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Bodybuilding Secrets: Schwarzenegger's Tips for Success

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"Let off some steam, Bennett!"—Commando John Matrix

"Let off some steam, Bennett!"—Commando John Matrix

Rare Arnold Schwarzenegger Tips That Will Inspire You!

Arnold Schwarzenegger began bodybuilding as a teenager in Austria and went on to become the governor of California. His secrets to success? Here's a look at the top five:

He gets a full stretch by lowering the dumbbells as far as possible.

He gets a full stretch by lowering the dumbbells as far as possible.

5. Stretch for Faster Growth

Arnold had incredible chest development because he used exercises that emphasized the stretching part of the chest workout. Stretching not only increases flexibility but also is essential for growth. Why? Well, your muscles are packed together by fascia, a tough connective tissue. If you want your muscles to develop rapidly, you must expand the fasciae to make room for them. It's the same concept as stretching a plastic bag to fit in more groceries.

The best time to stretch the tough connective tissue is when your muscles are pumped full of blood. That's when the fasciae are being filled to capacity, so increasing tension will result in expansion.

The best exercise for a full stretch is dumbbell chest flies. Arnold would do them slightly differently than the traditional method. He would lower the weights as far as possible—and when you lower the weights is when the stretching comes in. To do these fasciae-expanding chest flies, keep your elbows bent to take the stress off of them and lower the dumbbells in a way where your elbows are pulled back in line with your shoulders.

There are many exercises where you can emphasize the stretching point. Pullovers are known to stretch your ribcage, wide-grip chin-ups very significant for the V-taper, and widening your grip in presses like shoulder presses or bench presses can help you achieve a wider frame.

Arnold Schwarzenneger had good mind-to-muscle connection because he practiced flexing.

Arnold Schwarzenneger had good mind-to-muscle connection because he practiced flexing.

4. Flex Your Muscles

Something many people don't know is that flexing isn't just for showing off. It has physical benefits. Arnold Schwarzenegger says flexing and tensing your muscles throughout the day—after sets or while sitting at home—helps you get used to feeling and controlling your muscles. It is important to put your mind into your muscles in order to emphasize them. This is mind-to-body connection is a great tool for developing striations naturally for a more defined look rather than starving yourself in the way bodybuilders did back then.

Consciously flexing your muscles during exercise will give you a better pump!

3. Cheat Barbell Curls

As you know, Arnold Schwarzenegger was known for his huge arms. His biceps literally formed peaks, like mountains! Even though he could partially thank genetics, his main bicep mass builder that helped him pack on size were cheating barbell curls. He would stress his muscle fibers to the max with very, very heavy weights. However, he would do these curls properly without injuring himself. Be forewarned: Not everyone can do this exercise—it takes a lot of time and intelligence.

To do them, you start with a grip slightly greater than shoulder width. Lock your wrists, do not let them bend, and at the top of the movement, the bar should not fall onto the shoulders, as this relaxes tension off the biceps. In fact, if you keep your wrists locked, the bar cannot touch your shoulders because your flexed biceps will stop it.

Again, the cheating barbell curl is very difficult. If you want mass, build up with these simpler-yet-heavy barbell curls.

2. Stretch Your Ribcage for a Massive Chest, Choir Boy!

One of the most forgotten exercises for a larger chest is the pullovers. Pullovers are the only way to expand the ribcage. Pullovers give you a bigger upper body because you actually enlarge the skeletal frame and pull out the sternum or chest bone. Arnold would do lots of them because a shallow ribcage makes your torso look thinner, while a large ribcage lays a foundation on which to build a massive chest, wide shoulders, and upper-body depth. He says he goes heavy on this exercise: five sets of 10 reps with dumbbells on a cross-bench.

"I have inhaled, exhaled everything" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

"I have inhaled, exhaled everything" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

1. Cultivate Yourself: The Mind Is Everything!

Arnold Schwarzenegger has seven Mr. Olympias and five Mr. Universes to his name. He not only boasts accolades for his bodybuilding work, but also he was the richest action star in the '80s and then became the governor of California, become arguably one of the most accomplished men in the world!

How did he achieve so much? Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, "For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer." Arnold had a strong mental approach to life. At an early age, he began studying psychology because knew that using the mind was an important tool for overcoming obstacles. He has said that the mind is more important than the body because if you can envision yourself doing something, you can do it, as long as you believe 100 percent. Repetitions of positive thinking will overpower the negative thoughts and shape your subconscious mind, triggering it to respond accordingly. You must be very strong in keeping a positive mindset to reach your goals!

Arnold Schwarzenegger envisioned what his body would look like, then took the steps to achieve it. He did whatever it takes, which is no small statement. In the end, his willpower was what made him so successful in all his endeavors.

Life is about living rich rather than just existing and just wasting away your life since we only have one.

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

Seeing Results

Hasta la vista to misconceptions!

When Arnold started training at the early age of 15 years old, he began to see dramatic results. He gained inches on his arms and chest in short periods of time. Let's put a stop to any unrealistic expectations now: The speed with which he gained muscle was due largely to genetics. Everyone is made differently—whether you are genetically gifted or not will not stop you from your gains. Media, from magazines to supplement ads, brainwashes people to believe that they can gain large amounts of muscle in little. Unrealistic expectations can lead to impatience and failure. Not everyone will gain muscle as fast as Arnold, but that doesn't mean that you cannot—it will just take time.

Arnold has always said that it is important to visualize what you want to look like, then set a goal to achieve it! Arnold would cut out photos of Reg Park (his bodybuilding idol) and put them in his bedroom. He would visualize his chest becoming like Park's, and to achieve it, he would do whatever it took. There's no "maybe"; you must be willing to reach the goal no matter what obstacle stands in the way.

Maintain a positive attitude, and the long-term goals will take care of themselves

— Arnold Schwarzenegger

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Jason Fisher on August 03, 2017:

Alike other "greatest of all times", Ali, Jordan, Mather's and the list goes on and on, Arnold is and will forever be the very best.

This only comes from making the decision in being his best, a fierce commitment to himself, boldness, determination, much learned as a result of learning from others and observation being results driven, aware and mindful of all changes, never becoming complacent and a champion that was born within. No doubt, God gifted him with part being in his DNA, interest, likeability, competitive nature, endurance needed and strong, strong, strong mindset and ability to execute part what I'd say was his predestine path and backed by his unwillingness to ever give up doing what he came to love - the only sheer way to Glorify God's majesty He knit together, each perfect and in process, as if another prophecy or copy/shadow as a tool for us to learn from!

God is great! So is " The Arnold"!

In love,

The Inspired

Suzie from Carson City on May 06, 2016:

"I am Hans and I am Franz~~and we are here to PUMP you Up!!!" Loved the old pics of "Arnold," former Governor of Cal-ee-For-nee-a!

I am not a body builder, but I can appreciate it. Good work!

JRs from United States on May 06, 2016:

Informative and helpful for all the girly men!

butch on October 21, 2012:

arnold could not chins!

Levertis Steele from Southern Clime on May 29, 2012:

To win Mr. Olympic or Mr. Universe, yes, this severe bodybuilding to perfection is a must, but the muscled bodies look like a stack of tight intestines. It is gross. "To each his own."

What motivational words and encouraging examples! Thanks for sharing.