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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine


Arnold Schwarzenegger’s high volume workout routine. This routine was featured in a 1991 issue of Muscle Mag.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday

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

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

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 Abs:
Same as Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Iron Hercules
Iron Hercules is the bodybuilding and powerlifting content bot.
  • Seth Aug 3,2015 at 3:30 pm

    Anyone else read that whole thing in an Arnold voice?

  • Komal Kumar Sahu Jul 14,2015 at 3:49 am

    Monday – Shoulder/Tricep
    Tuesday – Back/Bicep
    wedday – Chest
    Thusday – Arms/Forarms
    Friday – Cardio,Abs,Pushups, Chinups
    Satrday – Legs/Cafs
    Sonday -Full rest

  • Jon May 29,2015 at 2:56 pm

    Trap work? Or does that just come with all the back exercises ?

  • TStreet May 3,2015 at 2:42 am

    I’m gunna try doing each body part once a week. I feel like these work outs will take dumb long but will def
    B worth it.

  • Komal kumar sahu Nov 21,2014 at 5:50 am

    trienar the gym
    my workout schedule but 2 week change

    Monday – Chest/Triceps
    Tuesday- Back/Biceps
    Wednesday- Shoulder
    Thusdy/Friday/saturday repeat set on extra legs on sturday

  • Bunty Gupta Oct 14,2014 at 10:39 am

    Monday ………..chest & back
    fri…………..chest & back
    sat…………..shoulder & arms
    tri this workout 2 month

  • Joey cage Aug 19,2014 at 9:26 am

    Arnold did everything twice a week chest back mon and thurs , shoulders arms Tuesday Friday and legs Wednesday and Saturday. Abs and calves were trained everyday except Sunday. Every body part was around 15 sets each . Pre contest he would do chest back Monday Wednesday and Friday morning and legs at night, and Tuesday Friday Saturday was shoulders and arms. He then did about 25 -32 sets per body part . That’s crazy stuff, my old routine was the classic everyday uses Monday chest Tuesday back Wednesday legs Thursday arms and Friday shoulders about 20-30 sets each and grew a lot but found that doing chest back Monday And Thursday , shoulders arms Tuesday and Friday and legs Wednesday and Saturday but only doing 9 sets each body part worked much better not too much volume but Intense training. When I was going 20+ sets per body part my nervous system felt fatigued and I would take a few weeks break sometimes . The lesser volume has kept me in the gym consistently

  • Johnk662 Jun 19,2014 at 9:54 pm

    cheers for the actual article i’ve recently been on the lookout with regard to this kind of advice on the net for sum time proper now so numerous thanks dgfefggdffka

  • Shantaram Ayyar Mar 20,2014 at 3:59 am

    Monday… Squat
    Tuesday.. Biceps
    Wednesday… Shoulder
    Thursday…. Chest
    Friday… Back
    Saturday… Triceps
    Sunday… Rest

    • dhaliwal Jul 7,2014 at 1:44 am

      Horrible split…
      For football d1 college I do
      Sunday-hamstrings and lower back
      Monday-shoulders and biceps and speed work
      Tuesday- upper back
      Wednesday is off
      Friday-chest and triceps
      Saturday is off

      • Tanner Aug 11,2014 at 11:44 am

        Hahahahahah you think because you play d1 football you know it all your split is awful as well and you do no more than follow what these so called “strength coaches” have to say. Arnold and others are trying to acquire mass not terrible for and explosive reps like ive seen in almost all schools its sad what the youth is being taught.

  • Richard1 Nov 20,2013 at 12:41 pm

    Its going great, It is what I wanted, a workout to shred fat while I cut calories. I was a little shocked when I counted something like 88 sets, thats more then what I was used to. I had to lower the weight amount or I would never make it. One of the magazines has it rated number one as a workout, so I had to try it. It worked for Arnold! I think he knows a thing or two about using weights during a workout!

  • Vikram May 20,2013 at 10:13 pm

    I need direction

    • Shashi Jul 16,2014 at 12:50 pm

      Wht u want to know.

  • Marius Mar 12,2013 at 1:32 am

    Very good training !! My muscles were fucked up!

