Arnold Schwarzenegger Volume Workout Routines

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

Build Muscle
Split
Advanced
16 weeks
6
60-75 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar
Male
download pdfDownload 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

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

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

Days 1 & 4 - Chest and Back
Chest
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Bench Press 3-4 10
Incline Bench Press 3-4 10
Dumbbell Pullovers 3-4 10
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Chin Up 3-4 10
Bent Over Row 3-4 10
Deadlift 3-4 10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Crunches 5 25

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulders & Arms Workout

Days 2 & 5 - Shoulders and Arms
Shoulders
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
Arms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
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
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Wrist Curls 3-4 10
Reverse Wrist Curls 3-4 10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Reverse Crunch 5 25

Arnold Schwarzenegger Legs & Lower Back Workout

Days 3 & 6 - Legs and Lower Back
Legs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 3-4 10
Lunge 3-4 10
Leg Curl 3-4 10
Lower Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3-4 10
Good Mornings 3-4 10
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Calf Raise 3-4 10
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
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

Days 1, 3 & 5 - Chest, Back and Legs
Chest
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
Back
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
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
Legs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Squat 6 8-12
Leg Press 6 8-12
Leg Extension 6 12-15
Leg Curl 6 10-15
Barbell Lunge 5 15
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Calf Raise 10 10
Seated Calf Raise 8 15
One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 6 12
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Wrist Curl 4 10
Reverse Barbell Curl 4 8
Wrist Roller Machine 4 Failure
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Non-Stop Abs Training 30 Minutes By Instinct

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulders & Arms Workout

Days 2, 4 & 6 - Shoulders and Arms
Biceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Barbell Curl 6 6-10
Seated Dumbbell Curl 6 6-10
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 6 6-10
Triceps
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
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
Shoulders
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Seated Barbell Press 6 6-10
Lateral Raise 6 6-10
Rear Delt Lateral Raise 5 6-10
Cable Lateral Raise 5 10-12
Calves
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Standing Calf Raise 10 10
Seated Calf Raise 8 15
One Leg Dumbbell Calf Raise 6 12
Forearms
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
Wrist Curl 4 10
Reverse Barbell Curl 4 8
Wrist Roller Machine 4 Failure
Abs
Exercise Sets Rep Goal
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.

282 Comments+ Post Comment

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

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.

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Posted Wed, 02/05/2020 - 11:34
JoshEngland

Hi Kevin,

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

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

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.

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

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."

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

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

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Posted Mon, 12/23/2019 - 15:56
JoshEngland

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.

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

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

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

Hi. How long is rest between sets?

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

How to take creatine , multivitamins and mass gainer ?

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

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.

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

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

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

How much sleep and water is recommended?

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

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 .

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

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

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

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.

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

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?

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

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.

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

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.

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Posted Tue, 07/02/2019 - 07:36
Barney

So about second variation
Shouldn’t we train 2times a day one doing chest and back and the second leg plus lower back??

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Posted Sun, 06/16/2019 - 16:14
Dani

And what sets should be do like supersets? any ideea

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Posted Wed, 06/12/2019 - 10:47
Tvoja manka

I think the first training is real but this second shit will be 6-8 hours long.
Nobody including steroid users can't traing that long with a normal intensity basically everyday.
You will be overtrained

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Posted Wed, 08/14/2019 - 13:38
DAMAGE4KING

It’s two sessions a day. A.M and P.M so after breakfast and before dinner for example.

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Posted Tue, 05/21/2019 - 12:51
matt beast

HEY I AM 15 years old and i use to bench 225 till i did the workout and now i can bench 275 wow i know

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 04:37
Mark

Hey!

could i do this routine in a calorie deficit? or is it to heavy in terms of recovery? should i superset back and chest when they are on the same day? it looks like i will be in the gym for 9 hours a day with chest, back and legs

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Posted Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:02
Bobby

I like the idea of stretching. Do you think it’s a good idea to stretch in between sets, so that i don’t have to stretch out all the muscles used in the workout. Cause today i had to stretch for 20-30 minutes, and I would like to stretch in between and then only stretch for 10 minutes after

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Posted Wed, 07/17/2019 - 05:28
Alex

Oh god no, try to keep stretching at the end of a workout as it can impact negitively on power output. I would only really suggest a warmup and dynamic stretches before a workout, saving static stretching for afterwards or later it the day (I prefer before bed)

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Posted Sun, 04/14/2019 - 11:25
Kenneth

This is for workout variation number 2. Okay this is a LOOONG workout and then I thought, lets take the chest, legs and back workout. Do you think I should switch it up so on Monday I start with chest, and then on Wednesday I start with legs, and then on Friday I start with back, so that it's not chest that gets worked the hardest every time and then the others maybe not legs but back get worked a little less because I'm a little tired?

