Dorian Yates explains the two-exercise ab routine that launched his Mr. Olympia dynasty

Yates revealed more simple training secrets that made him a champion forever.

These days, Dorian Yates spends most of his time happily enjoying his well-deserved retirement in Brazil. There was a time, however, when the six-time Mr. Olympia champion (1992-1997) pulled off one of the greatest runs in bodybuilding history. As the 61-year-old slides further into the sunset, he shares more and more training tidbits that helped transform a former superstar into a living legend.

On June 7, 2023, Yates visited his Instagram page Describe a rather simple but effective abdominal workout from its Olympic heyday. Yates claimed he was once inspired by the physique of the legendary Bruce Lee, who he said had “great abs.”

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In a nutshell, Yates’ best abs routine probably doesn’t reinvent the wheel. Even at first glance, it seems pretty standard and accessible to athletes of all skill levels. All it really takes to pull off Yates’ ab workout is a purposeful commitment to your workout.

It is as follows:

Dorian Yates | “Simple” ab workout

  • Bodyweight Crunch – Two sets to fail
  • Bodyweight reverse crunch – Two sets to fail

Yates clarified that each repetition was performed with a “hard contraction” and a large exhalation of air at the peak of the contraction to maximize potential benefit. Yates wrote that early in his career he placed more emphasis on strength training with his abs. This in turn led to a “blocky” look that he didn’t like and he switched to contraction-oriented work using only his bodyweight.

In the end, Yates relied on what he believed to be natural gifts, proper nutrition, and low body fat that allowed him to give his abs the attention they needed without going too far.

“In my opinion, it wasn’t really important to work my abs because they were always visible due to my year-round low body fat percentage,” Yates wrote. “And my genetics have played a role in keeping me lean. Everyone has abs. It’s all about revealing them by lowering body fat.”

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In a sport that can be as rigorous and demanding as bodybuilding, there is a natural tendency to assume that each stage of preparation must be complex. As Yates proves by looking at how he’s sculpted his abs, some workouts can be very simple and still help an athlete achieve their goals.

Featured image: @thedorianyates on Instagram

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