Ronnie Coleman goes into detail about the brutal reality of his extremely painful injuries and surgeries.


The chronicle of Ronnie Coleman’s laundry list of surgeries is almost as well known now as his eight Mr. Olympia wins. His injuries became so bad that he at certain points was unable to even walk or feel his legs. But just like with bodybuilding, Ronnie never stops working and has been constantly pushing towards walking again without the aid of a wheelchair or crutches. In our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview, Ronnie Coleman explains the reality of his pain, injuries, and surgeries.

Ronnie Coleman’s journey post retirement has been relatively well chronicled. He has had multiple surgeries throughout the past decade and at times has been unable to even walk. We took a deep dive into the past and present of Ronnie in our documentary film – Ronnie Coleman: The King. It explored in great detail the pain and struggles of going through multiple spinal surgeries.

Of course, no matter how great of detail we were able to explore in the final film, much of Ronnie’s interview had to be left on the cutting room floor. That’s why we have been slowly releasing unseen and extended segments from the interviews conducted throughout the film.

In this clip, Ronnie Coleman goes into point blank and brutal detail about the reality of living through multiple spinal surgeries. Ronnie has always been a strong and positive person. This is clear in his demeanor, the way he trained as a bodybuilder, and the way he continues to work hard through his recovery.

On any given day, you would be forgiven to not even realize he was in any pain at all. That’s how strong and how positive Ronnie Coleman maintains his outlook and life. But positivity does not completely erase pain. In fact, Ronnie’s upbeat attitude hid and perhaps still hides a multitude of constant pain. The kind of pain that many would not be able to smile through.

Ronnie Coleman often downplayed the severity of his injuries throughout our interview. But in a rare moment, he point plank detailed the truth of his entire ordeal during his (at the time) most recent surgery and the painful aftermath.

After another spinal surgery attempt to relieve pressure and pain, the screws in his back snapped. This also caused the bones in that area to break as well. This compounding issue led to some of the worst pain that Ronnie had ever felt in his life. He eventually lost the feeling in his legs and the ability to walk.

In the hospital, his pain was so severe that there was no pain killer that was able to relieve him. He was unable to sleep due to constant 24 hour pain every single day. “It got pretty bad for a while,” Ronnie Coleman says almost with a grin and a laugh. Even in detailing the hardest moments of his life – he can’t help but put a positive tone on his voice.

Many people would have given up there. Simply went through another surgery, figured out a way to manage the pain, and stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of their life. Instead, Ronnie Coleman took his bodybuilding work ethic and applied it to recovery. He went from the hospital, to a wheelchair, to crutches.

Fast forward to today and it is almost easy to forget just how severe Ronnie Coleman’s multiple surgeries and injuries really were. We are so used to this chapter of his story and Ronnie himself maintains a positive outlook in every appearance he makes.

While he might not be in the same level of pain today as he was during and before our filming, he is certainly in a constant battle. He regrets nothing, finds happiness in his life despite the pain, and continues to work hard and even train.

Ronnie Coleman has the spirit of a true legend and champion. Both during his career and after. He faced challenges unheard of in order to become the best bodybuilder in the world. Now he faces unheard of pain to maintain a happy life. He will go down in history as a true legend from start to finish.

You can watch Ronnie Coleman detail the brutal truth of his pain, injuries, and surgeries in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. You can also watch Ronnie Coleman: The King on digital today. Click here or the banner below to stream or download!

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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.