The Kai Greene Training Program!


Kai Greene is one of the greatest bodybuilders of the 21st century. Kai is known for his electrifying personality and for winning the Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition an incredible 3 times.

If you think Kai Greene’s personality is crazy then wait until you see his training program!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Kai Greene’s Chest Workouts
  • Part 2: Kai Greene’s Shoulder Workouts
  • Part 3: Kai Greene’s Back Workouts
  • Part 4: Kai Greene’s Leg Workouts
  • Part 5: Kai Greene’s Arm Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about the Kai Greene training program.

Kai Greene trains with a high-volume bodybuilding program where he trains each muscle group 1-2 times per week with many different exercises.

Kai is known for using high-intensity training techniques like supersets, tri-sets and drop sets to blast through training plateaus. Kai is also known for using crazy exercises like the in-between the legs deadlift. Check it out:

The Kai Greene In-Between The Legs Deadlift

This is Kai Greene’s signature move and it is easy to see why. This exercise is unique, spectacular, visually stunning and far beyond the comprehension of most small-minded people.

In other words it’s just like Kai Greene! If Kai Greene was a bodybuilding exercise he would be the in-between the legs deadlift!!

All kidding aside Kai Greene puts a lot of thought into his training program. He trains each muscle group once per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro split:

The Kai Greene Training Split

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Shoulders
  • Wednesday: Back 
  • Thursday: Legs
  • Friday: Arms
  • Saturday: Off
  • Sunday: Off

As you can see each muscle group has its own dedicated training day.

Sometimes Kai Greene throws in some extra exercises at the end of his workouts for other body parts. For example Kai will sometimes throw in some extra arm work after training chest or some extra shoulder work after training back.

However, this is the exact split that Kai used during most of his professional bodybuilding career.

Kai trains with a TON of training volume and likes to use 4-8 different exercises per muscle group. He isn’t just lifting the pink dumbbells though. Kai Greene incline bench presses 500+ pounds for reps and is incredibly strong on exercises like squats and deadlifts.

I hope you found this overview helpful. Now let’s take a closer look at the exact workouts that Kai Greene used to become a world-champion bodybuilder.

Part 1: Kai Greene’s Chest Workouts

Kai Greene is known for his massive chest and his unbelievable strength on the bench press. Kai often works up to 500+ pounds for reps on the bench press and the incline bench press. Talk about strong!

Kai Greene used the same basic chest routine throughout his bodybuilding career. First he trains heavy on the incline bench press and the flat bench press. Then he performs 2 chest isolation exercises to finish off his chest for the day.

Here is a chest workout Kai Greene performed in 2017 while preparing for the Mr. Olympia competition. Check it out:

Chest Routine #1

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 2 sets of 2-6 reps**
  • B1: Flat bench press, 1 set of 5 reps**
  • C1: 30 degree incline DB fly, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • D1: Machine pec dec, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • E1: Seated 2-arm DB french press, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • F1: Bent-over DB tricep kickback, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • G1: Standing alternating DB curl (supinating grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • H1: Standing ez-bar cable pushdown (pronated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps

**Perform several warm up sets, then perform 1 large drop set with 3-4 drops per exercise.

Here is the training video for this workout:

As you can see Kai loves to perform drop sets on the incline bench press and flat bench press.

Here is what his drop set looked like for the incline bench press:

  • 5 plates x 2 reps
  • 4 plates x 2 reps
  • 3 plates x 3 reps
  • 2 plates x 5 reps
  • 1 plate x 6 reps

Talk about a brutal drop set! Kai Greene believes this low-rep drop set is the best way to build chest size and strength at the same time.

Kai performs a similar drop set on the flat bench press. The main difference is he keeps the reps a little higher. He gets 6 reps on his first attempt with 405 pounds before dropping the weight and busting out extra reps.

Kai Greene starts his chest workout with heavy compound exercises but finishes his chest workout with lighter isolation exercises.

Kai doesn’t perform any high-intensity techniques like drop sets or forced reps for these exercises. Instead he focuses on using perfect form and pumping as much blood in his chest as possible.