  • bantayanon Nov 7,2012 at 8:29 am

    my regular routine–day 1
    TRICEPT–lying tricep ext,close grip,kick back,standing tricept ext,tricept press down
    day1—–warm up 20 reps light load..3set 10 reps all regular load,,,
    CHEST–barbell bench press,incline barbell press,pull over,and dick line,,,

    • Bipin Kumar Sharma Jun 5,2014 at 2:19 pm


  • trainer Oct 14,2012 at 7:35 pm

    Monday: Arms
    Tuesday: Chest / Back
    Wednsday: Legs
    Thursday: Arms
    Friday: Chest / Back
    Saturday: Legs
    Sunday: Rest

    Forearms,Abs andlegs 6 days a week.

    Chest he tried to do 20 sets!

    • Luke Alger Mar 25,2014 at 2:27 pm

      where the fuck are your shoulders ?

    • ali Jun 2,2014 at 8:44 am

      this is how he used to do them?

  • Rahul Verma Oct 1,2012 at 9:24 am

    Monday – Biceps – Arm
    Tuesday – Triceps
    Wednesday – Chest
    Thursday – Back
    Friday – Thai
    Sat – Shoulder

    • Bas Feb 17,2014 at 6:36 am

      And sunday is leg-day?

    • Luis solis May 8,2015 at 8:37 pm

      No good how you going to do chest when your arms are tired ..

  • ben 10 Aug 27,2012 at 11:13 pm

    i have been training this routine and its going well in three months.

  • Nick Jul 17,2012 at 6:43 am

    best routine ever:)
    Monday- chest
    Tuesday- back
    Wednesday- shoulders/traps
    Thursday- core
    Friday- arms
    Saturday- legs
    or same except no extra arms day and include triceps on chest day and biceps on back day

  • grow Jul 10,2012 at 12:43 pm

    Ok, I have been doing exactly what arnolds routine is now and I feel twice as good. thanks

  • Scott Jun 12,2012 at 10:56 pm

    Is it me or is this routine suggesting doing calves, forearms and abs 6 days a week? That seems a bit much with no rest.

    • Edward J Havlovic Aug 10,2013 at 9:48 pm

      you can do those muscles everyday because their small and recover quicker you could do biceps everyday too

  • Rick May 13,2012 at 10:34 am

    My routine
    core,abs,chest,biceps,rear delts.
    core,abs,legs,triceps,front delts.
    Does anyone have any ideas on how I can change this up. Cheers

  • hench-man Mar 6,2012 at 2:05 pm

    listen there is one way to get huge and mass muscle,

    1.heavy weight worck till failure dont matter the reps, make shure you do 3 sets ( make shore every set is to complete failure)

    2.make shure you eat all you protein etc calories eat twice your weight.

    3.plenty of sleep ( when you are awaike keep active like what i do take my dog play football in my garden for like 20min i only play football once a week. Clean your house make shure you aarent on the computer ore laptop all day.

    4.drink green tea to recuperate muscle ore any other sumplements


    chers –like ore dislike i dont give a fuck—

    • hunter Apr 21,2012 at 2:50 am

      the Arnold proven 5 x 5is best for mass gain. After mass reached then go to 5 x 12 or 3 x 12-15 whatever you prefer. Also, what is your over age 50 plan dude?

    • Grammer Police Mar 29,2014 at 10:22 am

      Listen* there is one way to get huge and massive* muscles*,

      1.Heavy* weight work* until* failure doesn’t* matter the reps, make sure* you do 3 sets ( make sure* every set is to complete failure).

      2.Make* sure* you eat all your* protein etc. calories eat twice your weight.

      3.Plenty* of sleep ( when you are awake* keep active like what I* do is* take my dog to* play football in my garden for like 20min,* I* only play football once a week. Clean your house make sure* you are* not* on the computer or* laptop all day.

      4.Drink green tea to recuperate muscle or* any other supplements*


      cheers* –like or* dislike i don’t* give a fuck— ({[My God, you really need to learn the English language before you put a comment. You’re welcome. ]})

      • Tom Jun 9,2014 at 6:28 pm

        You do realize it’s grammar not grammer lmao. You should probably learn the English language too before you go suggesting other people to do so.

  • Paul Feb 22,2012 at 2:30 pm

    I do each body part 6 times a week.and I’m buck as fuck

    • Mick Madden Feb 23,2012 at 1:54 pm

      Welcome to the Internet where any old idiot can ruin an intelligent conversation.

