8x Mr. Olympia shares some chest day knowledge

Ronnie Coleman is an 8x Mr. Olympia champion, and one of the most well known and one of the most decorated bodybuilders to walk the earth. Known for his massive size and conditioning, coming into each contest with extremely low body fat, Ronnie Coleman earned the nickname “The King”. Despite his major back injury that ultimately led to his retirement, Ronnie still stays prominent in the sport, whether it be giving his opinions, promoting his supplement line, or training and passing knowledge onto upcoming competitors. One of those competitors Ronnie often is spotted with, is Jesse James West

Who is Ronnie Coleman?

Full Name: Ronnie Coleman (Men’s Open Bodybuilder)

Weight Height Date Of Birth
297 lbs 5’11″ 5/13/1964
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open 1990s, 2000s American

Ronnie Coleman has trained at the infamous Metroflex Gym, Arlington, TX, for 33 years. This is where he first started out, met Brian Dobson, the man who inspired him to compete in bodybuilding, and where he hit the infamous 800 lb squat. Ronnie still lifts at Metroflex, and recently he was accompanied by fitness influencer and bodybuilder Jesse James West. The two teamed up for a chest and biceps workout just five days before West’s next bodybuilding contest. Jesse James West published the video to his YouTube channel on July 17, 2023.

Seemingly paying homage to the King in his own gym, West showed up to the training session with pairs of yellow striped pants and stringers, which replicated what Coleman wore for some of his most famous workout videos during his reign as Mr. Olympia. 

Ronnie Coleman and Jesse James West Chest Workout

The workout was kept to just four chest exercises, and the finished off with some dumbbell bicep curls. But let’s break it down.

Barbell Bench Press

The two began their workout with Ronnie’s favorite chest exercise, the barbell bench press, a true classic. They warmed up and Ronnie emphasized the importance of warming up to limit the risk of injury. Before their first working set, Ronnie stated that his 800-pound deadlift that he performed in his training video The Unbelievable (2001) during his Olympia reign is his most memorable lift of all time. West began the bench press with 225 working sets, and Ronnie started with 135.

Ronnie was known for using a mix of barbell and dumbbell movements during his training while he was dominating the Olympia stage. While he was known for his intense, heavy, and voluminous workouts, he would ease off the gas a bit coming down to a show, as he would be in a caloric deficit as it got closer.

Incline Barbell Press

Ronnie and Jesse then moved onto the incline barbell press, for the upper part of the pectorals. Though they went a bit lighter here on their working sets, it was all about the pump and breaking down the muscles. West stayed around 185 lbs, and Ronnie used 95 lbs.

Ronnie stated that most bodybuilders have trouble staying dedicated to their workout and diet programs.

Dumbbell Bench Press

After wrapping up the incline barbell press, the two proceeded to do some dumbbell bench press, which is a similar movement to the barbell flat bench, but it gives a greater stretch in the pectorals as the range of motion is slightly larger. Ronnie reminisced of the time he used his 200 lb dumbbells for an easy set of 12 reps on dumbbell flat bench, that is 400 lbs total. 

Dumbbell Flye

Although you do not see bodybuilders using this movement as often as something like the pec deck or cables, Ronnie actually prefers dumbbell flyes to bias his inner chest, stating that it is the greatest flye movement there is. Arnold Schwarzenegger was another world-class bodybuilder who enjoyed using dumbbell flyes to grow his pectorals. Many people today prefer to stick with cable flyes or pec decks, stating that the dumbbell flye puts too much stress on the shoulders. But, this is why form is important.

Seated Dumbbell Biceps Curl


After looking back on Ronnie’s days as a police officer, Jesse James West and Ronnie Coleman wrapped up their workout with seated alternating dumbbell biceps curls. West performed alternating dumbbell curls until he switched over to bilateral bicep curls until failure

Ronnie revealed that he would eat 600 grams of protein a day during his Olympia reign, but he would not count calories as a whole. Instead, he liked to see what his macros were, meaning he would just watch his protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake. 

Key Takeaways 

While Ronnie Coleman and Jesse James West’s chest workout may seem like a simple workout, Ronnie actually dropped some solid life advice throughout it. One thing that stuck out was when Jesse asked Ronnie how he stayed so happy, Ronnie’s response was “I got nothing to be sad about”. That is something to learn from.

Aside from that, pertaining to lifting, Ronnie and Jessie’s chest workout goes to show that you do not need to hit massive amounts of exercises to have a good chest workout. They kept the workout to just four exercises for the chest, which is not bad at all, focusing more on volume rather than one rep maxes, but they did not go overboard. 

Another takeaway was Ronnie’s diet. Sure, you really do not need 600 grams of protein a day, but it also shows the importance of hitting your macros. Ronnie Coleman dominated the Mr. Olympia stage for years, and he would not have looked the way he did without proper macronutrient intake coming from quality food sources. If you look back at videos of Ronnie eating during his Olympia days, it was always whole foods such as chicken breast and rice (of course accompanied by his favorite barbecue sauce).

Ronnie Coleman and Jesse James West Wrap Up

Overall, Ronnie and Jesse’s chest workout is nothing short of impressive. With Jesse being only five days out from his show at the time of filming, he still moved some pretty good weight for a great pump. It was also good to see the champ, Ronnie Coleman, back in a stringer and some striped pants slamming some dumbbells once again.

What was your favorite exercise?

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.