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Frank Zane and Steroids: Biography & Workout Routine

Frank Zane is an American bodybuilder, multiple medalist and three-time winner of the Mr Olympia competition (won 1977, 1978 and 1979). He is one of the ten most awarded bodybuilders in the history of the sport, behind only Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lee Haney, Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, Phil Heath and Jay Cutler in the number of awards. According to many experts and fans, Zane is the best esthetician with the most harmoniously developed muscles of any athlete of the past or present.

Frank Zane Biography

Frank was born in Kingston (Pennsylvania) on June 28, 1942. He was raised by strict but loving parents. My father was an electrician and owner of a private radio / television repair company in Philadelphia. Mother – a housewife who taught and mentored the guy in his youth. Zane’s mother lived to a ripe old age – 80 years old, but her father died early – at 57 years old. Frank himself explains this by the parent’s addiction to cigarettes and alcohol, which cost him health.

Young Frank Zane lived in a quiet neighborhood. But there was one problem: in the middle of the last century, there were purely Catholic families in Kingston, and the Zane couple adhered to the Protestant faith. It’s no wonder that the neighbors’ children often bullied Frank and his younger brother Adam, to which the boys had to respond with force. Therefore, the future bodybuilder, in order to be able to stand up for himself and his brother, went in for sports as a teenager.

At the age of 14, Frank Zane was fond of boxing, after wrestling, and then bodybuilding, which he liked the most. Frank describes the results of his first workouts with iron as follows: “After two weeks, the muscles seemed to be crawling out from everywhere.” The rapid progress made Zane more motivated to exercise physically.

Amateur training Frank Zane for 4 years has been giving pronounced results and at 18 he decides to try his luck in the competition. However, apart from Adam, surrounded by the future legend of bodybuilding, there was no one to support. From the rest, Frank heard only criticism and ridicule. The guy was upset, but he didn’t make him quit his hobby. He decided to prove to himself and to society that bodybuilding can bring benefits both moral and financial.

Zane has always been interested in innovations related to self-development. This applies not only to sports, but also to psychology. In 1960, he graduated from high school and entered the university to become a graduate: in 1964 he graduated from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania with a degree in psychology, receiving a bachelor’s degree. But it doesn’t stop there. Already during the period of professional performance, – in 1977, Frank entered and graduated from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Frank Zane’s first major bodybuilding victory came in 1968. He wins the title of Mr Universe. Around the same time, he meets the love of his life, Christine, with whom they are happy together to this day.

For 22 years of performances as a professional bodybuilder, Frank Zane has won numerous awards – more than 150, among which the most significant by his own admission are victories at Mr America in 1968, Mr Universe in 1968 and Mr Olympia in 1977-1979, all of which are International Federation of Bodybuilding.

In 1985, Frank Zane and his wife Christine found and run Zane Heaven, based in Palm Springs, California, advising clients looking to achieve the same fitness. Today the Zane couple are based in San Diego, California, and their training center is called the “Zane Experience”.

in 1994 Frank Zane was inducted into the Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. This is not surprising, given the merits and influence of the athlete in this sport.

The role of the iconic personal in bodybuilding, which gained popularity in the sixties and eighties, allowed Frank to break into television. As a host, commentator and star, he even today receives invitations from ABC, CBS, NBC and ESPN.

It is noteworthy that in his already middle-aged years (now he is over 70) Frank Zane is still passionate about sports and keeps himself in great shape, which is confirmed by his Instagram account. According to the bodybuilder, he is full of new sports ideas and goals that need to be implemented. Therefore, he is not going to give up training!

frank zane biography

Bodybuilding Titles

Frank Zane officially retired in 1983, performing professionally for 22 years, from 1961 to 1983. During this time he has won countless awards, in which few bodybuilding giants can compete with him.

Here are just the victories Frank Zane has achieved at IFBB tournaments:

  • 1968 – Mr. America (Winner)
  • 1968 – Mr. Universe (Winner)
  • 1977 – Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & Overall Winner)
  • 1978 – Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & Overall Winner)
  • 1979 – Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & Overall Winner)

At Mr Olympia he also won several prizes: the second in 1976 – he lost to Franco Columbu, the third in 1980 – he lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Chris Dickerson, the second in 1982 – he lost to Chris Dickerson, the fourth in 1983 – he lost to Samir Bannout and Lee Haney.

