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The Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine: How He Trained For the 1975 Mr. Olympia
The Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout
In 1975 Arnold Schwarzenegger competed in the Mr. Olympia competition and won – for the sixth time in a row (he later went on to win the title a seventh time). However earlier that same year he had accepted an offer to star in the film Stay Hungry (a movie based on a novel of the same name by Charles Gaines) for which he was apparently asked to shed 60lb in weight. So when he finished filming, barely three months before the competition, no-one thought he had any chance of winning the title.
But Arnold performed something of a miracle by adding over 50lb of rock hard muscle to his body in just 90 days. He did this by training six days per week; twice per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and once per day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. By the time of the competition he was in possibly the greatest shape of his life. This is the workout he used to get him there – the 1975 Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine…
Pumping Iron: See Arnold train for and compete in the 1975 Mr. Olympia Contest
Monday, Wednesday, Friday Morning Routine
Bench Press (shoulder width grip) 5 X 8-10
Flat Bench Flye 5 X 8
Incline Press (Universal Machine) 6 X 8-10
Parallel Bar Dip 5 X till tired
Cable Crossover 6 X 12
Dumbbell Pullover 5 X 10
Wide Grip Chin-Up 6 X till tired
T-Bar Row 5 X 8
Cable Pull 6 X 8
Bent-Over Row 6 X 12
Deadlift (on box) 6 X 15
Dumbbell Row 5 X 8
Squat (parallel) 6 X 10-12
Leg Extension 6 X 15
Leg Press 6 X 8-10
Leg Curl 6 X 12
Barbell Lunge 5 X 15
Monday, Wednesday, Friday Afternoon Routine
Heel Raise (calf machine) 10 X 10
Seated Heel Raise 8 X 15
One Legged Heal Raise 6 X 12
Wrist Roller 4 X till tired
Reverse Curl 4 X 8
Wrist Curl 4 X 10
Arnold's Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Routine
Barbell Cheat Curl 6 X 8
Seated Dumbbell Curl 6 X 6
Concentration Curl 6 X 10
Close Grip Bench Press 6 X 10
Triceps Pressdown 6 X 10
French Press 6 X 8
One Arm Triceps Stretch 6 X 10
Seated Front Press (Universal Machine) 6 X 8-10
Lateral Raise 6 X 10
Standing Dumbbell Press 6 X 8
Bent-Over Laterals 5 X 10
Cable Laterals 5 X 12
Calves And Forearms
Same as Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine.
(From the book ‘Posedown’ by George Snyder & Rick Wayne)
Inspiring video of Arnold training and posing
Arnold's Life Story
Who's your favorite bodybuilder of the 1970's?
A High Volume Workout Routine
To say this is high volume training would be a gross understatement, and I would not recommend anyone to try to duplicate it. A much more effective type of workout routine for most people, but particularly if you are in your first year or two of training, would be to do a brief full body workout three times per week like the one described here.
This is just for information, and maybe to get a few ideas for your own training. But it certainly worked for the Austrian Oak who seemed to thrive on this type of training.
A further point that should be noted is that Arnold trained in high density fashion, keeping his rest periods between sets as short as possible. This type of training is becoming more popular now, but it’s nothing new. Arnold did it, Serge Nubret did it, and the late great Vince Gironda (trainer of movie stars and champion bodybuilders) used it in his infamous 8 sets of 8 routine. And because he trained in this way Arnold could get his morning workouts done in just 90 minutes.
Arnold always tried to get at least 6 reps out per set; sometimes calling on a training partner to help him get the weight past the sticking point on the last rep or two. He also employed supersets and giant sets when he felt the need for them, or when time was limited.
His attitude to calf training was very simple. These muscles are accustomed to a lot of hard work (from walking and running) and therefore must be worked very hard with high reps and heavy poundages. So he would use up to 1000 pounds on the calf machine when doing heel raises. And sometimes he would give them extra work by training them with staggered sets during his chest workout sessions.
So that is the Arnold Schwarzenegger workout routine. Or how bodybuilding’s greatest legend got in the best shape of his life to dominate the competition in the most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the world.