Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 13 Methods To Lift More Weights In The Gym

Arnold Schwarzenegger training his biceps with alternating dumbbell curls
"My instinct was to win, eliminate anyone who is in competition, destroy my enemy, and move on without any kind of hesitation at all."

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Arnold Schwarzenegger used to pile up the plates throw around immense amounts of weight, though always with control, technique and a strategy in mind. If you want to grow, you have to put your muscle under serious tension and working with heavy loads.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training back with T-bar rows
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

When you pile up the plates and throw around lots of weight, as long as you do it  smartly and with an effective plan, you will find it to be one of the best ways to build lots of muscle and strength.

Apply these techniques and strategies that will allow you to lift more weights in your next workout and help maximize strength and muscle gains.

1. Get laser-focused on your lift

Get focused. Focus on placing your hands evenly on the bar and focus on breathing. Be present in your training and concentrate on the stretch and contraction in your muscles as you complete each rep.

2. Incrementally work up to your heavy working sets but do low reps

If your working sets on the bench press will be 315 x 6-8 reps, then start off with 135 lbs for 6 reps. Then do a sets of 185 lbs for 6 reps, then 225 lbs for 4 reps and finally 275 lbs for 4 reps. This way you will be warmed up and ready for the heavy weights without tiring yourself out for the working sets.

3. Rest more between sets

To be able to lift your hardest and heaviest, you need to let your body rest enough to regenerate as much ATP as possible. ATP is the fuel source that your muscle uses for muscle contractions. Rest between 3 to 5 minutes and lift the weight again when you feel that you are recovered enough to lift the next set of the heavy weight hard and with excellent form and range of motion.

4. Build up your weak points

To make big gains in strength and muscle your have to overcome the small obstacles in the way. If you have difficulty locking out the weight on the bench press, build up your triceps with heavy close grip benches and parallel bar dips. To truly bench heavy, build a strong back through lots of back rowing movements as well as vertical pulling movements.

Arnold Schwarzenegger showing his leg muscle development
“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.”

5. Workout with someone stronger than you

Don’t be intimidated to walk to a stronger guy and ask for advice, or ask him for a spot. Having a stronger person whose strength and build you admire around you will motivate you to push harder to get stronger yourself.

6. Warm up your rotator cuffs before pushing movements

Use a 2.5 or 5 pound plate and keeping your arms stretched out straight, rotate your arms. Also perform external and internal rotation movements with the weights to fully warm up your rotator cuffs for maximum strength exertion and injury prevention during bench presses and shoulder presses.

7. Warm up legs with box jumps

Perform three sets of 5 rep box jumps to fire up your central nervous system and warm up your legs for intense leg training. Rest 1 minute between sets.

8. Squeeze your core and glutes on every lift

Tightening your core and glutes will increase stability in your body and allow you to lift more weight on any exercise.

9. Use chalk on pull movements

Magnesium carbonate lifting chalk strengthens your grip on the bar, allowing you to pull more weight or get more reps.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training back with barbell deadlift
“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.”

10. Wear a lifting belt

Wearing a lifting belt will help support your lower standing presses and of course squats and deadlifts. Putting on a belt will allow you to lift more weight on almost every lift in which the core is involved.

11. Drive your heels into the floor

Push your body into the bench and driving your heals into the floor will allow you to exert more force onto the bar and lift more weight.

12. Keep your wrists straight

When doing the bench press or shoulder press, keep your wrists straight. Don’t let your wrists roll back. Keeping your wrists straight is a more stable and natural position and will allow you to press more weight with ease. If you have a hard time keeping your wrists straight, build up your grip strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training his chest with incline barbell bench press
“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.”

13. Squeeze the bar hard

When lifting, squeeze the bard hard for three to five seconds and then begin your set. Squeezing the bar helps activate your muscles and and readies your body for the lift.

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