Arnold Schwarzenegger Volume Workout Routines

Steve Shaw
Written By: Steve Shaw
January 12th, 2020
Updated: March 24th, 2021
Categories: Workouts Celebrity
5.1M 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
    Split
  • Training Level
    Advanced
  • Program Duration16 weeks
  • Days Per Week
    6
  • 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.

365 Comments
Andy
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 12:25

With this being a 16 week program, it seems like a long time to keep the rep ranges the same. Would it be more beneficial to change rep ranges every 4 weeks or continue the same range and increase weight?

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Roger
Posted on: Sun, 09/25/2022 - 20:09

You could change the reps every four weeks to make it interesting and prevent stagnation. Adding weight would be a great option if strength is a goal.

Abu
Posted on: Wed, 09/14/2022 - 06:04

On the second variation is possible to reduce the sets

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:12

You can, Abu. Let us know how it goes for you.

Markus
Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 05:09

How much time does workout 2 take? is it 2 hours or 3 hours?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 09/06/2022 - 08:57

Depends on how long you rest between sets and how quick you can transition from one exercise to the next.

Filipe Silva
Posted on: Fri, 07/29/2022 - 09:59

Na segunda variação do treino? É para cut? E na primeira variação para Bulk?

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 08/09/2022 - 08:32

Ambos os exercícios podem ser usados ​​para perda de gordura ou ganho muscular, desde que você esteja seguindo a dieta certa. Se você é iniciante, não use este porque é demais para pessoas novas no treinamento.

Filipe asked in Portuguese: In the second variation of the workout? Is it for cut? And in the first variation for Bulk?

My answer: Both workouts can be used for either fat loss or muscle gain as long as you are following the right diet. If you're a beginner, don't use this one because it is too much for people new to training.

Em
Posted on: Sun, 07/03/2022 - 18:48

on the leg day of the first #1 workout template whats a good substitute for lunges and good mornings ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 07/11/2022 - 22:42

Are injuries the reason you want to substitute them? Knowing the reason would help me make the best recommendation.

Em
Posted on: Sun, 07/03/2022 - 18:45

is it a bad idea to run this program while cutting ?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 07/11/2022 - 22:41

Actually, Em. Not a bad idea at all. Keep the protein high, and have your carbs preworkout, and you should be fine. Now, if you notice issues with recovery, then back off.

Michael
Posted on: Wed, 06/22/2022 - 01:37

I been doing the 2nd variation workout routine and Im 16 yrs/old And I had an amazing Time working out with a famous bodybuilders workout routine definitely not like Arnold’s but do say I have great Genetics on having the strength and energy to complete his workout everyday and recover fast and yes Im all Natural If wanna check out my insta @its_nattyy_mike I only just started doing his workout plan last two weeks ago I been in a home gym for a most of the year and now go to a gym and then started Im just so happy Im able to handle this intense training Like you said many people cant handle this stuff but some can and they love it I feel like Im getting way more stronger and better results more soreness more gains never stop always stay hungry!!!

Aiden
Posted on: Thu, 06/16/2022 - 22:33

Hey, Im 17 and weight roughly 200lbs in fat. Ive list 30 pounds or so. would this help lose more weight? This has definitely built definition in my arms and I have lost chest fat.

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 06/17/2022 - 13:53

Hey Aiden, this may actually be too much for someone your age. I'd go with something like this.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/advanced-fat-loss-workout

Frantz
Posted on: Fri, 05/27/2022 - 21:08

Why in 2nd variation workout during Shoulders and Arms workout you put wrist rollers and non stop ab workouts? And also where did you get this workout info?

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 05/27/2022 - 21:16

Hi, Frantz. Wrist rollers train the forearms, which he included as a part of the arm workouts. As for where the info came from, Steve included it in the article.

"This Arnold Schwarzenegger workout variation was featured in the book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bill Dobbins."

Kelan O’Brien
Posted on: Mon, 03/21/2022 - 10:57

I want to incorporate some extra traps and forearm excersises, what day/s would u suggest I do them? ( I’m doing the first program btw)

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 03/28/2022 - 20:59

Hi, Kelan. Train traps with chest and back. Focus on forearms after shoulders and arms. Hope this helps!

Eikichi
Posted on: Wed, 03/09/2022 - 22:16

Any Ab exercise in the routine? I can't find, sorry newbie here.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 03/15/2022 - 17:53
Antony
Posted on: Sun, 02/06/2022 - 18:33

Any advice on what to eat whilst doing this program as I struggle with eating healthy but want to change my lifestyle and get in shape?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 02/09/2022 - 19:33

Hello, Antony! Thanks for choosing this program and for the question. What's your main priority right now? I want to make sure I point you in the right direction.

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 02/17/2022 - 18:33

Got it. Then this article will be a great starting point.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/expert-guides/fat-loss

Antony
Posted on: Fri, 02/11/2022 - 20:55

Hi Roger, I’d like to lose weight whilst toning up

Bodii
Posted on: Fri, 01/21/2022 - 13:00

Please Tell me after 6 week what's a change should i do in this routine? my goal is gain .. right
+ and why it shouldn't be a regular long-term?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/24/2022 - 17:40

It is a lot of work you're doing, and after six weeks, your body could use the extra time to recover. Furthermore, training that long and hard will eventually diminish the potential you have for building muscle.