At the end of his workout Kai throws in some extra arm exercises for good measure. This is just something Kai does based on how he is feeling that particular day.

Here is another chest workout Kai Greene performed in 2018. Check it out:

Kai Greene Chest Workout #2

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 set of 3 reps**
  • B1: Flat bench press, 1 set of 6 reps**
  • C1: 30 degree incline DB fly, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • D1: Machine pec dec, 3 sets of 10-15 reps

**Perform several warm up sets, then perform 1 large drop set with 3-4 drops per exercise.

Here is the training video for this workout:

As you can see Kai Greene almost always trains his chest the same way with very little variation.

Kai Greene starts this chest workout with one giant drop set on the incline bench press and the flat bench press. Then Kai performs 2 smaller isolation exercises to drive as much blood into his chest as possible.

This is a powerbuilding-style workout that many world-class bodybuilders like Steve Kuclo and Branch Warren have used throughout their careers.

For this workout Kai skips the extra arm work and calls it a day after his 4 chest exercises.

Part 2: Kai Greene’s Shoulder Workouts

Kai Greene’s shoulders are absolutely unreal. His front, side and rear delts are so massive that he doesn’t even look human. His shoulders are freakier than Frieza’s from Dragon Ball Z when he powers up to 100%!

Kai Greene’s chest workouts were all about moving heavy ass weight on the basic barbell exercises. However, Kai takes a completely different approach for his shoulder workouts.

Kai performs tons of isolation exercises for his front, side and rear delts and focuses on creating as much muscle fatigue as possible.

Here is a shoulder workout Kai performed while preparing for the 2016 Mr. Olympia contest. Check it out:

Kai Greene’s Shoulder Routine #1

  • A1: Seated DB lateral raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • B1: Front DB raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • C1: Reverse pec dec, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • D1: Seated overhead press, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • E1: Reverse lat pulldown, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • F1: Reverse triceps extensions, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • G1: Regular triceps extensions, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • H1: Reverse ez-bar curls, 3 sets of 15-20 reps
  • I1: Seated DB french press, 3 sets of 15-20 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout Kai performs 4 shoulder exercises: 3 isolation exercises and 1 compound pressing movement. All of his shoulder exercises were performed for high reps and very short rest periods.

After training his shoulders Kai throws in some extra work for his upper back and arms. This is just something Kai likes to do in many of his upper body workouts.

Here is a higher-volume shoulder workout that Kai performed after retiring from the sport of bodybuilding. Check it out:

Kai Greene’s Shoulder Routine #2

Circuit #1

  • A1: 45 degree prone DB Y raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • A2: 45 degree prone DB rear delt raise (bent arm), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • A3: Cable rear delt fly, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Circuit #2

  • B1: Cable upright row, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • B2: 60 degree prone DB rear delt raise (straight arm), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Circuit #3

  • C1: 60 degree supine front DB raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • C2: 60 degree supine lateral DB raise, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Here is the training video for this workout: 

For this workout Kai Greene trains his shoulders using supersets and tri-sets. These are high-intensity training techniques where you perform 2-3 exercises in a row for a single muscle group with very little rest between exercises.

For the first circuit Kai Greene performs 3 shoulder exercises in a row with no rest between exercises. After the third exercise Kai rests for 1 minute and performs the entire circuit again.

For the second and third circuits Kai Greene trains 2 exercises in a row which is called a superset.

Tri-sets and supersets are an AWESOME technique for building muscle mass because they prolong the time under tension of your sets and force your muscles to work longer than normal.

Just think about it: a normal set might take 20 seconds to complete. With a tri-set you can easily increase the time under tension to 60 seconds while still using heavy weights. This extra time under tension creates a ton of muscular damage and metabolic stress which is great for building muscle.

If you want to learn more about how to use time under tension to build muscle then check out the following articles:

If you have never used supersets or tri-sets in your training then you are missing out. They are easily one of the best ways to train your shoulders for building muscle.

Part 3: Kai Greene’s Back Workouts

Kai Greene has many freaky body parts but his back is on a completely different level. His back is absolutely insane!

