The Arms Like Arnold Workout


arnold arms

Everyone wants bigger arms. You do, too! Here’s Arnold’s plan to make your arms blow up!

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a legend. He was one of the top bodybuilders of his time.

He knew how to mentally focus on his contractions and performed lots of isolation moves that nobody had heard of in those days. This era of bodybuilders continues to influence training today. And, to this day, there are many people who wanting to develop bodies similar to theirs.

Of course they were bodybuilders with plenty of time to do just that: Build their bodies. You, and most others, can’t focus entire days and weeks on your muscles. But, you can boost your muscle size significantly with proper training and dieting. Training physically causes your muscles to grow. Dieting provides the nutrients to make it possible.

Do you want arms like Arnold or at least a lot bigger than they already are? Then read on and get the info you need to surpass normal limits in muscle hypertrophy.

These Are Things To Consider That Increase Muscle Growth.

Arnold was able to accomplish all the achievements he is known for because he got very technical with his training. He understood that there’s more to training than just focusing on a muscle group as a whole.

For example, instead of just doing an exercise for triceps, he did an exercise that focused on specific muscle heads on the triceps. He would do 20 sets of the same exercise to see what area of the triceps would be the most sore. This of course allowed him to know what exercise focused on what specific area.

We won’t be doing this at this time, but it is good to understand that it takes more than just lifting a weight and moving it. Let’s look at some of the other finer details that we can implement into your Arnold arms workout.

Supinated curling movements were done to help boost the peaking effect for biceps through the use of the brachialis.

Mass building movements were done using heavy loads and low reps. Muscle definition movements were done with lighter loads and heavy concentration during contractions. Partial reps were used where you only perform half the movement.

All of these technical details are still implemented to this day. And, you’ll find that you will definitely benefit a lot more from your arms workout by mixing in these concepts throughout different days.

You will obviously have a training program that you need to follow if you want arms like Arnold. But, there are different factors that are going to be used to create such a program. Knowing these terms – frequency, load and volume – is the best way to follow a program, and then carrying on and establishing a new one that you create. You will become better at training knowing that you created your own exercise program.

What Role Does The Load Play In Getting Arms Like Arnold?

Load is the amount of resistance you are going to be using for your training program. It does not have to state a specific amount of weight to use. Most programs created for the general public would not have actual weight settings. Why? Each person requires a different load. So to keep it simple we will settle on load settings of light, moderate/medium or heavy.

This is an important factor because too much weight for specific exercises can cause injury. But, if the weight is too light for the amount of reps you are doing, then you will not be gaining much from it either. Load also determines if you are targeting muscular growth, definition or even endurance.

What Effect Does Volume Have?

Volume, like load, also has similar effects for your body. This term essentially refers to how many set and reps you do for an exercise. For example, this program calls for 5 x 8s. What does that mean? It means it specifically wants your volume to be 5 sets for 8 reps.

The number of sets and reps you do coincides with the chosen load. If your load is 85% of your one rep max for bench press, then you surely will not have a volume of five sets of 10 reps. In short, the higher the load, the lower the volume. Or, to put it another way, the lower load, the higher the volume. Of course, a moderate load means you should use moderate volume.

arms workout

Why Is Frequency A Factor?

Frequency is important because it focuses more on your recovery processes while also having to do with your training. This term basically means the amount of training being used. This could be broken down into two subcategories: Training days and muscle training days.

Training days are more vague because you are merely stating how many times a week you train. This tells us how often you train, but not how often you train an area.

Meanwhile muscle-training days explains how often you train a muscle group that week. It allows for a better analysis for others to help you if needed. You might think it sounds like it is getting a little too technical, but it helps you keep better track of your training programs by understanding frequency.

These Are Some Fears That Come With Specialized Training.

Specialized training is when you are focusing training frequency on a specific muscle region. You essentially want all effort placed on this area for these training days and your diet is specific to them as well. For example, you will train your arms three days a week and your legs one day of the week. This allows you to keep your body well maintained while you target your specific muscle region.

A common fear is that you lose your gains and strength in the areas you do not train. For example, some might fear they will lose some strength in their chest. You will not be doing any exercises that focus on your chest. But the chest will be used as a secondary muscle. Specialized training is intended for three to four weeks. From there, you go back to your regular training cycle of all regions. You will not lose any gains if you eat enough nutrients to keep them. Be sure to eat!

But this is too extreme and causes overtraining, right? Not necessarily. People are correct to believe this to an extent because it could be borderline overtraining if you did not do things the right way. However, it all depends on how well your body can adapt to the training, your experience in training and your diet.