      Your mom probably has bigger arms than you. Still playing Everquest in your basement?

  • Carter, D Oct 4,2011 at 3:57 pm

    my routine is

    Never miss a leg day even though it sucks i never really worked out legs that much until about two years ago had an Old Head at the gym school me a little bit since then have had massive gains i take PH’s and off cycle but have had Zero sides unless crazy muscle is a side effect. With the first PH I took was when i first started out power lifting i my bench went from 185 to 295 in just under 3 weeks i agree that diet and nutrition is a huge part of working out but dont forget supplementation or you will miss out on what you can really do.


    • ax Apr 16,2012 at 6:08 pm

      whats ph im intrested ?

      • Stucazz Apr 23,2012 at 1:30 am

        Pro Hormones

  • scott Jun 11,2011 at 4:38 am

    The best way i think to go about this sort of training is to split it up so for example.

    chest,triceps, upper back

    legs, lower back, biceps.

    shoulders, abs, forarms

    then repeat this on thursday,friday and saturday. rest on sunday. this is what works best for me.

  • Richard Jun 7,2011 at 6:48 pm

    I had been training my muscles once a week, good workout but way to much time off between. I have been doing exactly what arnolds routine is now and I feel twice as good.

  • suman Mar 14,2011 at 9:08 am

    I need to make my arms as 20 inch

  • ollie Feb 24,2011 at 7:47 am

    yeah its as simple as that, as long as u eat the right foods at the right time then there is no problem in putting alot of weight in next to no time! but nothing matches the power of a good quality AAS

  • nick Jan 9,2011 at 7:50 pm

    also i put on 19 pounds with out rods n 6weeks

  • nick Jan 9,2011 at 7:49 pm

    yes i do the monday wenday friday work out in 2 nd half hr to 3 hr nd the tueday thuday satday n 1half to 2half hr

  • dhananjai kaushal Jan 8,2011 at 9:05 am

    guys steroid arent everything….u can get massive amounts of energy from eating a lot of raw eggs and mutton as well…i mean…3 litres of milk everyday…good amounts of juice and nice quntities of glucose during workout and around 12 eggs throught the day can release a lot of energy….and the main thing z this….givr up alcohol and cigarettes and ull c how rewarding even a totally natural non steroid diet can be!!!

  • Kemper Nov 27,2010 at 5:15 am

    Aronld a big advantages over the average person….First steroids giving him maxium recovery and gains any substance could help do at that time, second would be good genetics, and thrid would be his training schedual, he has stated that on a typical training day he would be at the gym at 7am train 1 or 2 muscle groups then go and have lunch, rest for awhile and then be back for an afternoon workout, then off t

  • bryce Sep 28,2010 at 5:43 pm

    hey, i think that he probably didn’t start with heavy weight, in some video’s on youtube you see him with 15lb dumbells, 30 lb dumbells, etc. I think this program could work if you start with nothing for weight and do all the sets day in day out, slowly adding a progression of heavier weights. You should try construction, 9hrs a day of volume and 50yr olds can do it.

    • Richie Jan 7,2011 at 4:59 pm

      That’s the only way you would be able to do it.

  • Brett Sep 4,2010 at 1:47 am

    What you have to be aware of is Arnold didn’t have a full time job like we do. He trained in the morning and again in the afternoon 6 days a week with 1 day of rest each week. If he had a job that consumed 8 – 9 hours of his day, he would not have had the energy left over for this kind of workout regime. I have to admit it is a full on workout program. I do honestly believe if he trained his entire body over 3 or even 4 days he would’ve grown a lot more in size over the years, like many pro body builders of today, who train their entire body over 5 or 6 days. Arnold was doing this workout program for years and his body was used to it. Maybe he felt at the time that if he stretched his entire body workout over more days of the week he would’ve gone backwards with his gains. Who knows? I honestly put it down to knowledge of the sport then as compared to now. It’s like anything. Only time and learning from the past will advance and improve on any system. Pro body builders of today who train their entire bodies over 5 to 6 days are overwhelmingly huge. Arnold has admitted increased knowledge and changes in today’s training principles have proven results in the size of competitors these days. Back in the 70’s pro body builders were massive, but they had nothing on the body builders of today who are way bigger, and have much more definition.

