Dorian Yates Workout Routine and Life Story

Dorian Yates is one of the most recognizable names in the fitness industry. With 6 Mr. Olympia titles to his credit, he is one of the few bodybuilders who have achieved a great height of success in their bodybuilding careers. With such a wonderful physique, it’s no surprise that he single-handedly dominated most of the competitions in his era. His 15 major contest wins got him a place among bodybuilding icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Haney. In this read, you will get a deep insight into the life story and bodybuilding career of Dorian Yates.

Once he retired as a competitive bodybuilder he forayed into the field of bodybuilding supplements. He is also known to have numerous gyms opened to transform the dreams of many youngsters into reality. It is never a smooth ride for legends and the same was the case with Dorian Yates. He has a history of spending time in a youth detention center. He also encountered a lot of injuries in his career.

Dorian Yates Workout Routine

Dorian Yates Stats

Date of Birth 19th April 1962
Wife Gal Ferreira Yates
Nationality British
Alias The Shadow, The British Bulldog, The Beast of Britain
Best Win Olympia (1992-97)
Height 5′ 10″
Weight

265-282 lbs in contests, 290-309 lbs in the offseason

Arms 20″
Chest 57″
Waist 34″
Biceps 22″
Thighs 30″
Calves 22″

Dorian Yates Early Years

Dorian Yates grew up in Staffordshire same as Eddie Hall. He lost his father at a very young age, leaving him without someone to look over him in his formative years. He soon took the company of a bunch of skinheads. He even got jailed for being involved in some notorious riots. He didn’t want to spiral down into a life of crime so he started to work out as soon as he was 21. He decided to never get behind bars again.

Start of Fitness Journey

There was no record of Yates working out or even playing sports as a child. Even then, he grew up to be a natural athlete. He had a realization that he had the potential to build muscle so started working on getting jacked with hard and dense muscle.

Within five years, he won two British Championships. His first Mr. Olympia competition was in 1991 where he stood second but the next year in 1992 he started his winning streak and continued winning the coveted title till 1997!

Unfortunately, he suffered an injury after his final victory so he retired.

Dorian was immensely popular among bodybuilders of that era because of his unique style. He adopted short, high-intensity sessions instead of long high volume sessions.

Life As a Professional Bodybuilder

After earning his Pro Card, Yates took some time off the limelight. He didn’t participate in competitions back to back. With an aim to improve and build his body he trained hard in between competitions. In 1990, he participated in the Night of Champions. Not just this, he won the show and shocked everyone by placing ahead of pros like Danny Padilla and Robby Robinson.

Dorian Yates Workout Routine

The Making of ‘The Shadow’

Dorian Yates gave a new perspective to bodybuilding through his weightlifting training. At his prime, he was given the nickname ‘the shadow’. The reason behind this nickname was very interesting as most of the bodybuilders and athletes back then wanted a spotlight. They wanted to be photographed for magazines and cover photos. However, Yates was a different person. You wouldn’t see him around for months. It was as if he had simply vanished!

Bodybuilders were busy living their celeb lives on the beaches and fancy hotels while Yates was sweating blood and tears in his gym. Whenever the season of competitions arrived, Yates would come out of the dungeon and take the trophy home. He had no desire to be viewed as a star or a celebrity. His tough mentality and thorough training earned him lots of admirers. There was nobody like Dorian Yates as he surpassed his genetic potential in training and bodybuilding.

Dorian Yates Workout Routine

Injury and Retirement

The fame and popularity of Dorian Yates came at a cost as he suffered several injuries after Mr. Olympia in 1997. As a result, he had to retire. His torn biceps and triceps won him many trophies but in the end, he knew his career was over.

Way back in 1994, he started a sportswear company in collaboration with Mike and Ray Mentzer.

But this is not all!

He further advanced his career by setting up a nutrition and weight gain supplements brand in 2006. He is also the founder of a franchise of gyms that has its branches in America and England.

Dorian Yates’ Workout Routine

Everyone wants to know the workout routine of Yates as he built one of the most impressive bodies in bodybuilding. Anyone wanting to stay disciplined and improve his physique over time can follow this routine. But of course, it can’t guarantee you six Mr. Olympia titles.

Dorian Yates had his inspiration from Mike Mentzer’s HIIT training method. He had four days of training with three days of rest. This program is not taxing at all as compared to the higher volume training plans of the rest of the bodybuilders.

What made his workout routines stand out is that they were short and concise. Not just this, he limited each of the exercises to mere one or two sets.

Each body part had different sorts of exercises with maximum intensity for only set to failure without the warm-up sets.