Overtraining Is Sometimes Overrated When Obtaining Arms Like Arnold…

That is a controversial statement, but it is quite true. People often believe in the same teachings from school weight lifting classes. You know the ones. You do chest on Mondays. Then you do back exercises on Tuesdays. You focus on your shoulders on Wednesdays and so on. With these people, they never really like someone to telling them otherwise. They feel you can only target each major muscle region once a week.

Change is scary for some people. Why? It forces them to break out of their routine of habits. The truth is that it is also great for boosting training potential. Overtraining is quite hard to do unless you are targeting a muscle group five days a week without any rest days.

This would then decrease your gains instead of boosting them. That is why well-established programs make great use of training frequency.

arms recover

Don’t Forget To Rest And Recover.

Muscles do not grow properly or efficiently without rest to help them recover. Look at the example set by kids. They need plenty of rest to allow their growing bodies the chance to literally grow. Terrible sleeping patterns can hinder their natural growth. The same thing applies to your body. You need sleep to allow muscle repair that leads to growth within your muscle fibers.

The rest required between training days is 24 to 36 hours. The minimum of 24 hours is because protein synthesis could last up to this many hours and you want to let it run a natural course for better muscle growth to take place. During this rest period you should not do anything that could target that resting muscle region as a primary contraction. On non-training days you simply don’t lift weights. If you get the itch to train, then go for a brisk jog outdoors. Nothing intense should be taking place.

During the recovery process of a specialized training program you need to actively stretch to keep your arm muscles from stiffening up or having muscle twitches. Static stretches would be best suited for this since they are intended to stretch a muscle to its greatest potential while also placing that particular joint for the movement in its maximum range of motion. Research shows that stretching reduces muscle soreness and slightly speeds up recovery time.

This Is The Arnold-Like Arms Workout.

You have all the knowledge you need for a successful training program. Now you have to do the hard part. That’s right, the actual training! The program is based off the following frequency:

Day 1 – Arms

Day 2 – Legs

Day 3 – Arms

Day 4 – *Rest – Use treadmill or elliptical for brisk cardio

Day 5 – Arms

Day 6 – Rest

Day 7 – Rest

Repeat this weekly routine for a total of 4 weeks. Do not go over a month of specialized training.

Volume Key:

6-8 – Heavy load

8-10 – Medium load

10-12 – Light load

Superset: Second exercise immediately follows without rest.

This Is Day 1.

Exercise Sets Reps

Barbell curls 4 6-8

Standing dumbbell overhead triceps extension 4 6-8


1st – Supinated dumbbell curls 4 8-10

2nd – Cable rope triceps pull-downs 4 10-12


1st – Single-arm reverse curls 4 8-10

2nd – Single-arm triceps kickbacks 4 10-12

Flat bench dumbbell skullcrushers 4 10-12

Dumbbell hammer curls 1 failure

This Is Day 2.

Exercise Sets Reps

Squats 4 6-8

Romanian deadlifts 4 6-8

Dumbbell Bulgarian split-squat 4 8-10

Leg extensions 4 10-12

Leg curls 4 8-10

Heel raises 4 10-12

Leg presses 4 10-12

This Is Day 3.

Exercise Sets Reps

Narrow-reverse grip triceps press 4 6-8

EZ-Bar preacher curls 4 6-8


1st – Decline dumbbell skullcrushers 4 8-10

2nd – Cable rope biceps curls 4 10-12


1st – Straight bar triceps press-downs 4 8-10

2nd – Standing cable flex curls 4 10-12

Incline dumbbell curls 4 10-12

Seated dumbbell overhead triceps extensions 1 Failure

This Is Day 4.

*Rest – Do 30 minutes of brisk cardio.

This Is Day 5.

Exercise Sets Reps

Barbell curls 4 6-8

Close-grip bench press 4 6-8


1st – Flat bench skullcrushers 4 8-10

2nd – Cable reverse curls 4 10-12


1st – Close supinated grip pull-ups 4 8-10

2nd – EZ-Bar triceps press-downs 4 10-12

Isolation curls 4 10-12

Cable rope triceps pull-down 1 failure

This Is Day 6.

Rest – There is to be no training.

This Is Day 7.

Rest – There is to be no training.

This arms workout needs to be repeated for three more weeks totaling 4 weeks. The program will only work if you are eating enough nutritious calories to support muscle growth. That means you need to consume more calories than what is being used.

BUILD Protein


If you want to be like Arnold, you have to train like Arnold. This workout will help you build arms like Arnold. But, you need to stick to it. You also need to consume proper nutrition. And, don’t forget to allow time for rest and recovery.

If you follow these rules and the workout plan we’ve devised, you’ll be more than happy with the results. You might even find yourself compelled to utter an Arnold catchphrase!


By Brian Pankau, CPT




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