The Real Arnold Schwarzenegger Beginner Programs

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Real Workout Programs that Arnold Did 

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous bodybuilder of all time, there is no debating that fact. He may not have been the most successful, and he may have left bodybuilding relatively early, but ask a regular person to name a bodybuilder and they will invariably mention Arnie.  

There are a number of reasons for this. Partly it’s due to his tireless self-promotion, due to nostalgia for what is seen as the golden age of bodybuilding. But mostly it’s because Arnold Schwarzenegger had one of the greatest, most aesthetic physiques in history. 

In this article we’re going to provide you with a real program that “The Oak” followed while training for Mr Olympia competitions. The workout is inspired by Arnold’s own words, from interviews he did and books he wrote. We cannot guarantee that you’ll create an identical physique to Arnie, but if you follow it properly you will see incredible gains in muscle size and strength. 

Train Like Arnold 

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Although Arnold did dabble with 5×5 training from time to time, mostly Arnold Schwarzenegger valued a high-volume training program; with medium to high rep ranges. Arnie trained six times per week with one rest day. The following workout mimics the training split Arnold would have followed, utilizing a two body part per day split (with abs added to each session). Chest and back, shoulders and arms, legs and core, are repeated twice per week. 

Day 1 Chest & Back 

  • Bench Press (3 x 12 warm up sets) 4 x 12 
  • Weighted Dips (2 x 10 warm up sets) 3 x 12-15 
  • Cable Chest Flyes 3 x 15-20 
  • Pull Ups 3 x 12-15 
  • Barbell Bent Over Rows (2 x 12 warm up sets) 3 x 10 
  • Seated Cable Row 3 x 12 
  • Reverse Crunches 4 x 20 

Day 2 Shoulders & Arms 

  • Barbell Push Press (3 x 12 warm up sets) 4 x 8-12 
  • Dumbbell Upright Row 3 x 12 
  • Lateral Raises 4 x 20 
  • Standing Barbell Bicep Curls 3 x 12 
  • Close Grip Bench Press 3 x 12 
  • Hammer Curls 3 x 10 + 1 set till failure 
  • Dumbbell Skull Crushers 3 x 10 + 1 set till failure 
  • Crunches 4 x 20 

Day 3 Legs & Core 

  • Barbell Squat (3 x 12-15 warm up sets) 4 x 12 
  • Walking Lunges 4 x 20 
  • Barbell Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 12-15 
  • Barbell Glute Bridges 4 x 20 
  • Good Mornings 3 x 20 (light weight) 
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 20 

Day 4 Rest 

Use your rest day to recover from your workouts, catch up with your sleep, keep your daily step count high, and make sure that your protein intake is high. 

Day 1 Chest & Back 

  • Incline Bench Press (3 x 12 warm up sets) 4 x 12 
  • Weighted Dips (2 x 10 warm up sets) 3 x 12-15 
  • Incline Dumbbell Chest Flyes 3 x 15-20 
  • Weighted Chin Ups 3 x 12-15 
  • T-Bar Rows (2 x 12 warm up sets) 3 x 10 
  • Seated Cable Row 3 x 12 
  • Reverse Crunches 4 x 20 

Day 2 Shoulders & Arms 

  • Seated Arnold Presses (3 x 12 warm up sets) 4 x 8-12 
  • Barbell Shrugs 3 x 20 
  • Seated Lateral Raises 4 x 20 
  • Standing Barbell Bicep Curls 3 x 12 
  • Close Grip Bench Press 3 x 12 
  • Hammer Curls 3 x 10 + 1 set till failure 
  • Dumbbell Skull Crushers 3 x 10 + 1 set till failure 
  • Crunches 4 x 20 

Day 3 Legs & Core 

  • Barbell Squat (3 x 12-15 warm up sets) 4 x 12 
  • Leg Extensions 4 x 20 
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts 3 x 12-15 
  • Barbell Glute Bridges 4 x 20 
  • Good Mornings 3 x 20 (light weight) 
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 20 

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Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the original founder of Muscle and Brawn, an experienced powerlifter with over 31 years experience pumping iron. During competition he’s recorded a 602.5lb squat, 672.5lb deadlift and a 382.5lb bench press.

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