Lee Haney reigned supreme in the sport of bodybuilding in a very unique era.
When we caught up with the living legend and 8x undefeated Mr. Olympia, we wanted to get his thoughts on the differences in today’s competitors and his own.
Mainly, we wanted to get a better understanding of how his personal training philosophy differs from bodybuilders now.
In this video, he talks about what training was like for him when he competed. He also discusses the similarities in the sport of bodybuilding now, as well as some key differences.
Classic Bodybuilding with Lee Haney
After winning his eighth Olympia title, Lee finally felt he could exhale. He was ready to step away from the sport of bodybuilding after his record-breaking win. Even in his prime and at the age of 31, he had accomplished all he could hope to.
Lee states that when you’re at the top, the only way to go is down. So, for him to win the eighth title was a gift from God in which he spent his youth working hard to receive.
Despite being the face of bodybuilding in the 1980s, he still lived his life. He had two children while training and established business ventures for the time he was ready to bow out.
Training Styles in the Classic Era vs Now
Lee prepared for the Olympia all 12 months of the year. Workout intensity began increasing about 6 months away from the show. And the final 12 weeks was when he really amped up the intensity in preparation of stepping on stage.
He admits that training style is a lot different now. Being from the generation he was a part of, Lee is a real stickler for legs, especially calves. He even recalls a story about the time he first met Joe Gold (founder of World’s and Gold’s Gym). The first thing Joe Gold asked Lee to do was to pull up his pant leg. After seeing his legs, he told Lee that he was going to go places in this sport.
One of the things he’s noticed with new age bodybuilders is they don’t give the muscle enough time to experience growth and develop muscle maturity. Bodybuilders now train body parts one time per week.
For instance, and to go along with his story about Joe Gold, he’s noticed a lot of the young guys now lack calves. And he will ask them how many times they train calves per week. When they say 1-2 times per week, he admits to them that back in the day, they would train calves 5-6 times per week.
Lee believes a lot of the immature muscle he witnesses these days are due to the one body part per week splits that have become popular. He honestly believes that type of programming is better suited for a powerlifter than a bodybuilder.
Thoughts on Classic Physique Division?
Lee is very pro Classic Physique.
Classic Physique is where he comes from, it’s where Arnold, Robbie, Frank Zane come from. That’s Classic Physique. They say “physique”, but it’s really classic bodybuilding.
He admires the reintroduction of the vacuum, the symmetry, and the “wheels” back into the sport. Classic Physique, to Lee Haney, brings back what makes the sport of bodybuilding beautiful again.
Get the knowledge you need to train and train others like Lee Haney by becoming certified through International Association of Fitness Sciences. Learn more details about the 4-step IAFS Certification process here.