Lee Haney is a professional American bodybuilder. He is one of the five most awarded bodybuilders of all time, along with Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Phillip Heath and, of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger. And in terms of the number of victories at Mr Olympia, he shares the leadership with Ronnie Coleman (both athletes won the competition for 8 years in a row: the first – from 1984 to 1991, the second – from 1998 to 2005).
Lee Haney Biography
Lee Haney was born on November 11, 1959 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. This is a cozy town in the southeast of the country, which has never had a rich sports infrastructure. According to the national census bureau, its population does not exceed fifty thousand people.
The future bodybuilder Lee Haney has been an athletic guy since childhood. At first, like most of the neighboring boys, he played American football, was interested in baseball, boxing, even wrestling, and then switched to heavy sports. Haney won his first more or less serious bodybuilding competition at the age of 19: Lee became a triumphant in the Mr America competition among young men.
By his own admission, Lee Haney grew up in a highly religious environment. His family adhered to the Christian faith, and he himself believed in God at the age of 16-18. As a teenager, as he says, he entered into a contract with higher powers: they help him to win, and Lee, in return, gives himself up to them in service. After that, like a divine coming, Haney’s triumphant march in bodybuilding began. A beginner athlete, if he does not win, then takes prizes in all competitions in which he takes part: at the American Championship among youth – 1st place (1979), at the US National Championship among juniors – 1st place (1982), at the World Championship among amateurs – also 1st place (1982); – this continues until the end of his sports career.
Bodybuilder Lee Haney received the status of a professional in 1983 and then tried his own hand at the Mr Olympia tournament for the first time. An attempt cannot be called a failure – the debut and the 3rd place at once. To Mr Olympia 1984, he approaches fully armed. As a result, he confidently wins, and after 7 more times he proves his superiority.
As the athlete admitted in an interview after Mr Olympia in 1991: he was terribly afraid to encroach on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s record, even thought to refuse to participate in the competition. But the 8th victory was surprisingly easy for him: there was no biased judging during the competition, no condemnation of others after the performance.
Lee Haney officially retired at the age of 32. He invested the money he won at the championships in two good deeds. First, he opened his own business: he acquired a fitness center, and then mastered several more, which to this day are the main source of his income. Second, he built a settlement for children abandoned by their parents. Boys and girls live in the village with educators, teachers, medical staff and security, where they study natural sciences and play active sports.
Leaving professional performances, bodybuilder Lee Haney did not quit exercising. In his 50+ years (November 11, 2016 he turned 57), the athlete looks amazing, which is confirmed by his official accounts on social networks (Facebook, Instagram).
Lee Haney has been and remains an adherent of the high volume training system. Having tried a variety of training programs in his youth, he chose a multi-set system for himself as the most effective. Unlike Dorian Yates, Lee never worked to failure in every set, as abuse, in his opinion, “kills” the muscle faster. Haney’s motto is: “Muscles must be stimulated, not burned.”
Bodybuilder Lee Haney prefers block and machine exercises, believing they have an advantage over free weights. Although he did not refuse the latter during the training. At the peak of his form, he performed ≈ up to 30-35 sets for individual muscle groups, in each set ≈ up to 8-10, less often ≈ up to 12-15 repetitions, and rested between sets ≈ no more than 45-60 seconds.
A methodical approach to training has allowed Haney to avoid serious injury over the course of her career. His Training Schedule was based on the principle of a three-day split: three training days + one day of rest. Haney exercised almost all year round, which made him look lean both during the competition and in the offseason.
To count all Lee Haney’s victories, there are not enough fingers or toes. Here are just a few of his accomplishments in tournaments from AAU, NPC and IFBB:
- Teen Mr. America 1979 – 1st place;
- Junior Nationals 1982 – 1st place;
- Grand Prix Las Vegas 1983 – 1st place;
- Night of Champions 1983 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1984 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1985 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1986 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1987 – 1st place;
- Grand Prix Germany 1987 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1988 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1989 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1990 – 1st place;
- Mr. Olympia 1991 – 1st place.
When Haney was hinted at the possibility of participating in the 1995 Olympia, he gently declined. In his own words, another victory would not have added to his fame, and he was not going to compete for 100-150 thousand dollars. His personal business brings him much more profit, and the risk of losing fame after defeat was deterred. Today, Lee Haney focuses on entrepreneurship and philanthropy, but does not forget to train young athletes: he regularly gives lessons, conducts seminars and writes books. For 2016, you can purchase three of his editions – “Terrible Li”, “Fundamentals of Bodybuilding” and “Beyond the Training: My Testimony”.
Beginners and already eminent athletes who are fortunate enough to receive guidance from Haney call him the “walking encyclopedia” of training and dieting. Lee is the Science Bodybuilding Director of the ISSA (International Sports Science Association) for a reason. In 1998, the President of the United States (Bill Clinton) himself appointed Lee Haney to the position of chairman of the National Council on Physical Education and Sports.
Lee Haney is an honorary member of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB), and is also officially inducted into the bodybuilding Hall of Fame of that organization.
Undoubtedly, Lee Haney is, if not the most eminent bodybuilder, then definitely in the top three. For 8 years in a row, he held the title of “Mr Olympia”, surpassing the achievement of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is a seven-time winner of the competition. He personifies the end of the era of aesthetic bodybuilding, because after him athletes ran not with outstanding harmony of muscles, but with maximum muscle mass.
Lee Haney Workout Routine
As already mentioned, Lee Haney’s training in preparation for the competition was based on the principle of a three-day split: 3 days of training + 1 day of recovery.
On the first day, Lee Haney’s training involved working out the chest and arms, on the second – the legs, on the third – the back and shoulders. He worked out the calf muscles and abdominals every (1, 2, 3) training day, using exercises such as standing calf raises, seated calf raises, donkey raises, vertical leg raises, sitting leg raises, and incline torso raises.
To build chest and arms on day one, Lee Haney’s workout plan included, among other things, bench press, bench press, dumbbell bench press, incline bench press, dumbbell bench press, standing barbell curls, machine and French bench press.
To build legs on the second day, Lee Haney’s workout program included, among other things, barbell squats, deadlifts on straight legs, leg curls in the simulator, straightening the legs in the simulator, and leg press in the simulator.
To pump up the back on the third day, Lee Haney’s workout plan included, among other things, vertical block pulls, barbell pulls to the chin, block pulls to the waist, army press, and side dumbbell lifts.
It is noteworthy that the athlete not only used existing exercises to pump his body, but also developed his own. So, you probably know that the Lee Haney thrust was introduced precisely by the eight-fold Mr Olympia and, accordingly, is named after him.
Was Lee Haney on Steroids?
It is believed that Lee Haney preferred fast methandienone, slow testosterone and nandrolone to other steroids, and reinforced their use using growth hormone and insulin. At least such information can be found on the Internet. But, if the first three points do not cause questions, after all, testosterone, nandrolone and methandienone – anabolic steroids available / widespread in the seventies and eighties, then there are questions to the latter. The fact is that growth hormone in those years was the minimally demanded drug because of the price, and many did not consider insulin as an actual remedy in sports at all. There was no Internet then, and information was transmitted only by word of mouth.
Therefore, the assumption that Lee Haney used steroids (and a lot) is easy to believe, in contrast to the opinion about his use of hormones (unclaimed until the 21st century).
For the “mess” with the cycles of professionals, we should thank not the sites with rumors, although they are to blame, but WADA. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which has a policy of intimidation, has brought athletes to the point that many of them are afraid to even think about doping. In such conditions, there can be no question of a steroid cycle that is detailed and personally tested by a professional.