Tag Archives: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Routine

Mon. & Thu.

  • Bench Press
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Incline Press
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Pullover
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Chin-Ups
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Bent Over Rows
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Deadlifts
    • /10 /6 /4
  • Crunches
    • 5×25

Tue. & Fri.

  • Barbell Clean and Press
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Heavy Upright Rows
    • /10 6 4
  • Push Presses
    • /6 /4 /2
  • Standing Barbell  Curls
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Seated Dumbbell Curls
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Close-Grip Press
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Standing Triceps Extensions with Barbell
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Wrist Curls
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Reverse Wrist Curls
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Reverse Crunches
    • 5×25

Wed. & Sat.

  • Squats
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Lunges
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Leg Curls
    • /15 /10 /8 /6
  • Standing Calf Raises
    • 5×15
  • Straight-leg Deadlifts
    • /10 /6 /4
  • Good Mornings
    • /10 /6 /4

Is it Possible to Expand Your Ribcage?

A debate still exists whether it is possible to expand your rib cage as an adult. I am not sure why this debate even exists today as the principles governing our physiology have become common knowledge.

Before I start to explain how it is possible I first need to express why there is an interest in such a thing. Most people want big arms and a big chest not a large rib cage. Having a large rib cage is important in bodybuilding for various poses such as the side chest pose. There needs to be a solid foundation for inches of serrated pectoral muscle to rest on, as well as fully developed serratus anterior.

The second reason is the bench press. The bigger rib cage you have the less distance the bar has to travel to reach your chest. If you have experience with the floor press you will know that some people come close to touching their chest in this exercise. Also, If you have ever bulked up 30 or 40 lbs you would have also noticed the distance between the barbell and the chest in the floor press.

These two reasons are enough to understand why there is a whole world of expertise on this subject. A one inch difference in the bench press could add 50 lbs to someone’s max bench press.

As you build the muscles of the chest everything grows in tandem with it including the pectoralis major and minor, intercostal muscles, and serratus anterior. And with it so does the rib cage.

If you re one of those people that don’t think ribs can get larger here is a thought for you to meditate on. If I were to train my legs and increase my upper legs from 23″ to 33″ do you not think the femur would have increased in diameter especially considering your squat must have increased from 300 to 900 lbs. Of course your femur would have increased in diameter, as well as the ligaments, tendons, and all connective tissue around each joint.

As the muscles of the chest and back become larger the rib cage expands. This happens regardless of the exercises chosen just as long as the end result is muscular hypertrophy. However, it is no secret that some exercises are more specific for the purpose of rib cage expansion, such as the pullover.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been quoted as saying, “You will not believe the ache in the sternum that this movement will produce!” He attributed the pullover as responsible for his large rib cage. At the end of his chest/back super-set routine he would always finish with multiple sets of pullovers in which he would lie cross-ways over a bench allowing his hips to drop as he took a deep breath and lower the weight stretching the intercostal muscles as much as possible.

If the greatest champion bodybuilder of all time claims to have used this method to expand his rib cage why does a debate over the possibility of rib cage expansion exist? Take the advice of someone who has developed a 58″ chest and ignore the naysayers.

Build a Chest Like a Fortress


If you want a chest that looks like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Franco Columbu you need to abide by the same training philosophies they did. Their chest workouts consisted of multiple sets of presses following by a stretching exercise for the chest such as dumbbell flyes. Although this may sound basic it happens to be the most widely used style of chest training in the sport of Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.

Franco Columbu contributed 95% of his chest developments to chest presses done at varying angels in the incline, flat, and decline barbell and dumbbell presses. He claimed all the other auxiliary exercises contributed to the other 5%.

A chest workout consisting of 95% presses is ideal for Powerlifters. The only difference is that a Powerlifter would specialize, obviously, in the flat barbell bench presses and consider other conjugate exercise such as the floor press or pin press an addition to less frequently performed incline and decline presses.

The priority of all chest workouts is that presses are to be performed first unless using some other advanced training principle such as muscle confusion where exercises often are performed in reverse order within a workout.

Presses are always done first as they are the meat and potatoes of your program. You need to have full energy and be able to exert maximal impact squeezing out every last inch potentially with the help of a spotter.

After you have finished traumatizing the chest with presses and the muscles are tight, it is time to stretch them out. The other remaining 5% of your chest workout should not be overlooked. 5% can be the difference between champions and those who tried their best.

It is important to remember that these exercises are not intended to build size and strength. If you were going to try doing the splits would you use a 180lbs dumbbell? The same principle applies to other stretching exercise for the chest such as the dumbbell flye, cable crossover, and lying dumbbell pullover across a bench. These exercises are used to stretch the chest and lengthen the muscles. Longer muscles beds equal bigger muscles.

