Arnold Schwarzenegger Volume Workout Routines

Steve Shaw
Written By: Steve Shaw
January 12th, 2020
Updated: March 24th, 2021
Categories: Workouts Celebrity
4.6M Reads
Arnold Schwarzenegger bench press
Train insane like the one and only 7 time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold's muscle building workouts feature an intense high volume and frequency approach to training.
Workout Summary
  • Main Goal
    Build Muscle
  • Workout Type
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration16 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • Time Per Workout60-75 minutes
  • Equipment Required
    Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar
  • Target Gender Male
  • Recommended Supps
  • Workout PDF Download Workout

Workout Description

The following are two typical workouts and split structures used by 7 time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger. They features a high frequency and high volume approach, training each major muscle group 2-3 times per week.

Arnold's Stats

  • 7 time Mr. Olympia - 1970-75, 1980
  • Height - 6'2"
  • Weight - 235 lbs
  • Arms - 22 inches (Many sources claim this number to be inflated)
  • Chest - 57 inches
  • Waist - 34 inches
  • Deadlift - 710 pounds
  • Bench Press - 440 pounds
  • Squat - 470 pounds

Recommended: Need help building muscle? Take our Free Muscle Building Course

Arnold's Eating Plan

Arnold backed up this hardcore style of training with plenty of food, and a focus on good nutrition. He structured his eating plan using the following principles:

  • Frequent Feeding - 5-6 feedings per day: 3 whole food meals and 2-3 whole food "snacks".
  • Calories - Up to 5,000 calories per day.
  • Protein Intake - 300 plus grams of protein.
  • Post-Workout Carbs - Carbs within 30 minutes after finishing a workout.
  • Protein Shakes - Use if needed to get in your daily protein.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Variation #1

Each major bodypart is trained 2 times per week. This Arnold Schwarzenegger workout variation was featured in the book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins.

Notes: Attempt to reach failure around 10 reps for your first set of each exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Chest & Back Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 3-4 10
Incline Bench Press 3-4 10
Dumbbell Pullovers 3-4 10
Chin Up 3-4 10
Bent Over Row 3-4 10
Deadlift 3-4 10
Crunches 5 25

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulders & Arms Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Clean and Press 3-4 10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3-4 10
Upright Row 3-4 10
Military Press 3-4 10
Standing Barbell Curl 3-4 10
Seated Dumbbell Curl 3-4 10
Close Grip Bench Press 3-4 10
Standing Barbell Tricep Extension 3-4 10
Wrist Curls 3-4 10
Reverse Wrist Curls 3-4 10
Reverse Crunch 5 25

Arnold Schwarzenegger Legs & Lower Back Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 3-4 10
Lunge 3-4 10
Leg Curl 3-4 10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3-4 10
Good Mornings 3-4 10
Standing Calf Raise 3-4 10
Crunches 5 25

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Variation #2

Each major bodypart is trained 3 times per week. This Arnold Schwarzenegger workout variation is a typical example of his higher frequency workouts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Chest, Back, & Legs Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 5 6-10
Dumbbell Flye 5 6-10
Incline Bench Press 6 6-10
Cable Crossovers 6 10-12
Dips 5 Failure
Dumbbell Pullover 5 10-12
Wide Grip Pull Up 6 Failure
T Bar Row 5 6-10
Seated Pulley Row 6 6-10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 5 6-10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 6 15
Squat 6 8-12
Leg Press 6 8-12
Leg Extension 6 12-15
Leg Curl 6 10-15
Barbell Lunge 5 15
Standing Calf Raise 10 10
Seated Calf Raise 8 15
One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 6 12
Wrist Curl 4 10
Reverse Barbell Curl 4 8
Wrist Roller Machine 4 Failure
Non-Stop Abs Training 30 Minutes By Instinct

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulders & Arms Workout

Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Curl 6 6-10
Seated Dumbbell Curl 6 6-10
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 6 6-10
Close Grip Bench Press 6 6-10
Tricep Pushdown 6 6-10
Barbell French Press 6 6-10
One Arm Dumbbell Tricep Extension 6 6-10
Seated Barbell Press 6 6-10
Lateral Raise 6 6-10
Rear Delt Lateral Raise 5 6-10
Cable Lateral Raise 5 10-12
Standing Calf Raise 10 10
Seated Calf Raise 8 15
One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 6 12
Wrist Curl 4 10
Reverse Barbell Curl 4 8
Wrist Roller Machine 4 Failure
Non-Stop Abs Training 30 Minutes By Instinct

FAQs about Arnold’s Workout Routine

Listed below are some of the most common questions asked about the program above. Read through them and see if they address any of the questions you may personally have.

