Arnold Schwarzenegger's Beginners Bodybuilding Workout

Bench Press Workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the most iconic bodybuilders of our time. Standing at 6 ft. 2 in. tall, and around 235 lbs. competition weight, Schwarzenegger displayed sweeping, densely muscled pectorals, and a pair of huge guns in an overall package possibly unsurpassed in bodybuilding history.

His beginners bodybuilding workout program may not help you reach Schwarzenegger's proportions but should help you maximize your muscle growth and fulfill your bodybuilding potential.

What muscles does the Arnold Schwarzenegger workout focus on?

Its Muscle

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The Arnold Schwarzenegger beginners bodybuilding workout divides the body into separate muscle groups. The upper back or latissimus dorsi, lower back or spinal erectors, the shoulders comprising the front, rear and side deltoids and trapezius, the chest comprising the pectorals and rib cage, the arms comprising the biceps, triceps and forearms, legs comprising quadriceps, hamstrings and calves and waist comprising the upper, middle, lower abdominals and obliques. The beginners bodybuilding workout should contain exercises to target these muscle groups.

What are the Principles of the Arnold Schwarzenegger workout?

Arnold Schwarzenegger Portrait Session

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Schwarzenegger recommends a progressive two level program for the beginner.

Do a split training routine in each level. A split routine involves splitting your body into muscle groups and targeting specific muscle groups each training session.

Target muscle groups twice a week on level one and three times a week on level two.

What is Level One of the Schwarzenegger workout?

  • Do five sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise.
  • Do five sets of 25 reps for abdominal exercises.

Target your chest, back and abdominals on Monday and Thursday.

  • Do the bench press, incline press and dumbbell pullovers for your chest.
  • Do pullups and bent-over rows for your upper back and dead lifts to increase overall strength.
  • Do leg raises for your abs.

You may prefer to do reverse crunches, which target your abs without stress on your lower back.

Target your shoulders and arms on Tuesday and Friday.

  • Do barbell clean and press, lateral raises, upright rows and push presses for your shoulders.
  • Do barbell curls and seated dumbbell curls for your biceps.
  • Do narrow grip bench press and standing triceps extensions for your triceps.
  • Do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls for your forearms.
  1. The Schwarzenegger program recommends five sets of incline sit-ups for 25 reps each for your abs.
  2. You may prefer to do crunches, which work your abs better without stress on your lower back.

Target your legs, lower back and abs on Wednesday and Saturday.

  • Do squats and lunges for your quadriceps and leg curls for the hamstrings.
  • Do straight-leg dead lifts for your lower back.
  • Do reverse crunches for your abs.

What is Level Two of the Schwarzenegger workout?

Do the same exercises as level one.

These should include:

  • the bench press,
  • incline presses,
  • dumbbell pullovers,
  • pull-ups,
  • bent-over rows,
  • dead lifts,
  • barbell clean and press,
  • lateral raises,
  • upright rows,
  • barbell curls,
  • seated dumbbell curls,
  • close grip bench press,
  • standing triceps extensions,
  • wrist curls,
  • crunches
  • and reverse crunches.

Do five sets of eight to 12 reps per exercise and five sets with 25 reps for abs.

  • Target your chest, back, legs and abs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Target your shoulders, lower back, triceps, biceps, forearms and abs on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.