Before making his name in Hollywood, Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the top bodybuilders in the world, a two-time Mr. Olympia and seven-time Mr. Universe winner.
As a powerlifter and competitive bodybuilder, it was all about arms for Schwarzenegger.
While Schwarzenegger’s training methods were firmly rooted in bodybuilding tradition, he possessed an innovative spirit that led him to explore new options whenever they presented themselves.
Here’s a blueprint of his workout routine that you can incorporate into your schedule to build bigger arms.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm workout routine
When Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his prime, his guns were his calling cards. The actor’s focus on his biceps reflected his larger-than-life attitude toward bodybuilding. He did up to 20 sets per workout for his biceps, split evenly between mass builders and muscle-defining exercises.
Schwarzenegger’s arm workout includes the following exercises:
1) Barbell Curl
The barbell curl is one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite exercises. He performs them standing up, keeping his elbows close to his sides. You can do four sets of this exercise with 10-12 reps (rest 90 seconds).
Rope curls do more than just your regular curls. They add strength and size to your biceps, help build up the forearms and allow for a heavier workload. They also allow for an intense peak contraction of your biceps at the midpoint of the curl.
Here’s how to do the barbell curl correctly:
- Stand with your torso upright, barbell shoulder width apart, elbows to the side.
- Start by holding still as you breathe out, curl the barbell towards your shoulders.
- Bring the barbell back to start and repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
2) The EZ-bar skullcrusher
The EZ-bar skullcrusher is a popular workout for strengthening the tricep muscles. The bar should come down behind the head, not in front of it, as the name implies. It is commonly done as part of an upper-body or arms-focused workout for moderate to high reps.
You can do four sets of this exercise with 10-12 reps (rest 90 seconds).
Using an EZ-bar is one of the best ways to build bigger, stronger triceps. In fact, it may even be easier on your wrists than using a straight bar. You can be effective with relatively light weights if you use proper form.
Here’s how to do the EZ-bar skullcrusher correctly:
- In a lying position on a flat bench, grab an e-z bar with a medium overhand grip.
- Tuck your elbows into your sides; keep the upper arms stationary and perpendicular to the floor.
- Slowly lower the bar toward your forehead as you breathe in, then back up to the starting position as you breathe out.
- Do this exercise for the recommended number of times.
3) Alternate dumbbell curl
This is another classic exercise that Arnold Schwarzenegger swears by.
The alternating dumbbell curl is an effective single-joint exercise for working one arm at a time to increase the size of your biceps. This exercise, which may be done seated or standing, is popular among gym enthusiasts of all levels of experience.
You can do 10-12 reps of the alternating dumbbell curl with no break between sets and one minute between exercise.
Here’s how to do the alternate dumbbell curl correctly:
- It doesn’t matter if you start with your left or right hand to begin this workout. Choose a favorite.
- You’ll raise your hand and rotate it upwards as you do so. Squeeze the biceps muscle.
- When you’re on the negative, spin your hand back to the neutral position, which is the start position.
- Then you move on to the opposite arm.
- Come up, rotate your palms up (this is known as supination), and then return to neutral.
4) Tricep Extension
The tricep extension is a single-muscle workout that targets the rear of the upper arm and helps you gain bigger arms.
The triceps muscle is divided into three heads: the long head, lateral head, and medial head. To extend the forearm at the elbow joint, the three heads work together.
You can perform four sets of this exercise with 10-12 reps (rest 1 minute).
Here’s how to do the tricep extension correctly:
- With the dumbbell directly overhead, keep your chest aligned with your hips, core tight, and shoulders relaxed.
- Bend at the elbows until the weight is behind your head, the chest is aligned with the hips, and the back is flat.
- Slowly lower the weight to its starting position until your elbows are bent 90 degrees or slightly more.
- Do not allow the weight to touch your head when in the lowest position. Lift it back to the first position.
5) Feet-elevated bench dip
The feet-elevated bench dip is a well-known bodyweight exercise that targets the triceps, chest, and shoulders.
Elevating the feet allows for increased chest and shoulder movement while also putting more weight on the hips. If doing this exercise on a single bench bothers your shoulders, consider doing it between two benches or chairs.
Here’s how to do the feet-elevated bench dip correctly:
- To do this exercise, you will need to stand in front of a bench positioned behind your back.
- Stand perpendicular to the bench, and with your arms extended out to each side at shoulder width.
- Next, bend your waist and knees until there is a 90° angle between your upper arms and forearms.
- Tip: Keep both elbows close to your body throughout the exercise. From this position, lift yourself back up and repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biceps pump routine is perfect for the intermediate-to-advanced bodybuilder who wants to pack on serious size. The actor has used it consistently throughout his career.
You can use his workout to achieve similar results, but remember to start with a lighter weight if you want to prevent injury.
Also be sure to drink plenty of protein after your workout – as many experts suggest – in order to promote genuine muscle growth.
Q. Would you try this workout?!