Arnold Schwarzenegger's Workout Routine for the 1975 Mr. Olympia

Updated on May 21, 2018
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David is an army-trained biomedical scientific officer, writer, and lifelong health and fitness enthusiast.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger | Source

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout

In 1975 Arnold Schwarzenegger competed in the Mr. Olympia competition and won – for the sixth time in a row (he later went on to win the title a seventh time). However earlier that same year he had accepted an offer to star in the film Stay Hungry (a movie based on a novel of the same name by Charles Gaines) for which he was apparently asked to shed 60lb in weight. So when he finished filming, barely three months before the competition, no-one thought he had any chance of winning the title.

But Arnold performed something of a miracle by adding over 50lb of rock-hard muscle to his body in just 90 days. He did this by training six days per week; twice per day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and once per day on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. By the time of the competition, he was in possibly the greatest shape of his life. This is the routine he used to get him there - Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1975 Mr. Olympia workout routine.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday Morning Routine

Chest

  • Bench Press (shoulder width grip) 5 X 8-10
  • Flat Bench Flye 5 X 8
  • Incline Press (Universal Machine) 6 X 8-10
  • Parallel Bar Dip 5 X till tired
  • Cable Crossover 6 X 12
  • Dumbbell Pullover 5 X 10

Back

  • Wide Grip Chin-Up 6 X till tired
  • T-Bar Row 5 X 8
  • Cable Pull 6 X 8
  • Bent-Over Row 6 X 12
  • Deadlift (on box) 6 X 15
  • Dumbbell Row 5 X 8

Legs

  • Squat (parallel) 6 X 10-12
  • Leg Extension 6 X 15
  • Leg Press 6 X 8-10
  • Leg Curl 6 X 12
  • Barbell Lunge 5 X 15

Monday, Wednesday, Friday Afternoon Routine

Calves

  • Heel Raise (calf machine) 10 X 10
  • Seated Heel Raise 8 X 15
  • One Legged Heal Raise 6 X 12

Forearms

  • Wrist Roller 4 X till tired
  • Reverse Curl 4 X 8
  • Wrist Curl 4 X 10

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Routine

Arms

  • Barbell Cheat Curl 6 X 8
  • Seated Dumbbell Curl 6 X 6
  • Concentration Curl 6 X 10
  • Close Grip Bench Press 6 X 10
  • Triceps Pressdown 6 X 10
  • French Press 6 X 8
  • One Arm Triceps Stretch 6 X 10

Shoulders

  • Seated Front Press (Universal Machine) 6 X 8-10
  • Lateral Raise 6 X 10
  • Standing Dumbbell Press 6 X 8
  • Bent-Over Laterals 5 X 10
  • Cable Laterals 5 X 12

Calves And Forearms
Same as Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine.

(From the book ‘Posedown’ by George Snyder & Rick Wayne)

Arnold training and posing

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A High Volume Workout Routine

To say this is high volume training would be a gross understatement, and I would not recommend anyone to try to duplicate it. A much more sensible and effective type of workout routine for most people, but particularly if you are in your first year or two of training, would be to do a brief full body workout three times per week. Or if you are a little more advanced, an upper/lower split might be a better choice.

This is just for information, and maybe to give you a few ideas for your own training. But it certainly worked for the Austrian Oak who seemed to thrive on this type of training.

Arnold's Training Philosophy

Arnold liked to train using the opposing muscle groups method. So he would normally train chest and back in one workout, arms and shoulders in another and legs in a further workout. The above is a slight deviation from that, in that legs are trained in the same workout as chest and back. But it's still the same basic principle. And each body part is trained three times per week.

He also trained in high-density fashion, keeping his rest periods between sets very short. This type of training is becoming more popular now, but it’s nothing new. Arnold did it, Serge Nubret did it, and the late great Vince Gironda (trainer of movie stars and champion bodybuilders) used it in his infamous "8 sets of 8" routine. And because he trained in this way Arnold could get his morning workouts done in just 90 minutes.

Arnold always tried to get at least 6 reps out on every set; sometimes calling on a training partner to help him get the weight past the sticking point on the last rep or two. In fact he believed that you should always push yourself to the limit on every set, and not save yourself for the next set. But this is not something I would advise any natural trainee to do, as it will quickly lead to burnout.

He also believed in "shocking the muscle" by altering the number of sets and repetitions on a regular basis. And he employed supersets, giant sets, drop sets and working "down the rack" when he felt the need for them, or when time was limited.

His attitude to calf training was very simple. These muscles are accustomed to a lot of hard work (from walking and running) and therefore must be worked very hard with high reps and heavy poundages. So he would use up to 1000 pounds on the calf machine when doing heel raises. And sometimes he would give them extra work by training them with staggered sets during his chest workouts.

If you'd like to find out more about Arnold's training methods I can only recommend you pick up a copy of his book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. This is an 800 page manual that gives detailed information on weight training and proper exercise performance, as well as diet and nutrition. There are also sections on injury prevention, stretching, competition and so much more. The only things I don't like about it are he doesn't give much information on supplements, and his training programs are far too lengthy (and intense) for the genetically typical natural lifter. But still, you will learn a tremendous amount of valuable information from this classic book.

