Bodybuilding Articles

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout And Diet Plan

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Arnold Schwarzenegger needs very little introduction, the ex-professional bodybuilder, model, actor, businessman, and former governor of California has had an illustrious career (and that’s putting it modestly!).

Arnold made a name for himself through bodybuilding in the 1970s, winning the most prized possession in the sport Mr Olympia – 7 times!

In the 70s he made a huge impact on bodybuilding, when the film Pumping Iron was released, making bodybuilding more mainstream and more publicly acceptable. Now, bodybuilding is a dream for many and Arnold is their idol.

Training Background

Arnold is a very knowledgeable bodybuilder – fully applying himself from an early age. He began training in his early teens (15 years old), doing anything he could to get strong, such as doing pull ups on tree branches, which he mentions in his autobiography – Total Recall.

Throughout his teenage years and young adult life he would train with people bigger and stronger than he was – he wasn’t afraid of competition, as it made him even more determined to succeed.

As time went on he evolved mentally and physically, his knowledge increased, and his muscles grew – he started to get noticed and it was the start of one of the most successful bodybuilding careers to date – only two people, Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney have won more Mr Olympia titles than Arnold Schwarzenegger (both Ronnie and Lee won it 8x!).

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Plan

Arnold followed a bodybuilding split – where he would train 3-4 different muscle groups each session. He also used to do pyramid sets i.e. starting his first set with high reps (30) BUT then by his 5th set he would only be doing 6 reps.

Here’s what Arnolds workout looked like…

Monday and Thursday – chest, abs, and back workout 

  • Flat bench press and incline BB press x 5 sets (30,12, 10, 8 and 6 reps)
  • Dumbell flyes and DB pull overs x 5 sets (30,12,10, 8 and 6 reps)
  • Wide grip pull ups – 4 sets (as many reps as possible)
  • Hanging leg raises – 5 sets x 25 reps
  • Bent over BB row and bent over two arm row x 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)

Tuesday and Friday – Shoulders, arms, and abs

  • Barbell Clean and press 5 sets x 5 reps
  • DB clean and press and front DB raises x 5 sets (30,12,10, 8, 6)
  • Side raises, upright rows, and BB curls x 5 sets (30,12,10, 8, 6)
  • Incline DB curl, concentration curls, and close grip press x 5 sets (30,12,10, 8, 6)
  • Wrist curls and reverse forearm curls x 5 sets (30,12,10, 8, 6)
  • Decline sit ups x 5 sets (25 reps)

Wednesday and Saturday – Leg Day

  • Back squat and stiff legged deadlift x 5 sets (8-12 reps)
  • Good mornings x 5 sets (8-12 reps)
  • Barbell lunge x 5 sets (8-12 reps
  • Leg extensions and seated hamstring curl x 5 sets (8-12 reps)
  • Standing calf raises and seated calf raises x 5 sets (8-12 reps)
  • Cable ab crunch x 4 sets (25 reps)

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Diet Plan

Arnold believed in eating at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. He ate similar to how bodybuilders eat today: Lots of meat, fish, and veg. Arnold loved eggs, bacon and red meat which formed the staple part of his diet.

Here’s what Arnolds diet looked like…

Breakfast – 3-4 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 1-2 pieces of Ezekiel bread with almond butter, oats, with honey and a side portion on avocado.

Pre Workout – agmatine

Post Workout – creatine, weight gainer powder, BCAAs, complex carbs, healthy fats, and whole milk

Meal 2 – 300g red meat or grilled fish, vegetables, 1-2 sweet potatoes, 80g cashew, walnuts or almonds

Meal 3 – weight gainer powder, with BCAAs, complex carbs, healthy fats, and whole milk

Meal 4 – 350g grilled lean meat, 1-2 cups brown rice, vegetables or salad (avocado, macadamia nuts, and olive oil)

Meal 5 – 2 x cups of cottage cheese, 80g cashew, walnuts or almonds

Pre bed – casein protein powder with 5-HTP to improve sleep

Whilst Arnold was extremely disciplined, he did also enjoy a few treats, for example he loved having blended protein shakes with ice cream in it – see the recipe here. He would also have cheat meals and wasn’t afraid to party and let his hair down.

Nick Screetoni

Nick is a certified personal trainer who's been transforming people's physiques for the last 10 years. Nick's conducted over 10,000 training sessions and his brand LEPfitness is continuously growing (based in Sheffield, England).
Nick Screetoni

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