Kai Greene’s lats are so thick that I use them to describe my taste in women:

  • “What kind of women do you like?”
  • “I like ‘em thick.”
  • “How thick?”
  • “Thicker than Kai Greene’s lats!”
  • “Damn son, now that’s thick!”

Of course the only thing crazier than Kai Greene’s upper back is his upper back training program.

Kai trains his back using at least 10 different exercises per workout. This is an unbelievable amount of training volume but it works like magic for him. Check it out:

Kai Greene’s Back Routine #1

  • A1: Lat pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • B1: Lat pulldown (narrow / neutral grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • C1: Lat pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • D1: Seated cable row (wide / pronated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • D2: Machine shrugs, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • E1: Machine pullover, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • F1: T-bar row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • G1: Barbell row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • H1: 1-arm DB row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • I1: Seated cable row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • I2: Deadlift, 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout Kai Greene trains his back using 11 different workouts. He uses pulldowns, rows, shrugs, pullovers and deadlifts to hit his back from every possible angle.

If you thought this workout was crazy then check out the following Kai Greene back workout:

Kai Greene’s Back Routine #2

  • A1: Lat pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • B1: Lat pulldown (narrow / neutral grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • C1: Lat pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • D1: Barbell row (super wide grip), 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • E1: Behind the back barbell shrugs, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • F1: Reverse pec dec, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • G1: Cable upright rows, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • H1: Deadlift, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • I1: T-bar row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • J1: Behind the neck lat pulldown, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • K1: Barbell bent over row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • L1: 1-arm DB arcing row, 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Here is the training video:

For this workout Kai Greene uses 12 separate exercises to train his back. This is absolutely ridiculous but you can’t argue with results! Kai Greene does have one of the greatest backs of all time so he must be doing something right.

In my opinion this is way too much volume for the average bodybuilder to recover from so be careful before copying this exact back routine.

Even the legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger would have a hard time recovering from this much training volume!

Part 4: Kai Greene’s Leg Workouts

Kai Greene uses some very interesting leg routines.

He likes to pre-exhaust his legs with various isolation exercises like leg curls and leg extensions before moving onto more compound exercises like squats and stiff-legged deadlifts.

This is a strategy that many other bodybuilders like Branch Warren and Dorian Yates have used throughout their careers. Check it out:

Kai Greene’s Leg Routine #1

  • A1: Donkey calf raise, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • B1: Seated calf raise, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • C1: Lying leg curls, 5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • C2: Machine leg extensions, 5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • D1: Back squats, 5 sets of 5-10 reps
  • D2: Kneeling leg curls, 5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • E1: Machine hack squats, 5 sets of 10-20 reps
  • F1: Stiff legged deadlifts, 5 sets of 10-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Kai Greene likes to use the pre-exhaust method for his leg workouts but that doesn’t mean he’s afraid of lifting heavy.

For this workout Kai Greene squats 500 pounds after pre-exhausting his legs! That is an absolutely incredible feat of strength.

It’s easy to see why Kai Greene was able to fully develop his lower body with workouts like this.

Here is another leg workout that Kai Greene performed during his professional bodybuilding career. Check it out:

Kai Greene’s Leg Routine #2

  • A1: Machine leg extension, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • B1: Lying leg curls, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • C1: Kneeling leg curls, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • D1: Stiff-legged deadlift, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • E1: Alternating barbell lunge, 3 sets of 10-20 reps
  • F1: Back squat, 3 sets of 5-10 reps
  • G1: 45 degree leg press, 3 sets of 5-10 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Once again Kai Greene pre-exhausts his legs with different isolation exercises like leg curls and leg extensions before moving onto his heavy compound exercises.

For this workout Kai even throws in some exercises like stiff-legged deadlifts and barbell lunges before moving onto squats.

Kai is an outside-the-box thinker and his leg workouts perfectly reflect his personality. You can’t expect someone with the nickname “The Predator” to follow a standard bodybuilding leg routine!

Part 5: Kai Greene’s Arm Workouts

If you thought Kai Greene’s back and leg workouts were crazy then clearly you’ve never seen him train his arms!

Kai Greene trains his arms using a high-intensity training technique called “antagonistic supersets.” Kai will alternate back and forth between sets for his biceps and triceps.