If you don’t see your questions, please feel free to leave us a comment down below and we will do our best to respond. We may even add it to this list if we think others may have a similar question.

1. What Supplements Should I Take?

Supplementation is highly individualized based on the person performing the routine and what their diet looks like – not to mention goals.

For someone who is trying to add lean body mass, adding creatine into your pre or post workout regimen would be beneficial. Simply take it at the same time each day and aim for about 5g daily.

If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, a protein supplement may also be beneficial. And if you struggle to eat enough calories, adding drinkable calories, such as those in a mass gainer, might also help you accomplish your goals.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are in a fat loss phase, you may want to add a multi-vitamin and fish oil to your supplementation. As we cut down on our food intake, a lot of times we also cut down on our nutrient intake. A multivitamin can help with this.

Likewise, those on fat loss diet plans may not consume enough fatty fish in their diet. A fish oil supplement may prove to be a beneficial add in this scenario.

2. How Much Cardio Should I Do?

With the amount of activity Arnold’s high volume training style calls for, I wouldn’t recommend any additional cardio. Instead, I’d recommend focusing on getting adequate rest outside of the gym.

If, however, you feel you need to do something, it is recommended that you add in walking as a form of active recovery to help push out some of the lactic acid that will inevitably by chilling in your muscles with this amount of volume.

3. Which Arnold Workout Variation Would Yield Better Results?

It depends on your goal. I’d recommend performing the first variation over the second for most people simply based on the time restraints most have.

Both incorporate a lot of volume which isn’t suitable or necessary for most lifters.

However, it worked for Arnie and if you want to train like the legend, by all means go for it.

4. How Much Sleep and Water is Recommended?

Here’s the difference between Arnold and you. Arnold was a professional bodybuilder. You’re likely not.

At minimum, you should be sleeping 8-10 hours nightly with this routine. Arnold was also likely able to nap between workout sessions during the day, which would be valuable for you as well to optimally recover. But again, you're probably not a professional bodybuilder with the ability to do that.

In terms of water, drink at least half of your body weight in ounces and an additional 20 ounces after your workouts. Once you’ve hit that number in a day, drink based on your thirst.

5. How Would You Warm Up?

Everyone warms up differently. Work out any problem areas you may have with a foam roller and lacrosse ball. Then perform a few dynamic stretches relevant to the muscle groups you are training that day.

If you need help figure out what this might look like, you’ll find this article helpful.

6. Do I have to Work Out Twice a Day?

No. You don’t. Arnold did, but you certainly don’t have to.

In fact, depending on certain factors, you might have better results from training once daily. That’s why I suggested the first variation for most people in a previous answer.

7. Won’t This Workout Cause Overtraining?

It certainly could. Or, depending on your age, diet, and lifestyle, it may not.

I said it before, and I will say it again. This was Arnold’s style of training. He was one of the greatest bodybuilders of all-time. His genetics were insane.

You probably aren’t a competitive bodybuilder. You may have good genetics, but they’re probably not Arnold level.

Experiment and do what feels right.

8. How Long Should You Rest Between Sets?

I would recommend resting as needed to fully recover from each set during your workouts.

If you want to put a time limit on things, 2 minutes on big lifts, 60-90 seconds on accessory lifts, and 30-45 seconds for isolation lifts should do the trick.

Eivind Gjengstø...
Posted on: Fri, 08/06/2021 - 16:07

I changed it to the following routine

Posted on: Mon, 07/19/2021 - 18:31

I do the first one only I super-set the whole program 4 exercises per body part so no more than 40 odd sets a session 8 to 12 reps 60 seconds between sets and I do the lot in 45 mins!!! I'm 55. I reduce the reps to 6 to 8 and that takes a bit longer 55 odd mins.