The ideal chest workout is a process of trial and error and is a bit different for everyone depending on your goals, strengths and weaknesses. However, keeping in mind that 95% of chest development can be acquired through pressing exercises, this should be reflected in your workout.

Remember to start with heavy barbell presses (incline, flat, decline) before moving to dumbbell presses and once the muscles are completely fatigued worrying about other auxiliary exercises for the chest. Don’t be one of the morons who tears their pecs trying to do heavy dumbbells flyes. Instead, use that energy to do several extra sets of presses.

German Volume Training


German volume training involves performing 10 sets x 10 reps of any given exercise with short rest intervals and light weight. The name originates where it became popular in German speaking countries back in bodybuilding’s golden age.

This type of training has been around for decades and is sometimes disguised. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger employed high volume training in which he worked his entire body in two days performing hundreds of sets often taking several hours each day to complete. Although Arnold didn’t follow a prescribed number of sets and reps his philosophy was to remain in a constant state of overtraining with high volume training.

German volume training traditionally follows a 10 x 10 pattern which is easy to remember and can have a placebo effect if you believe in the numbers.

One of the most basic 10 x 10 routines I have done in the past involves using three exercises performed three times a week with a day’s rest in-between. The three exercises are back squats, bench press, and barbell row.

The 10,10,10 Routine.

Start with a weight that you can only perform 15-20 repetitions with. Complete two sets resting no longer than 60 secs and drop the weight 10 lbs every second set. Be sure to have extra 5 lbs and 10 lbs plates handy as changing the weight between each set in less than 60 seconds can be challenging.

I also recommend not using collars on the bar given that you are proficient in these three exercises and don’t bother with a belts or knee wraps. You won’t have time to put them on between sets and not advisable to wear throughout your entire workout.

For example, if you can bench 200 lbs for 15-20 reps you would start with this weight but only perform 10 reps, rest 60 seconds, and then do another 10 reps. Drop the weight down 10 lbs and repeat the process until you have completed all ten sets. Rest 5 minutes and go on to the next exercise. Perform squats first, bench press second, and barbell rows last.

The major advantages of this workout are intensity and time saved. The workout is fast paced and your muscles will be burning before you have completed the sixth of set on each exercise. You will also be in and out of the gym within an hour and have completely trained your entire body.

Also, remember this is an advanced technique in which you push yourself to the limit each workout. Expect to be sore the next day but don’t be afraid to train again when you are sore. Spend a few extra minutes warming up.

When I did this program I noticed an increase of about ¼ inch on my quads each week. Some expert claims the average person can gain as much as 10 lbs of muscle mass within the first 6 weeks of training.

One note of caution! This type of training will initially produce tremendous results from the stress placed on your body. However, German Volume training is usually only recommended for a period of 6 to 12 weeks before reaching burn out. All good things come to an end and if you continue to remain with this program beyond 12 weeks the results you obtain simply won’t be there. My advice is to switch to a different style of training for about the same period of time before switching back.

Vision – Arnold Schwarzenegger


“I saw myself very clearly, and I was so convinced that if I started training up to five hours a day like a fanatic, believing, that one day I will get there. When people saw me working out five hours a day, smiling, having a great time they all thought this guy must be crazy but I couldn’t wait to lift another 500 pounds, I couldn’t wait to do another 100 chin ups, I couldn’t wait to do another 1,000 sit ups because every day, every step of the way, every weight I lifted was taking me one step closer to turning this vision into a reality.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Supersets for Superman Muscles


Joe Weider’s superset training principle involves working two antagonistic muscle groups back to back without any rest. Supersets increase the vasculature of muscles as blood is pumped into one muscle group and then pulled out in order to be pumped into the antagonistic muscle group.

The physiological benefits of blood being pumped in and out of the muscles are not completely known. Arnold Schwarzenegger referred to this phenomenon as “The Pump” and used superset training extensively in his training. The most popular common antagonist muscle groups trained are: chest and back, biceps, and triceps, quads and hamstrings.

The most effective supersets training are volume programs. In order to generate a physiological adaptation the volume of work needs to be quantified and recorded. Submaximal weights are often used so a prescribed number of sets and reps can be performed.

The amount of rest between sets also needs to be timed and recorded. For example, you might start with rest intervals of 30 seconds and then as you begin to add weight overtime you might be allowing yourself to unknowingly rest longer. Most mobile devices have timers that can be set or you can use your wrist watch.

Overtime you can slowly add weight to both exercises or decrease the amount of rest between sets to progressively overload the muscles.

Legends – Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Not every legend is a myth. Some are flesh and blood. Some legends walk among us, but they are not born – they’re built. Legends are made out of iron and sweet, mind and muscle, blood and vision, and victory. Legends are champions that grow, they win, they conquer. There is a legend behind every legacy. There is a blue print behind every legend.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger