Franco Columbu’s Workout – World Record Success Leaves Clues
Which Franco Columbu workout tips can you apply to your training?
Franco was an accomplished powerlifter and bodybuilder, holding numerous world records, including the Mr. Olympia title in 1976 and 1981.
You might not be able to deadlift 750 pounds like Franco, but you can surely implement his sage fitness advice.
How do you know that you can rely on Franco Columbu’s workout tips?
Franco developed from a teenage boxer to one of the strongest powerlifters of all time, competing in the inaugural world’s strongest man competition in 1977, and winning the coveted Mr. Olympia twice as a bodybuilder.
Also, if you think Sylvester Stallone looked in the best shape of his life in Rambo and Rocky II, there was a good reason – Franco Columbu was his training partner and coach.
You can depend on Columbu’s expertise to design an effective workout to build an impressive physique.
Sadly, Francesco Maria Columbu passed away on August 30, 2019, while vacationing in his native Sardinia at the age of 78.
The video below is a poignant tribute to a man who is an inspiration to millions.
Rest in peace Franco Columbu.
The Franco Columbu Workout Mindset
Here is the foundation of Franco’s workout and training routine:
“Train each body part twice a week, as hard and relentless as possible each time.
Every second week, I’d deadlift after my leg routine.
My deadlift workout was 300 for five reps, 400 for five reps, 500 for five reps, 600 for two or three reps, 650 for one rep, and 700 for one rep.”
The main clue here appears to contradict those who preach squat or deadlift every day.
Franco Columbu’s workout routine did not consist of hitting squats and deadlifts every single day.
Training each body part twice a week gives ample rest and recovery time of at least 48 hours.
As Anthony Robbins said – “Success Leaves Clues.”
Franco Columbu training routine
Here are 5 Powerful Franco Columbu Workout Tips You Can Introduce in Your Routine Today:
#1. Leg Workout
According to Rick Madden of Muscle and Brawn, Franco did the following squat workout:
7 sets of barbell squats starting with three warmup sets of 20 reps, 15 and 10.
His squat workout sets went from 8 repetitions to 6, 4, and then 2.
Besides squats, Franco also included four sets of leg presses, leg extensions 6-7 sets, three sets of barbell lunges, and six sets of deadlifts in the same leg workout.
This leg workout alone would take hours for a mere mortal to complete.
If you do seven sets of squats and rest between sets for 3 to 5 minutes, your squat workout will take about an hour.
You have to warm up and rest between sets.
#2. Chest Workout
A superset is when you do two exercises, one after the other with no rest in between.
In his chest workout, Franco did:
Three sets of bench presses using 15 repetitions, ten reps, and four reps.
After each of these bench press sets, Franco did 20 reps of cable crossovers.
Cable crossovers are a superset that you can immediately apply to your chest workout.
Besides bench press and cable crossovers, Franco also did flat-bench dumbbell flyes with another superset of cable crossovers, incline bench press, barbell pullovers, dips, and more cable crossovers.
In total, Franco Columbu’s chest workout included nine sets of cable crossovers with 70 repetitions.
Do not be discouraged because you have to remember that both Columbu and Schwarzenegger were young and using steroids (legal at that time, but not now), which helps you workout out harder and longer.
But, don’t use steroids yourself cause they are illegal and cause a host of other physical and mental problems like:
- Heart disease
- Suicidal thoughts,
- Depression, agitation, and irritable mood
- Hair loss
- Breast enlargement in men, also known as Gynecomastia
- Shrinking of testicles
If you think the catastrophic consequences of steroids are a big fat lie, check out this article with a full list of 31 dead pro bodybuilders who died from steroid-induced health complications at a young age.
They paid the price for building inhuman muscle.
They won many prestigious awards, but at a deadly price.
The Hashi Mashi Plan is for improving health and muscle for beginners in weightlifting and fitness.
Remember, your health always comes first.
Focus on nutrition and training, not steroids.
