The iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger is regarded as one of the most prominent bodybuilders of all time. From winning 7 Mr. Olympia titles to establishing the roots of modern bodybuilding, the Austrian Oak has covered every alcove of the bodybuilding realm. The major chunk of his successful vocation is built on years of dedication and unquantifiable passion that the Terminator has put into becoming the demigod of the fitness industry. Now, it’s been over four decades since the Austrian got retired from his beloved arena, but the curiosity to know his workout regime and diet plan still has not been washed off from the minds of inquisitive fitness enthusiasts. Such an inspiring figure he has been to all.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s well-built stature has been one of the best physiques to ever grace the bodybuilding podium. Nonetheless, it was the result of disciplined and well-formulated workouts. During his prime, the Austrian Oak trained six days per week using a well-defined set of training routines.

Day 1: Chest and Back 


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Day 2: Shoulders and Arms

Day 3: Legs and Lower back

Day 4: Chest and Back 

Day 5: Shoulders and Arms

Day 6: Legs and Lower back

Day 7: Rest

Let’s take a panoramic view of 7x Mr. Olympia champion’s dietary and workout regimen.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and his chest & back workout

The Austrian trained his chest and back twice a week on Monday and Thursday. Per the Terminator, the chest and back reside in the big muscle group category. Therefore, it is essential to combine these muscle groups together on the same training day. The exercises included in his chest and back training regime are:


Bench press: 5 sets, 6-10 reps

Dips: 5 sets, to failure

Flat bench flies: 5 sets, 6-10 reps

Incline bench press: 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Cable crossovers: 6 sets, 10-12 reps

Dumbbell pullovers: 5 sets, 10-12 reps

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One-arm dumbbell rows: 5 sets, 6-10 reps

T-bar rows: 5 sets, 6-10 reps

Seated pulley rows: 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Front wide-grip chin-ups: 6 sets, to failure

Straight-leg deadlifts: 6 sets, 15 reps

Schwarzenegger’s essential shoulders & arms workout

The Terminator trained his shoulders and arms on Tuesday and Thursday. Schwarzenegger believed that the key to achieving a great pump and bulging deltoids is to feel the working muscle while performing sets, reps, and barbell raises.

Here’s the 7x Mr. Olympia champion’s go-to shoulders and arms workout routine to build a massive upper body frame:


Cable lateral raises: 5 sets, 10-12 reps

Seated barbell presses: 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Rear-delt lateral raises: 5 sets, 6-10 reps

Lateral raises (standing): 6 sets, 6-10 reps


Wrist curls (forearms on knees): 4 sets, 10 reps

Wright roller machine: 4 sets, reps until failure

Reverse barbell curls: 4 sets, 8 reps


Seated dumbbell curls: 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Barbell curls: 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Dumbbell concentration curls: 6 sets, 6-10 reps


One-arm dumbbell triceps extensions (exterior head): 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Close-grip bench presses (for all three heads): 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Barbell French presses (interior head): 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Pushdowns (exterior head): 6 sets, 6-10 reps

Train legs & lower back like Arnold Schwarzenegger

During the golden era of bodybuilding, the Austrian was not only recognized for his outstanding muscular frame but also for his perfectly proportionate quadriceps and calf muscles. More so, to give his legs an aesthetic look, the Terminator performed a series of squats and leg presses to achieve stringent quads and thighs.

He trained his quad muscles, hamstrings, and calves twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. Let’s take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legs and lower back workout regimen:


Leg extensions: 6 sets, 12-15 reps

Squats: 6 sets, 8-12 reps

Barbell lunges: 5 sets, 15 reps

Leg presses: 6 sets, 8-12 reps

Leg curls: 6 sets, 10-12 reps


One-legged calf raises (holding dumbbells): 6 sets,12 reps

Standing calf raises: 10 sets, 10 reps

Seated calf raises: 8 sets, 15 reps

Lower Back

Stiff-legged deadlifts: 6 sets,12 reps

Hack squats: 6 sets, 15 reps

Back Squats: 6 sets, 15 reps

Some essential training tips from the Austrian Oak

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routine is a perfect example of high-volume training and a structured workout plan. Nonetheless, his top-notch training regimen made him the undisputed king of bodybuilding. Now, though the fitness industry has evolved since the inception of contests like Mr. Olympia and Arnold Sports festivals, there still are many myths surrounding the sport. However, even decades after his retirement, the retired bodybuilder is still on his spree toward debunking myths and preaching counsel of right bodybuilding practices through his newsletter ‘the Pump Daily’. Here are some of the most valuable lessons from Arnold Schwarzenegger that he described in his newsletter:

