Arnie is one of the only people in the world who is recognizable by his first name alone. This is a testament to his incredible charisma, drive and charm as well as the determination and tenacity that enabled him to conquer so many different fields and to have such a big impact on sports, politics and Hollywood.
But nowhere is Arnie’s name more revered than in bodybuilding circuits. Arnie was not just a champion of the sport, he was also its first true ambassador and is at least partly responsible for the huge increased interest in fitness that continues to this day.
And as much as times have moved on and we’ve learned new strategies and techniques for getting in shape, very few people have managed to match his incredible physique still. While ‘the golden age’ of bodybuilding is long-since past, much of his wisdom still holds true.
Let’s take a look at five of the best things you can learn from Arnie…
Make it Hurt
Some people go to the gym to workout and have a chat. Not Arnie! Arnold was famous for workouts that would last 4 or 5 hours and would give it his all on every single occasion. Of course he had the help of performance enhancing steroids back then so we shouldn’t try to replicate that training ethic now – but the fact remains that you need to work hard in the gym if you want it to be worthwhile. Otherwise? Stay at home!
The One Day Cure
Arnie’s one day cure meant training a single bodypart, using a single piece of equipment and a single move. Want to grow the chest? Then just hit it with 10 x 10 reps of bench press for instance. This way you can really focus on a stubborn muscle area, create microtears, bust plateaus and stimulate real growth.
Shock the Muscle
That said, Arnie also believed strongly in shocking the muscle. If you use the same program day in and day out, then eventually your body will get tired and bored of it. Instead, keep things fresh with lots of different moves and you’ll keep feeling the benefits.
It was by observing Arnie and his colleagues that bodybuilding’s godfather Joe Weider was able to develop his intensity techniques. These included running the rack (drop sets), using negatives, using forced reps and generally doing whatever it took to push past failure and into the place where you would see growth.
21s are especially effective and involve 21 reps of bar bell curls split into three sets of 7 for each ‘portion’ of the ROM.
The Mind Muscle Connection
Finally, Arnie would always talk about focusing on the muscle, visualizing it growing and even imagining it swelling to fill the entire room. This ‘mind muscle connection’ is incredibly important for real growth as it ensures maximum muscle fiber recruitment and perfect form.
These are just some of the tips from Arnie that can make a huge difference. For more, check out his book The Arnold Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding.