“The Shadow” Dorian Yates

Dorian Yates

In terms of bodybuilding and strength training my biggest influence was Dorian Yates. Dorian Yates is England’s most successful bodybuilder with six straight Mr Olympia victories between 1992 and 1997. In total Dorian Yates competed in seven Mr Olympia competitions and never placed lower than second. His only second place finish was in his first Mr Olympia competition. That was in 1991 when he placed second the legendary Lee Haney. In that show Lee Haney won his eighth and last Mr Olympia title before announcing his retirement from bodybuilding competition at the age of 31. The only other bodybuilder to win eight Mr Olympia competitions is Ronnie Coleman. Following his eighth win Lee Haney retired from bodybuilding competition.

Dorian Yates lived and trained in Birmingham. He was the owner of the gym that he trained in. That was the legendary Temple Gym, which he was able to get backing for after winning the British championships in 1986. To this day Dorian Yates is the only man to win the Mr Olympia competition without living in the United States of America. Below you will find Dorian Yates’ competition history:

Year Contest Placing
1984 Mr Birmingham 1st, Novice Class
1985 Novice West Coast 1st
1985 World Games 7th
1986 EFBB British Heavy Weight 1st
1988 British Championships 1st
1990 IFBB Night of Champions 2nd, 1st Pro Show
1991 IFBB Night of Champions 1st
1991 IFBB Mr Olympia 2nd
1991 IFBB English Grand Prix 1st
1992 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1993 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1994 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1994 IFBB German Grand Prix 1st
1994 IFBB Spanish Grand Prix 1st
1994 IFBB English Grand Prix 1st
1995 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1996 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st
1997 IFBB Mr Olympia 1st


During his Mr Olympia reign Dorian Yates was virtually untouchable. In 1994 he tore his bicep and in 1997 he tore his triceps. Both injuries occurred on the same arm as he was preparing for the Mr Olympia competition. In 1994 the injury was six weeks out, in 1997 the injury was three weeks out from the competition, which limited his ability to train. Despite these injuries he was still able to win. For some people Dorians 1997 win was questionable. The man who placed second that year, Nasser El-Sonbaty was in his best shape ever and Dorian was not in his best condition. Dorian’s condition was good enough for the win though. Although Nasser had better abdominal conditioning, he lacked the thick, grainy, granite like physique that Dorian Yates was still able to bring, and Dorian was able to hide the fact he was injured by the way he presented himself.

In the bodybuilding world Dorian Yates is known as the Shadow. This is because when he was competing, he tended to keep to himself. He lived and trained in England throughout his career. He was never tempted to move to California and train in Golds Gym. He was selective with the fitness expo’s that he went to. He would simply train in Birmingham, turn up to the competition, win it then go back to Birmingham for another year and train for the next competition. Dorian didn’t socialise much with other bodybuilders. On Joe Rogans podcast Dorian Yates said that the whole twelve years that he competed he lived like a monk. Everything he did had to fit around his training. He wouldn’t go out to the cinema if it was on a training day or the next day was a training day. He wouldn’t book a last-minute holiday because it would interfere with his training. Essentially if something didn’t benefit his bodybuilding career then Dorian Yates didn’t want to know about it.

After reading this some people might ask why somebody like Dorian Yates would be such a big influence on my training? The simple reason is that he was an innovator. Although he did not invent Heavy Duty/ High Intensity Training he did perfect it. High Intensity Training workouts are short and intense, lasting no more then one hour, with each exercise taken to absolute muscular failure. Dorian Yates was forced into retirement from bodybuilding competition due to injury. Like many retired athletes Dorian Yates went through a period of depression. For six years he was Dorian Yates Mr Olympia, there was no difference between Dorian Yates the man and Dorian Yates the bodybuilder. Once he was able to realise that his life could be less regimented, he began to look at all the things he could now do instead of focussing on the fact that he could not train the way he always did. Now that he was not a Professional bodybuilder Dorian was able to book a last- minute holiday, go to the cinema whenever he wanted and have a meal in a restaurant without having to worry about how many kilocalories were in the meal. On Joe Rogans podcast Dorian said that one of the happiest experiences of his life was when he was finally able to buy a suit off the shelf instead of having to get it tailor made. Another reason I am influenced heavily by Dorian Yates is because just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates can see the bigger picture. He will always be a six- time Mr Olympia and he is proud of what he has achieved, however that is not all he will ever be. Dorian Yates is also a father, husband, businessman and spiritual man. Dorian Yates now lives in Spain where he lives with his wife. He now takes part in Yoga classes; trains using circuit training and regularly rides his bike up the mountains in Marbella. He also has his own supplement company, DY Nutrition and has appeared on the podcast London Real three times.

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