  1. Muscle training and workout  –  “There’s an art and science to training. Intensity determines your outcome. You need to challenge your body and push toward failure”.
  2. Repetitions and sets – “Simply doing a lot of reps isn’t enough; you need to near the limit of what your body can do, and that’s when your body will grow. So each time, you need to be adding more – whether reps, sets, or weight; that’s the progressive in progressive resistance”.
  3. Training hard is as important as training wisely – “To become massive, you must first be strong. Beginners and advanced bodybuilders should not focus so much on the sophistication than on growth”.
  4. Protect yourself from overtraining – “There will be days when some part of the body will lag behind because you over-trained and overloaded it. So often and intense that it never had time to relax, recover and grow…The answer to this problem is to give the strengthened muscles a chance to recover and to adjust the training plan so that there is no overtraining. Remember too much can be as bad as too little when we talk about bodybuilding training”.

Read More: Bodybuilding Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger Explains What Happens to Body Growth “Once You Hit 26”

Eat like Arnold Schwarzenegger – The bodybuilding beast’s diet routine

The 7x Mr. Olympia’s diet plan goes big on protein. As per the bodybuilder, “every pound of bodyweight, needed one gram of protein”. However, he never shied away from including grains, vegetables, and micronutrients in his diet plan. Moreover, the iconic bodybuilding prodigy always maintained a balance between quantity and quality. 

Not only did his diet consist of five to six small meals a day, but he also supplemented his satiety with protein shakes and plenty of vitamins and minerals. Let’s take a look at the bonafide diet chart of Arnold Schwarzenegger.


3 scrambled eggs

1 cup cooked oatmeal

1 cup orange juice

1 cup low-fat milk


Handful mixed nuts

1 apple or banana


2 slices whole-wheat bread

1 cooked chicken breast, no skin (for sandwich)

1 apple

1 cup low-fat milk


3 slices cheese

1 banana


Post-workout drink

25g milk protein

25g egg protein

8–12 oz low-fat milk 


8 oz lean-cut grilled beef

1 large baked potato

1 large salad with mixed greens and vegetables

1 cup mixed cooked vegetables

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s not 100% vegan diet plan


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In recent years, the 5X Mr. Universe has adopted a largely plant-based diet. However, he is not 100% vegan, as he still consumes animal-based food occasionally. Nonetheless, he endorses and promotes the benefits of veganism. In the 2019 documentary ‘The Game Changer’, which explores the rise in veganism in strength sports, Schwarzenegger profoundly talked about the advantages of choosing a vegan diet and addressed the myths surrounding it.

The Austrian stated, “There’s no one that can relate to it better than I do because I’ve lived in that world”. He added, “‘Steak is for men’…they show these commercials – burgers, George Foreman with the grill and epic sandwich – this is great, great marketing for the meat industry, selling the idea that real men eat meat. But you’ve got to understand, it’s marketing. It’s not based on reality”. Interestingly, in his newsletter, ‘the Pump Daily’, he also shared several tidbits about his favorite plant-based meal. “Every night I eat cucumber salad with pumpkin seed oil and a vegetable soup,” wrote the Austrian. He further penned, “Pumpkin seed oil is a huge deal in Styria, the state in Austria where I was born. And it’s delicious”. Clearly, the 7x Mr. Olympia has a staunch dietary routine that he follows religiously. His diet is equally uncompromising, with attention given to nutrition and proportions at each meal.


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The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger indeed followed a disciplined workout and dietary regime during his golden days and achieved the physique that became a guiding light for many generations of bodybuilders to come.