Posted on: Mon, 05/17/2021 - 11:25

There is no way you can do all them exercises at one's with out getting 1or2 naps in a day theses exercises are ment for maximum lift and full power pushing a set of 6. And reps of 10 .. At maximum wait will take you 3 to 5 minutes to recover that's the only why Arnold Schwarzenegger did it even if you was to do it you would be doing sets 6 Reps of 20 to 30 non-stop to get the same results with 1 minute of rest time and the only why to know that you are doing it right is when your muscles are cramping on the last set because that's what that exercise was designed for there is a one individual muscle at a time Common Sense should tell you that

Jaffar BILLY
Posted on: Sun, 04/25/2021 - 22:42

Hi !!
Will the second variation workout only take 75mns please ?
Or should i divise it and work it twice a day ?

Posted on: Thu, 05/20/2021 - 03:58

I guess it’s personal preference me personally i would do half and half my self I feel I would get a better workout doing it this way

Darryl Young
Posted on: Tue, 04/06/2021 - 17:46

Im looking to bulk up im 26yr old man 6ft and 72kg anybone got good work out plans to gain mass

Posted on: Thu, 04/01/2021 - 18:59

So with these workouts did Arnold do the same workout 2 times a day? this is what is confusing to me. AM workout variation #1 ..does that mean my pm workout would be variation #2?

Posted on: Mon, 05/17/2021 - 12:08

No volume one. -is for one day and- volume 2- is for day 2. Thay are just some exercises for you to do to make sure that you can do everything 3 sets of 10 reps .. So you can do the full body workout as listed below volumes 1 and 2.

Posted on: Thu, 05/20/2021 - 03:56

No there to difference variations of training the muscle groups so variation one is train the muscles twice per week and variation 2 is train muscles three times per week.

For example you Could train variation 1 in one session or if you wanted to train half the session in the morning and the other half of the session in the evening.

Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2021 - 04:37

Hi, how do you log your training, using a App or a pencil :)

Mitta devid
Posted on: Tue, 02/02/2021 - 11:30


Posted on: Sun, 01/10/2021 - 14:03

How would you tone down this w/o for us mere mortals that have a 8-10 hour job and family duties and responsibilities?

Keep the same number of exercises and split the sets in half?

43 years old
40” waist

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/11/2021 - 13:32

Hey Carlos - I would suggest a different workout. Are you looking to gain muscle, lose fat, etc?

Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2021 - 10:33

Hi Abigail,

Losing fat is my main goal at the moment.

Thank you

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 01/18/2021 - 11:00
Posted on: Tue, 12/15/2020 - 23:59

I use to lifet all the time and I was pretty big ..i just started working out again I'm doing everything that Arnold did in the old days and the results are very fast and very good i left the maximum I can left it's always been my dream to get as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger he's always been my role model an expired me to be my best and never give up is it healthy to left as much as you can? because I keep on getting in a rut I'll jump up to 15 to 30 bia. at a time ever week then another a week I make a 20bia drop is this normal??

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/16/2020 - 09:24

Hey greg - if your strength is fluctuating this much, it makes me question your recovery. How is your sleep and nutrition?

Posted on: Wed, 12/16/2020 - 10:13

my sleeping is good 5-8 hrs a night and my newtrents are good as far as I know sometimes I have to left my maxim weight as fast as I can go and the next time I have to push as hard as I can and for some reason my musels will not get sore and my body keep on craving to lift more weights weighs like I can't get enough of it and on my day of rest my body feels as it need and wants to work out making it very hard for me to stay away from me to rest and if I don't left then my body will reject and struggle on the next work out then I have to shock my muscles for 2 days and start all over again doing everything 7sets of 18reps just to get back to where I was before with a 20bia to 30bia drop and I do and the muscle confusement to it every time I lift weights I never repeat the same previous workout with the next workout

Posted on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 23:27

Hi!! Thanks for the clarification. it says abs every day should I workout and daily or not? Isn't it bad? Also, it says sets 5 reps 25 each set I need to do 25 reps?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Thu, 12/03/2020 - 11:44

Yes, follow the program as written. For the 5 sets of 25 reps, you'll do 25 reps each set.

