Ronnie Coleman is arguably the greatest bodybuilder of all time, winning 8 Mr Olympia’s in a row from 1998-2005 – bringing him level with Lee Haney as the most successful Mr Olympia of all time. At one time Ronnie Coleman held the record for the most wins as an IFBB pro – with 26 titles (although now this has been surpassed by Dexter Jackson).
Ronnie Coleman’s had an illustrious bodybuilding career, winning titles left, right and center. Arguably his biggest greatest rival, Jay Cutler, even said he only defeated Ronnie in 2006 because the former champ didn’t come in at his best…pretty much insinuating that Ronnie was always superior throughout their battles.
Due to injury Ronnie Coleman retired from bodybuilding – he’s since had two hip replacements, and has serious damage to the intervertebral discs in his back, at times being unable to walk; and spending months in recovery from expensive surgeries. If you’ve watched Ronnie train in his peak you’ll see the intensity at which he trains, and the weight he lifted…such as squatting 800lbs!
Like lots of bodybuilders who lift like this – careers are going to be short, look at Dorian Yates, who too trained in a similar fashion to Ronnie.
After Ronnie’s decline due to age and injury he still wasn’t sure whether he would compete again, back in 2010 he gave an interview with Muscle & Brawn…
Exclusive: 8 time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman talks to Muscle and Brawn.
Ronnie Coleman talks about the possibility of a comeback, speaks about his lengthy layoffs from training, and reveals the possibility of a new supplement line.
Muscle and Brawn: Tell us about your comeback. Is it going better then expected, worse then you expected? And what do you say to the people that are counting you out?
Ronnie Coleman: I’m not even sure about a comeback, that’s something I’d love to do but don’t know if its possible. I would have to get in some tremendous shape for the Olympia stage. It’s very tough on an old man like myself. I’ll let them count me out all they want, just don’t try to take one of the 8 Sandows I’ve already won, then I would get highly upset.
Muscle and Brawn: Ronnie, you mentioned that you take several months off from training each year. Mentally, what is this like for you? Are you still hungry to hit the gym during this time off, or is a welcomed break?
Ronnie Coleman: I would love to train all the year round but I’ve convinced myself that this is really prolonging my bodybuilding career because I want to do this until the day I die – bodybuild, not compete.
Muscle and Brawn: How long do you plan on competing, and what are your plans post-retirement?
Ronnie Coleman: I have no idea of how long I’ll compete or if I’ll ever compete again. Post retirement I’d like to start my very own successful line of excellent supplements.
Since That Time…
1 year on from this interview in 2010, Ronnie launched his own supplement company Ronnie Coleman Signature Series.
It also seems he was correct about the ‘successful’ part too, with his brand winning Bodybuilding.com’s new brand of the year award in its opening year, and has since grown to be one of the top brands in the industry.
In 2018 a new Ronnie Coleman film was released on Netflix, titled ‘The King’, which shows Ronnie as he is now. You get to see the downs of his back crippling injury, the ups of his career, and how he’s rebuilding his life outside of bodybuilding.
It’s an emotional documentary and very different from his early 2000 docs. It’s a valuable lesson in how life changes, and how to adapt to crisis and rebuild i.e. in Ronnies case he went from 8x Mr Olympia, to back crippling injury, to eventually rebuilding himself through business and coming to accept his new purpose in life.
In the documentary, Ronnie says that he still trains, although with much lighter weights, to prevent aggravating his spine (using machine exercises, supported bench exercises, etc).