​Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine To Become Mr Olympia Is The Stuff Of Nightmares

When Monday rolls around, there's a collective sigh across the world as everyone braces themselves for a week of 'being good'. There are plans to go to the gym every day, healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner to make up for all that pizza you smashed at the weekend, no booze, early nights...

Of course, let's face, it - it normally only lasts until Wednesday if you're lucky.

But there are mere mortals like us, and then there's Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made a career out of being a total beefcake, as detailed in the absolute gem of a documentary that was Pumping Iron.

Before he was being all badass on screen in the likes of The Terminator, Total Recall and, erm, Kindergarten Cop, Arnie made his name as the seven-time Mr Olympia (1970-75 and 1980) - and as you'd expect, the workout routine to get there is about as gruelling as you'd imagine.

According to Muscle and Strength, his 16-week workout saw him pump iron six days a week for 60-75 minutes a pop. The aim? To build BARE muscle, of course.

The workout, which was created by Steve Shaw, as two possible variations. Credit: PA
The workout, which was created by Steve Shaw, as two possible variations. Credit: PA

The workout, which was created by Steve Shaw, has two possible variations.

VARIATION ONE

Days one and four: chest and back

Chest (bench press, incline bench press and dumbbell pullovers - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Back (chin up, bent over row and deadlift - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Abs (crunches - 25 reps, 5 sets)

Days two and five: shoulders and arms

Shoulders (barbell clean and press, dumbbell lateral raise, upright row and military press - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Arms (standing barbell curl, seated barbell curl, close grip bench press and standing barbell tricep extension - 10 reps, 3-4 sets),

Forearms (wrist curls and reverse wrist curls - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Abs (reverse crunch - 25 reps, 5 sets)

Days three and six: legs and lower back

Legs (squat, lunch and leg curl - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Lower back (stiff leg deadlift and 'good mornings' - 10 reps, 3-4 sets),

Calves (standing calf raise - 10 reps, 3-4 sets)

Abs (crunches - 25 reps, 5 sets)

VARIATION TWO

Days one, three and five: chest, back and legs

Chest (bench press and dumbbell flye - 6-10 reps, 5 sets; incline bench press - 6-10 reps, 6 sets; cable crossovers - 10-12 reps, 6 sets; dips - reps until failure, 5 sets; and dumbbell pullover - 10-12 reps, 5 sets)

Back (wide grip pull up - reps until failure, 6 sets; T-bar row and one-arm dumbbell row - 6-10 reps, 5 sets; seated pulley row - 6-10 reps, 6 sets; stiff leg deadlift - 15 reps, 6 sets)

Legs (squat and leg press - 8-12 reps, 6 sets; leg extension - 12-15 reps, 6 sets; leg curl - 10-15 reps, 6 sets; barbell lunge - 15 reps, 5 sets)

Calves (standing calf raise - 10 reps, 10 sets; seated calf raise - 15 reps, 8 sets; one leg dumbbell calf raise - 12 reps, 6 sets)

Forearms (wrist curl - 10 reps, 4 sets; reverse barbell curl - 10 reps, 4 sets; wrist roller machine - reps until failure, 4 sets)

Abs (non-stop abs training - reps 'by instinct', 30 mins)

Days two, four and six: shoulders and arms

Biceps (barbell curl, seated dumbbell curl and dumbbell concetration curl - 6-10 reps, 6 sets)

Triceps (close grip bench press, tricep pushdown, barbell French press and one-arm dumbbell tricep extension - 6-10 reps, 6 sets)

Shoulders (seated barbell press and lateral raise - 6-10 reps, 6 sets; rear delt lateral raise - 6-10 reps, 5 sets; cable lateral raise - 10-12 reps, 5 sets)

Calves (standing calf raise - 10 reps, 10 sets; seated calf raise - 15 reps, 8 sets; one leg dumbbell calf raise - 12 reps, 6 sets)

Forearms (wrist curl - 10 reps, 6 sets; reverse barbell curl - 8 reps, 4 sets; wrist roller machine - reps until failure, 4 sets)

Abs (non-stop abs training - reps 'by instinct', 30 mins)

via GIPHY

In terms of his diet, Arnie would eat up to 5,000 calories a day, with 5-6 feedings per day including three whole food meals and two-three whole food 'snacks'. Along with 300g+ of protein, he would eat carbs within 30 minutes of finishing a workout and drink protein shakes if needed.

Blimey, I'm exhausted just typing this out. I think I'm gonna stick to my sack-it-all-off-by-Wednesday routine... I may not be the vision of health, but it does mean I can go to the pub mid-week, and that's all l really care about.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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