By continuing use this site, you agree to the Terms & Conditions and our use of cookies.
Dorian Yates, bodybuilder

Dorian Yates, bodybuilder


We've all started bodybuilding for a variety of reasons, whether as a complement to another sport, to transform our physique or to strengthen for medical reasons. We've also set goals based on these reasons, and sometimes these goals change. So what got us started is no longer what keeps us going.

This was my experience when, in 1995, I pushed open the doors of a weight room for the first time. My aim was to gain strength so I could perform better in judo. Then, for lack of advice, I bought my first FLEX magazine and it was a revelation. I came across a photo of the Mr Olympia (the prestigious prize awarded by the IFBB, the international bodybuilding federation) of the time: Dorian Yates.

He was so massive, so cut and looked so dense that I wanted to be just like him. He inspired me throughout my years as a bodybuilder, which led me to take an interest in his career.

Dorian Yates biography

Dorian Andrew Mientjez Yates was born on April 19, 1962 in Sutton, England. He and his family moved to Birmingham when he was still young. His troubled adolescence led to a 6-month stay in a juvenile detention center. It was there that he realized that not only was he very strong, but above all that he had to give meaning to his life so as not to go back to prison. He wanted to become a bodybuilder.

In 1981, Mike Mentzer's disciple began lifting his first weights. He began training with a classic "Full Body" program: three sets of 10 repetitions of one exercise from each muscle group, without going to failure, every other day. Sessions included numerous barbell exercises (rowing, curl, bench press...) and dumbbells (curl, overhead extension...).

Between 1982 and 1985, Dorian Yates changed his program to one day of training, one day of rest, training his body over two days before resuming the training cycle. This meant: pecs, back shoulders on day 1, reps on day 2 then quads, ischios, calves, biceps and triceps on day 3 then rest and resume the cycle. He worked on three sets of 8 reps on average for two exercises per group. The first failed sets also came at this time.

In 1986, to prepare for the British bodybuilding championships, Dorian Yates began a "split" training program, with three days of exercise and one day of rest, but it didn't work. His recovery wasn't good, so he decided to switch to two days of workouts for one day without touching any bars or machines. Here's how it went:

  • day 1: pectorals, biceps and triceps
  • day 2: quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
  • day 3: rest
  • day 4: back and shoulders - abs are worked at the end of the session
  • day 5: rest, then cycle resumes.

During this period, Dorian Yates switches to two sets of three exercises per group, moving closer to his single-set method. For the first time, he includes cardio in his training, an exercise he will continue to practice both in preparation and in the off-season.
After winning the English Championship, he turns professional with the IFBB.

Dorian Yates weight training

Before Mr Olympia

Between 1986 and 1992, Dorian Yates changed very little in his training, apart from dropping the "neck press" exercises which traumatized his shoulders too much, and the free squats which were responsible for a hip injury in 1987. A trauma that would handicap him for a long time to come.

He replaced these two movements with dumbbell neck presses and free squats with the smith machine and press.

In 1991, he won the Night of Champions, an event organized by the IFBB. It wasn't until his first Mr Olympia title in 1992 that Dorian Yates really switched to the principle of the effective single set. He starts the first movement with one or two warm-up sets, followed by a set to failure. The second and third movements are performed without warm-up sets.

The training rhythm then alternates two days of exercise, one day of rest, two days of exercise, one day of rest and so on. Only the abdominals are worked over three effective sets.

After Mr Olympia

As the years went by and injuries occurred, Dorian Yates adapted his technique and the movements he used. He abandoned the free squat for the hack squat and leg press. He switches from the neck press to the military press, and from the supinated barbell rowing to the pronated barbell rowing.

Dorian Yates' diet

yates' diet consists mainly of porridge and egg whites mixed with protein, which he eats in the morning. The majority of his meals contain chicken breast or lean red meat, potatoes and green vegetables. He also alternates with rice for carbohydrates. Dorian Yates generally eats six meals a day, a third of which are protein shakes.

Before training, Dorian consumes a shake (a mixture of proteins and carbohydrates) and a carbohydrate drink. Before going to bed, he eats oatmeal, egg whites and protein powder.

His diet remained the same out of season and in preparation, only the quantities varied. So it's not worth giving them away.

Here is Dorian Yates' record of achievements, which has made him one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, like Ronnie Coleman and, more recently, Dennis Wolf:

  • 1984 Mr. Birmingham novice 1st
  • 1985 Novice West Coast (England) 1st
  • 1985 World Games 7th (London)
  • 1986 EFBB British HW 1st (in London)
  • 1988 British Championships 1st
  • 1990 Night of Champions 2nd
  • 1991 Night of Champions 1st
  • 1991 Mr. Olympia 2nd
  • 1991 English Grand Prix 1st
  • 1992 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1993 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1994 Grand Prix Germany 1st
  • 1994 Grand Prix Spain 1st
  • 1994 Grand Prix England 1st
  • 1994 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1995 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1996 Mr. Olympia 1st
  • 1997 Mr. Olympia 1st

Since retiring from competition following a serious injury to his left triceps, on the back of a 6th IFBB Mr. Olympia victory, Dorian Yates has remained in the bodybuilding world, launching his own brand of nutritional supplements as well as a gym franchise called "Temple Gym". Numerous gyms opened around the world under the supervision of "Shadow", a nickname given to Dorian Yates during his competitive years due to his great discretion outside the IFBB circuit.

Unlike other bodybuilders, he only released one training video, entitled "Blood & Guts". It's still the authority in the bodybuilder world.

I hope this article will appeal to as many people as possible, and be as inspirational as it has been for me throughout my bodybuilding "career".

Author Alexandre CARPENTIER

Bodybuilding Champion N.A.C 2012

Alexandre shares his bodybuilding experience with MegaGear blog readers

Posted in: Sports athletes