Dorian Yates Program In 1987-1992: One Working Set For The 6-Time Mr. Olympia

by Nader Qudimat
Updated February 17, 2022
Experience Level
All out effort
6 weeks
High intensity workouts
Uses only 2 working sets
Goes to failure and mostly uses AMRAP sets
No periodization

Bottom Line

When you think of hardcore training in the 90's, the first person that should come to mind is Dorian Yates.

He was brutal in the gym and went to failure frequently to push himself. 

Although he used 1 working set after 1992, he was using 2 working sets during the years of 1987 to 1992. 

The working sets are AMRAP, and you'll see how this is structured in the workout spreadsheet.

For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here. 

Click Here For Spreadsheet 

Dorian Yates used an advanced routine between 1987 to 1992 which was used for his competitive bodybuilding career. 

The Dorian Yates routine is made out of a 4 or 5 day split that targets the muscle groups listed below:

  • Day 1: Chest, Biceps, Triceps
  • Day 2: Legs, Calves (Heavy)
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Back, Shoulders 
  • Day 5: Rest
  • Day 6: Chest, Biceps, Triceps
  • Day 7: Legs, Calves (Light)

Each week contains 4-5 training sessions because of how Dorian Yates structured his workouts. 

You'll see this in the spreadsheet. 

 Program Overview

Dorian Yates used high intensity with low volume in his training. 

He used 1 working set after 1992, but from 1987 to 1992 he used 2 working sets.

You will see the 2 working sets in the spreadsheet below.

The 2 working sets uses AMRAP and are taken to failure. 

The recommended rep ranges are in the spreadsheet, which can look like 6-8 rep where you should perform a AMRAP set and should be failing struggling between 6 to 8 reps. 

Dorian Yates would typically use the drop set and sometimes combine it with the forced rep for his second set. 

After the first set, he would rest for 45 to 60 seconds, reduce the weight by 10lbs and perform another set to failure. 

Dorian Yates 1987 - 1992 Program Spreadsheet

Here you'll find the spreadsheet for the program that Dorian Yates used between 1987 to 1992. 

The program is set up the way Dorian Yates had it. 

He would split up the workouts by muscle groups, and he would only count working sets. 

In the spreadsheet attached, the sets listed will either state whether it's a warm up set or working set. 

Chest, Biceps, Triceps Workout

One triple drop set is done by performing one set to failure, decreasing the weight then performing another set to failure then finally dropping the weight once more and performing the final and last set to failure. 

This counts as one triple drop set and it's done for the dumbbell flyes for the chest.

Legs, Calves Workout

Dorian's program consisted of two leg workouts, heavy and light. 

The heavy workout uses 8-12 reps, while the light workout is in the 15-20 range. 

Back, Shoulders Workout

The back and shoulders workout is straight forward. 

It uses mainly two compound lights, weighted chin ups and bent over rows. 

For the bent over rows, you can either use the same angle as Dorian Yates, or you can use the pendlay row version. 

As long as you perform a row that you can feel the best engagement with, it would be fine. 

Dorian Yates Program

Dorian Yates used an advanced program between 1987 to 1992.

It's a 4 to 5 day body split that hits certain muscle groups throughout the week.

The only workout that's performed twice a week is the leg workout, with one having 8-12 reps, and the other workout with 15 reps. 

This is a great program to go with for a few weeks if you're in the advanced level of lifting. 

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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