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The Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine: How He Trained For the 1975 Mr. Olympia

Updated on July 3, 2014
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger | Source

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

Chest
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

Back
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

Legs
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

Calves
Heel Raise (calf machine) 10 X 10
Seated Heel Raise 8 X 15
One Legged Heal Raise 6 X 12

Forearms
Wrist Roller 4 X till tired
Reverse Curl 4 X 8
Wrist Curl 4 X 10

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Routine

Arms
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

Shoulders
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

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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.

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    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 4 years ago from United States

      I've heard about this . This routine is completely bonkers! I think most people would disintegrate if they tried it, but that's why Arnold was Arnold! I feel sore just reading it.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Yes, I agree. I'd be in hospital if I tried it. Arnold was one of a kind.

    • profile image

      Janko 4 years ago

      A lot of these routines work.Arnold was a and is a great bodybuilder.It seems that people forget the chemicals taken.Most routines work.One well known bodybuilder I know personally took chemicals for 12months without training at all.I seen him at a bodybuilder show.He flexed a double bicepts shot,and laughed and siad"tell me roids don't make you grow.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      It's not really that steroids are forgotten I don't think. It's that they are not mentioned very often. Yes I agree with what you are saying, but I believe they take a much higher dosage nowadays than they did then. The bodybuilders of today are a ridiculous size in my opinion.

      And I'm sure you can grow by taking roids and not training. But you will grow a lot more with a good training program as well.

      Either way this article really was just for information. Certainly no-one who is training naturally should do anything like this sort of volume.

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 4 years ago from United States

      Arnold was also a freak. In his book The Education of a Bodybuilder he talks about how he trained every day with high volume from a very young age. When he was in the military his job was to lift weights all day. So, either by his own design or just his genetics, it seems he was well-prepared for a program like this. In bonus features on the Pumping Iron DVD he admits he did take steroids, but he says they were legal back then and not such a big deal. I agree the dosage he was taking was likely much lower and less potent than what goes on today.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Yes; I've read that book. I think it's probably a combination of genetics and training history. I'm of the opinion that highly trained athletes in any endeavor who have got used to daily training from a young age or built up to it slowly over time can benefit from much higher training volumes than the rest of us.

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 4 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      It doesn't talk about before all that when all he did was drank beer and workout, he did that for a long time. He would go drink beer and then workout come back drink beer and then workout. Because it built muscle fast.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      To be honest I'd never heard of that. Beer is high in carbs and is also estrogenic, so it would tend to make you fat - especially in the abdominal area. So not really recommended for muscle building. Some people will get away with it more than others however, and Arnold had exceptional genetics which could explain it.

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 4 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      Yea it wouldn't be the way I could do it but carbs can put on fat but if you're working out a lot like he did then it would transfer that into muscle.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 3 years ago from United States

      High density training isn't new but it is gaining a new popularity which is great. The rest periods don't necessarily help our heart and if we can train our heart at the same time we are training our muscles - what a great workout design.

      I wish to try out the TRX - that fascinates me as I always enjoy body weight exercises.

      Great hub. Voted up!

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Yes Easy Exercise I think HDT is great for general conditioning and muscle building. Not quite so good for strength though. The gym I go to has TRX bands. They are certainly a great aid to bodyweight exercises.

    • profile image

      NotArnold 3 years ago

      I'm tired just from reading that.

      I think genetics + training history + "performance enhancement" (in that order) = Ahnold's success.

      Anyone else attempting this without those 3 things would be a moron.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      I agree with you NotArnold. Those three things were obviously key to Arnold's success.

    • profile image

      ........ 3 years ago

      YOu need 2 days to rest your muscle before exercising it again. I bet this was not arnold's workout

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Well he is actually resting each muscle two days, as he is training each body part three times per week. You are of course entitled to your opinion :)

    • profile image

      stoutmuscleman33 2 years ago

      These workouts aren't completely accurate. He would do opposing muscle groups in his sessions. So chest and back was a morning training session. Same day legs and abs in the evening. Next day shoulders, tris, and biceps in morning. Calves and abs at night. Repeat over and over.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 2 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Well, according to the book ‘Posedown’ (by George Snyder & Rick Wayne) this was how he trained specifically to win the 1975 Mr. Olympia. I don't know cos I wasn't there, but I do know that Arnold trained in many different ways over the years. Your version does make a lot of sense though.

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 2 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      It's true that steroid dosages are higher today than they used to be back then. Although I respect Ronnie Coleman, I like Arnold's physique better.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 2 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      Yes I do think Ronnie is amazing, but like you I prefer Arnold's physique. To my mind bodybuilding was at its very best in the 70's.

    • novator profile image

      novator 2 years ago from Denver

      Arnold is still a monster to this day. His arms are more developed than most 20 year olds in his most recent photos that he has on facebook.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 2 years ago from Chesterfield, UK

      I'll have to take a look at those Novator. He was a great inspiration to me when I was younger. An incredible man.

    • profile image

      Donna 2 weeks ago

      I read years ago that Arnold would drink a shot of 1Tbls cider vinegar 1 Tbls oil and 1 Tbls honey.

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