Arnold Schwarzenegger's Workout Routine for the 1975 Mr. Olympia
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Heel Raise (calf machine) 10 X 10
- Seated Heel Raise 8 X 15
- One Legged Heal Raise 6 X 12
- Wrist Roller 4 X till tired
- Reverse Curl 4 X 8
- Wrist Curl 4 X 10
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Routine
- 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
- 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
Who's your favorite bodybuilder of the 1970's?
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 . 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. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding
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.
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.
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© 2012 David