This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click to view our full disclosure.

Known as The Shadow, the first mass monster built with blood and guts, Dorain Yates is regarded as one of the all-time greats of bodybuilding.

Yates displayed a physique that blew away the competition in the 90s, winning six consecutive Mr. Olympia titles. Dorian’s sheer size and conditioning transformed the bodybuilding landscape.

How did Dorian Yates really achieve this industry-changing physique?

Today, let’s discuss the Dorian Yates workout routine and diet plan. We’ll cover his high-intensity training workout and the principles that helped him become the original mass monster.

Let’s dive in.  

Dorian Yates Bio and Stats

Dorian Andrew Mientjez Yates was born on April 19th, 1962 in Solihull, Warwickshire, England.

Yate began his bodybuilding journey at Martin’s Gym in 1983 when he was 21.

The following years saw Dorian secure the title of Mr. Birmingham (1984) as a novice. He became the Heavyweight British Champion in 1986.

In 1990, Dorian turned pro, flying to New York to compete in the Night of Champions, where he would place second.

In 1991, Dorian would meet Mike Mentzer at Gold’s Gym. The duo would go on to form a legendary partnership. 

Mike was known in the bodybuilding world for his high-intensity, and low volume training

Dorain would adopt Mike’s training principles and use him as a sounding board for different ideas about his workouts.

During this time, Dorian would still plan all of his own routines and track his nutrition.

Still, this relationship would prove to be the driving force behind Yates’ success in becoming the first mass monster of bodybuilding.

He would win an incredible six Mr. Olympia titles, earning the second-most victories behind the great Arnold Schwarzenegger at the time.

During this time he was also dubbed “The Shadow” by Peter McGough for his ability to avoid the public eye. Yates would only appear when it mattered most during competitions and steal incredible victories.

  • Age: 57 Years Old
  • Height: 5’ 10” (178 cm)
  • Weight: 256-282 lbs (290-309 lbs offseason)
  • Birthday: 19th April, 1962
  • Occupation: Bodybuilder, Business Man
  • Retired/Active: Retired


  • 6x Mr. Olympia (1992-1997)
  • Heavyweight British Champion (1986)
  • Mr. Birmingham Novice (1984)

Dorian Yates Workout Fundamentals

Read More: Jonathan Majors Workout Routine

Dorian Yates’ approach to training was far different from the greats before him. His sessions were about training at a high intensity in a short amount of time to maximize results.

Known as HIIT, Dorian first picked up this style of training from bodybuilding legend Mike Mentzer. He was training an average of 45 minutes per day, four days per week, and power walking 20-30 minutes for cardio on his off days.

Over the years, Yates would make subtle adjustments and changes that he noted to be beneficial for his body.

Also known as the Blood and Guts approach, Dorian would perform a lower volume, often training with a single working set to failure.

What this meant was that he was warming up with one to two sets, and then performing a single set to failure, with the upper end of his sets reaching between 15-30 reps with a heavy weight.

Dorian believed that you can train hard, or you can train long, but not both. He would opt for the short, high-intensity sessions, pushing his body to the limit with each exercise and the assistance of a spotter.

He would also focus on the quality of his contraction, carefully performing eccentric and concentric contractions to maximize his time under tension.

This makes those single sets feel like an eternity, increasing the stimulus, allowing him to become the first-ever mass monster.

Dorian Yates Workout Routine

Read More: Tom Platz Workout Routine

dorian yates workout routine

Now that we have covered Dorian’s training fundamentals, it’s time to check out his high-intensity training program.

Below, we have Dorian Yates’ Blood and Guts workout routine, a four-day per week low-volume, high-repetition training program designed to push you to your limit for maximum muscle growth.

Here you will find exercises, sets, reps, and rest times, plus Dorian’s exact weekly schedule.

Dorian Yates Blood and Guts Workout Routine

Weekly Schedule

Traps, Triceps, Abs
Back, Rear DeltsRestChest, Biceps, AbsQuads Hamstrings CalvesRestRepeat

Shoulders, Triceps & Abs

ExerciseSets RepsRest
Smith Machine Shoulder Press215-3045-60 secs
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise28-2045-60 secs
Cable Single-Arm Lateral Raise 210-3030-45 secs
Dumbbell Shrugs110-2030-45 secs
Tricep Pushdown18-1230-45 secs
EZ Bar Skull Crushers18-2030-45 secs
Cable Crunches215-3030-45 secs
Weighted Sit-Ups215-3030-45 secs

Back & Rear Delts

ExerciseSets RepsRest
Nautilus Pullovers215-3030-45 secs
Hammer Strength Lat Pulldown212-1530-45 secs
Barbell Yates Row28-2030-45 secs
Hammer Strength Single-Arm Row110-1230-45 secs
Seated Cable Row110-1230-45 secs
Machine Rear Delt Fly110-1230-45 secs
Bent Over Rear Delt Flys110-1230-45 secs
Hyperextensions110-1230-45 secs
Deadlifts28-1245-60 secs

Chest, Biceps & Abs

ExerciseSets RepsRest
Incline Bench Press28-1245-60 secs
Hammer Strength Seated Bench Press26-1045-60 secs
Incline Dumbbell Fly18-1030-45 secs
Cable Crossover110-1230-45 secs
Incline Dumbbell Curl28-1030-45 secs
EZ Dumbbell Curl26-1030-45 secs
Nautilus Bicep Curl26-1030-45 secs
Cable Crunch215-3030-45 secs
Captain’s Chair Leg Raises215-3030-45 secs

Quadriceps, Hamstrings & Calves

ExerciseSets RepsRest
Leg Extensions210-1530-45 secs
Leg Press210-1230-45 secs
Hack Squats210-1230-45 secs
Lying Leg Curl110-1230-45 secs
Stiff Leg Deadlift18-1030-45 secs
Single-Leg Curl110-1230-45 secs
Standing Calf Raise18-1030-45 secs
Seated Calf Raise18-1030-45 secs
dorian yates' workout routine

Dorian Yates Dieting and Food Preferences

In the offseason, Yates’ diet would balloon to a mammoth 6,000-7,000 calorie surplus to help him build muscle.

