When you look at different sports, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?
If you think Tennis; you think of the Williams sisters, Rafa Nadal or Roger Federer. You think about basketball; you think LeBron James, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. When you think of golf, you think of Tiger Woods and you look to boxing – the first person who pops into your head is probably Muhammad Ali.
Move over slightly to the fitness and the bodybuilding industry, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the one!
The movie star turned Governor of California started his illustrative career in the world of bodybuilding, aged just 15, and the Austrian Oak’s competition record is just as flattering as the rest of his career.
We’re talking about a man who won the Mr. Olympia title, a then record, of seven-times between 1970 and 1980.
Let’s look at exactly how the three-time Mr. Universe became the king of bodybuilding.
“I think everybody knows that you’re not just going to become a champion from one day to the next, the question is: How do I speed up the process?”
Arnold infamously started the modern use of supersets, drop sets and giant sets. He used this as a method to keep bodyfat as low as possible whilst still trying to bulk up and gain lean muscle mass – especially when trying to prepare for a show.
Arnold encourages people to shock the muscle every time you go to the gym – don’t be that person who tries to ‘save’ your energy for the last exercise or the last reps, go all out every rep you do in the gym.
Every time you train in the gym, you should be doing the best exercises for each body part, Arnold’s choices are:
Chest: Bench press, incline press at different heights and flyes.
Back: Bent over rows, t-bar rows and deadlifts.
Arms: Dumbbell curls, barbell curls and concentration curls for your biceps, narrow bench press, tricep extensions and overhead tricep extensions both single and double arms.
Shoulders: Dumbbell, Barbell press are essential, so is the rear press and military press along with lateral raises.
Legs: Squatting – both front and rear squats, leg extensions, lunges, stiff legged deadlifts, good mornings and leg curls.
Abs: Leg raises – with both straight and bent legs, sit ups and Romanian chair situps.
Generally, you should eat more for mass and get enough protein to help the muscles grow. Arnold followed the principle that you should have 1g protein for every 1lb of bodyweight you have – supplementing with protein shakes if necessary.
Eating natural and healthy foods is also Arnold’s philosophy – with 5 meals a day working better for him as he was never a big eater. When eating out, he prefered to eat a 10 oz steak. Arnold ops not to eat more than three eggs per day (yes, he ate the yolks) and, in his earlier workouts, would eat an entire chicken and a pitcher of beer after working out.
Breakfast would usually include scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage and Arnold preferred chicken and fish to pork and beef, although steak and potatoes were another common meal.
The difficulty of needing 250g of protein per day meant that Arnold regularly had two protein shakes, both with milk, in order to make sure he got enough protein for the day.
Personal Records and Statistics
Arnold’s goal was to become the greatest bodybuilder in the world, which drove him to the Mr. Olympia contest in 1969 – where he fell short to three-time champion Sergio Oliva.
His personal records and statistics show exactly why Arnold ended up being regarded as the best.
|Clean & Press||264 lb (120 kg)|
|Snatch||243 lb (110 kg)|
|Clean & Jerk||298 lb (135 kg)|
|Squat||545 lb (247 kg)|
|Bench Press||520 lb (240 kg)|
|Deadlift||710 lb (320 kg)|
|Height||6'2" (188 cm)|
|Contest Weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|Off-season Weight||260 lb (120 kg)|
|Arms||22 in (56 cm)|
|Chest||57 in (140 cm)|
|Waist||34 in (86 cm)|
|Thighs||28.5 in (72 cm)|
“Not everybody wants to win the Mr. Olympia but everybody can follow the principles.”