Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine!

This post has the Arnold seal of approval.

Arnold Schwarzenegger striking a final winning pose

What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the words ‘lifting weights’ and ‘working out’? It’s only natural to associate them with an ultra-masculine male character – someone like Arnie!

Since his legacy in the fitness and bodybuilding community is timeless, I believe it’s a no-brainer that I’m (and hopefully you as well) interested in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routine.

Doesn’t matter if you’re a fitness enthusiast, a gym rat, a bodybuilder or you might just be a sucker for all those amazing/weird/hilarious movies starring the Austrian Oak (that’s a famous nickname for the former Mr. Governor) – you’re here for more natural testosterone and more manliness as a whole!

And that’s great. Why? Because in this post I’ll have the ultimate pleasure to present you the superb workout regime of no other than Mr. 7x Olympia himself – A(rgh)nold. I now challenge you to pronounce his name with a German accent.

First things first though, you might be wondering why him and what makes this man so unique? Proceed young padawans!

What makes Arnold and his training so unique?

I can literally go on for hours without a stop here. If we talk about why he’s so amazing, this piece of writing will be so lengthy that we can probably use it as a bridge to Mars (‘Total Recall’ anyone?).

“The best activities for your health are pumping and humping.”

– Arnold Schwarzenegger

Talk about a good reason to justify calling The Terminator special! By the way, notice how he (coincidentally or not) puts pumping before humping. Maybe because you have to do that first before you earn your right to hump? We can discuss that in the comment section if you insist.

Cover for the encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding

However, it’s the training philosophy of the former Governor of Cali that will make you want to adopt it yourself. Not that any of you will achieve that ripped and massive physique of Arnie from his best years, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot learn from the best!

Let’s kick off by highlighting what he focused on during his bodybuilding years regarding exercises:

  • Compound movements with high frequency and volume
  • Train each body part with maximal intensity through every set
  • Incorporate isolation movements to target specific muscle groups

Two plus two equals…? Yep, if you remember my thematic post about whether or not sweating in the gym (or working out in general) will boost your natural testosterone production, you will already know that there’s a perfect correlation between the two.

Let’s cut to the chase – working out = MORE testosterone! Without a shadow of a doubt, write that down. Basically, when you engage in vigorous physical activities, different from lifting your large beer glass for reps, your body responds by revving up your hormones.

Compounds exercises are ESPECIALLY good at that. Deadlifts, squats, bench presses, pull ups, dips, etc. are nothing short of amazing for your fitness and T-optimization goals. This is why Arnold’s concept of incorporating heavy, basic movements will work for regular gym rats or Joe’s.

I’m sure you’re just as eager as I am to reveal his workout program, so without further ado:

Arnold’s ultimate six-day workout routine!

During his prime, this man was a proud member of the legendary Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California. A gym of epic proportions, back in the days this place was the place-to-be for aspiring bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike.

That was during the 70’s though, years later Arnie came up with a book that targets folks in the fitness industry (it even says ‘from golfers to fitness gurus’). Being buff doesn’t mean you can’t be an author of a book, does it? His book is wisely called “The New Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding” and as you can see from the link, it’s available on Amazon for a bargain.

Keep in mind: Before we proceed, I just wanted to give you guys a heads-up. This workout plan is NOT for beginners by any stretch of the imagination. You should implement it only if you are an intermediate lifter at the very least – anyone in the advanced realm would feel at home with this workout schedule.

Enough with me talking though, time to lift the curtain!

Chest, back and abs workout by ArnoldNothing too groundbreaking here, don’t you think? You start the week with the heaviest of the bunch (chest and back). Well, that’s how it should be! Abs are thrown into the mix for good measure so that your core can sustain the heavy barbells that you’re going to be lifting.

You’re supposed to do a stripping set for your final set on the flat bench press, but I think this is taking it too far and would only suit bodybuilders and people who are obsessed with their training schedule.

Anyway, stripping is when you take a weight off the bar and keep pumping until you’re only left with the bar, and then you go for 20 more reps. Sounds over-complicated? Way too much. My advice? Ditch the stripping technique!

So you have to repeat this workout on Thursday. This means that your chest, back, and abs will be stimulated twice per week, which is perhaps the best frequency for most people (if you are human, that is). Do note that this is high in volume, so pick a weight that you’re comfortable with – if you start showing off you’ll probably not be able to hit the target repetitions!

Oh, and ‘superset’ in the DB flyes plus DB pull overs and the bent over barbell plus DB rows, means that you do them back to back. To give you a quick example: 1 set of DB flyes, then you immediately do 1 set of DB pull overs. Got it? Alright, moving on now.

Shoulders, arms and abs workout by Arnold

*rubbing hands together* This is where it gets interesting my dear friends! Curious to know why? For starters, take a look at the first exercise – it’s a clean & press as opposed to the run-of-the-mill military press. Mr. Schwarzenegger is bringing something fresh to the table.

