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Lightbulb Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Old School Bodybuilding Workout
by Narkissos 12-31-2010, 10:47 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Old School Bodybuilding Workout



Arnold is probably the most famous bodybuilder of all time, he won Mr. Olympia seven times (1970-1975, 1980) and brought bodybuilding into the national spotlight in the movie “Pumpin Iron”.

Arnold’s Top Form Measurements
  • Arms 22 inches
  • Chest 57 inches
  • Waist 34 inches
  • Thighes 28.5 inches
  • Calves 20 inches
  • Weight 235 pounds
  • Height 6’2″

Arnold was from the old “No Pain No Gain” school of bodybuilding and his
routines consisted of high sets and reps, mostly not to failure. He trained
each muscle group three times each week (except calves, forearms & abs
which he trained every day), using a six day split routine.

There was very little rest between sets, and he usually increased weight each and every set. Although he experimented with high reps at times, he usually preferred a rep range of about 6 to 10.

The following is a typical Arnold routine, but be aware that Arnold’s routine
changed constantly. At times he trained twice a day, while at other times
once a day was enough. There were periods when he did lots supersets
and giant sets. Arnold tried every thing, and picked what worked best for
him at that particular time. By mixing things up he challenged his strength
and endurance and the training variety helped keep him fresh and motivated!

Remember this is a very advanced bodybuilding routine and should not be used by beginners or intermediates, and even advanced bodybuilder’s should only take what they think will work best for them and adapt it to their own bodybuilding philosophy.

Arnold’s Routine

Mon, Wed, Fri
Chest:
  • Bench press 5 x 6-10
  • Flat bench flyes 5 x 6-10
  • Incline bench press 6 x 6-10
  • Cable crossovers 6 x 10-12
  • Dips (body weight) 5 x failure
  • Dumbell pullovers 5 x 10-12.
Back:
  • Wide-grip chins (to front) 6 x failure
  • T-bar rows 5 x 6-10
  • Seated pulley rows 6 x 6-10
  • One-arm dumbell rows 5 x 6-10
  • Straight-leg deadlifts 6 x 15

Legs:
  • Squats 6 x 8-12
  • Leg press 6 x 8-12
  • Leg extensions 6 x 12-15
  • Leg curls 6 x 10-12
  • Barbell lunges 5 x 15

Calves:
  • Standing calf raises 10 x 10
  • Seated calf raises 8 x 15
  • Oneplegged calf raises (holding dumbells) 6×12

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

Abs:
½ hour of a variety of nonspecific abdominal exercises, done virtually nonstop.

Tues, Thurs, Sat
Biceps:
  • Barbell curls 6 x 6-10
  • Seated dumbell curls 6 x 6-10
  • Dumbell concentration curls 6 x 6-10

Triceps:
  • Close-grip bench presses 6 x 6-10
  • Pushdowns 6 x 6-10
  • French press (barbell) 6 x 6-10
  • One-arm triceps extensions (dumbell) 6 x 6-10

Shoulders:
  • Seated barbell presses 6 x 6-10
  • Lateral raises (standing) 6 x 6-10
  • Rear-delt lateral raises 5 x 6-10
  • Cable lateral raises 5 x 10-12

Calves , Forearms & Abs:
Same as Monday, Wednesday, Friday workout
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2011
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Yeah the HIT crowd has that argument, but there is no basis in science for it. Mentzer or whoever just stated it and everyone thinks it sounds logical and everyone believed it to be true

I think the whole "burn out cns" is WAY overexagerated. Look at competitors in strongman, powerlifting or olympic weightlifting, they are handling weights every single day far in excess of what Dorian or other HIT builders did and they don't burn out. Every single person I have ever heard of competing in olympic weightlifting at an elite level does a minimum of two workouts a day, going to daily maxes all the time. If the CNS could crash and burn these people would be flat out dead.

Gymnasts are another example, they do ultra slow negatives and static holds against crazy resistance(due to the poor leverage of some of the movements) and they don't crash and burn and they can put many bodybuilders to shame with their upper body development.

