When bodybuilding fans hear the name Ronnie Coleman, they think of this mythical figure lifting unfathomable weights for reps and looking like a real-life comic book hero when he posed onstage throughout his eight-year reign as Mr. Olympia.
Many of those lifts include 800 pound deadlifts and squats, benching 500 pounds, doing dumbbell bench presses with 200 pound dumbbells, and even 2300 pound leg presses!
If bodybuilding had its version of Louis Cyr, he would be it. Those lifts, among others, are what he credits to helping him defeat fellow legends like Jay Cutler, Flex Wheeler, and Kevin Levrone on the biggest stages in bodybuilding.
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Trying my best to get back in shape. Legs are tiny these days but that doesn’t stop me from trying to get them bigger. 12 spine surgeries has me down but not out. Once a champion, always a champion. It’s all about mindset. My record and my stats alone are enough for me to throw in the towel. But stats has nothing to do with wanting to be in shape, wanting to look good, wanting to be good, no matter what. I know I don’t have nothing to prove. But like I said, I wanna look good, I wanna be in great shape, I wanna look like I still compete, I wanna walk again. This is why I still train, I do it because I still love it so I will probably do it till I die. God knows I don’t want to die in the gym but if that happens, God Bless me. Once again it’s on like a marijuana bong. Yeah Buddy!!
Unfortunately, more recent years have been a different story. Coleman has been facing more than 10 different surgeries to help overcome injuries that plagued him after he retired from the stage. The debate has raged about how much of a factor those famous lifts were on his issues. As for Coleman himself, the road to recovery had only gotten longer as each surgery passed. There was much discussion about whether he should ever train again because of the potential risks. It was even covered in a documentary.
But finally after his last surgery in January and over five months of rehab, the former Texas police officer and IFBB Pro League Hall of Famer shared a video on his Instagram of him doing leg presses in a training session with fellow bodybuilder Jason English.
“I am back up to around 240 pounds. At one point I was as low as 220 and I haven’t been that low since I turned pro,” Coleman told us. “I’ve been back to training for about a month now. I go to physical therapy twice a week and I’m in the gym five days a week now.”
That’s a long way from his heaviest onstage weight of 296 pounds, but to make any progress at all after what he’d been through is amazing in itself. “Thank goodness muscle has memory is all I can say.”
Coleman currently has a positive outlook on the future in and out of the gym. Outside of his supplement company, he’s preparing to launch a new podcast. But all in all, he’s clearly happy to be back in the gym and to have had the support he has.
“I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by family, friends, and to have fans who have been supportive of me all these years. I’ve been humble from the beginning and am now because I remember what it was like to have a lot less than I do now. I’m blessed and happy.”
Featured image: @ronniecoleman8 on Instagram