Now, I LOVE the military press, don’t get me wrong, but Arnie has an excellent reason to include the clean and press instead. It involves more muscles in the movement itself, as you have to pick the weight from the ground and bring it all the way over your head which also adds explosiveness and as you increase the poundage it will totally kick your rear.

You also have supersets once again, which happens to be a superb tool to enhance the intensity and decrease the overall length of a workout, without sacrificing its effectiveness. Once again, for all the absent-minded folks – supersets are when you complete a set of a given exercise and immediately after that you do a set of another exercise in pure back-to-back fashion, WITHOUT any rest!

Undoubtedly, the weirdest aspect of this part of this training protocol is the “1-10 method”. It sure sounds fancy, eh? Well, it turns out that what Arnold means is you start with a cumbersome set of just 1 (one) rep – the weight should be so heavy that you shouldn’t be able to do more than one repetition.

Afterward, you start decreasing the weight on the bar with every set until you reach the 10 rep benchmark. To recap – you start with max weight for 1 rep, decrease slightly so that you can then complete 2 reps, do the same for 3, then 4, 5 etc. and repeat. Barbell curls have NEVER been so merciless!

Total leg workout by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself

It wouldn’t be a REAL workout without including a separate leg day, and Arnold knows this all too well. Leg muscles are the biggest, strongest and sometimes the most neglected muscle group. This is why you see guys with huge torsos and spaghetti-like legs that could get completely demolished by a gust of wind.

Anyway, in this last part of Mr. Get to the chopper’s training regime, we’re presented with the main pillars of a strong pair of legs. In case you’re clueless as to which exercises I’m referring to, let me help you with that – squats and deadlifts!

Good mornings are another great compound movement, with the help of which you’ll definitely feel your lower back being worked. And don’t forget to only do good mornings once per week as per the guidelines of this workout program – either on Wednesday or Saturday, your call entirely.

Better prepare a wheelchair or two buff friends to take you home after this workout, as your legs will be as good as pasta – soft and easily bendable. And Sunday? Eat, sleep, relax – repeat.

Wrapping it up!

Arnold Schwarzenegger's most famous bodybuilding pose
Quite the pose, eh?

It’s evident from a place that giving this workout a chance will only benefit you. I mean, come on – this thing was utilized by no other than the man who killed the Predator somewhere in a remote jungle with the only help of good ol’… mud!

In all seriousness though, Arnold is undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the fitness and bodybuilding mega industry – he even got a supplement line named after him. It’s called the Arnold Schwarzenegger Series (oh really?), and the manufacturer behind that is no other than MusclePharm. Click the link below to check his signature series:

  Click HERE to check out Arnold’s supplement brand on Amazon

Now head over to the gym and annihilate those weights bro! Don’t forget your German accent too, as you’ll definitely need it if you’re serious about making the most of this workout program.

I’m interested in what you guys think about Arnold’s training protocol, whether you think it’s pure bliss or you’ll pass. Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Yours truly,

Founder of Testosterone Nerd

Previous articleDoes Working Out Increase Testosterone?
Next article5 Best Exercises For A Flat Tummy
Founder and author of Testosterone Nerd. A man with addiction, testosterone addiction. From captivating metaphors, humoristic approaches and scientifically-backed research, there's something for every man seeking optimal male hormone levels. Now give me five and rev up that T of yours!


  1. Hey Simon!
    I came across your site while doing some research into testosterone! Thank you for the information, you are a pro!
    Lovely article about Arnies workout…I don’t think I will be doing the exercises myself, simply because I’m a girly girl, but I think those who do will really benefit from it!
    Top article!

    • Hi Marcie and welcome on board.

      Arnie knows his stuff, trust me. I’m glad that I can share his testimony in a way.

      Yes please, keep your femininity! This post is geared towards men and only men. And yeah, I’m sure that folks who take action and start implementing this workout program would see themselves gaining muscle and strength.

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd

  2. I would only attempt Arnold’s program with the help of a trainer. And the trainer might to be able to pull it off. That is an intense workout. Someone would have to be a dedicated bodybuilder to do Arnold’s routine. But it would be a worthy goal to accomplish. It only goes to show why he was successful at so many different areas of life. Can he still do that workout? Another great post. Thanks for sharing. Best regards, Joe

    • Hey there Joe!

      Kudos for speaking your mind. Indeed, Arnie’s workout ain’t for the faint-hearted, but you don’t really need to be an elite bodybuilder in order to give it a try.

      Just use lighter weights and your good to go. Basically – adjust it to your own level of expertise and your experience in the gym.

      And about whether or not he can still do this kind of workouts or not – I’m sure he can. But most likely he’ll use waaaaay lighter weights!

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd

    • Hey Kien!

      We can conclude the whole page with the first few words from your comment – “Arnold is the man”. Don’t you agree?

      This man’s legacy is incredible and his workout routine (albeit not for the faint-hearted) is a great tool to help you put some muscle on your frame.

      Oh, and kudos for the post related to the best exercise for fat loss!

      Cheers and God bless,
      Simon | Author of Testosterone Nerd


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here