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Posted Sat, 04/13/2019 - 14:17
Kenneth

This is program number 2. It’s a long program, and I get kinda tired at the end of the workout. Do you think I should e.g. 2, 4 and 6 work shoulders first and some days triceps. So that they can get worked when I got most energy?

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Posted Fri, 04/12/2019 - 03:07
John

It says that you work calves and forearms every workout day is that too much or should I trust the legends program

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Posted Fri, 04/12/2019 - 10:08
JoshEngland

Hi John,

You can train both those muscle groups pretty frequently. Obviously, the frequency will depend on your individual ability to recover.

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 06:56
Lachlan

Are you supposed to do the chest all together and then the back exercises all together or should you do a chest exercise then a leg exercise then calf excercise?

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Posted Wed, 04/10/2019 - 11:19
JoshEngland

Hi Lachlan,

Yes, perform them all together.

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Posted Sat, 04/06/2019 - 02:15
Mikkel

So starting this program soon, but then I noticed it says you need to work calves and forearms everyday. This is the variation 2. I wondered if this isn’t too much or what

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Posted Sat, 10/05/2019 - 07:38
Abolfazl

What do you think are the best supplements in the dry volume period?

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 19:33
Mond

How long will i need to do variation 1 and 2? Do i do variation 1 for 16 weeks then switch to variation 2 for 16 weeks?

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Posted Tue, 03/19/2019 - 10:47
JoshEngland

Hi Mond,

Yes, that would be solid.

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Posted Mon, 03/18/2019 - 19:32
Mond

Manuel
I dont get it.. So, on varation #2, it trying to say that on 1,3,5 Day you'll do chest,back at A.M. and legs,calves,forearm,abs at P.M. ? Also, on Day 2,4,6 shoulders,Arms at A.M. and calves,forearm,abs at P.M.?
Please, explain it!

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:44
The Hunter

What's the rest time in between sets. 45 seconds, 60, 90, 2 minutes ? Thanks all

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Posted Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:47
JoshEngland

Hi Hunter,

I'd probably go with 60 secs in between smaller accessory lifts and 90 secs on larger lifts.

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Posted Sat, 02/16/2019 - 19:53
Alex

How long will i need to do variation 1 and 2? Do i do variation 1 for 16 weeks then switch to variation 2 for 16 weeks?

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Posted Mon, 12/24/2018 - 02:01
Debarjya

Is variation 2 for mass building?

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Posted Wed, 01/02/2019 - 14:01
JoshEngland

Hi Debarjya,

Both will help you build mass.

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Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 10:22
shubham kumar

what amount of weights shoud be used?

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Posted Tue, 01/08/2019 - 00:54
Bryan

Ok dude you should use the amount of weight that will make you struggle a lot at the the last set and or before the last set MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE THE PROPER FORM increase the weight if it’s getting easier MAKE SURE to have a proper diet and track your macros and have 7-8 hours of sleep for recovery

Hope this helps buddy good luck with your training

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Posted Sun, 09/09/2018 - 14:20
Joe

How long does a gym session last for each day for variation 2?

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Posted Sun, 12/16/2018 - 22:32
Tyrone Shoelaces

It took me about 24 minutes to do Chest, Back, and Leg day and about 14 minutes to do shoulders and arms.

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Posted Sat, 07/21/2018 - 18:26
HarriShiv

Is it okay if I run this program while doing a semi cut and do a lot of cardio after each lifting sessions

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Posted Wed, 07/18/2018 - 07:06
Chris

What would be the percentages for this ?

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Posted Wed, 07/18/2018 - 08:31
JoshEngland

Hi Chris,

75-85% of your working max for each rep range.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Tue, 07/03/2018 - 20:00
Zack

Hi all, I've chosen to give this routine a try for the first time.
Is it better to do all of the chest exercises, followed by all of the back exercises? Or should I be staggering them back-and-forth? So far I've chosen to go back-and-forth between chest exercises, so that one muscle group can be rested while the other group is being worked, but I don't know if this is the best way to do the routine.