    When I first started training when I was 15, I trained my entire body over 2 days, 6 days a week, just like Arnold. I thought it’d work for me. I did that for 2 years and thought I got pretty big. But I was constantly sore and tight and was never training a fresh muscle. Fatigue got the better of me and I gave it up for 12 months. I then went back a year later and trained my body over 3 days, twice a week with a day’s rest at the end of the week. I made even more gains a lot quicker than I had previously. But it did get to a point again eventually after 6 months where I was always sore and wasn’t recovering in time, but didn’t want to take days off to recuperate, because for some wierd reason I thought I’d lose gains. It was stupid I know. So I gave up again. Then went back again 6 months later and trained over a 4 day period instead with even better results. Workout days had an even more reduced number of exercises, which meant I could smash two body parts per day with max intensity like never before and receive even better gains. The body parts I was training every time were nice and fresh. I felt strong & fresh, not constantly sore & fatigued like I did previously when trying to cram so much into one workout. I’m 32 now and still train with this 4 day workout program. I usually have a day rest after each 4 days. So it’s more like a 5 day full body workout. I have to admit, I am not confident in training my whole body over 6 or 7 days to this day. I personally believe I’ll go backwards in gains doing that as I’d be resting trained muscles for too long. But it’d probably be even more benefitial to me to tell you the truth. I think this is what Arnie believed back in the day with his 2 day full body workout. He thought it worked for him, and he was not confident in stretching out his program over more days in the week even though I believe it would’ve been profoundly benefitial for him. I think his muscles would’ve had such little time to recuperate and it limited his growth gains while training so ballistically. I think there’s only 3 body parts that you can successfully get away with training so frequently at such intensity and still make gains on, and they’re the calves, abs and biceps. Arnie’s program was advanced for it’s time and was betetr than programs of the 50’s. Programs of the 90’s were better than Arnie’s program of the 60’s & 70’s. Programs of today are better than they were 10 years ago at a pro level, and in the future I’m sure they’ll improve again. Sorry for the length of my comment, but I felt I had to write this in such detail to get my point across. But make what you want of it. Feedback is welcomed.

    • mark rowe Nov 14,2013 at 12:18 pm

      Very interesting comments. Was good to read insightful and very reflective thinking after training for a long period of time. Im now 40 as of today actually and I have to say that im learning more and more each day. One of the best routines I have done where I gained good lean muscle tissue but also produced a physique where it was conditioned well with a great posture and good balance was a 3 day split over 5 days or a 2 day split over 4 days. Training each body part every 4 days works really well for me. Im not big at all. I weigh 94 kg and im 5ft9. My legs are very strong and my arms are very weak but that is genetics im afraid. Im natuarally predisposed to producing mass on chest very quickly and it has taken me years to understand how my my legs and shoulders respond to training . For example my legs respond well to repsaround 15 and shoulders and back respond to a lot of rest pause technique with only a total of 5-6 sets per workout every 4 days though. I used to do high volume and I used to do once a week which my body just does not like and all I do is round out and get bulky. Ive also discovered that dead lifts and lateral raise and bench press is a huge waste of time for me unless I want huge traps and a rounded shoulder look. Ive also learned that each and every body is incredibly different and that there is NOT an optimum at all. I love the sport and its very personal. My body will never be massive, im just not built that way. I now train 4 days a week like this..one day is legs and chest the other is back and shoulders. I don’t usually train arms and even if I do it takes a lot to see any kind of result. Im not a bodybuilder but I still train hard and I would put a lot of them to shame with the kind of attitude I have towards training. Im an ex forces guy and have been an elite athlete in my 20s. Do what you enjoy and be happy with what God has given you and don’t fret or worry about perfection unless you really want to in which case, stop reading and go sleep, eat or train which is a world I did live for but no longer do and im happier healthier and much more muscular and bigger because of it…and to add another note…supplements and powders never really helped me to be honest, just wasted my money. I eat crap when I want and yes I feel guilty sometimes but when im in the zone ill eat well and not stupid like 3 liters of milk and 5 chickens a week, that’s just plain bloody pathetic and stupid.

