12-Week Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine with PDF

Whether you want to compete in professional bodybuilding competitions or want to build a firm and aesthetic physique, you can try Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routine.

Arnold is one of the most respected bodybuilders of all time. He won seven Mr. Olympia titles, six from 1970 to 1975 and one in 1980.

Besides his shapely, well-defined, and muscular physique, he is known for his innovative and intense training approaches.

It’s been more than four decades since Arnold Schwarzenegger last time won Mr. Olympia, yet his workout programs are as relevant and effective as they were then.

From muscle group and upper-lower to hybrid and full body split, Arnold used to follow multiple training programs to enhance his muscle development.

You can also try one of his routines to shape your physique and level up your fitness.

Note: The workout programs I’ve shared in this article are highly inspired by Arnold Schwarzenegger, not the exact replica. I’ve also made some changes in his routine so that many fitness enthusiasts can try the Arnold Training program. You can also make some changes based on your fitness level and goal.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Training Principles

1. Warm-up

Arnold says warming up is crucial before lifting moderate to heavy weights because warm-up helps increase heart rate, improve oxygen supply, and prepare for demanding exercises.

He usually performs some dynamic stretching, such as bear crawl, inchworm, and dive bomber pushups, followed by full-body warm-up training with light dumbbells and barbells.

Arnold also performs one lightweight set prior to each different exercise to get his muscles ready for intense exercise.

2. Different Reps Technique

From forced and negative reps to partial and heavy reps, Arnold used to perform different reps sets to maximize muscle development.

He says you’ve to be smart with different training approaches, such as how you can integrate them into your training programs in an effective way.

3. Focus on Every Muscle Group

The best thing about the Arnold workout plan is that it involves exercises for every muscle group, whether it’s calves, abs, or forearms. It is one of the reasons why Arnold Schwarzenegger has one of the best physiques of all time.

4. High Volume Training

Arnold says to be like a bodybuilder, you have to train like one. Bodybuilders usually do high-volume training, which involves various reps and sets for every muscle group. In this article, I’ve shared multiple workout routines from the Book – The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

5. Progressive Overload

Constantly increasing the load over time helps stimulate strength and mass growth. For example, you can gradually put more weight on the bar, lift heavy dumbbells, and decrease rest time between sets to put more stress on the muscles.

6. Quality Reps

Bodybuilding is about training muscles, not lifting weights only. Arnold used to perform each rep with the full range of motion. He suggests focusing on the quality of reps instead of quantity and lifting heavy.

12-Week Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Program for Ultimate Growth

Arnold Schwarzenegger Training Program
Arnold Schwarzenegger Post on Instagram

I’ve shared Arnold’s different workout splits in this article. You can follow one of them depending on your fitness level and goal or you can mix them into your 12-week workout program.

Arnold’s Muscle Group Split (Routine 1)

  • Monday – Chest
  • Tuesday – Legs
  • Wednesday – Back
  • Thursday – Abs
  • Friday – Shoulder
  • Saturday – Arms
  • Sunday – OFF

I’ve crafted this routine based on Arnold’s workout videos available on YouTube. This program involves training one muscle per session. It is great for people who want to follow a straightforward workout routine.

Monday – Chest

Flat Bench Press412, 10, 8, 8
Incline Bench Press412, 10, 8, 8
Flat Dumbbell Flyes38-12
High Cable Flyes38-12
Dumbbell Pullover38-12
Bar Dips3Till failure

Tuesday – Legs

Back Squats412, 10, 8, 8
Lunges412, 10, 8, 8
Leg Extensions38-12
Stiff Leg Deadlifts38-12
Leg Curls38-12
Calf Raises3Till failure

Wednesday – Back

Bent Over Row410-12
T-Bar Row410-12
Lat Pulldown410-12
Seated Row410-12
One-arm DB Row310-12

Thursday – Abs

Hanging Knee Raises310-20
Roman Chair Sit-ups320-30
Cable Crunches310-12
Broomstick Twists310-12

