Lee Haney’s Legendary Old School Workout

Lee Haney

The Total-Lee Awesome workout for Mr. Olympia level gains. 

Lee Haney is among one of the top bodybuilding pros of all time. There’s a reason he was nicknamed “Total-Lee Awesome” and it’s not just because it’s a great play on words. Lee Haney is awesome. His physique, his size, and his talent are unprecedented. Haney is the first person to break the record for most Mr. Olympia wins – a title that has only been matched, not broken, by Ronnie Coleman.

Lee Haney truly dominated bodybuilding in his time in every sense of the word. He had a formidable physique that has hardly been matched to this day – and will forever go down in history as one of the top bodybuilders of all time.

So why not try some of his workouts? We decided to provide you with another old-school workout that you can study and perhaps even implement into your workout routine.

Full Name: Lee “Hercules” Haney
Weight Height Nationality
250-260 pounds 5’11” American
Date of Birth Profession Era
11/11/59 Bodybuilder 80s

Lee “Hercules” Haney

Lee “Hercules” Haney is regarded as one of the best bodybuilders of all time – again, he’s tied with Ronnie Coleman for collecting the most Mr. Olympia titles (8). He was born in Fairburn, Georgia, and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

From an early age, he was passionate about lifting. He received an athletic scholarship and graduated with a degree in youth counseling from Spartanburg Methodist College. Ultimately, his passion for bodybuilding led him down a career as a bodybuilder.

Lee Haney’s career spanned over three decades – with his first competition being held in the late 70s and his final ending in the early 90s. Haney earned his pro card in 1982 at the World Amateur Championships. Of course, the rest is history.

Lee Haney was challenged by many competitive bodybuilders in the Golden Age of Bodybuilding, including Shawn Ray and Dorian Yates. He surpassed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s total Mr. Olympia title wins and held onto the record until Coleman came along to tie him in 2005. After winning his final Mr. Olympia in 1991, Haney retired.

Still, he continues to grow his physique, including his biceps, at 62 years of age.

Lee Haney’s Workout

Lee Haney used a three-day on, one-day off training routine that was split up as follows:

So without further adieu – here is Lee Haney’s workout program. As always, please know your limits before trying out this routine. The last thing you want is an injured body. Be smart. Don’t hurt yourself.

Now onto the workout:

Day 1 – Chest and Arms

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4 6-8
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-10
Incline Bench Press 4 6-8
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-10
Barbell Curl 4 8-10
Preacher Curl 4 8-10
Cable Tricep Extension 4 10-12
Skullcrusher 4 6-8

Day 2 – Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 4 12-15
Leg Press 4 10-12
Squat 4-5 8-10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3-4 8-10

Day 3 – Back and Shoulders

Exercise Sets Reps
Front Lat Pulldown 4 8-10
Barbell/T-Bar Row 4 6-8
Cable Row 4 8-10
Military Press 4-5 6-8
Side Lateral Raise 4 8-10
Upright Row 4 6-8


Day 4 – Rest

The next set of workouts is designed to be your second three on, one off routine. Keep alternating between this variation and the first variation in order to truly workout like Lee Haney.

Day 1 – Chest and Arms

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 4-5 6-8
Incline Bench Press 4 8-10
Dumbbell Fly 4 10
Chest Dip 3-4 12-15
Cable Crossover 3-4 12-15
Barbell Curl/Dumbbell Curl 4-5 6-8
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 8-10
Concentration Curl 4 8-10
Cable Tricep Extension 4 12-15
Seated One-Arm Dumbbell Extension 4 8-10
Reverse Grip One-Arm Cable Tricep Extension 3-4 10-12


Day 2 – Legs

Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 4-5 12-15
Leg Press 4 10-12
Squat 4-5 8-10
Leg Curl 4 8-10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3-4 6-8

Day 3 – Back

Exercise Sets Reps
Narrow Grip Lat Pulldown 4 10-12
Barbell Row 4 8-10
Cable Row 4 8-10
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
Military Press 4-5 6-8
Side Lateral Raise 4 8-10
Upright Row 4 6-8

Day 4 – Rest

Haney trained his calves and abs daily. Here are those daily exercises:

Calf Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Calf Raise 6 15-20
Seated Calf Raise 3-4 15-20
Vertical Leg Raise 4 15-20
Incline Sit Up 4 15-20
Seated Leg Raise 4 15-20


Lee Haney’s workout was no doubt a high-volume workout routine. He preferred to workout 3 days in a row, then allow himself a rest day for the fourth day. And he mixed in two different 3 days on, one day off routines as part of his plan.

He did a split routine separating his chest and arms, legs, and back and shoulders. And he trained his calves and abs daily. Implementing a leg day between his back and shoulders workout gave him the rest he needed to attack his shoulders hard on the third day – because you work your shoulders as a secondary muscle group during pushing movements (chest). So it was smart to not put his shoulder workout right after a heavy chest workout.

Lee Haney’s chest and arms workout was monstrous – it contained the most volume out of all his muscle groups. Haney’s sets ranged from 3-6, depending on the movement, with most exercises being around 4 sets.

His rep range varied too. For some movements, Haney did 6-8 reps, while for others he did 15-20 reps. Haney preferred to use heavier weights and do fewer reps for big compound pushing movements, such as bench press and military press – where he performed 4-5 sets of 6-8 reps. But he liked to engage his calves with more reps in the 15-20 rep range.

He also liked to perform chest assessory movements with higher reps, such as chest dip and cable crossover for 12-15 reps. For some tricep movements, he preferred to use heavier weights and perform fewer reps, such as skullcrusher for 6-8 reps. But he used a little weight and increased the rep count for other triceps exercises, such as cable tricep extensions for 10-15 reps.

And Haney found that his quads received more growth with slightly higher volume than his hamstrings. For example, he did leg extension for 12-15 reps and leg curl for 8-10 reps. Most of his back and biceps movements stayed in the 8-10 rep range.

Final Word

Overall, there was a methodical approach to Lee Haney’s workout method. He did a high-volume workout routine. And alternated between two variations of three days on and one day off. And some muscle groups received more volume than others, while other exercises Haney found were better suited for heavier weights and fewer reps.

Either way, Lee Haney’s effective workout program landed him a tying record for the most Mr. Olympia titles of all time. He’s no double one of the best bodybuilders to live. So why not test out some of his workouts?

Word of caution, though: these workouts are advanced movements and much more volume than most people can handle. For beginners and intermediate lifters, we recommend only choosing 4-5 exercises from each of Haney’s workouts and only performing 2-3 sets.

So that’s the complete Lee Haney workout. Do you think this is up to snuff for your workout routine? Let us know on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. As always, stay pumped.

Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.