Anthropometric data of Frank Zane in peak form were:

  • 176 centimeters in height;
  • 84-92 kilograms of weight;
  • 46 centimeters of biceps volume;
  • 132 centimeters of chest volume;
  • 67 centimeters of leg volume;
  • 76 centimeters of waist;
  • 44 centimeters of shin volume.

Some interesting facts about the athlete:

Among experts and competitors, Frank Zane earned the nickname “The Chemist”: presumably because he was one of the first to take sports pharmacology in truly high doses. There is also a theory that this name was given to him for the harmonious proportions of the muscles, which he carefully carved like an alchemist.

In 2005, Frank Zane acted as an actor and consultant producer on the film “See Arnold Coming”. This is a movie about the life and career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which received dubious reviews among viewers and critics.

Frank ‘The Chemist’ Zade, outfitted with Sergio Oliva and Chester Yorton, is one of the few athletes to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger in a professional bodybuilding competition.

Frank Zane’s books on healthy eating and proper training are actively published in the United States, even translated into foreign languages.

frank zane workout routine

Frank Zane Workout Routine

During the period of professional performances, the main goal of Frank Zane, like its competitors, was to achieve peak conditions by mid-autumn. Therefore, summer for him is a period of the most intense training. To achieve muscle growth and fat loss in time, Frank had to start his cycle in June, exercising 3 out of 5 days. The athlete himself considers this approach to be optimal, since there is enough time for both development and recovery.

The Frank Zane workout plan assumes that the athlete works on 2 large 1 small muscle groups during each workout. Moreover, these muscle groups are necessarily connected with each other anatomically and according to the principle of work, which maximizes the stimulation of blood flow and anabolism.

Frank Zane’s average workout sequence was as follows: Monday – back, forearm and biceps; on Tuesday – thighs and legs; Wednesday – rest; Thursday – chest, shoulders and triceps; Friday – rest. The athlete worked on abs every training day.

Day 1 (Monday)

  • Back exercises: lat pulldown, narrow-grip lat pulldown, seated cable row, dumbbell shrugs, bent-over dumbbell row;
  • Forearm exercises: ez-bar reverse curl, barbell wrist curl, work with wrist machine;
  • Biceps exercises: dumbbell bicep curl, dumbbell concentration curl, scott curl.

Day 2 (Tuesday)

  • Hip exercises: work with hip machine, superset of leg flexion and extension, leg press and squats, stretching the quadriceps and hamstrings between sets;
  • Calf exercises: standing calf raises, donkey calf raises, seated calf raises, leg press toe raises.

Day 3 (Thursday)

  • Chest exercises: incline dumbbell press (70%) or bench press, incline dumbbell press (30%), dips, pullover, chest flys;
  • Shoulders and triceps: at the beginning of the workout, stretching the chest in the doorway and stretching the shoulders is done, during the training – a superset of lifting a dumbbell over the side and extension from behind the head with a dumbbell, as well as extension of the arms on a block or extension in an incline with a dumbbell.

We will separately list abs exercises: lifting on a Roman chair, lifting legs, twisting, twisting with a cable, turning the torso with a bar. The abdominal muscles are trained every training day.

Between sets, the athlete considers it necessary to carry out a 15-second stretch of those muscles that are being exercised; rest between sets to exercise ≈ 2-3 minutes. His workout lasted about 75 minutes in total, and before its completion, Zane did 12 to 20 minutes on the treadmill.

frank zane and steroids

Was Frank Zane on Steroids?

There is little doubt that Frank Zane has taken steroids from sane bodybuilding fans. But what anabolic steroids he used, only the athlete himself and his inner circle know. His approach to steroids, apparently, was serious, after all, the nickname “The Chemist” in sports is not given for the skills of splitting atoms.

Of course, you can build endless theories like rumor sites: they say, Frank Zane used Testosterone Cypionate + Nandrolone Decanoate, Methandienone + Methenolone Enanthate or Trenbolone Acetate + Stanozolol. But we are not used to operating without an evidence base, so we will not mislead our readers.

Yes, most likely, Frank Zane used the doping traditional for the sixties-seventies-eighties and popular today: Methandienone and Nandrolone Decanoate. But again, this is just speculation based on the heavy sport trends of the era.

For the lack of specifics, first of all, it is worth saying thanks to the World Anti-Doping Agency. WADA and its intimidation policy have driven athletes to the point that they are afraid to think, let alone talk about sports pharmacology.