Lee Haney is one of the most legendary bodybuilders in the history of the sport. He’s only one of two bodybuilders to win eight Mr. Olympia’s. That world record is tied with Ronnie Coleman.   

While Lee Haney hasn’t competed on the pro stage in many decades, he remains a powerful presence in the sport. You might be able to take the man out of bodybuilding, but you can’t take bodybuilding out of the man. He still has a passion for the sport and follows it closely.

That’s why we connected with him via video chat in 2020 to discuss a wide variety of topics including his storied career and his thoughts on the current generation of bodybuilding. Where is its future heading and is it a positive direction and growth for the sport?

Lee Haney’s Toughest Olympia Battle

Starting off looking at his career and his past – we discussed at length his rise to becoming the first ever 8x Olympia champion in bodybuilding. But what was his most challenging Olympia battle? According to Haney, there was none. This might sound like a cocky statement – but he says it with as much humble energy as possible.

His number one goal was to improve on his own physique year after year. He mostly accomplished that – and so when game time came he was more than confident and ready to take down his competition.


 

Listen to the full Lee Haney interview here:


Did Ronnie Coleman Train Too Hard?

Lee Haney also looked at the generation after him. Namely, the second and only other person to tie Haney’s eight Mr. Olympia wins. Ronnie Coleman is known as an undisputed legend in the sport. But his training methods also led to some serious injuries and a laundry list of spinal surgeries after his retirement.

Did Ronnie need to train that hard at the cost of his health? We asked Lee Haney his thoughts. Ultimately, he said it’s not up for him to decide. Ronnie Coleman had the mentality of a gladiator. It’s almost like his hardcore training was a choice at all. It was simply in his blood.

“I have the utmost respect for Ronnie,” Lee Haney said in our interview. “Ronnie is different. He’s in a league of his own. And he don’t apologize for what he did, nor do I think he needs to.”

Lee Haney even went as far to admit that he himself couldn’t train the way Ronnie Coleman or even Dorian Yates trained. Haney didn’t need to as there was no one pushing that kind of mass monster size yet. He admits that if he were to be born in the mass monster era of the 80’s or 90’s – that his body likely couldn’t handle the kind of training Ronnie did. Perhaps Haney wouldn’t have been the same kind of champion if forced into the culture of mass monster bodybuilding.

Modern Bodybuilding And The Future

Lee Haney also looked at bodybuilding today and towards the future of the sport. He analyzed Phil Heath’s reign as a seven time Mr. Olympia champion and whether he was a good representation for the sport.

He also turned his critical eye towards the relatively new Classic Physique division. Does he believe that this is a good addition into the sport? And will it continue to grow in popularity as one of the bigger highlights of bodybuilding?

You can find out his thoughts on these topics and much more by watching our full uncut Lee Haney GI Exclusive interview above.

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.