For example Kai likes to perform a set for his biceps, rest 30 seconds, perform a set for his triceps, rest 30 seconds and then perform another set for his biceps. He repeats this process until he has performed 3-4 sets per exercise and then moves onto his next 2 exercises for his biceps and triceps.

Antagonistic supersets have many advantages over regular “straight sets.”

They help you produce more force in your target muscles, they increase your muscular endurance and they increase the density of your workout. They also give you an incredible pump in your arms!

Many bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows and Milos Sarcev regularly use antagonistic supersets in their arm workouts to blast through training plateaus.

If you want to learn more about antagonistic supersets then check out the following article:

Now let’s look at Kai Greene’s actual arm workouts. Here is an arm workout that Kai Greene performed at the start of his pre-contest phase for the Mr. Olympia contest. Check it out:

Arm Routine #1

Superset #1

  • A1: Straight bar cable pushdown (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • A2: Straight bar cable pushdown (pronated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • A3: Straight bar wrist curls (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

Superset #2

  • B1: Cable ez-bar french press, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • B2: Standing barbell curls (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

Superset #3

  • C1: Ez-bar skull crusher (lower bar behind head), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • C2: One-arm DB preacher curl (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

Superset #4

  • D1: One-arm DB tricep kickback, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • D2: 30 degree incline DB curl, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

Superset #5

  • E1: Seated 2-arm DB french press, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest
  • E1: Standing DB curls (hammer grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 30 seconds rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume arm workout! Kai Greene performs 5 separate supersets for his biceps and triceps.

For each superset he performs a triceps exercise, rests 30 seconds, performs a biceps exercise, rests 30 seconds and performs another triceps set.

Kai doesn’t really care about how much weight he is using on each exercise. Instead he is focused on really feeling his muscles contracting on every rep and driving as much blood into his arms as possible.

Here is another arm superset workout that Kai Greene performed after retiring from professional bodybuilding. Check it out

Kai Greene’s Arm Routine #2

Superset #1

  • A1: Tricep dip, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • A2: Rope pushdown, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • A3: DB concentration curl, 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Superset #2

  • B1: One-arm cable pushdown (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • B2: One-arm preacher DB curl (hammer grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Superset #3

  • C1: Two-arm DB preacher curl (hammer grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, no rest
  • C2: Straight bar cable pushdown (supinated grip), 3 sets of 15-20 reps, 1 minute rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

 This workout is much shorter but it follows the same basic template. Kai Greene performs several different supersets for his biceps and triceps using short rest periods and high rep ranges.

Kai really doesn’t care about how much weight he is lifting. He will lift the pink dumbbells if he has to!

His only goal is to pump as much blood into his 23-inch arms as he can. This is very different from his chest workout where he throws around heavy slag iron all day long!

Conclusion

Kai Greene’s training program is as crazy as his personality. He trains each muscle group with a completely different training strategy.

His chest workout is all about going heavy on the basic compound exercises like the bench press and incline bench press.

His leg and back workouts are all about the pre-exhaust method and using many different exercises to hit his muscles from all angles.

Finally Kai Greene’s shoulder and arm workouts are all about chasing the pump and forcing as much blood into his muscles as possible. Kai uses high-intensity training techniques like supersets and tri-sets on his shoulder and arm workouts to create as much fatigue in his muscles as possible. 

Of course none of that really matters. The real secret to Kai Greene’s success is the between the legs deadlift!

If you aren’t doing this exercise then you have no right to complain about your lack of progress in the gym!

Dusty Hanshaw doesn’t know what he’s talking about when he says pop tarts are the key to getting jacked. The real secret is the Kai Green in between the legs deadlift!

If you think I’m joking then you might as well kiss your gains goodbye. You’ll never become a bodybuilding champion with that kind of attitude!

Here is a powerful quote by Kai Greene that will help you become the man you were always meant to be:

“What am I doing with my life? Am I just going to some humdrum job that I don’t really want to be at, doing some minuscule task, getting paid to be a mindless drone?

Or am I out there living life, on my terms, the way I want to live it, doing the things I want to do?”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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