Arnold Schwarzenegger Volume Workout Routines

Steve Shaw
Written By: Steve Shaw
January 12th, 2020
Updated: March 24th, 2021
Categories: Workouts Celebrity
5.7M 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
  • Training Level
  • Program Duration16 weeks
  • Days Per Week
  • 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.

Henry Goering
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 16:43

Hello, I am currently standing at 6,1 170 lbs i was wondering how much I need to eat in order to build significant muscle so I can start competing. I know for my height it has been hard to maintain a good balance of muscle weight and i feel like i am wasting time in the gym because of my diet. Any suggestions on how I can maximize muscle growth for my height?

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Posted on: Sat, 06/03/2023 - 15:34
Adam Murray
Posted on: Sat, 05/27/2023 - 13:30

Can I do this plan on a cut 2300 calories 103 kg 180g protein

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Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:27

Hi, Adam. I actually suggest going up to 200 grams of protein, so 2400 calories would be better. This is a lot of volume, and your body will need all the protein you can feed it. You might also need carbs for fuel if you find yourself struggling, so don't be afraid to add fruit in before you train. 2,500 calories at the high end should be all you need if you sleep well and make the most out of the time away from the gym.

Posted on: Thu, 05/25/2023 - 13:03

Hi there, is this program suitable for female bodybuilders and also do I have to split up variant 2 between two seperate workouts in that day or can I do just one workout? Time isn't a factor, I'm just worrying about keeping energy and intensity going. Would perhaps eating carbs halfway through the workout help to keep that energy up?

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Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:29

Hi, Valeria. Female bodybuilders can certainly do it, but I do suggest the two separate workouts so you have that break in between for recovery and preparation for round two. EAA's and a carb source such as Vitargo would be a big help. The toll will be as much mental as it is physical. Make sure you lock in before you train because by the end, you're going to be pushing yourself when you might just want to call it a day. Good luck, and thanks for reading M&S!

Posted on: Wed, 05/17/2023 - 10:54

I am starting this workout to tone muscle and turn fat into muscle. I am six foot 4 and 340lbs I don't look overweight but I feel it. should I add more cardio until I start feeling more comfortable? What should my diet be for turning fat into muscle?

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Wed, 05/31/2023 - 08:26

Hi, LV! As you progress, then yes, add cardio in slowly by doing it either first thing in the morning, or after training. Within three months, you might be able to do both. As for the diet, protein should be high, healthy fats should be moderate, and don't be scared of carbs. This guide may help you out.

And yes, others that read this, fat doesn't turn into muscle, but I knew what LV meant, so that is why I answered the question the way I did.

Posted on: Thu, 05/11/2023 - 14:01

Can I just stick with variant 1# or do I have to move to 2# when I get more comfortable??

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Posted on: Mon, 05/15/2023 - 15:45

If you want to keep seeing results, then you should bump up to #2 when you feel comfortable. Eventually, you'll get used to #1 and the improvements will come slower, if at all.

Posted on: Wed, 04/12/2023 - 01:08

How long should I really rest between each sets?

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Posted on: Tue, 04/18/2023 - 13:13

Shoot for two minutes.

Joe Corr
Posted on: Sun, 04/02/2023 - 13:59

If you can’t do chin ups at first I recommend high weight lay pull downs or renegade rows great alternatives until you can hit chin ups

Posted on: Wed, 02/22/2023 - 18:07

How long should I do workout variation one before I switch to workout variation 2?

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Posted on: Sun, 02/26/2023 - 21:59

You can either alternate weeks or do one for up to four weeks, then switch to the other.

Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2023 - 08:32

Ok, thanks. Typically, how long should these routines last per session? It seems to take me about 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours. I have shortened my rest time to be no more than 60 secs but the volume in these routines are alot.

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Posted on: Mon, 02/27/2023 - 15:09

That is about right. 90-120 minutes per session. Arnold had time to commit to longer workouts, and he felt the more volume served his physique better.

Posted on: Tue, 02/14/2023 - 12:00

I am 62 years old and lifted weights on and off for most of my life. I have been working out steady now for two years. Is working out upper body every day good for me? It seems that at my age the recovery for these work-outs may not be good for me. I work out hard now but I have become stagnant in my muscle growth. Also, is it better to do bi-ceps and back on one day and chest, shoulders and tri-ceps on the other day?

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Posted on: Thu, 02/16/2023 - 16:40

This is an extreme program that may not be for everybody. I would suggest something with less volume for you.

The back/bis and chest/shoulders/tris could help you, but some people don't see the same results. I do think it would be worth you taking it for a test run.

Clare Alan-Waller
Posted on: Mon, 01/16/2023 - 02:37

Hi, eldest son is following this plan, been doing it for about a month. Quick question - you work out for 6 days a week - would you recommend the same time each day? Sometimes he works out at 5pm and is back in the gym @ 8am the following morning. Concerned he’s not giving himself enough time to recover. Thanks

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Posted on: Mon, 01/23/2023 - 13:27

How old is your eldest son? If he's a teenager or very young adult, then he may not need something of this much intensity to get results.

Second, how much is he eating? If he's sleeping well and eating big, then his recovery may be ok.

To answer your main question, yes, same time of day would be best. These workouts are high volume, and the more consistent he can be, the better.

Posted on: Sat, 01/14/2023 - 10:41

Are lunges 10 reps on each leg?

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Posted on: Sun, 01/15/2023 - 10:51


Posted on: Wed, 12/14/2022 - 13:55

Is it a bad idea to run this while cutting on -500 deficit ? (I'm early intermediate lifter)

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Posted on: Thu, 12/22/2022 - 06:30

I don't recommend it. You need every quality calorie you can take in on this one. As you become an advanced lifter, and you know your body better, then maybe.

Posted on: Mon, 11/14/2022 - 00:35

Is the first workout variation supposed to be done with progressive overload? I’m a little confused because it says to try to reach failure on your first set. I don’t know if i’m supposed to keep the same weight or not during sets.

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Posted on: Sat, 11/19/2022 - 09:27

Same weight for all sets unless you don't reach failure within 10 reps.

Posted on: Mon, 11/07/2022 - 22:54

Hi my name is nathan and ive been working out for 2 years now i've changed my split a few times because I just didn't like them i still kinda use my other split but im using this one more and can i do variation 1 one week and then number 2 the follwing week and just switch off. Plus my prs are 265 bench 405 deadlift 315 back squat 200 power clean and i am 15 years old at 160 bodyweight.

Posted on: Sun, 10/23/2022 - 11:40


I am a beginner and have started my training past 4 months, where i am seeing changes but not very large chances, but my physique has chaned and got a good posture and slight increase in muscle but not that much. Now after seeing the 1st variant i am thinking that this might change and get huge muscle gain, also can you tell me how to change the reps and weights after each week in detail. It will be really helpful for me a lot.

thanks in advance and will be waiting for your response.

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Posted on: Mon, 10/24/2022 - 11:12

Hi, Mohith. If you're only been training four months, then this program is too advanced for you. Workouts with the volume that this one has will be hard for you to recover from because your body isn't experienced enough yet to handle it. I'd suggest something with less volume such as the HIT MASS Programs that are here on M&S.

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?

M&S Team Badge
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.

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

On the second variation is possible to reduce the sets

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 09/20/2022 - 16:12

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

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

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

M&S Team Badge
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?

M&S Team Badge
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.

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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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.

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

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

M&S Team Badge
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.

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!!!

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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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.

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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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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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!

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

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