This would be reduced to around 4,000 calories as he was leaning down towards his comp weight. Dorian’s goal was to lose two to three pounds per week over a 12-week period.

He did all this by eating protein-rich foods such as lean meat, vegetables, and complex carbs.

During this time, Dorian describes how he would crave foods that he would not normally eat, his mind wandering to a variety of unhealthy foods.

Post-competition, Dorian would look forward to a good steak, fries, and ice cream to break his diet and relax before heading into another year of rigorous training.

dorian yates diet
Meal 11x Oatmeal, 10 Egg Whites, 1x Scoop Protein
Meal 2Protein Shake
Meal 32x Chicken Breast, Vegetables, Rice or Potato
Meal 4Protein Shake
Meal 512 oz Filet Mignon, Vegetables, Rice or Potato
Meal 6½ Cup Oatmeal, 6 Egg Whites

Dorian Yates Diet Plan

Read More: Herschel Walker Workout Routine

dorian yates' diet plan

Dorian Yates’ dieting and food preferences are the staples of the traditional bodybuilding diet, rich in protein and complex carbs. 

While this is effective for building muscle, eating these meals day in and day out for months on end will likely have you clamoring for flavor. Worse, you’ll end up dropping the diet altogether.

To remedy this, we have put together a Dorian Yates-inspired diet plan. You can add variety to your eating to help you stick to it long-term and maximize results. 

We have used many of the foods Dorian eats with additional high-calorie protein shakes to help you hit your hefty daily intake goals. 

Meal 1

  • Oatmeal (Banana, Blueberries, Honey)
  • 10 Egg White Omelet (Avocado, Cheese, Spinach)
  • 1x Scoop Protein Shake 

Meal 2

  • Protein Shake (2x Scoop Protein, Banana, Mixed Berries, ½ Cup Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, Water)

Meal 3

  • 12 oz Smoked Paprika and Cumin Baked Chicken Breast
  • Green Salad (Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, Corn, Green Peppers, Red Onion)
  • Air Fried Sweet Potato Fries

Meal 4

Meal 5

  • 12 oz Filet Mignon (Garlic, Rosemary, Black Pepper)
  • 1 Cup Mixed Vegetables
  • 2 Cups Jasmine Rice

Meal 6

  • 6 Egg White Omelet
  • Protein Shake (1 Scoop Protein, ½ Cup Oatmeal, Banana, Yogurt, Mixed Berries)
dorian yates diet plan

If you are considering trying the Dorian Yates workout and diet plan, you have to track your calorie and macronutrient intake. 

This will ensure that you are getting enough calories and protein to build lean muscle, carbs for fuel, and fats to absorb essential nutrients.

To calculate your daily calorie and macronutrient intake, use our advanced calorie and macronutrient calculator

Just punch in your age, height, weight, gender, and activity level. You’ll receive your precise calorie and macronutrient breakdown to help you fuel your body for maximum results.

Dorian Yates Supplement Preferences

Read More: Steve Reeves Workout Routine

dorian yates training supplements

Dorian Yates’ understanding of his nutrition was vital to getting his body in peak condition.

However, he understood that to push himself to the next level, he would need a range of supplements to increase mass and improve recovery. Today, he has his own supplement brand.

Below is a list of Dorian Yates’ supplement preferences. While he would not have taken these during his career, these are the products he claims give you amazing results.

DY Shadowhey IsolateBuilds lean muscle and improves recovery
DY Blood & Guts PreWorkoutIncrease energy and improves performance
DY The Creatine Improves performance and training adaptations

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, there will never be another bodybuilder quite like Dorian Yates.

His era-defining physique and alternative training style transformed the bodybuilding world into what it is today. 

If you are considering trying Dorian Yates workout and diet plan be sure to record your lifts, track your nutrition, and head into each session with grit, blood, and guts.

So, are you thinking of performing a Dorian Yates workout? Does his high-intensity training routine suit your training style?

Let us know in the comments.

How many hours did Dorian Yates workout?

Dorian Yates would train 45 minutes per day, four days per week. On his off days he would perform 20-30 minutes of cardio, which he believed to be essential to his training routine

How many sets and reps did Dorian Yates do? 

Dorian Yates would perform one to two sets of each exercise, with an initial warm-up set and one working set to failure. His rep ranges would vary with some sets ranging between 8-10 with others going as high as 30 or failure.

What was Dorian Yates workout?

Dorian Yates’ workout was a four-day training split where he would train shoulders and triceps, back and rear delts, chest and biceps, and legs.

What was Dorian Yates workout split?

The Dorian workout split was shoulders and triceps, back and rear delts, chest and biceps, and legs. He would train Monday and Tuesday, rest Wednesday, train Thursday and Friday, and rest on the weekends.

Is a 4 day bro split good?

Yes, the 4-day bro split is highly effective for building lean muscle. However, this largely depends on your personal preferences and training goals.

How big was Dorian Yates biceps?

At his peak, Dorian Yates’ bicep measured in at a massive 20”.

Popular Celebrity Workout Routines: