5 Keys To Build Muscle Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger posing
"My instinct was to win, eliminate anyone who is in competition, destroy my enemy, and move on without any kind of hesitation at all."


Arnold Schwarzenegger trained with an extremely high level of motivation, focus and intensity. That is one of the key factors in making solid bodybuilding progress. If you don’t seem to have a similar level of motivation, focus and intensity in your workouts that you’d like, then apply these 5 must dos to amp up your training intensity!

Arnold Schwarzenegger training chest in the gym
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

While having the discipline to get to the gym on a consistent basis is commendable, why not make that time at the gym as as intense and rewarding as possible.

1. Sleep Sound To Train Intense

You know those days when you attempt to get in a workout while running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep? Not a very good workout, is it? How much sleep you get in the twenty-four hours before your training session has a strong impact on your ability to train at the gym. Training on the days when you’ve had insufficient sleep just sucks.

Arnold Schwarzenegger And Franco Columbo relaxing
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”

A good night’s sleep is essential because that is when your muscle and tissue building hormones go into over-drive to repair and rejuvenate you for the next day’s activities and training.

So, if your goal is to make solid progress in the gym, eliminate all the obstacle in your routine to a good night’s sleep.

2. Improve Your Pre-Workout Nutrition

The meals that lead up to your workout are very important. You should plan out the two meals before your workout well. Those are the meals that will fuel your workout as well as your post-workout recovery.

Arnold Schwarzenegger eating a high protein meal
“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.”

Make sure you have a good balance of quality proteins such as lean chicken breast, lean beef or fish and complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, sweet potatoes and oats along with some healthy fats in those meals.

3. Listen To Killer Workout Music

While it’s important to have an internal drive that motivates you to train hard, things like workout music and pre-workout stimulants can help to really amp up your training session – allowing you to see better results faster!

Also, don’t hesitate to invest some money in whatever you need to make it a great training session. Buy higher quality earphones, workout clothes, shoes and training accessories.

Even join a better gym with a better training environment if you feel that you need to to make it a great workout on a consistent basis. These are worthwhile investments to make!

4. Team Up With A Solid Training Partner

While you can make it a great workout by yourself, with the right training partner, your workouts will always be that much better. This is especially true on those tough days when you have to do heavy squats, deadlifts and bench presses.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training with seated barbell shoulder press
“As a kid I always idolized the winning athletes. It is one thing to idolize heroes. It is quite another to visualize yourself in their place. When I saw great people, I said to myself: I can be there.”

When deciding on who to recruit as a training partner, focus on finding someone who motivates you, who maybe trains a little harder than you, who might be a more experienced lifter than you.

Having a training partner more ahead than you in the game will ensure that they don’t slow down your workouts; instead you push harder to keep up and perform better.

5. Focus On The Stretch And Contraction

To lift the right way, make sure that you warm up your muscles properly, and slowly transition up to heavier working set weights. When you are properly warmed up, your muscles are able to move more weight and train harder.

Now, to get in a solid workout, don’t focus as much on lifting the heaviest possible weights. While going heavy is indeed important, what is as important is making each and every rep count. You make reps count by having a strong mind to muscle connection.

5 Keys To Build Muscle Like Arnold Schwarzenegger
“We all have great inner power. The power is self-faith. There’s really an attitude to winning. You have to see yourself winning before you win. And you have to be hungry. You have to want to conquer.”

You can improve your mind to muscle connection by really focusing on the target muscle that you are training. For example, when do you dumbbell bench press, feel the stretch in your chest muscles as you lower the dumbbells to the side of your chest, and then feel the contraction in your pecs as you drive the weight back up in a controlled manner.

Apply these five tips to get great pumps at the gym and make solid progress in your muscle and strength building journey.