Another reason I think the "burn out cns" theory is flawed is simply because doing traditional high rep bodybuilding work isn't very taxing on the nervous system to begin with. One needs to go into 3 rep max ranges.

I think the stuff John Broz have written is very enlightening

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/Q_%26..._and_sore.html

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/Q_%26...us_system.html

Glenn Pendlay has also written a lot about it. Both Broz and Pendlay have their higher level weightlifters doing 2-3 workouts a day going to max pretty much every time.

I think however that there is "something" that happens when one grinds reps to failure. Seems like failure training is very taxing(hence the comment about Arnold rarely taking sets to failure). I think for muscle building one can either do high volume training without failure or medium volume training with failure(i.e doggcrapp, 3x5 failing on last set etc). I don't think the one set to failure training is very good though, doesn't seem like any good bodybuilder has built them self in that manner. Doggcrapp works very well, high volume training works very well, but rarely do I ever hear success stories with normal HIT training. Rather it seems to be followed by people that piss and moan constantly about being "hard gainers"

Last edited by Johan; 01-18-2011 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 01-18-2011
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Top post johan. makes 100% sense
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johan View Post
I think the whole "burn out cns" is WAY overexagerated. Look at competitors in strongman, powerlifting or olympic weightlifting, they are handling weights every single day far in excess of what Dorian or other HIT builders did and they don't burn out. Every single person I have ever heard of competing in olympic weightlifting at an elite level does a minimum of two workouts a day, going to daily maxes all the time. If the CNS could crash and burn these people would be flat out dead.

Gymnasts are another example, they do ultra slow negatives and static holds against crazy resistance(due to the poor leverage of some of the movements) and they don't crash and burn and they can put many bodybuilders to shame with their upper body development.

Another reason I think the "burn out cns" theory is flawed is simply because doing traditional high rep bodybuilding work isn't very taxing on the nervous system to begin with. One needs to go into 3 rep max ranges.

I think the stuff John Broz have written is very enlightening

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/Q_%26..._and_sore.html

http://www.averagebroz.com/ABG/Q_%26...us_system.html

Glenn Pendlay has also written a lot about it. Both Broz and Pendlay have their higher level weightlifters doing 2-3 workouts a day going to max pretty much every time.

I think however that there is "something" that happens when one grinds reps to failure. Seems like failure training is very taxing(hence the comment about Arnold rarely taking sets to failure). I think for muscle building one can either do high volume training without failure or medium volume training with failure(i.e doggcrapp, 3x5 failing on last set etc). I don't think the one set to failure training is very good though, doesn't seem like any good bodybuilder has built them self in that manner. Doggcrapp works very well, high volume training works very well, but rarely do I ever hear success stories with normal HIT training. Rather it seems to be followed by people that piss and moan constantly about being "hard gainers"
Yea,i'm not one to buy into the CNS stuff myself. Obviously,there is a difference between strength training and for muscular gains,but i've seen crazy shit happen to people who just started maxing out more.

There is an art to handling heavy weight. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard someone say "well the chart here tells me since I can do x weight for 10 reps,then I can max at xxx"..seconds later they are crushed,and realize they were wrong.

Now I will say there I believe there have been times where my CNS was taxed,but it took a hell of a lot more then what most will tell you.

Some of the biggest and strongest mofo's I have ever seen in my life do the most ridiculous routines i've ever seen (volume). Sooner or later I really came around and thought to myself...that must not be so damn ridiculous then.
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2011
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^^ great post mate.

I wonder of many of us are held back by the fear of over training. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a bit of placebo effect going in in that many that train are so cautious about over training and looking for symptoms of it all the time to the point that the symptoms appear purely due to placebo effect.