So that's Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1975 Mr. Olympia workout routine. Or how bodybuilding’s greatest legend got in the best shape of his life to dominate the competition in the most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the world.

© 2012 David

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    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      I'll have to take a look at those Novator. He was a great inspiration to me when I was younger. An incredible man.

    • novator profile image

      novator 3 years ago from Denver

      Arnold is still a monster to this day. His arms are more developed than most 20 year olds in his most recent photos that he has on facebook.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes I do think Ronnie is amazing, but like you I prefer Arnold's physique. To my mind bodybuilding was at its very best in the 70's.

    • David 470 profile image

      David 470 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, United States

      It's true that steroid dosages are higher today than they used to be back then. Although I respect Ronnie Coleman, I like Arnold's physique better.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 3 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Well, according to the book ‘Posedown’ (by George Snyder & Rick Wayne) this was how he trained specifically to win the 1975 Mr. Olympia. I don't know cos I wasn't there, but I do know that Arnold trained in many different ways over the years. Your version does make a lot of sense though.

    • profile image

      stoutmuscleman33 3 years ago

      These workouts aren't completely accurate. He would do opposing muscle groups in his sessions. So chest and back was a morning training session. Same day legs and abs in the evening. Next day shoulders, tris, and biceps in morning. Calves and abs at night. Repeat over and over.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Well he is actually resting each muscle two days, as he is training each body part three times per week. You are of course entitled to your opinion :)

    • profile image

      ........ 4 years ago

      YOu need 2 days to rest your muscle before exercising it again. I bet this was not arnold's workout

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      I agree with you NotArnold. Those three things were obviously key to Arnold's success.

    • profile image

      NotArnold 4 years ago

      I'm tired just from reading that.

      I think genetics + training history + "performance enhancement" (in that order) = Ahnold's success.

      Anyone else attempting this without those 3 things would be a moron.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 4 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes Easy Exercise I think HDT is great for general conditioning and muscle building. Not quite so good for strength though. The gym I go to has TRX bands. They are certainly a great aid to bodyweight exercises.

    • Easy Exercise profile image

      Kelly A Burnett 4 years ago from United States

      High density training isn't new but it is gaining a new popularity which is great. The rest periods don't necessarily help our heart and if we can train our heart at the same time we are training our muscles - what a great workout design.

      I wish to try out the TRX - that fascinates me as I always enjoy body weight exercises.

      Great hub. Voted up!

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 5 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      Yea it wouldn't be the way I could do it but carbs can put on fat but if you're working out a lot like he did then it would transfer that into muscle.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      To be honest I'd never heard of that. Beer is high in carbs and is also estrogenic, so it would tend to make you fat - especially in the abdominal area. So not really recommended for muscle building. Some people will get away with it more than others however, and Arnold had exceptional genetics which could explain it.

    • isenhower33 profile image

      Bobby Isenhower 5 years ago from Crothersville, IN

      It doesn't talk about before all that when all he did was drank beer and workout, he did that for a long time. He would go drink beer and then workout come back drink beer and then workout. Because it built muscle fast.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes; I've read that book. I think it's probably a combination of genetics and training history. I'm of the opinion that highly trained athletes in any endeavor who have got used to daily training from a young age or built up to it slowly over time can benefit from much higher training volumes than the rest of us.

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 5 years ago from United States

      Arnold was also a freak. In his book The Education of a Bodybuilder he talks about how he trained every day with high volume from a very young age. When he was in the military his job was to lift weights all day. So, either by his own design or just his genetics, it seems he was well-prepared for a program like this. In bonus features on the Pumping Iron DVD he admits he did take steroids, but he says they were legal back then and not such a big deal. I agree the dosage he was taking was likely much lower and less potent than what goes on today.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      It's not really that steroids are forgotten I don't think. It's that they are not mentioned very often. Yes I agree with what you are saying, but I believe they take a much higher dosage nowadays than they did then. The bodybuilders of today are a ridiculous size in my opinion.

      And I'm sure you can grow by taking roids and not training. But you will grow a lot more with a good training program as well.

      Either way this article really was just for information. Certainly no-one who is training naturally should do anything like this sort of volume.

    • profile image

      Janko 5 years ago

      A lot of these routines work.Arnold was a and is a great bodybuilder.It seems that people forget the chemicals taken.Most routines work.One well known bodybuilder I know personally took chemicals for 12months without training at all.I seen him at a bodybuilder show.He flexed a double bicepts shot,and laughed and siad"tell me roids don't make you grow.

    • dwelburn profile image
      Author

      David 5 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      Yes, I agree. I'd be in hospital if I tried it. Arnold was one of a kind.

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 5 years ago from United States

      I've heard about this . This routine is completely bonkers! I think most people would disintegrate if they tried it, but that's why Arnold was Arnold! I feel sore just reading it.

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