Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine

If you’re familiar with bodybuilding, a certain former Mr. Olympia winner from Austria should need no introduction at all.

You know who we’re talking about already don’t you, but if not, just to be sure, we are of course talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnie is widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time in the world of bodybuilding, and it’s safe to say that he is somewhat of a legend.

The Legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine:

If you saw him in his prime, you’ll know exactly why that is.

At 6ft 2 and weighing in at 240 pounds on stage, his physique was about as close to perfection as you could get.

He was big, he had an awesome V taper and a narrow waist, and his chest was incredibly thick.

But how did Arnold built a Mr. Olympia winning physique?

Let’s find out, shall we?

Here’s a look at some of his favorite exercises for each of his body parts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Chest Workout:

We’ll start things off by looking at Arnold’s chest workout. Arnie had one of the thickest chests in the industry.

In fact, his chest still, to this day, holds up against many of the current pros.

But how did he build such a thick chest?

Well, he actually didn’t do anything fancy.

Remember, he trained during the 70s and 80s, where things were kept simple.

He emphasized heavy compounds and regularly used to switch things up.

Whereas one set he might perform 12 reps, for his next set he might add more weight onto the bar and perform 5 reps.

He did a lot of heavy flat bench barbell pressing, as well as incline barbell presses.

One of his favorite chest exercises was actually the dumbbell fly.

Some of his favorite exercises include:

  • Flat bench barbell press
  • Incline barbell bench press
  • Flat bench dumbbell flyes
  • Dumbbell pullovers
  • Pec deck
  • Push-ups

Arnold Schwarzenegger Back Workout:

Arnold’s back was also very impressive.

He had an awesome V taper, capped off with a narrow waist and large upper back.

The width in his back was amazing.

Again, training heavy and emphasizing compound lifts is what helped him build what many consider to be one of the best backs in the business.

He would do a lot of barbells bent-over rows, pull-ups, lat pulldowns, T bar rows, and he would often finish with V-handle seated rows.

Some of his favorite back exercises include:

  • T bar rows
  • Barbell rows
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Pull-ups
  • Seated rows
  • Lat pull-downs
  • Hyperextensions

Arnold Schwarzenegger Leg Workout:

Up next we have legs. At 6ft 2, Arnold was taller than a lot of his competitors, and he had long legs.

He admitted that he struggled to gain size on him.

Rather than accepting legs as a weak point, he instead trained them twice as hard.

His calves were one of his main weaknesses, so he trained them twice or more each week.

Again, compound lifts were his friend when gaining mass, although he used a lot more machines to really isolate the different muscles in his legs.

His favorite leg exercises include:

  • Barbell back squats
  • Front squats
  • Hack squats
  • Standing calf raises
  • Leg extensions
  • Hamstring curls
  • Walking lunges
  • Leg press

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulder Workout:

Arnold has a very rounded set of shoulders.

He really worked all angles of the shoulders and was able to add some good quality mass to them.

He even created a unique way of performing dumbbell shoulder presses and created his own exercise which is now known as the Arnold press.

Basically, rather than just pressing the dumbbells, he would rotate his palms as he brought the dumbbell down, which helped to recruit the front deltoid.

As his shoulders were huge and defined, it’s safe to say that the exercise worked.

Some of his favorite shoulder exercises included:

  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Standing barbell military press
  • Dumbbell front raises
  • Lateral raises
  • Arnold presses
  • Rear delt flyes
  • Viking press
  • Upright rows
  • Seated shoulder press machine

Arnold Schwarzenegger Arms Workout:

Finally, we’re going to finish up by looking at how Arnold used to train his arms. Arnold had an enormous set of arms.

His biceps were like cannonballs and his triceps helped him to really fill out his t-shirts and add mass to his arms.

When training arms, Arnold really believed in shocking the muscles.

He would do a lot of heavy curls, including cheat curls, which he actually advocated.

He would also superset his arm workouts and would train beyond failure.

Again, nothing fancy when working the arms.

He would prioritize compound movements with barbells and dumbbells, although he would often isolate the triceps and do a lot of overhead triceps rope extensions.

Some of his favorite arm exercises included:

  • Barbell curls
  • Preacher curls
  • Preacher curl machine
  • Hammer curls
  • EZ bar curls
  • Alternate dumbbell curls
  • Triceps rope pushdowns
  • Skullcrushers
  • Triceps dips
  • Overhead triceps rope extensions
  • Straight bar pushdowns

Training Frequency And Intensity:

Now, as you will probably know, Arnold used to train like a beast.

Some would argue that he used to train too frequently, but from looking at his physique, it’s safe to say that it didn’t really affect him.

For we mere mortals, however, we wouldn’t recommend training as often as Arnold.

Arnold would often train twice per day and would work out for as long as up to five hours.

You don’t need to train like that now.

In fact, nobody does.

Not even the pros nowadays.

Now, you can get everything done that you need to in around one hour.

Also, you can check the Arnold Schwarzenegger Home routine.

It’s not the duration of the workout that makes a difference, it’s what you do in that amount of time that matters.

Reda Elmardi

Reda Elmardi is a BJJ, fitness and bodybuilding fanatic. He's been writing about his experiences for over eight years and started his own publications on topics such as BJJ, Steroids, and Fitness.

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