Pose like an icon.
Written by Robert Zeglinski
Ronnie Coleman pieced together an exemplary bodybuilding career on the strength of a massive physique and impeccable commitment to his training. In the process, he also developed a few “signature” moves that helped him win eight consecutive Mr. Olympia titles (1998-2005) and construct a dominant dynasty. The living legend recently disclosed some of them.
On Mar. 27, 2023, Coleman posted a video to his YouTube channel sharing his feelings on “the greatest bodybuilding poses of all time.” The retired athlete went into great detail about the four specific moves that helped him become the king of bodybuilding in the late 20th and early 21st century.
For Coleman, talking about his life’s work seemed to bring him energy. Though, talking about it on this micro level through four poses would understandably excite any icon like him.
Back Lat Spread
Coleman begins with his time-tested favorite: The back lat spread. He notes that his pose was his “most dominant,” and it helped him win the 1998 Mr. Olympia — his first title.
“I pretty much won the competition [1998 Mr. Olympia] from the back,” Coleman explained. “I’ll never forget a judge approaching me after the show and claiming my back was so wide it reminded him of a cobra head. It stuck with me throughout my career. One of my most extraordinary poses was as deadly to my competitors as a cobra.”
Coleman maintained that the side chest pose was one of the more “challenging” of his competitive career. It came to be one of his favorites through stringent effort.
“Coming into my second Olympia victory, I felt my side chest was a weak point,” Coleman said. “So, I spent extra attention during my training and ultimately flipped the weakness into a massive strength. This is my favorite pose now because I worked my butt off for it.”
Coleman clarifies that the most muscular pose is among the more common in the sport. It also seems to require the most balanced physique. For Coleman, this was rarely an issue.
“The most muscular pose is probably the most common and popular pose of all-time because it incorporates nearly every muscle in your body and gives the judges, and the audience, an overall view of your conditioning,” Coleman noted. “I’ll never forget the room going quiet and the faces in pure shock.”
Front Lat Spread
Coleman perhaps became the most amusingly descriptive with imagery when it came to the front lat spread.
“I brought some serious width with this pose [the front lat spread],” Coleman said. “It felt like I was on an island all on my own when it comes to balance. Hell, I was usually told that I could fly with those wings and I believed it.”
When all is said and done, Coleman could be viewed as the best bodybuilder of all time. Learning from him about the most optimal poses to thrive on the biggest stages would likely be a tremendous treat for most people in and around the sport.
Featured image: @ronniecoleman8 on Instagram
About Robert Zeglinski
Robert is a seasoned and adept editor and writer with a keen, passionate penchant for the writing craft. He’s been a leader in newsrooms such as SB Nation, USA TODAY, and WBBM Newsradio, with various other content and art production teams, and first made a name for himself in his hometown of Chicago. When not knee-deep in research or lost in a stream of consciousness for a thorough piece, you can find Robert inhaling yet another novel, journaling his heart out, or playing with his Shiba Inu, Maximus (Max, for short).