Franco Columbu has been hailed as one of the most legendary powerlifters and bodybuilders to have ever graced the athletic world.
It’s no surprise given his incredible feats, such as holding records like a 750-pound deadlift and 525-pound bench press.
But what’s impressive about the “Sardinian Strongman” is that his workout plan is accessible for both beginners and advanced weightlifters alike.
Those looking to build muscle, lift heavier, or simply become stronger can benefit from following his program.
His approach to fitness is not only effective but also takes into account the importance of balance and discipline in one’s training.
Franco Columbu Overview
Columbu was a multi-talented Italian-born bodybuilder who left his mark on the world with his incredible strength and impressive physique.
He held numerous titles, including Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia multiple times, and was a force to be reckoned with in the world of bodybuilding.
Despite being only 5’5″ tall and weighing 185 pounds, Columbu had an astounding record for bench pressing (525 pounds), squatting (655 pounds), and deadlifting (750 pounds).
He was widely considered to be the strongest man in the world, pound for pound, and was a prominent figure in the golden era of bodybuilding, alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, in the 1970s.
Columbu’s talents extended beyond just bodybuilding, with him also being an accomplished actor, author, producer, and chiropractor. His legacy lives on as a true icon of strength and determination.
Franco Columbu’s Workout Principles
Franco Columbu was a true athletic powerhouse, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of sports.
He was a master in various disciplines, including boxing, strongman competitions, and bodybuilding.
His incredible feats of strength are nothing short of astounding. From lifting a refrigerator with his back to bending steel rods, Franco’s physical abilities were beyond impressive.
His training plan was also intense, focusing on heavy lifting and high-volume sets and reps for each muscle group.
Franco’s dedication to his craft paid off, as he earned the title of Mr. Olympia, the successor to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Franco Columbu’s Workout Routine
Franco Columbu was a renowned bodybuilder who followed an old-school approach to training, emphasizing high-volume workouts.
He believed in subjecting his muscles to a variety of exercises, sets, and reps to elicit maximum strength and hypertrophy gains.
He incorporated powerlifting techniques, performing compound lifts with heavy weights to activate fast-twitch muscle fibers.
This strategic approach helped him build both size and strength, resulting in a denser, fuller appearance. Franco approached each workout with intensity and dedication, pushing himself to the limit every time.
Lets take a look at Franco’s weekly workout:
Monday – Chest Workout
- Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets x 8-12 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Cable Flyes: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Push-Ups: 3 sets x failure
- Dips: 3 sets x failure
- Chest Press Machine: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
Tuesday – Shoulder Workout
- Seated Barbell Press: 4 sets x 8-10 reps
- Lateral Raises: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Rear Delt Flyes: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Arnold Presses: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Cable Face Pulls: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Upright Rows: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
Wednesday – Back Workout
- Deadlifts: 4 sets x 6-8 reps
- Pull-Ups: 3 sets x failure
- Bent Over Rows: 3 sets x 8-10 reps
- Lat Pulldowns: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- T-Bar Rows: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Hyperextensions: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
Thursday – Arm Workout
- Barbell Curl: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
- Skull Crushers: 4 sets x 10-12 reps
- Preacher Curl: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Tricep Pushdowns: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Hammer Curls: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
- Overhead Tricep Extensions: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
Friday – Legs Workout
- Squats: 4 sets x 8-12 reps
- Leg Press: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Leg Curls: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Leg Extensions: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
- Walking Lunges: 3 sets x 12-15 reps per leg
- Calf Raises: 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Rest
Warm-up and stretching
Franco Columbu was a firm believer in old age “no pain, no gain.” He believed that pushing through the discomfort during his workouts was essential to achieving his ultimate fitness goals.
However, he also knew the importance of taking care of his body to prevent injuries. Franco always warmed up his target muscles before exercise, ensuring that they were properly prepared for the intense workout ahead.
He made a point to stretch after his workouts, allowing his muscles to relax and remain flexible.
The magic of ‘supersets’
A superset involves performing two exercises back-to-back, which Franco utilized for one specific muscle group as well as antagonist muscle groups.
This technique allowed him to push his muscles further and achieve better results, as well as burn off more calories in less time. Franco’s dedication to the use of supersets demonstrates the effectiveness of this method in achieving one’s fitness goals.
Franco Columbu’s Diet Plan
Franco Columbu’s dietary plan was composed of an array of fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins, with an emphasis on steak, eggs, yogurt, and dairy products.
As a professional bodybuilder, he needed to consume high amounts of protein to fuel his muscles, and he often ate steak and eggs before his workouts for sustained energy.
Interestingly, despite the importance of carbohydrates for athletic performance, Franco’s daily macro breakdown prioritized protein and fat over carbs.
To prevent boredom, Franco prepared various styles of food items, ensuring that his dietary plan remained interesting and exciting.
Sample Daily Meal Plan for Franco Columbu
2-3 eggs cooked in olive oil served with an avocado and spinach salad, topped with feta cheese.
Grilled steak served with roasted asparagus and a side of sautéed mushrooms.
Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries and almonds.
Salmon fillet cooked in butter, served over garlic mashed potatoes.
Protein shake blended with banana and nut butter.
Franco Columbu’s Supplements & Recommendations
Franco Columbu’s nutrition plan was carefully crafted to provide him with the necessary fuel for his intense training sessions.
The bodybuilder relied heavily on whole food items like eggs, yogurt, milk, and other dairy products to meet his protein requirements, and supplemented with whey protein, multivitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids to ensure adequate nutrition.
His daily protein intake stood at around 200g during his training days, which he lowered to 120g post-retirement. Rather than sticking to a monotonous diet plan, Franco made sure to incorporate different food items and cooking styles to keep things interesting.
His meal plan consisted of 6 meals a day, consisting of eggs, poultry, fish, and vegetables to ensure balanced nutrition.
Keeping his carb intake low and meeting the required fiber requirements were also essential components of his nutrition plan.