Posted on: Tue, 12/01/2020 - 23:22

When could I workout on my traps??

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:08

Hey Jordan - because of the volume of this routine, it is not recommended to add any additional exercises.

Posted on: Tue, 12/01/2020 - 16:59

Hi!! In the first type of workout the one with rep goal 10 should I do 10 reps per set or what??

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 12/02/2020 - 09:07

Hey Jordan - you'll aim to do 10 reps per set.

Posted on: Tue, 12/01/2020 - 16:03

Hello!! I’m starting this workout tomorrow and I was wondering for each set I need to do 10 reps?

Posted on: Tue, 09/15/2020 - 01:23

I was just curious if I could do this workout plan on a cut

Posted on: Sun, 08/16/2020 - 04:12

Please help me differentiate in how much calories and carbs one need if he follows 2nd program for shredding if he weighs right now 85 kilos. Providing not loosing all those hard earned muscle in gaining phase of arnold mass program.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 08/19/2020 - 10:11

Hey Utkarsh

You'll need to find your BMR first to know where to start. Once you have that I recommend staying in a 500-800 caloric deficit for cutting.
Here's a link to our BMR tool to help you get started.

Posted on: Sun, 03/08/2020 - 09:12

I just don't get how many reps and sets should I do the second time?Should I just go sets 6 reps 6-10 all the time every single time or?

Posted on: Sun, 08/16/2020 - 13:56

You find a weight that you can do between those reps. 6 being the least and 10 being the most. For example, you can only do 185 for 8 reps. Keep doing 185 until you can do it for say 11 or more reps. Then you up the weight so that you can't lift it pass 10 reps. Each time you can lift a weight more than 10 reps, you add more weight. This means you're getting stronger.

Posted on: Wed, 02/05/2020 - 06:23

Hi! I wonder if there is a Franco columbo training regime with helpful vids how to proper do them because this site is the best with showing how you do the the proper Techniques of the training.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 02/05/2020 - 11:34

Hi Kevin,

Not currently - but we could certainly look at adding one. Thank you for the suggestion!

Posted on: Mon, 01/20/2020 - 07:37

So no mention anywhere in the article about his steroid cycle? To fool regular people into thinking that just by following this routine they'll look like Arnold is dishonest and dangerous. It could end up injuring someone.

Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2020 - 07:29

For you to say that is fool hearted. Everyone that is into the bodybuilding scene is on some sort of performance enhancing supplement or "drug." You are looking at this article in a manner of ignorance, to the fact that you believe that someone wrote this for the intent to be dishonest. Believing that someone has some diabolical plan behind this article for lifters to follow and get injured is ignorant. After looking at this and expecting there should be information exposing facts around Arnold's steroid usage is ignorant. Now, there are a lot of things about the fitness industry that are dishonest, that I can agree with. You don't need to be taking steroids to get big or strong, if you do the exercises safely and to YOUR experience level YOU will get stronger and bigger that's just fact, regardless of steroid usage or not. The whole purpose of an article like this is to bring forth some light on a legends lifestyle and lifting habits. If people choose to follow this type of a program it is most likely they choose so to challenge themselves. Fitness is a journey of learning about new heights one can reach, so someone chooses to follow this program it is encouraged that they do other studying about fitness to ensure they do "everything right." They warm-up, they lift with good form, they practice other safety measures, and they keep a good cool down and recovery regime. People will yield results and people can learn knew things about themselves. But someone that doesn't warm-up, slams weights around with bad form, and does nothing in the way of recovery says things about this program being "dishonest," and, "dangerous."

Posted on: Mon, 12/23/2019 - 15:53

So would you recommend this work out for fat loss/reduction, (cutting) whatever you want to call it, after a solid 4 month bulk?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Mon, 12/23/2019 - 15:56

Hi Trevor,

Any workout routine can be used for fat loss or bulking goals. Ultimately, both of those goals will boil down to nutrition and recovery.

