Rich Piana’s Workout And Diet (Mind-Boggling!)

Rich Piana was a famous bodybuilder from America who was also a businessman and a YouTuber by interest. Before his death, Piana received huge appraisals and compliments for winning the Mr. California title in 1998, along with winning other competitions.

He had an enormous impact on the bodybuilding industry due to his heavy (not the “normal” heavy) body figure, his gigantic muscular mass, and most importantly, his colossal arms. He is also popular for his 8-hour workout routine dedicated to his arms, which we will discuss later on.

Piana started bodybuilding at the age of 15, and unfortunately, his career came to an end when he died at the age of 46 years old.

According to his autopsy report, it was confirmed that he died due to his heart and liver outweighing the size of a normal male’s two organs. After collapsing and being in a coma for two weeks, he was declared dead.

He also remained a controversial figure among fans and media because he was on steroids. His sudden death is also claimed to be one of the side effects of prolonged steroid usage that caused his organs to enlarge.

Piana is admired by fans due to his sheerness in accepting the fact that he remained on steroids for 25 years of his life. He also emphasized that steroids negatively impacted him as much as positively impacted him and that he would never advise someone to take them.

A man lifting heavy weights
Rich Piana had huge muscular arms that he was famous for

In this article, we will unveil the workout and diet regime of the late bodybuilding hero and especially emphasize his arms workout. Let’s begin!

Rich Piana’s Biographical Details

Here is a table that summarizes the biographical details of the late Rich Piana:

NameRichard Eugene Piana
BirthSeptember 26, 1970, California, the US
DiedAugust 25, 2017, Florida, the US
Age46 years old (as of 2017)
Height1.85 m (6 feet 1 inch)
Weight100-140 kg (221-315 lbs approx)
Rich Piana’s Biographical Details

Rich Piana’s Workout Routine

A little disclaimer before we move on: It’s not easy to commit to a workout routine that Rich Piana followed.

If you get triggered by lifting heavier weights with little to no rest in between compound lifting then following his workout routine isn’t meant for you.

Workout Motivation

You’ll be surprised to know this but Rich Piana was also a great motivator. He would often upload videos of him delivering a motivational message to his audience on his official YouTube channel.

One thing he said was to adapt to living with a “positive mindset.”

If you’re facing doubt that you might not commit to Piana’s workout and diet long enough, or find yourself being self-sabotaged, remember that Piana said that there’s nothing impossible in this world; everything is achievable.

Therefore if you stick to his workout and diet routine with patience (can’t ignore that) until you get the results, you’ll be happy to see that you didn’t give up early.

Workout Principles

If you’re sure nothing is holding you back, and you’re are ready, let’s view some of his primary workout principles to get started:

  1. Piana would normally listen to his body and act accordingly. He claimed not to have a fixed workout routine, but rather a workout routine that depended on the way he wanted to train his muscle groups for the particular day.
  2. Piana performed a training split, training each muscle group for one day. Usually, his first weekday would start with training his chest and tricep muscles.
  3. Piana would train on a high-volume training which involved compound lifting with as many reps as he could hit, with little to no rest in between. He also performed supersets to run the extra mile.
  4. Finally, Piana was known for being intense during his workouts. He developed a mindset of “feeling” every muscle of his body being worked when he would lift weights. Without that feeling, you are not even close to following his workout.

Workout Routine

Mondays: Chest and Triceps

  1. Cable Fly (5 sets, 12 to 20 reps)
  2. Hammer Strength Incline Chest Press (4 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  3. Pec Deck Rear Delt Fly (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  4. Machine Flat Bench Press (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  5. Standing Cable Crossover (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
A man doing pull-ups
You need to work hard to get a body like Rich Piana

Tuesdays: Back and Biceps

  1. Wide Grip Lat Pulldown (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  2. Bent-over Smith Machine Row (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  3. Rear Lat Pulldowns (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  4. Close-Grip Seated Cable Row (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  5. Wide-Grip Assisted PullUps (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  6. Bent Over Cable Row (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  7. T-Bar Row (5 sets, 10 to 12 reps)
  8. Bent Over Lat Pulldowns (5 sets, 10 to 12 reps)

Wednesdays: Shoulders

  1. Front Raises (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  2. Smith Machine Shoulder Press (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  3. Smith Machine Upright Row (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  4. Dumbbell Lateral Raises (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  5. Smith Machine Shrugs (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  6. Incline Rear Delt Fly (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)

Thursdays: Legs

  1. Leg Curls (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  2. Single Leg Hamstring Curls (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  3. Stiff Leg Deadlift (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  4. Seated Leg Extension (5 sets, 10 to 15 reps)
  5. Leg Press (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)
  6. Machine Hack Squat (5 sets, 8 to 12 reps)

Fridays: Rest Days

On Friday, Rich gives his body a break from the extensive exercises so that his muscles can recover and he can start strong and energetic the next day.

Saturdays: Arms

Here is the 8-hour long arms workout routine that Piana followed:

Workout One: Biceps

  1. Barbell Curls (4 sets, 10 reps)
  2. Preacher Curls (3 sets, 10 reps)
  3. Dumbell Hammer Curls (4 sets, 10 to 12 reps)

Workout Two: Triceps

  1. Lying Triceps Extensions (4 sets, 10 reps)
  2. Close-Grip Bench Press (4 sets, 10 reps)
  3. Single-Arm Dumbell Extension (4 sets, 15 reps)

Sundays: Rest Days

On the last day of the week, Rich takes another rest day.

Rich Piana’s magnificent arm workout explained

Rich Piana’s Diet Routine

To support his bulky physique, Piana ate a diet with more calories than needed. He would eat a diet having extra calories so that his muscles could further grow in increase.

Piana and no high protein content in diet? I don’t think so as by looking at his enormous muscle mass, it’s hard to believe that he wasn’t high on his dietary protein as well as supplementary protein.

He consumed 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of his total body mass, every day. This tells that he was committed to taking his fixed daily dose of protein to remain in his shape.

Along with mostly consuming a healthy and clean diet, Piana wouldn’t shy away from having his cheat meals and eating what he loves at least once a week. He also wouldn’t be very strict with himself, thus he wouldn’t propel himself to eat something he doesn’t want to eat.

A cartoonish representation of supplements
Piana made sure to consume his supplements on time

Rich Piana ate six to eight meals per day. He found his kitchen his favorite place to be for a reason. Let’s see what Rich Piana ate in his day-to-day diet:


  1. Egg Whites
  2. Oats

Snack 1

  1. Protein Shake
  2. Fruits
  3. Nuts


  1. Grilled Chicken Breast
  2. Brown Rice

Snack 2

  1. Greek Yogurt
  2. Protein Shake


  1. Burritos

Snack 3

  1. Protein Shake


  • Rich Piana was a legendary bodybuilder coming from California, USA, and winning Mr. California in 1988. He started bodybuilding at age 15 and won many accolades after his name. He worked out like a maniac in the gym and gave his extra when working out.
  • Piana was famous for his colossal arms that never failed to amaze anyone. He died due to his organs mainly like heart and liver getting enlarged than usual. He went into a coma for two weeks and eventually died a death speculated to be due to him being on steroids for 25 years.
  • When working out, Rich had a positive mindset and always listened to his body. He would do intense high-volume training five days a week and divide each day for a specific muscle group. On Saturdays, he used to do his 8-hour long arms workout routine.
  • Piana consumed 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of his total body mass, every day. He used to eat six to eight meals per day and had a cheat meal once a week.

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