All the big competitive bodybuilders I know do routines that are pretty much the same volume as Arnold's old routines. 50 set workouts etc. I have never meet an advanced lifter that is doing HIT.
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Old 01-19-2011
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I was thinking about this whole nervous system thing a bit more. The CNS triggers muscle fibers by sending signals to motor neurons, each motor neutron is connected to various amounts of muscle fibers. Now as far as I know the amount of motor neurons are constant, i.e Coleman had as many motor neurons when he started training as when he won his last Olympia. Triggering these neurons shouldn't require more effort by the CNS just because the fibers attached to the neurons happen to have grown bigger. So for the CNS it shouldn't make much of a difference if one is carrying 20 ibs or 100 ibs of muscle. It sends the same signals anyway to trigger say 80% of the muscle fibers.

That is just pure speculation from my side, but give what I wrote about it doesn't seem logical that the CNS would be more taxed when someone hits a 1rm of 400ibs and then 2 years later have gotten stronger and hit a 1rm of 600ibs. 1 rep max is gonna require equal amount of motor neuron activation in either case(just assuming for the time being that the individual didn't get much more efficient at fiber recruitment). Its like flipping a switch(motor neuron) to an engine(muscle fiber) on or of with a signal(CNS), the strength of the signal doesn't have to go up just because the engine size has increased.

I hope MS will read this and chim in to see if I am out in the blue completely.

Last edited by Johan; 01-19-2011 at 04:56 AM.
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2011
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Chad Waterbury has a few nice posts about motor unit recruitment


http://chadwaterbury.com/the-science...itment-part-1/
http://chadwaterbury.com/the-science...itment-part-2/
http://chadwaterbury.com/the-science...itment-part-3/
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Old 01-19-2011
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The only thing I've noticed is when I'm doing some form of high intensity training (i.e drop sets, super sets) I always seem to hit a point after 3 weeks or so where I feel some symptoms. Fatigue, yawning, sleepy, less motivated to train. Now mind you, it is highly intense. I would probably have to play around with the number of sets to see, perhaps Im doing to many.
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Old 01-20-2011
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Here is another very good read on training heavy and frequently.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/47157914/D...High-Frequency
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Old 01-20-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prada View Post
The only thing I've noticed is when I'm doing some form of high intensity training (i.e drop sets, super sets) I always seem to hit a point after 3 weeks or so where I feel some symptoms. Fatigue, yawning, sleepy, less motivated to train. Now mind you, it is highly intense. I would probably have to play around with the number of sets to see, perhaps Im doing to many.
I think one has to separate between what is commonly believed to be the symptoms of "overtraining" and what is actuall "overtraining". There is only one reliable gauge of overtraining and that is a consistent decrease in performance. It doesn't really matter how beat up, tired or worn out one feels, that is just a mental state. Unless the performance in the gym goes down it's not overtraining. Neither is it overtraining if one has one or two bad workouts, but if one has a whole week or two of bad workouts then it might be time to take a deload.

I have noticed this a lot lately myself. Before I would always take it a bit easier in the gym if I felt beat up and worn out. Easier exercises, lighter weights etc. Now I go heavy every time I am in the gym and surprisingly I have beaten PR's most often when I do feel like utter shit before training and during the warm up. Also sometimes when I feel like a million bucks I go into the gym and I lift like utter shit. How I feel during the day is no reliable predictor at all of how I will perform in the gym.

I think we have all been so, for lack of better word, brainwashed by the whole concept of overtraining that we hinder our own performance. Overtraining has turned into this huge scary bogeyman that every bodybuilder is trying to avoid like the plague and any perceived symptom of overtraining is taken way to seriously. We handicap ourself mentally, because if one believes enough in overtraining then of course the symptoms will pop up due to simple placebo effect.

Whenever I feel tired nowdays I just remind myself that somewhere there is a bunch of 14 year old Chinese girls doing three workouts a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and lifting heavier then me in each workout

Next time you go into a intense period, screw how your body feels before the warm up and just go for PR's in reps, sets or weight. See how long you can consistently keep it up.
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Old 01-29-2011
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Some VERY interesting replies on this thread.

Bump for some Q&A @MuscleScience.
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