Trevor Cruce
Posted on: Sun, 12/22/2019 - 19:16

So would you recommend this work out for cutting/lowering bot fat as well?

Posted on: Sun, 12/15/2019 - 15:11

Hi. How long is rest between sets?

Shubhankar Sriv...
Posted on: Wed, 11/20/2019 - 13:18

How to take creatine , multivitamins and mass gainer ?

Posted on: Sun, 08/23/2020 - 23:11

multivitamins in morning, creatine after workout and mass gainer after last meal right before bed

Jake Bruchak
Posted on: Sun, 11/17/2019 - 20:19

I’m planning on starting this workout soon. When I go do cardio, how far or how long should I run. I’m currently trying to loose fat and build muscle.

Daniel Cameron
Posted on: Sat, 11/02/2019 - 01:06

Hi I’m wondering if I should go with variation 1 or 2 I work from home so time is not a factor which would yield better results just want the best gains possiable and if these workouts are worth going with as there’s so many different programs so hard to choose one but I like the look of these ones lol

Posted on: Tue, 09/17/2019 - 16:33

How much sleep and water is recommended?

Posted on: Tue, 10/08/2019 - 08:42

You should at list get 7-9 hours sleeps after working out .And about 2 liters of water after or before your workout .
This doesn't mean you have to drink 2 liters of water just in seconds .you have to drink within at least 5-10 minutes difference .If you drink too much you might get your stomach filled up .That is bad for you and also your workout .

Posted on: Sat, 11/02/2019 - 03:19

I would recommend at least 9-10 hours of sleep for an active person. The minimum the average person needs is 7.

Posted on: Sun, 07/28/2019 - 05:32

How would you go about warm ups for workout 1? Number 2 is too long, I would probably just take the workouts n set them like number 1 n do them twice a week instead of 3.

Posted on: Thu, 07/25/2019 - 21:52

I’ve done some push pull legs routines in the past in which you pretty much train each muscle twice a week. In that first program the second time your training a body part that week is it the same
Excersises or would it make more sense to switch the excersises the second time in the week?

Posted on: Fri, 07/05/2019 - 15:13

Hey guys, don't take the variation 2 for granted, there is actually a better more official version with much less volume in The Encyclopedia Of Modern Bodybuilding book. There is a workout very similar to variation 2 in the book and it is called "Advanced Training Level II", however like I have mentioned there is much less volume and it only takes an hour MAX. Also, I have slightly modified the split so you only do two body parts per day, very similar to the Push Pull Legs split. It goes like this:

Day 1 - Chest, Back, Forearms & Abs
Day 2 - Shoulders, Arms & Abs
Day 3 - Thighs, Calves & Abs
Day 4 - Chest, Back, Forearms & Abs
Day 5 - Shoulders, Arms & Abs
Day 6 - Thighs, Calves & Abs

So instead of doing Chest and Back, Thighs and Calves in the morning and evening, I have spread the volume out over two days so each body part is being worked twice per week instead of 3 times. Steve has recommended to do 5-6 sets, however in the book Arnold suggests to do 4 sets per exercise as it states in the book: "You need to do at least 4 sets in order to have the volume of training necessary to fully stimulate all the available muscle fiber. If you do more sets per exercise, your total training volume will be so great that you risk overtraining." I'm not saying that Steve is wrong, I'm just saying that this seems like the better option imo. I've been lifting for 3-4 years now and the advanced workout in the book left me completely destroyed and I would recommend it to anyone beginner or advanced who are desiring some serious gains.

Posted on: Tue, 02/11/2020 - 23:53

This only hits each muscle group 2x a week. Whereas variant 2 hits each muscle group 3x a week.

The amount of work on each day is absolutely insane though.... No way variant 2 only takes 60 minutes at the gym. That would be like 2-3 hour session at least.

francisco martinez
Posted on: Mon, 06/22/2020 - 16:49

i did this work out with my son for 3 months i was hard and it did take a long time with my son i took 3 1/2 hours by my self it took 2 1/2 especially if people are in the way or wanting to talk but i seen some really good gains im starting another workout variation that i tweaked but ill be doing two a days

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