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Ronnie Coleman Shares His Favorite Exercises and Trains Chest With Jesse James West


The eight-time Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman is one of the most decorated bodybuilders in history. Although long retired from competitive bodybuilding, Coleman remains dedicated to the training lifestyle and still pumps iron with many of bodybuilding’s top athletes.

Coleman has trained at the Metroflex Gym, Arlington, TX, for 33 years. He was joined by fitness influencer and bodybuilder Jesse James West for a chest and biceps workout five days before West’s next bodybuilding contest. The video of their training session was published on West’s YouTube channel on July 17, 2023.

West came prepared for the training session with pairs of yellow striped pants and stringers, similar to what Coleman wore for famous workout videos during his Mr. Olympia reign. Check it out below:

[Related: Discover Men’s Open Bodybuilder Hunter Labrada’s Push Day Six Weeks Out From Competition]

Ronnie Coleman and Jesse James West Chest Workout

Coleman and West did four chest exercises and finished the workout with dumbbell bicep curls:

Barbell Bench Press
Incline Bench Press
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Flye
Dumbbell Biceps Curl

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Bench Pressing

The duo opened with Coleman’s favorite chest exercise — the flat barbell bench press. They warmed up with a pair of lightweight sets. Coleman emphasized the importance of warming up to limit the risk of injury. Before their first working set, Coleman revealed that the 800-pound deadlift he performed in his training video The Unbelievable (2001) during his Olympia reign is his most memorable lift of all time. West lifted 225 pounds in his first working set, whereas Coleman opened with 135 pounds.

Coleman alternated between barbell and dumbbell workouts during his competitive career to help balance his strength gains. Although Coleman was famous for his high-intensity, high-volume workouts, he lifted lighter in the weeks leading up to a bodybuilding show, as maintaining a calorie deficit meant the fuel wasn’t in the tank for heavier lifting as he would perform in his off-seasons.

According to Coleman, most bodybuilders struggle to stay dedicated to their workout and diet programs. He believes passion for the sport can be the most potent driving force, leading to an unwavering commitment, assuming one’s discipline is at the requisite level.

[Related: Bodybuilding Lore Addressed: Can You Actually Target Your Inner Chest?]

Dumbbell Flye

Coleman favors dumbbell flyes to bias his inner chest. The eight-time Olympia champ prioritizes training for a pump, as he feels increased blood flow delivers oxygen and nutrients to the target muscles, promoting hypertrophy.  A 2022 study by the National Strength and Conditioning Association “suggests that the greater the muscle swelling immediately after…resistance training, the greater the muscle hypertrophy.” (1)

Dumbbell Biceps Curl

The duo wrapped up their workout with seated alternating dumbbell biceps curls. West performed alternating dumbbell curls until swapping to bilateral partials to failure

Coleman revealed he ate 600 grams of protein daily while prepping for Mr. Olympia and never counted calories, opting instead to hit his macro targets.

The only thing I counted was protein and carbs.

Coleman’s training volume remained unchanged when he transitioned from the off-season to the cutting phase.

Jesse James West

According to NPC News Online, West began his competitive bodybuilding career in 2022. He made his debut at the 2022 NPC New Jersey State Championships in the Men’s Physique and Classic Physique divisions, finishing in fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Novice classes.


Hirono T, Ikezoe T, Taniguchi M, Tanaka H, Saeki J, Yagi M, Umehara J, Ichihashi N. Relationship Between Muscle Swelling and Hypertrophy Induced by Resistance Training. J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Feb 1;36(2):359-364. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003478. PMID: 31904714.

Featured image: @jessejameswest on Instagram

The post Ronnie Coleman Shares His Favorite Exercises and Trains Chest With Jesse James West appeared first on BarBend.

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