Friday – Shoulder

Smith Machine Overhead Press515, 12, 10, 8, 6
Behind The Neck Shoulder Press312, 10, 8
Lateral Dumbbell Raises415, 12, 10, 8, 6
Arnold Press312, 10, 8
Cable/Barbell Upright Row315, 12, 10
Cable Facepull415, 12, 10, 8

Saturday – Arms (Superset)

Incline Dumbbell CurlTriceps Pushdown8-104
Alternating DB CurlOne-arm Overhead Extension104
Preacher CurlLying French Press104
Concentration CurlReverse Triceps Pressdown8-104
Reverse Preacher CurlBarbell Wrist Curl10-124

Arnold Schwarzenegger Training Program 2 (Upper Lower Split)

  • Monday – Chest and Back
  • Tuesday – Shoulders and Arms
  • Wednesday – Thighs, Calves, and Lower Back
  • Thursday – Chest and Back
  • Friday – Shoulders and Arms
  • Saturday – Thighs, Calves, and Lower Back
  • Sunday – OFF

This Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding routine involves training each muscle group twice a week. It is excellent for people who want to put on mass and build muscular and symmetrical physique.

Monday and Thursday – Chest and Back

Flat Bench Press410, 8, 6, 4
Incline Bench Press410, 8, 6, 4
Dumbbell Pullovers315
Bent-Over Barbell Row3-48-12
Conventional Deadlift3-46-10
  • Chin-ups: Perform as many rounds as possible until you complete 50 reps.

Tuesday and Thursday – Shoulders and Arms

Barbell Clean and Press38-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise38-12
Barbell/Cable Upright Row310, 6, 4
Push Press36, 4, 2
Standing Barbell Curl3-410-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl3-410-12
Triceps Bench Press3-410-12
Overhead Triceps Extension3-410-12
Wrist Curls3-410-12
Wrist Extension3-410-12
Reverse Crunch525
  • Perform upright rows and push press with heavy weights till failure.

Wednesday and Saturday – Thighs, Calves, and Lower Back

Back Squat416, 12, 10, 8
Front Lunge310/leg
Seated Leg Curl420, 16, 12, 10
Stiff Leg Deadlift310, 6, 4
Good Mornings310, 6, 4
Standing Calf Raise515
  • Perform SDL and Good Mornings with heavyweight till failure.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Plan 3 (The Hybrid Split)

  • Day 1 – Chest, Back and Legs
  • Day 2 – Shoulders, Arms, and Lower Back
  • Day 3 – Chest, Back and Legs
  • Day 4 – Shoulders, Arms, and Lower Back
  • Day 5 – Chest, Back and Legs
  • Day 6 – Shoulders, Arms, and Lower Back
  • Day 7 – OFF

If you’re looking for a high-volume training program that includes three sessions for every muscle group, you can try this Arnold hybrid workout schedule. It includes training the upper and lower body in the same session, for example, chest, back, and legs.

This program is for experienced and professional lifters who equally focus on resting, eating, and exercising.

Consistently training muscles more than twice a week can help build a sizeable and sturdy physique.1 Ochi, Eisuke et al. “Higher Training Frequency Is Important for Gaining Muscular Strength Under Volume-Matched Training.” Frontiers in physiology vol. 9 744. 2 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.00744,2 Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn D, Krieger JW. Effects of Resistance Training Frequency on Measures of Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med. 2016;46(11):1689-1697. doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0543-8

Day 1, 3 and 5 – Chest, Back and Legs

Flat Bench Press410, 8, 6, 4
Incline Bench Press410, 8, 6, 4
Dumbbell Flyes310, 8, 6
Bar Dips315, 10, 8
Dumbbell Pullovers315
Bent-Over Barbell Row3-48-12
Close Grip Chin-up3-46-10
Back Squat416, 12, 10, 8
Leg Curl420, 16, 12, 10
Calf Raises515

Day 2, 4, and 6 – Shoulders, Arms, and Lower Back

Barbell Clean and Press38-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise38-12
Barbell/Cable Upright Row310, 6, 4
Push Press36, 4, 2
Stiff Leg Deadlift310, 6, 4
Good Mornings310, 6, 4
Standing Barbell Curl3-410-12
Seated Dumbbell Curl3-410-12
Triceps Bench Press3-410-12
Barbell Overhead Triceps Extension3-410-12
Wrist Curls3-410-12
Wrist Extension3-410-12
Reverse Crunch525

Arnold Schwarzenegger Training Split 4 (Twice a Day Workout)

  • Days 1, 3, and 5
    • Morning – Chest and Back
    • Evening – Thigh and Calves
  • Days 2, 4, and 6
    • Morning – Shoulders, Arms, and Calves
    • Evening – OFF
  • Day – Rest
  • Perform at least one exercise in Abs in each session.