    • Gary Nov 18,2013 at 6:23 pm

      To be fair to Arnie, it was not his workout program that made him smaller than the big boys of today. It was a combination of the era, the gear, the recovery and nutrition. These days the true big guns of the competition world are using much more hgh (arnie’s day they only got limited quantity of cadaver hgh) they are using insulin as well which was not commonly used in arnies era, along with tren. The era of arnie and franco, they were much more focused on proportions and symmetry, than mass, infact most of todays bodybuilders would probably not do so well in arnie’s day. Also he is known to say “you only need 6 hours of sleep”. Last but not least nutrition was not as good as todays, we now know more about the bodies anabolic cycles.

      Also on a different note this workout is clearly made for someone on gear and a decent amount of it at that.

  • Mick Madden Aug 2,2010 at 2:13 pm

    @ Nick,

    I agree 100%. Even Arnold gained most of his mass on Reg Park’s 5×5. if you look at his picture at age 18 or 19, after doing fullbody 5×5’s, he didn’t gain much mass after that.

    Arnodl gained small portion of his mass training this way.

  • Nick Aug 2,2010 at 12:44 pm

    This routine is rediculous. 0.1% of the populaion would gain on this. Way too much. You only need 3 days a week on a 5×5 protocol that lasts no more than an hour. You can either train intense or for a long time not both. You need big compound moves and plenty of food and rest not a stupid marathon workout

  • William Stonich Jul 4,2010 at 3:34 am

    You know I don’t understand bodypart training. When you perform the deadlift !Which body part day are you doing? The D.L. hits whole body practicly

    • dhananjai kaushal Jan 8,2011 at 8:58 am

      dude u r targetting ur back basically…..all of it!!1 esp the lower back…

  • Kris R. Jun 26,2010 at 12:15 am

    This classic routine is one of the best for some,others couldent keep up with his routine,Arnold hit each muscle twice a week but when he needed defintion he trained each bodypart three times a week for 20 to 30 sets.I doubt any one can keep up with this kind of pace and make gains,but your not Arnold swarzenegger.

  • Gregory Apr 11,2010 at 3:52 pm

    Is this possible to do within 3 hours?

  • Shawn Oct 17,2009 at 4:57 pm

    It is possible, he worked out for more than 2 hours a day, i think he said 5-6 somewhere. He also took steroids dont forget that, without steroids you would be overtraining like crazy with this workout, so do not attempt this if your not on roids, even if your on roids do not.

  • Ali Sep 17,2009 at 11:51 am

    Hi there is that even possible?
    wouldnt that take about 2 hours at least?
    Back and chest alone are alot rite? Doing 2 compounds one day is bad isnt it?

    I know he took steroids at a young age but i mean those woulndt have given him massive energy .
    So do you recomend I follow this program or reg parks 5×5?
    I wana train everyday to gain mass as well losing the belly to get the 6pack so intense weights with a bit of cardio is good but should i modify arnolds?
    I mean what works for him wont neccesarily work for everyone.

    So MON WED FRID Id do:
    Chest- flat and incline.. Back- rows deadlifts pullups Legs -squats,extensions and lunges
    those are the most important obviously with isolation exercises not needed alot because if one were to hit the above compunds HEAVY 3 times a week ,it would be enough?
    Your advice please!!!

  • Steve Shaw Sep 15,2009 at 2:26 pm


    Yes, Arnold did Chest, Back and legs all on the same day, three times a week. He basically split a 3-day-per-week full body routine into 2 different workouts, totaling 6 workouts per week.

  • ali Sep 15,2009 at 2:14 pm

    hi there
    so the mon wed friday wrkout..
    he did ALL 3 …chest back and legs on EACH of mon wed frid????????

    im a bit lost at understanding this workout

    so what did he do on each day?
    as in Mon wat did he do?
    thanks again

    • sam jacob Jan 6,2011 at 10:18 am

      he did cheast, back and legs on mondays,wedsdays and fridays and on tuesdays, thursdays and saturdays he did biceps, triceps and shoulders. basicaly he did forarms and abs every day.

      • Till Oct 13,2014 at 6:42 am

        I have been a sales coach for a year and a half now and have recently been crofonnted with two sales reps that feel my questioning is Condescending and that my approach makes them uncomfortable and defensive. Obviously thats NOT the result I am looking for with a rep, but I have to consider that thier perceptions are their reality. I must find a class/course that will specifically help me in the area of questioning and I must also begin regular skill practice in this area. Help??!!

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