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Arnold Split 101: The #1 Golden Era Workout For Mass And Strength

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the most famous bodybuilder of all time. However, to understand how he became one of the greatest players in history, you have to see how he got there. It wasn’t with some weak 1-hour workout, it was with his legendary Arnold split.

Arnold’s training tenacity and his training splits have made him so dominant in bodybuilding. In this article, we will explain what the Arnold split is and how he trained to become the undisputed champion.

Arnold Split: The History

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30th, 1947, in Austria, and began lifting in 1960. Arnold’s father was an athlete who aspired for his sons to be Bavarian curling champions one day. We’d like to believe that Arnold considerably exceeded his father’s expectations.

Arnold realized he wanted to focus on bodybuilding when he was 14-15 years old, despite the fact that he was already involved in a variety of sports. He began going to a gym in Graz, Austria, where he met Kurt Marnul, the former Mr. Austria, in 1961. Arnold was taken under Marnul’s wing and began training at the local gym. Over the next few years, Schwarzenegger put in a lot of work and committed to lifting.

He was so dedicated, that when he was in the Austrian army, he went AWOL to attend a bodybuilding competition.

Arnold and Bodybuilding

After being voted Europe’s best-built man, Arnold’s name was becoming increasingly well-known in the bodybuilding community. He had watched great Hollywood movies in Graz since he was a boy, and decided to come to the United States one day. He realized that winning the Mr. Universe title was his best chance of getting into the United States. He travelled to London in 1966 to compete in the NABBA Mr. Universe competition, where he finished second to American Chester Yorton. Arnold drew the attention of one of the judges, Charles Bennet, at this competition. Bennet promised to instruct Schwarzenegger and practically took him under his wing. He even let him train at one of his gyms.

Arnold’s training began to become honed in about this period. His legs were less defined than his upper body, which cost him the competition in 1966. As a result, Bennet set to work putting out a training regimen to assist Arnold in improving his weak areas.

We call this the Arnold split.

Arnold contested and won his first Mr. Universe (amateur) title a year later, at the age of 20, making him the youngest person to do so. He went on to win the title for the next three years. Arnold moved to the United States in 1968 to pursue his ambition of training at the famed Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. He began his training here with Joe Weider, one of the most well-known figures in bodybuilding history. Arnold earned his first Mr. Olympia title in New York at the age of 23. He won the title a total of seven times, the most recent being in 1980.

Arnold had an incredible career in bodybuilding, and is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest of all time.

What Is The Arnold Split?

arnold split

The Arnold split is a 6 day workout that hits every muscle group in your body twice a week.

DayLifts to do
Chest/BackBench Press: 12,10,8,6
Incline bench press: 12,10,8,6
SUPERSET:
Chest flyes: 4x8-12
Dumbbell pullovers: 4x8-12

Wide grip chin ups: 4xamap
Barbell rows 12,10,8,6
Superset:
T-bar rows: 4x8-12
Lat pushdowns: 4x8-12

Abs (your choice)
ArmsMilitary press: 12,10,8,6
Superset:
Overhead press: 4x8-12
Lateral raises: 4x8-12
Superset:
Frontal raises: 4x8-12
Rear delt flyes: 4x8-12

Barbell curls: 12.10,8,6
Superset:
Dumbbell curls: 4x8-12
Concentration curls: 4x8-12

Skull crushers: 12,10,8,6
Superset:
Katana tricep extension: 4x8-12
Tricep pulldowns: 4x8-12

Forearm curls 4x8-12

Abs
LegsBarbell back squats: 12,10,8,6
Good mornings: 4x8-12
Lunges: 4x8-12
Superset:
Leg extensions: 4x8-12
Hamstring extensions: 4x8-12

Abs
Chest/BackBench Press: 12,10,8,6
Incline bench press: 12,10,8,6
SUPERSET:
Chest flyes: 4x8-12
Dumbbell pullovers: 4x8-12

Wide grip chin ups: 4xamap
Barbell rows 12,10,8,6
Superset:
T-bar rows: 4x8-12
Lat pushdowns: 4x8-12

