Lift Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger posing on stage
"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."

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Start training with the level of focus, intensity and dedication that Arnold Schwarzenegger had to his training and start seeing incredible results.

1. DON’T EXERCISE, TRAIN

Exercising is not the same as training. Most guys who go to the gym go to exercise. They workout with some vague idea of why they are there; maybe to build some muscle and stay healthy. And this uncertain mindset reflects in the lackluster nature of their workouts. You won’t be able to make much progress in your physique and strength if you train like this.

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

You have to have a clear, definite purpose in your workouts. This is what training is about. Guys who go to the gym to train have a clear and definite goal in mind. That goal is meaningful and compelling to them. That allows them to train with complete focus and intensity.

So, the next time you step into the gym, be ready to train. Train as if your life depended on the successful completion of each rep or set. Your muscle building progress will skyrocket when you train with this sort of intensity and focus.

2. START WITH COMPOUND LIFTS

Start your weight training sessions with a multi-joint compound barbell movement. Compound movements allow you to recruit multiple muscle groups to push big weight. Start with one of the big three movements; squat, dead-lift or bench press.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training legs with the squat
“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.”

Try to keep most of your lifts compound. Focus on heavy barbells, heavy dumbbells and heavy cable movements and then machines and isolation work. Training like this will provide greatest muscle, testosterone and growth hormone stimulation for strength and size gains.

3. SET DEFINITE, CLEAR GOALS

Simply going to the gym is not enough to reach your goals. Whatever your goal may be, whether it is to burn fat, build muscle, improve endurance or enhance sports performance, decide on your goal and commit to reaching it. Make your goal as clear and definite as possible. Your goal must also be meaningful enough for you to have a strong motivation to reach it.

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

So, instead of setting the goal of working out 3-5 days a week, set a goal to reach a 315 pound bench press or a 405 pound dead-lift. Setting clear and definite goals that are meaningful will form the foundation of your long term weight training success.

4. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Tracking your progress is important in making strength and size gains over the long term and for effectively overcoming training plateaus.

Arnold Schwarzenegger posing in the gym with Joe Weider
“Good things don’t happen by coincidence. Every dream carries with it certain risks, especially the risk of failure. But I am not stopped by risks. Supposed a great person takes the risk and fails. Then the person must try again. You cannot fail forever. If you try ten times, you have a better chance of making it on the eleventh try than if you didn’t try at all.”

Keep a training log and track your progress. Track everything; your weight training routine, sets, reps, weights, how you feel, etc.

5. ADD HIIT TO YOUR ROUTINE

Do two 15-30 minute HIIT cardio training sessions a week to get you moving and to keep your heart and lungs performing at their optimal capacity.

6. TRAIN YOUR BACK TWICE AS HARD

Most of us spend the majority of our day sitting; at work, during our commutes and when we’re at home. All this sitting causes health and posture issues. Even we workout, most of us neglect to train our back. The back muscles are what allow you to maintain a strong healthy posture and improve your functional strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training back with barbell bent over row
“The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.”

So, instead of spending a lot of time training your chest and arms, also known as the mirror muscles, start putting more effort into training your back. Train your back muscles with both horizontal and vertical pulling movements.

7. UNILATERAL TRAINING

Training one side of the body at a time improves your stability, balance and athletic performance. Doing single leg and single arm movements also strengthens your core abdominal and lower back muscles.

For example, in addition to the barbell squat and leg press include lunges and step ups as well. These single leg movements will strengthen and stabilizes your hips for optimal athletic movement and injury prevention.

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