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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout

arnold schwarzenegger workout


Schwarzenegger began weight-training at 15 and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding, becoming the youngest Mr. Universe at age 20 and going on to win Mr. Olympia a total of seven times. Schwarzenegger has remained a prominent face in the bodybuilding sport long after his retirement, and has written several books and numerous articles on the sport.

If you are looking to be the strongest man then there is probably no better workout to model than Arnold’s workout.

Mon, Wed, Fri

Bench press – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Flat bench flies – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Incline bench press – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Cable crossovers – 6 sets, 10-12 reps
Dips – 5 sets, to failure
Dumbbell pullovers – 5 sets, 10-12 reps

Front wide-grip chin-ups – 6 sets, to failure
T-bar rows – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated pulley rows – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
One-arm dumbbell rows – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Straight-leg deadlifts – 6 sets, 15 reps

Squats – 6 sets, 8-12 reps
Leg presses – 6 sets, 8-12 reps
Leg extensions – 6 sets, 12-15 reps
Leg curls – 6 sets, 10-12 reps
Barbell lunges – 5 sets, 15 reps

Standing calf raises -10 sets, 10 reps
Seated calf raises – 8 sets, 15 reps
One-legged calf raises (holding dumbbells) – 6 sets,12 reps

Wrist curls (forearms on knees) – 4 sets, 10 reps
Reverse barbell curls – 4 sets, 8 reps
Wright roller machine – to failure

Nonstop instinct training for 30 minutes

Tues, Thurs, Sat

Barbell curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated dumbbell curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Dumbbell concentration curls – 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Close-grip bench presses (for the all three heads) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Pushdowns (exterior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Barbell French presses (interior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
One-arm dumbbell triceps extensions (exterior head) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Seated barbell presses – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Lateral raises (standing) – 6 sets, 6-10 reps
Rear-delt lateral raises – 5 sets, 6-10 reps
Cable lateral raises – 5 sets, 10-12 reps

Calves and Forearms:
Same as Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Same as Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Category: Bodybuilding, Workout 14 comments »

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14 Responses to “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout”

  1. Erik

    I lasted for 4 months doing this routine when I was 22. I tore my shoulder out, herniated 2 discs, and had stress fractures in my forearms. Arnold set this routine out as a trap. He never overtrained like this. He wanted his competitors to think he was, so they would try, and become injured, demoralized when they could not do it, or simply overtrain themselves.

  2. mikey

    ever notice arnold would seem bigger in some photos and more slender in others I think he cycled his volume training to peek for the olympia. off season/then peek.

  3. josh

    Yeah, yeah, we get it. “No one could do this workout without steroids!!11!” Doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it! You might not have Jordan’s ability, but he can probably still give a few pointers on your hoops game!

  4. Jim

    I want to know what weights he was doing for each of those exercises? And if this is the routine he was doing that would not take 6-8 hours to complete. I did it in an hour and a half. And yes he has already admitted to using steroids.

  5. clemey

    i think that workout cn be done if u have high daily calorie intake recuperation on the other hand has to be assistd by riods or a heavy supp otherwise u will clearly overtrain no natural bb will recover from that workout within a week of the next session

  6. Robert


    No, I think YOU are the one who knows nothing about bodybuilding, or exercise physiology. FYI, all of the bodybuilding and weight-lifting books I read at that time (back in the late 1970s and early 1980s) recommended putting a wooden block under your heels and using a chair behind you for squats, which is the only reason I did that. It didn’t feel right to me, but I figured that the exercise “geniuses” writing those types of books must know what they’re talking about. There are even old photos of Arnold squatting in that manner. Nowadays, it’s commonly accepted that squatting with elevated heels and a chair behind you is just begging for a lower back injury, and no one recommends it, because it was a stupid, old-school training method. So, all of those exercise “geniuses” of that time were WRONG, just like you are WRONG for saying that Arnold’s stupid, old-school, super high-volume routine is a good routine for non-steroid users. Get a clue before you dish out the insults. I was probably lifting before you were even born.

  7. Landon

    I would disagree with you that you can not perform this workout without the use of steroids. If you have proper nutrition and you dedicate yourself to this workout you can see great results. You are not going to see the same results as someone who is using steroids even if you were both doing a less intense workout because steroids clearly give the other person an advantage. But don’t sell yourself short on the results you can gain naturally if your diet is in check and you push yourself to the limit. Remember this is about being the strongest man that you can be!

  8. mee

    arnold is a pro bodybuilder he takes steroids in his off season that is why he recover fast.not any one can do the same thing if he does not take steroids.so you can’t use this workout unless you’re on steroids

  9. jarhead

    Days off are 4 wimps!! In boot camp, the first 2 weeks i though i was going to die i was so tired i could fall asleep on my feet! but after 4 weeks my body had responed to the training, and i was hard and conditioned. U think a laborer calls in sick because yesterday was so hard he needs a day off to recover?!
    listen to your body, u don’t need to train to failure trying to exceed a previous workouts performance every time you train. let your bodys response be your guide.

  10. Josh

    He’s the strongest guy ever lived for me

  11. Ryan

    @robert yeah it might be old school but sure did it work for him.. recuperation capacity from person to person is different.. Arnold is one of the greatest bodybuilder.. your just bitter to what had happen to you.. in doing squats you should really be carefull.. perhaps you know nothing about body building.. that is why you where injured to your foolishness..

  12. Robert

    He was training long and hard every day of the week except Sundays! Granted, he must have had phenomenal recovery ability, but you can’t train this hard and this often unless you’re also on steroids, which Arnold was, like every other pro bodybuilder. For the normal, non-steroid-taking guy, working out every day like this is a prescription for total mental and physical burnout, injury, and illness. Your muscles will actually start wasting away. They will get smaller and weaker daily from overuse and lack of sufficient time to rebuild themselves. Plus, you’ll be sore all over, all the time, and it won’t ever go away, because you’re never giving your body enough time to recover and rebuild those broken-down muscle fibers. You will actually get weaker and more sore day by day, and your poundages lifted will fall dramatically. Also, your immune system will be under constant stress, so you will be highly susceptible to injury and illness. You will also become extremely tired and apathetic, and have no spring in your muscles. I know, because I’ve tried Arnold’s routine in the past. It didn’t work at all. If you have any residual soreness, anywhere, from your previous workout, it means you aren’t fully recovered, and should wait until you are. And there’s no way to fully recover with the Arnold workout routine. This is old-school training, when they didn’t know any better, and thought “more is better.” One really dumb old-school exercise I used to do was barbell squats using a chair behind me, and a 2×4 to raise up my heels. I wrecked my back doing this, and eventually required surgery for a herniated disc in my lower back – an injury which still bothers me today. Stay away from these stupid, old-school training methods and exercises!

  13. Darrin

    Yeah, 6 to 8 hours and phenomenal recovery ability…

  14. Jeff

    If only I had 6-8 hours a day to train like he did. Damn, I love Arnold.

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