Abs (your choice)
ArmsMilitary press: 12,10,8,6
Superset:
Overhead press: 4x8-12
Lateral raises: 4x8-12
Superset:
Frontal raises: 4x8-12
Rear delt flyes: 4x8-12

Barbell curls: 12.10,8,6
Superset:
Dumbbell curls: 4x8-12
Concentration curls: 4x8-12

Skull crushers: 12,10,8,6
Superset:
Katana tricep extension: 4x8-12
Tricep pulldowns: 4x8-12

Forearm curls 4x8-12

Abs
LegsBarbell back squats: 12,10,8,6
Good mornings: 4x8-12
Lunges: 4x8-12
Superset:
Leg extensions: 4x8-12
Hamstring extensions: 4x8-12

Abs

Arnold says, “the last three months before a competition you have to shock the muscles, shock the muscle and shock the muscles with different training principles.”

Make your flaws known and get rid of your weaknesses. He claims that one of the most common mistakes bodybuilders make these days is failing to perform the fundamental routines of shocking the muscle.

Arnold Workout Tips and Tricks

arnold split

Maximum Intensity

Arnold was a big believer in going 100% on all reps of all sets. He often comments about people that focus too much on the workload ahead of them. Therefore, making it easy on the early sets and reps to make sure there’s enough in the tank to complete the desired work. If you struggle to lift with good intensity, try taking a high quality pre workout to boost your energy levels.

Supersetting

Arnold was known for using the superset method with a variety of workouts. When you do supersets, you complete two distinct exercises back-to-back with no break in between. On chest days, he’d superset dumbbell flys and dumbbell/barbell pullovers, for example. Arnold was known for training using supersets of chest and back exercises to get a lot of lifting done in a short amount of time while also increasing muscular density by working opposing muscle groups at the same time.

Pyramid Sets (1-10 Method)

Arnold would find a weight that he could lift with maximum effort for one rep in a pyramid set (1-10 method). Then he’d reduce the weight just enough to get two reps, then repeat the process until he reached ten reps. This is done without rest aside from changing weights.

Drop Sets

arnold split

Arnold utilized drop sets regularly in his training, however he didn’t always follow the traditional method of decreasing 20-25 percent of each set’s entire weight. Instead, following his final working session, he had his lifting partners remove the weights. Drop setting is done by stripping weights down as far as possible.

Extended Range Of Motion

Arnold trained a number of exercises through an extended range of motion so that he could stretch the muscle fibers under tension as much as possible. He believed that working through an exaggerated range of motion led to superior gains and helped him keep his muscles strong.

How To Eat To Look Like Arnold

arnold split

Arnold would generally eat 5-6 well balanced clean meals a day. He wouldn’t eat any processed bs that we have nowadays, he ate WHOLE foods. If you can, make sure everything you eat is organic and not processed.

Arnold would take cheat days once every couple weeks, however I don’t recommend you do this at first. Only once you’ve got a greek god like physique you can take a cheat day, but limit it to once every two weeks.

Schwarzenegger would also eat tons of protein, sticking to the rule of 1 gram of protein per lb bodyweight. You can also go over and I recommend you do especially in a cutting phase.

Arnold Split And Steroids?

arnold split

Did Arnold take steroids? Yes. He did. Regardless on what your opinion is on doping, you can’t get to the size and strength of Arnold without hopping on some sort of sauce. Back in the 60s and 70s when Schwarzenegger competed, roids were completely legal. Arnold took a good amount of dbol to get to his elite physique.

Nowadays, I don’t recommend you take powerful steroids just because of the negative side effects down the road. If you did want to juice, I recommend doing SARMs. To learn more about them in depth, you can read my full SARM guide here.

SARMs basically have steroid like effects without 99% of the side effects. To give you an idea, it does 90% of what testosterone does but with only 1% of the side effects of that particular roid. They have a very good anabolic to androgenic ratio (potency to side effects).

Because there’s so many scammy SARM companies out there, I recommend you get SARMs from Rats Army.

Want A Full Workout Routine?

6 day gym workout schedule

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It’s SPECIFICALLY designed to get you a greek god like physique that is guaranteed to turn heads and earn you respect. This is the #1 way to ensure that you’ll get ripped in 3 months, even if you’ve never been to the gym.

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