If you’re a fitness person, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a little bit like that band you were really into in high school. You loved them before anyone else, and before they went mainstream. It’s not a bad thing they went mainstream, they’re just different.
Arnold hit it big because he got big. He is almost solely responsible for the fitness industry being what it is today. Arnold was the man, lest we forget, and there’s quite a bit we can learn from Arnold to incorporate into our own pursuit of poster worthy physiques.
Here are 8 Training Tips We Can Learn From Arnold:
- Cheat reps work.
Arnold employed cheat reps as a way for him to move past failure. This allowed him to get some extra stimulation for the muscle was working, which helped it to grow more. Arnold’s favorite strategy was performing curls until he couldn’t go anymore with perfect form, and then using a little body English to get the last 2-3 reps in.
Don’t hate on cheat reps. Maybe incorporating a few could take your training to the next level.
- For shoulders, nothing beats the overhead press.
Sometimes when trying to build big shoulders, we get too caught up in the unnecessary minutia. I think that’s probably a metaphor for life, or some other philosophical shit.
In worrying about performing lateral raises, rear delt flyes, and other moves we neglect the shit that really works. Arnold maintained that nothing worked better for overall shoulder mass than the overhead press, and Arnold was right.
Arnold loved working in presses at the beginning of his workout, and enjoyed pushing heavy weight. Take a page out of Arnold’s book, and start using plenty of presses in your shoulder workouts.
- In order to get big, you have to get strong.
It’s often forgotten that Arnold started off as a powerlifter, before quickly moving to bodybuilding. Arnold never lost his love of powerlifting, and lifting heavy ass weight though. Arnold maintained that a strong muscle is a big muscle, and trained that way.
If you want to get bigger, one surefire way to do that is to get stronger. This allows for more growth potential. And let’s be serious, lifting heavy as shit has a certain element of fun to it. For the record: Arnold was a 700+ lb deadlifter, and once bench 225 for 60 reps.
- It’s all about the angles, baby.
Much like your girlfriend probably enjoys different angles for different stimulation, your muscles do to. Arnold was well known for his desire to hit a muscle from various angles. Whether that meant switching up his pressing technique, how he performed curls, trained calves, or anything else. Arnold was a fan of playing with angles, and you should be too.
Switching up angles allows for greater stimulation of the muscle you’re working, and more growth. It also leads to a more developed and “fuller” looking muscle, which is never a bad thing.
- Alternate training volume and intensity.
Arnold had a pretty freaking brutal chest workout. One of them called for 26 different working sets of chest. In case you weren’t aware, that’s A LOT. Arnold also worked chest 3x a week. But Arnold didn’t do that same workout 3x a week.
Arnold liked to alternate between moderately heavy, and lighter days. He also alternated how many working sets he would use in a workout. He liked to do this in order to get more total training volume in, but also to work on a different stimulus, which allowed him to grow more.
- Work on your weakness.
When Arnold was first coming up he had legs and calves that lagged behind. This was partially because Arnold was long limbed fella, and long legs are hard to build. He could’ve decided to build up other body parts to hide those, but that wasn’t Arnold.
Instead Arnold tested everything, and found ways to make his legs and calves grow until they matched the rest of his body. This is a lesson many of us can apply. Find our lagging body parts, and work on those until we can call them a strength.
- Supersets for killer growth.
Arnold was a massive fan of supersetting various movements to achieve his main goal: a ridiculous pump. Arnold would superset biceps and triceps, chest and back, or quad and hamstring movements in various workout.
This worked well because it delivered a ridiculous amount of blood into the muscles, which brings more oxygen and nutrients critical for growth. It also gave Arnold the pump he’s famous for comparing to coming.
- Use dumbbells.
Arnold loved dumbbell work, especially for chest development. He loved barbell bench because of the weight he could push, but he understood dumbbells played a big part in allowing his chest to develop into the ridiculous sight we remember today.
Dumbbells allow a far greater stretch than any other movement. A greater stretch can lead to more growth, and more development. Arnold especially loved dumbbells for incline movements, since the greater stretch would help him bring up his upper chest muscles, and lead to an overall larger chest.