If you’ve reached a pro level and want to challenge your muscles with high-volume training and different techniques, you can try the advanced bodybuilding workout program of seven-time champion Arnold Schwarzenegger.

It involves training six times weekly in the morning and three times a week in the evening (on alternate days).

This training program is for professional bodybuilders who have been working out for a while and have already achieved a decent physique but want to put on more mass and maximize overall growth.

It requires knowledge about how exercise affects your muscle groups differently and how you can integrate the various training principles into your training program.

Days 1, 3, and 5 (Morning – Chest, Back and Abs)

Bench Press (Warm-up)130-45
Bench Press (Pyramid set)520-6
Incline Barbell Press510-15
Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye510-15
Weighted Dip515
Dumbbell Pullover515-20
T-Bar Row415, 12, 8, 6
Bent-Over Row48-12

Days 1, 3, and 5 (Evening – Thigh, Calves, and Abs)

Back Squat410, 8, 6, 4
Front Squat410, 8, 8, 6
Hack Squat310
Seated Leg Curl420, 10, 8, 6
Standing Leg Curl410
Romanian Deadlift310
Donkey Calf Raises48-12
Standing Calf Raises415, 10, 8, 8
Bent-over Twist100/side
Machine Crunches325

Days 2, 4, and 6 (Morning – Shoulders, Arms, and Calves)

Behind The Neck Shoulder Press410, 8, 8, 6
Dumbbell Lateral Raises48
Rear Delt Dumbbell Raises48
Shoulder Shrugs310
Standing Barbell Curl515, 10, 8, 6, 4
Incline Dumbbell Curl48
Concentration Curl38
Barbell French Press415, 10, 8, 6
Triceps Pushdown38
One-Arm Triceps Extension310
Barbell Wrist Curl410
Barbell Wrist Extension310
Seated Calf Raises410
Reverse Crunches425
Seated Twist100/side
Vertical Bench Crunches425

You can also superset the above routines to challenge your muscles harder.

Who Can Follow the Arnold Training Schedule?

Anyone who wants to build a thick, muscular, and sizeable physique can follow his routine.

Arnold used to follow multiple training programs, from basic split to superset double-split, that require exercise experience.

It also requires knowledge about exercise science and nutrition so you can use this program effectively and achieve your desired physique without hurting yourself.

This program isn’t for normal gym-goers, beginners, or people with health issues.

Note: You can make some changes to this program based on your fitness level and goal. For example, reduce the number of exercises, reps, or sets or replace those exercises which are difficult to perform.

The Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine PDF

Recommended Macros for Muscle Building

Gaining lots of muscles requires decent nutrition. Your diet must include high-protein foods and supplements that can help repair damaged muscle and increase growth.

For your information, one gram of protein and carb has 4 calories, while a gram of fat contains 9 calories.

Here’s a normal macros recommendation for lifters who want to build muscles.

  • Protein: 1.6–2.2 g/kg/day with optimal amounts of 0.40–0.55 g/kg per meal and distributed evenly throughout the day (3–6 meals), including within 1–2 hours pre and post-training.
  • Fats: You can take fats in moderate amounts, like 0.5–1.5 g/kg/day.
  • Carbohydrates: 3–5 g/kg/day to support energy demands from resistance exercise.

Other than the above nutrients, Creatine monohydrate (3–5 g/day), caffeine (5–6 mg/kg), beta-alanine (3–5 g/day), and citrulline malate (8 g/day) might yield ergogenic effects that can be beneficial for bodybuilders – study suggested.

Source of These Routines: Book – The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding

Related Workout Programs:


Photo of author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
Share to...