#3. Shoulder Workout
Franco Columbu’s reported shoulder workout included:
- four sets of dumbbell lateral raises,
- six sets of bent over reverse laterals,
- four sets of behind the neck presses
- three sets of alternating dumbbell front raises and
- three sets of lateral cable raises.
#4. Back Workout
Franco Columbu’s back workout consisted of:
- Six sets of wide-grip pull-ups,
- Four sets of T-bar rows,
- Four sets of cable rows and
- Three sets of one-arm dumbbell rows and
- a superset of neutral grip pull-ups,
Another monster workout for the Sardinian Strongman who once blew up a hot water bottle in 55 seconds on live tv!
#5. Franco Columbu’s Arm Workout Training Routine
Franco himself wrote a detailed article for Strength-Oldschool with his no longer secret sequence for massive arms.
He suggests five sets of Incline Dumbbell Curls supersetted with Lat Bar Triceps Pushdowns.
Next, do five sets of Semi-Cheat Curls supersetted with Lying Triceps Curls and the last five sets of Scott Bench Curls supersetted with Close Bench Presses.
Despite his famous persistence and work ethic, he still made sure to allow time to recover before the next workout.
Franco Columbu Workout – Final Thoughts
During the golden era of bodybuilding, when Franco was competing against Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, they trained twice a day, with early morning and evening workouts.
Columbu and Schwarzenegger were close friends and were brought to America by Joe Weider in 1969.
He believed in their potential and as a result, Weider sponsored their bodybuilding training with a stipend of 65 dollars a week. They did not disappoint as they both became world-famous proponents of the bodybuilding lifestyle.
However, most likely, you have a job, profession, career, or you are retired and are not a professional bodybuilder.
You do not want to train 5 hours a day, like Columbu and Schwarzenegger.
And you do not have a Joe Weider in your life to sponsor your workouts.
So, you have to do what works best for your age and fitness level today.
Franco’s 5 most important workout and training tips:
- Even though they were young, both Columbu and Schwarzenegger needed one full rest day in between body part workouts.
- So, for example, for one week, do not do a squat or dead lift workout more than three times, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
- You need at least one day in between, Tuesday and Thursday to recover.
- On Tuesday and Thursday, assuming your training is on weekdays and not weekends, you can work upper body or assistance exercises.
- Superset bench press with cable crossovers to build a champion chest. Success leaves clues.
- Why reinvent the wheel when you have a great workout strategy that you can immediately implement into your routine?
- Of course, every person’s skeleton, tendon attachments, and body structure is different, but it is certainly worth a try for yourself and see how it goes.
- Superset incline curls back to back with triceps press down to build bigger arms.
- Allowing your muscles to rest helps them grow.
- Proper rest gives your tendons and joints time to get accustomed to heavy weight training.
- Less is More.
- Even Franco Columbu did not work a body part more than twice a week.
- According to this last note, perhaps it is enough to train squats and deadlifts only twice a week.
- In that case, you can do squats on Monday and Friday, deadlifts on Wednesday, and Bench Press/Upper body on Tuesday and Thursday.
Eventually, your tendons will say “No Mas,” and you might end up with very painful tendonitis or tennis elbow or worse.
Injuries will stop you dead in your tracks from training.
Franco Columbu Bodybuilding Book
- Columbu, Franco (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 128 Pages - 04/07/2017 (Publication Date) - Creators Publishing...
Now that you know Franco Columbu’s workout tips, the next step on your fitness journey is to use one of the following beginner workout plans:
- 3×5 Workout Plan: The Only Strength Training Program You Will Ever Need
- Phraks Greyskull LP Variant vs. Starting Strength vs. GSLP
- 12 Week Deadlift Program for Beginners in Fitness or Powerlifting
- Franco Columbu Deadlift Record Will Inspire You to Achieve Your Dreams
- Beginner Powerbuilding Program: Big & Strong Workout + Free PDF
- 3×5 Workout: The Only Strength Training Program You’ll Ever Need
- How Many Exercises, Sets, + Reps Per Workout Should You Do?
- 7 Best Rob McElhenney Workout Tips to Get Ripped in 7 Months
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