After six weeks, switch to this one.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/5-day-muscle-and-strength-bui...

Bodii
Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:38

For example ..
When I exercise the chest muscle, it takes 72 hours to recover !
In this routine, I do it every 48 hours. Will this routine help my recovery?
Or is this system not for Naturals?

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:49

Hi, Bodii. Natural people can do this workout for a few weeks, but it shouldn't be a regular long-term program. After 4-6 weeks, a change would be necessary. As for the recover, the extra volume may help promote muscle growth, so long as you eat properly and get adequate sleep.

Bodii
Posted on: Tue, 01/18/2022 - 23:32

My goal is to gain muscle
Also, I am not a beginner, however, I did not gain muscles due to inexperience and poor nutrition
What should I do, and how will I gain muscle even though I am not a beginner

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 01/21/2022 - 17:53

Start here, Bodii. This link will help you learn more about gaining mass the right way.

https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/complete-guide-how-to-increas...

You also may not want to take on a workout with this much volume. You may want something that doesn't require as much gym time. How many days a week can you train per week?

Bodii
Posted on: Fri, 01/21/2022 - 22:11

6 days:)

Bodii
Posted on: Fri, 01/21/2022 - 22:13

I chose this type of training to try to gain as much mass as possible
I want to hit all my muscles twice a week

Bodii
Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:49

Well ..
I should not exercise more than 60 minutes in the gym
How can I train chest, back and leg in one day for 60 minutes?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 01/17/2022 - 17:46

There are exceptions to every rule, Bodii. For this program, going for 90 minutes would be okay.

Answering your other question here as well. After six weeks, go back to something that has a lot less volume. Let me know what your main goal is, and I will find a recommendation for you.

Alexz
Posted on: Thu, 01/13/2022 - 03:23

Is this the real training of Arnold ??

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Roger
Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2022 - 11:48

Hello, Alexz! Obviously Arnold didn't just follow one program throughout his career, but at one time he did do these workouts. They are from one of his books.

Chucky
Posted on: Mon, 01/10/2022 - 10:42

Hey i had a quick question on what weight to use for the bigger muscle group exercises, is there a percentage to use? Or is it by feel

Thanks

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 01/14/2022 - 18:46

Go by feel, Chucky. As you gain experience, you'll figure out how to gauge the weight to you.

JLM
Posted on: Sat, 01/08/2022 - 20:05

Many other routines might make you stronger, but this is the one that also changes your body makeup -- gives you a V-taper, depth to your chest and back, and a tangible increase to your arms' and thighs' measurements. It has an uncanny way of relieving the soreness of one body part by working out another the next day.

I've come back to the Arnold Split many times over the years. One suggestion-- get a copy of his _New Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding_. This website's version shows an Advanced form of his routine, but there's also a Basic one where you work each body part for eight sets across two exercises (lower body is still intense on its own day). Sets are 15 (warmup) - 10 - 8 - 6. The Basic is easily done in about a 60-75min. And as a guy in my mid-40's, I usually rest after lower body on day 3; six days in a row is too intense.

Dante
Posted on: Sun, 11/21/2021 - 10:45

I’m a big fan of variation one. My only issue is triceps. I feel like my triceps are always burning. Chest shoulders and arm days. I’m thinking of doing chest and back, shoulders triceps and legs and biceps repeat with a day off after the three days. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks Don

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/22/2021 - 18:58

Hey Dante, thanks for the comment. Let me ask a couple of questions so I can offer the best suggestion. Have you ever injured your triceps in the past? Also, are you locking out every rep on your presses?

Dante
Posted on: Tue, 11/23/2021 - 13:29

I don’t have an injury. I lockout probably more on barbell bench flat and incline and trying not lockout as much. I find myself muscle soreness ion triceps after arm days shoulders and after chest days. I absolutely want to continue working out chest and back on the same day. I may split legs and biceps the next day and shoulders triceps following and then a day off. This would give me a day in between push workouts.

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Roger
Posted on: Tue, 11/23/2021 - 19:31

Thanks for the info.

Going forward, no lockouts on any presses. Stop just short to keep tension where it matters. This will minimize triceps recruitment. This goes for chest and shoulders.

When you train triceps, reduce the weight slightly and focus on consistent rep speed. Not saying you're doing anything wrong, but the reduction in volume could help. The day off between push workouts will certainly be beneficial as well.

Armando
Posted on: Sat, 10/30/2021 - 15:51

Barbell lunge 15 reps each side on workout #2?

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Roger
Posted on: Mon, 11/01/2021 - 19:16

Yes, Armando.

Frank F
Posted on: Tue, 09/28/2021 - 14:53

The elephant in the room with this article and may I say a great article it is. Is there's no mention of the steroids he was taking hence why he was able to do so much volume training and put on his so much size, put then again they were all using so it an even playing field much like today.

Lasse
Posted on: Sun, 09/26/2021 - 12:56

Maybe if you are a pro with the genetics from God himself. For everybody else its just pure stupidity.
5x5 after a good warmup, if done correct, is plenty enought for 99 % of the human race. Trust me!

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

I changed it to the following routine
Back,arms,abs
Legs,chest,shoulders
Back,arms,abs
Legs,chest,shoulders
Back,arms,abs
Legs,chest,shoulders

tom
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.