Britains Greatest Bodybuilder

Dorian Yates: Britain’s Greatest Bodybuilder

Born on 19th April 1962, in the West-Midlands in England, Dorian Yates moved to Birmingham as a teenager and later served 6 months in a youth detention centre for “rebelling against the rules”. His addiction to training and bodybuilding has been linked back to this early period of his life many times in interviews since retiring from the sport. He would later become known as Dorian Yates “The Shadow” and considered as one of the number athletes in the modern bodybuilding age.

Dominating The 1990’s

To this day, Dorian Yates is to the only Briton to have ever successfully compete for top honours and the internationally coveted Mr. Olympia. He is also, still the only Briton to have held the title of Mr. Olympia, which he did for six consecutive years from 1992 to 1997… The 1990’s were quite literally all about Dorian Yates.

Known as the “Yates decade”, Dorian was seemingly untouchable in the 90’s and it was he who played a huge role in creating the modern day bodybuilding we see and love today. In 1970’s and 1980’s, Arnold Schwarzenegger pretty much single handily push bodybuilding into the spotlight and helped the spot evolve into the mainstream.

The 90’s for many is the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding and following on from the rapid emergence during the 80’s, the sport evolved even further into the format that we know today. Technology was also fast evolving and things like the internet were fast becoming accessories that were available to the masses. Dorian Yates was well and truly in the spotlight and he used the new technology to his benefit – forcing people to take notice of the powerhouse he had become.

Changing How Bodybuilders Train

For years, many, if not all bodybuilders trained by lifting weights a set number of times – if the weights started to get light or easier to lift, they would simply add more plates but still lift the set number of repetitions. This is great way to workout and build lean muscle, but it isn’t the only method and Dorian was keen to show the world another way forward.

Dorian used to favour the training technique now commonly known as HIT (High Intensity Training) where he would lift a certain exercise to it max for a small number of reps, rest for a short period before repeating the exercise again – hence the name – high intensity lifting for short periods, multiple times.

Many people, and by people I mean fellow professionals snubbed this idea of training, and considered it weaker to the more traditional heavy lifting pattern, but it wasn’t long after Dorian started being recognised, did he begin to revolutionise the way today’s topflight athletes training and prepare for the big competitions.

‘The Shadow’

Dorian Yates became known as ‘The Shadow’ as he would often arrive late or unexpectedly to a major competition, steel the spotlight then steel the win. This wasn’t a tactic to get one over on his rivals and competition, but merely because he didn’t want to be constantly in the public eye. This was his way of retaining his privacy and keeping his private life separate from that of the “public eye” and the media.

With his desire to remain out of the of the media and public eye, it’s reported that Dorian turned down many large supplement endorsements. He also avoided television,interviews and most publicity in order to maintain his privacy…this is something almost unheard of from other high profile athletes.

Professional Titles

Hailing from the United Kingdom, before dominating Mr. Olympia in the 1990’s Dorian first entered the World Games in 1985 where he was finish with 7th place. This would be the first time the world would see what he would bring to the table. The following year, he took top honours at the British Championships in the heavyweight class, entering the show in fantastic form and without a noticeable layer of body fat on him. Dorian would repeat this performance in 1988, where he also took the overall crown as well as the heavyweight title.

These are Dorian’s titles spanning from 1985 to 1997. A career lasting 12 years in the top flight!

  • 1985 – World Games – 7th in Heavyweight class
  • 1986 – British Championships – 1st in Heavyweight class
  • 1988 – British Championships – 1st in Heavyweight class and overall title
  • 1990 – Night of Champions – 2nd place
  • 1991 – Night of Champions – 1st place
  • 1991 – Mr. Olympia – 2nd place
  • 1991 – English Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1992 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 1992 – English Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1993 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 1994 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 1994 – Spanish Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1994 – German Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1994 – English Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1995 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 1996 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place
  • 1996 – Spanish Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1996 – German Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1996 – English Grand Prix – 1st place
  • 1997 – Mr. Olympia – 1st place

His record speaks for itself, when you hear or see it written that Dorian dominated the 1990’s, you can see the truth behind the statement – the data tells the story. Not only did The Shadow, take control of the Mr. Olympia crown for six formidable years, he also laid down the gantlet in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe – for a short time, Dorian Yates was untouchable.

Life After Bodybuilding

Since leaving the professional arena of bodybuilding and Mr. Olympia, Dorian “The Shadow” Yates, is still very much playing an active role in the bodybuilding and fitness industry.

Since 1987, Dorian had been a partner and joint owner of the Temple Gym in Birmingham, but later on he became the full and sole owner of the gym which was then franchised across the UK, California and Las Vegas.

Having been involved with a number of different fitness, bodybuilding and hormone boosting supplements, Dorian branched out in 2011 and founded DY Nutrition, which is a company and supplement range that’s specially dedicated to pre-workout, weight gain and post-workout supplements. All of the supplements through this channel and endorsed by Dorian. These brand is continually growing and follows him around the world when he travels and speaks and seminars across the globe.

Still the holder of the 4th highest number of Mr. Olympia wins behind Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates will be forever remember as one of the greatest bodybuilders to walk amongst us, and to this day is still Britain’s greatest bodybuilder. Phil Heath is edging ever closer to his record….will he ever catch him??


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