The Full Dorian Yates Workout Routine!

Last edited: April 18, 2020
by Reda Elmardi

For those of you who are familiar with bodybuilding, the name Dorian Yates should ring a bell.

Dorian is a multiple-time former Mr. Olympia winner and is considered by many to be one of the best bodybuilders of all time.

When talking about the greatest bodybuilders of all time, Dorian Yates is a name that many people bring up.

Dorian is renowned for his enormous size and high-intensity style of training.

Dorian also ushered in a new era in the world of bodybuilding and helped to change the way amateurs and pros alike, trained when building up for a competition.

But how did Dorian build one of the biggest and most iconic physiques in the industry?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Here’s a detailed look at Dorian Yates’ favorite exercises for each body part.

Who Is Dorian Yates?

Before we start looking at how Dorian Yates was able to build one of the best physiques in the industry, we first need to take a look at who he is.

Dorian Yates is an English bodybuilder hailing from Birmingham.

He was nicknamed ‘The Shadow’ and as a teen, he found himself in and out of trouble with the law.

He was a skinny kid and despite lifting weights and training regularly, he struggled to put any real muscle mass on.

He decided to look into ways in which he could bulk up and build muscle and so he adopted a high-intensity style of training.

He lifted heavy weights and really stepped up the intensity and packed on the size.

Dorian ushered in the era of the mass monster as he was enormous when competing and out massed his competitors quite significantly.

He went on to win Mr. Olympia multiple times.

The Full Dorian Yates Workout Routine:

Dorian Yates Workout Routine

Dorian Yates Back Workout:

Now we’re going to look at how Dorian used to train his back.

His back was freaky in size and his condition on stage was flawless.

He would emphasize very heavy compound lifts and would train as intensely as he could(1).

He did nothing fancy when training, and would simply aim for 8 – 10 reps on average, sometimes going as high as 12.

Interestingly, Dorian didn’t use the lat pulldown machine as he didn’t believe that lat pulldowns worked the lats enough.

He did a lot of heavy rows and liked to use dumbbells as well as barbells.

A few of his favorite back exercises included:

  • T bar rows
  • Seated cable rows
  • Barbell bent-over rows
  • Single-arm dumbbell rows
  • Dumbbell pullovers
  • Hammer pullovers
  • Reverse grip hammer pulldowns
  • Deadlifts
  • Hyperextensions

Doran Yates Chest Workout:

Dorian had one of the best chests in the business.

Again, he did a lot of compound movements with a few machine-based exercises included.

Reps were again in the 8 – 12 range.

As before, Dorian focussed on the intensity and would train to fail and as heavy as he could manage.

He would have a training partner help him squeeze a few extra reps out.

A few of his favorite chest exercises included:

  • Flat bench barbell press
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Flat bench dumbbell flyes
  • Cable crossovers
  • Decline bench presses
  • Machine chest press
  • Incline dumbbell flyes
  • Push-ups

Dorian Yates Shoulder Workout:

If you’ve seen the iconic black and white images of Dorian in his prime, other than his grainy condition and insane muscle mass, you’ll notice how enormous his shoulders were.

Dorian’s shoulders were huge and well rounded.

He had boulder shoulders, as they were known, and he had impressive pressing power.

Again, heavy compounds were favored.

He would sacrifice some form towards the end of his working sets and would aim to hit 8 – 10 reps on average, sometimes 12.

He would perform 2 warm-up sets of 10 – 12 reps and would aim for 10 reps for his working sets.

Interestingly, despite so many people being negative about the smith machine, Dorian was a fan. A few of his favorite shoulder exercises included:

  • Smith machine shoulder press
  • Dumbbell shrugs
  • Dumbbell lateral raises
  • One-armed cable lateral raises
  • Dumbbell front raises
  • Seated dumbbell shoulder press
  • Military presses
  • Bent over rows

Dorian Yates Legs Workout:

As those of you who train will know, in terms of intensity, leg day is the day that requires the most.

Dorian really ramped up the intensity on leg day and pushed his body to its limits.

He trained hard and heavy, but interestingly, Dorian didn’t perform barbell back squats.

Now, if you saw his legs, you’d know how huge his quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves were, so he certainly knew what he was doing.

He’d do 2 warm-up sets of 10 – 12 reps and for his working sets, he’d aim for 8 – 10 reps.

A few of his favorite leg exercises included the following:

  • Seated calf raises
  • Standing calf raises
  • Hack squats
  • Lever leg press
  • Leg extensions
  • Single leg curls
  • Lying hamstring curls
  • Stiff legged deadlifts

Dorian Yates Arm Workout:

Finally, we’re going to leave you with a look at how Dorian Yates would train his arms.

He would never train biceps and triceps together.

He would perform 2 warm-up sets of 10 – 12 reps and would aim for 8 – 10 reps for his working sets.

Dorian would focus on contracting the muscles and squeezing as much blood into the muscle as possible.

A few of his favorite arm exercises for biceps and triceps included the following:

  • Preacher curls
  • Preacher curl machine
  • Hammer curls
  • Incline dumbbell biceps curls
  • Barbell curls
  • Barbell lying triceps extensions
  • Cable pushdowns
  • One arm cable pushdowns
  • EZ bar triceps extensions

Stay tuned with the latest bodybuilding and fitness news by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

Looking for a safer, legal alternative to Steroids? Consider Anvarol

Anvarol is a legal alternative to Anavar. It improves your strength and energy by stimulating phosphocreatine synthesis within your muscle tissue.
  • - Promotes FAST Fat Loss
  • - Boosts Energy Levels
  • - Retains Lean Muscle
  • - Post-Workout
Learn more

You should subscribe if you want to get bigger, faster (in a safe way)

Just leave our email to get access to our best content (get the nutrition and training info you need to achieve your goals.)

About the Author

Reda Elmardi is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.

About Reda Elmardi

Reda is an ACE Certified Nutritionist, Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt and bodybuilder with 11 years of experience. He's been published on many influential websites such as, Wealthy Gorilla, Good Men Project and more.

Related articles

Strong Chap is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon(.com,, .ca etc) and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

Get in touch