Frank Zane Workout And Diet (Bodybuilder Style)

During the peak of bodybuilding, Frank Zane was one of the most famous “bodybuilding superstars” to exist. Back in the 70s, he was the ultimate heartthrob and men aspired to have a body like his.

Being a recipient of three Mr. Olympia titles for three consecutive years (1977-79), Frank Zane remained the center of attention for his impressive nearly-perfect symmetrical physique and balanced body proportions that made him look like a handsome hunk.

However, what lies beneath the tip of the iceberg is a journey of hard work and determination that isn’t quite acknowledged. Today, Zane is a retired professional bodybuilder and an author who has written several books based on his bodybuilding experience.

In this article, we will be discussing the complete workout and diet routine that Zane followed back in his prime years to gain everybody’s dream body. Let’s get started!

A man showing off his muscles
Bodybuilding’s golden era lasted from 1960s to 70s

Frank Zane Biographical Details

Here is a table that mentions Frank Zane’s current biographical stats:

Full nameFrank Zane
BirthPennsylvania, the US
Age81 years
Height1.75 m (5 foot 9 inches)
WeightDuring contests (91 kg, 200 lbs); off-season (100 kg, 220 lbs)
Frank Zane Biographical Details

Frank Zane Workout Routine

Zane started to pursue his bodybuilding dream at the early age of fourteen years (130 lbs, 59 kg). He would train at his local gym back then, he started to get involved in this and eventually reached 160 pounds by performing a series of intense weightlifting exercises.

Zane transitioned from performing a combination of lightweight exercises with high reps to performing a combination of light-weight and heavy-weight exercises that helped his muscles increase size.

After he implemented the wise advice given by his close peer – Joe Weider, Zane bagged the first Mr. Olympia in 1977.

The exercises he would incorporate in his training were compound movements, isolation exercises, and controlled intensity exercises. You can check insights into his bodybuilding experience and bits of advice on his website.

Let’s look at his day-to-day workout routine which includes targeting a specific muscle group each day:

Mondays: Chest

His Monday chest routine involves doing five exercises with an average of 4 sets:

  1. Barbell Flat Bench Press (4 sets, 6 to 8 reps)
  2. Barbell Incline Bench Press (4 sets, 6 to 8 reps)
  3. Flat Dumbell Flies (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  4. Cable Cross-Overs (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  5. Bodyweight Push-ups (5 sets, 10 reps)

Tuesdays: Abs And Back

On Tuesdays, Zane would hit six exercises that target his abs and back muscles. These exercises generally involve four sets and a different number of reps.

  1. Wide Grip PullUps (4 sets, 5 to 6 reps)
  2. Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns (4 sets, 8 to 10 reps)
  3. Barbell Rows (4 sets, 6 to 8 reps)
  4. T-Bar Rows (4 sets, 6 to 8 reps)
  5. Single Arm Dumbell Rows (4 sets, 6 to 8 reps)
  6. Dumbell Pullovers (4 sets, 8 to 10 reps)
A man performing wide grip pullups
Wide Grip Pullups” are an excellent exercise for the back muscles

Wednesdays: Shoulders And Triceps

For toned tricep and shoulder muscles, Zane would hit five exercises with a total of 4 sets and an average of 10 to 12 reps. Let’s look at what are those:

  1. Seated Dumbell Press (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  2. Standing Upright Cable Rows (4 sets, 10-12 reps)
  3. Incline Rear Delt Flies (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  4. Lat Dumbell Raise (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  5. Single Arm Cable Lat Raises (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)

Thursdays: Legs

On Thursdays, Zane targets his leg muscles, including the thigh, calves, and hamstring muscles to improve agility and boost muscle growth in the upper and lower body. Let’s check out which exercises he performs:

  1. Leg Press (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  2. Leg Extensions (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  3. The Frank Zane’s Leg Blaster Squats (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  4. Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlifts (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  5. Leg Curls and Weighted Donkey Calf Raises in a 4 by 10 superset (4 sets, 15 reps)
  6. Seated Calf Raises (4 sets, 15 reps)

Fridays: Arms, Biceps, and Abs

The last day of his training split workout consists of a set of seven exercises performed with an average of 8 to 12 reps:

  1. Cable Triceps Pushdowns (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  2. Overhead Dumbell Triceps Extensions (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  3. Feet Elevated Reverse Dips (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  4. Seated Dumbell Curls (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  5. Preacher Curls (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  6. Seated Dumbell Curls (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  7. Seated Reverse Wrist Curls (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)

Weekends: Rest Days

Both Saturdays and Sundays were rest days for Zane in which he would eat healthy but take a short break from working out.

He might perform some cardio activities to stay in shape like cycling, swimming, or brisk walking outside.

That’s all about Zane’s workout, now let’s see the diet routine that Zane followed during his prime days.

Frank Zane Diet Routine

Frank Zane’s bodybuilding success is closely related to the diet he chose to consume and followed consistently to become a bodybuilding superstar. He would limit his caloric intake by cutting off carb consumption as much as possible.

Meanwhile, his protein intake dominated the rest food groups, helping his muscles build mass. He ate smaller meals at an increased eating frequency that kept his energy restored all the time.

He would also give significance to pre-workout meals (a combo of proteins and complex carbs) to get him energized for the intensive workout that followed that. Post-workout, he would chill a bit and drink his all-time favorite: a protein shake.

Now, we will take a sneak peek at the diet routine that Zane followed to get the body of everyone’s dream. Let’s check out:

Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are a great source for complex carbs


  1. Calf liver with 3 boiled eggs

Mid-Morning Snack

  1. Omelets
  2. Sweet Potatoes


  1. Grilled Steak
  2. Sweet Potatoes
  3. Cottage Cheese


  1. Green Salad
  2. Ground Beef
Advice about diet and training from the great “Frank Zane”


  • So yeah, folks, that’s all about Frank Zane’s bodybuilding workout and diet regimen that helped him gain pounds of weight and compete in the Mr. Olympia contest, eventually winning it for three consecutive years! Back in the shining era of bodybuilding, Zane was the bodybuilder who was the most sought-after by men and women.
  • Today, besides being renowned as a bodybuilding superstar, he is an acknowledged author who has written several books based on his bodybuilding journey to enlighten people aspiring to become upcoming bodybuilders. Moreover, he runs his website where you can all about his personal experience and training tips, etc.
  • He performed his workout in training splits – dividing each day for a specific muscle group or a pair of muscle groups, from Monday to Friday. The main core of his workout is based on performing heavyweights and lightweights together, meanwhile, his diet emphasizes eating fewer carbs and more protein.
  • His diet was strict yet he allowed himself to eat when he felt the need, however, this doesn’t mean he would sit devouring fried chicken or chicken wings.

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