Arnold Schwarzenegger Arm Workout
Arm training for Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn't simply about hitting the gym and doing a few finishing sets. Not Arnold.
He hit every body part with mind-numbing intensity and developed every muscle group to its maximum. To build the massive upper appendages that allowed him to win seven Olympia titles, Arnold employed every trick in the bodybuilding book.
What follows is a detailed look at what arm-training techniques Arnold employed, as well as two programs, one basic and one advanced, based on the Oak's methods. Use them to develop your own massive guns, if you're up to the task!
Arnold's Arm Training Principles
When aiming to build his arms, Arnold would use his brain and instincts as much as sheer strength. He advised all who aim for similar development to do the same. The following are some of the major principals he applied to arm training.
Aim For Equal Development
Arnold always believed that since the arms can be seen from all poses and from every conceivable angle, they should be trained from all angles.
"You don't develop championship-winning arms simply by throwing around a heavy barbell doing curls or blasting out some reps for triceps, " he said. Clear visible development between all muscle of the arms with equally full muscle bellies and perfect balance is what Arnold constantly sought.
To achieve balance, proportion, size and shape in the arms, work all arm muscles with equal intensity. Break the individual muscles of the arms down into separate categories. This is where planning your arm training routine is all-important.
Keep Things In Perspective
As such, Arnold suggested viewing your arm as being one-third biceps and two-thirds triceps, because while it is possible to hide your biceps in some poses, it is almost impossible to hide your triceps. Therefore, he advised, the triceps need to be trained from more angles. When training the triceps, use a variety of exercises to hit all three heads.
After training, Arnold was a lighthearted guy, but once in the gym he was all business. At no time was this more evident than when he trained his arms. Arnold would visualize what he wanted to achieve, believing that this would actually force gains in muscle size.
His visualization quote has been repeated countless times, but the image is vivid enough to deserve revisiting: "In my mind I saw my biceps as mountains, enormously huge, and I pictured myself lifting tremendous amounts of weight with these superhuman masses of muscle."
For anyone who wishes to gain boundless muscle size and shape, the power of the mind cannot be underestimated. It was Arnold's secret weapon in the fight for huge arms.
Shock The Muscles Into Change
Arnold always believed that the body was amazingly adaptable and could "accustom itself to workloads that would fell a horse."
Arnold advised "shocking" the arms by integrating tricks like switching up weight amounts, adding reps and sets, speeding up training so as to lift more forcefully, decreasing rest between sets, performing unfamiliar exercises, and doing your normal exercises in an unfamiliar order.
To meet the overarching goal of keeping the muscles constantly guessing as to what each new training stimulus will bring, he also advocated integrating "intensity methods" such as:
- Forced Reps: Forced reps are employed by having a training partner assist you with a final rep that would otherwise be impossible to achieve on your own. This method to shock the muscles should be used sparingly, perhaps once every second workout for one set per exercise.