On the days that he did not work out, he would do 20-25 minutes of cardio training.

Also, he did not do cardio on the days when he trained with weights so that he did not lose the muscle that he put in so much effort to gain.

Workout Routine

Monday: Shoulder, Triceps, and Abs

This routine includes 9 exercises with a couple of warm-up sets and then a single working set.

  • Smith machine shoulder press: 2 sets of 10-12 reps,  One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell lateral raise: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • One arm cable lateral raise: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell shrugs: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Cable press down: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • EZ-Bar Triceps Extensions: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Chair sit-ups: 20 reps
  • Crunches: 20 reps
  • Reverse Crunches: 20 reps

Tuesday: Back

Yates focused on his back on Tuesdays. He had seven different exercises which are mentioned as under:

  • Dumbbell Pullover: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Hammer Pulldowns: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Reverse-Grip Hammer Pulldowns: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Wide-Grip Cable Row: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Barbell Deadlift: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Hyperextension: 1 set of 8-10 reps

Wednesday: Off Day

Yates needed a day to give enough rest to his body which in return improved his recovery rate.

Thursday: Chest, Abs, and Biceps

This routine revolves around the chest, biceps, and abs.

  • Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One high-intensity heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Decline Bench Press: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes (45 degrees): 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Flat Dumbbell Flyes: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Machine Chest Press: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Cable Crossover: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curl: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Standing EZ Bar Biceps Curl: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Legs

Yates focused on his quads, hamstrings, and calves on Saturdays.

  • Leg extensions: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Leg Press: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Hack Squat: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Seated Hamstring Curl: 2 sets of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Calf Press: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps
  • Seated Calf Raise: 1 set of 10-12 reps, One heavy set of 8-10 reps

Sunday: Off day

This workout may look easy and doable but Yates inserts maximum intensity for every single exercise. He doesn’t put pressure on the same muscles over and over again. He plans a full-body workout for a week and then focuses on separate muscle groups.

Dorian Yates Workout Tips

  • Make sure you get proper rest within tough training workouts
  • The diet must be balanced and healthy
  • Take care of what works for you and get rid of what doesn’t match your system

The Dorian Yates Diet Plan

Yates has made changes in his diet through the years but he maintained his focus on complex carbs, green veggies, and proteins. He also made sure he was not overdoing the carbs before training sessions. He would eat every 3 hours. He has mentioned quite many times that his diet has improved since the mass-bulking foods of his competition days at the end of the 1980s. Here is his diet plan:

Meal 1:
Porridge made with a cup of oatmeal
9-10 egg whites
A few scoops of protein powder

Meal 2:
A pre-workout protein shake after breakfast and before the first gym session

Meal 3:
Balanced amounts of proteins and carbs in lunch.
Two chicken breasts
Lots of green vegetables
Rice/potato

Meal 4:
A large glass of protein shake

Meal 5:
Dinner by 6 pm consisting of 12oz filet mignon
Green vegetables
Rice/potato

Meal 6:
A small serving of porridge cooked with half a cup of oatmeal
6 egg whites before going to sleep

Dorian Yates had a routine that worked for him. There can be certain variations in the eating and training routines of different individuals depending on their desired outcomes.

Dorian Yates Supplements

Yates had dietary supplementation to make sure he had achieved maximum potential.

Quality protein supplement

It is the best way to meet your body’s protein needs. Find out more about the best protein supplements that include Tri Protein from Crazy Nutrition.

Creatine

Creatine enhances the strength of workouts. Check out the best creatine supplements for men and women by clicking here.

Pre Workout

Pre-workout lets you get more of your training sessions. You experience more energy, more pump, and improved focus. Check out the best pre-workouts for men and women including Intensive Pre-Train from Crazy Nutrition.

Glutamine

Glutamine is an amino acid that is known to build the immune system. It supports intestinal health and brings an improvement in muscle recovery.

BCCAs

It is an important factor behind muscle recovery and growth. It is also crucial in case your diet is not rich in proteins.

Conclusion

The products recommended by Yates are the same as he used. He suggests that by starting a fitness journey, you can bring a change in your life. He believes that hard work can get you the results you are looking for. He wanted to achieve the title of Mr. Olympia so he left no stone unturned and eventually won Mr. Olympia six times.

Tanveer Quraishi, the main editor of this site has vast experience in the field of bodybuilding. He has been training for almost two decades and has studied steroids and SARMs extensively over the past 10 years. When he is not sweating it out at the gym or writing for this site, he can be spotted playing with his two lovely daughters.