row top set
Rack chins 4 sets
cable rows x 4 sets

DAY 2:

T-Bar row x 4
pulldowns x 4
face-pulls x 4
low-trap rows x 4

That's 31-32 sets in a week, that's easy.



There is your thread.

You were counting every single warm-up set.


-Ramped every set (usually big weight jumps too, except on some lighter DB stuff and such)
-Started his training cycles light and went heavier and heavier until the cycle was over while dropping reps on his main movements. Rinse and repeat with a higher starting point each time. Basic stuff, not so different from Coan etc in that sense.
Secondary stuff stayed the same in terms of reps I think, not entirely sure...
-Did not always train everything twice a week on a 6 day split either.
He's done 4-way over 4 days a week, as well as continuous 4-ways (4 on, 1 off, repeat, on a 4-way split) as well.
-Took a week off every x weeks (depends on the split I think)
-And then there's the not-so-legal aspect of things.

You want to do this kind of thing yourself natty, stick with 2-3 exercises per bodypart or so per session (if doing the "everything twice a week" option), and eat enough to gain a good bit of weight every week while the weights are going up (I dunno, an lb a week or so... Depends on the individual and how you respond in terms of strength gains too... Gain too much bodyweight vs. your gym gains and you get fat... Gain too little bodyweight and that sort of routine will crush you)... And remember that Ronnie did not use the same weight on all his listed sets for an exercise... He added a big chunk every set... Only the last is a real work set usually... Some exceptions are his EZ bar 21's (useless anyway) and that little machine shoulder superset he did once upon a time.
Oh... And without gear you might want to make days 4-6 actual light days. Depends on how long you want to go per training cycle and how much you can take...

The 3-way split over six days that I remember him using has some problems with low back overlap (obv. about 1-2 exercises per bp. too much for the average natty... Not like you'd need them either) and too much stuff involving the shoulders.


You know what's funny? You listed more back work there than Ronnie ever did at any given time during the week. That is, if those sets where you didn't indicate ramping are all straight weight.

The number of sets in a week doesn't say much about a routine OP.


Hahaha. Exactly my point! And yes, the sets are all straight weight unless listed as ramping. Number of sets in a week doesn't say much about a routine at all. This past week I performed about 100 sets of snatch work. That's pretty much back intensive. I felt great. Once again, the number of sets doesn't say anything about the workout.


Is he more of an exception? Probably.
I've heard before he touched aas he was already genetically gifted and a pretty big dude.
He played college football and any of my friends that have played college football have told me they work out something like 3 or 4 sessions a day( each session being something different, lifting, practice, conditioning.). So he was probably use to huge training sessions. Not to mention he uses performance enhancing drugs. So id assume he is kind of an exception and a normal dude could probably make good gains with less volume.


i deffinitely dont think thats too much volume per week, but everyones different


sounds fine to me op - but then it depends on a variety of things. Food, drugs, sleep, time you've been training etc...