Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares His Old Home Workout Routine

Arnold Schwarzenegger at How Workout

This global crisis thing seriously sucks. Basically every sports league is now canceled or postponed, the coolest movies of 2020 are getting delayed until 2021, people are hoarding toilet paper for some reason and the worst part of all of this- gyms are closed. I can work with staying home for weeks at a time and having zero social interaction, but not being able to get my daily dose of gainz is unacceptable! 

In this dark, depressing and critical times a shining beacon of light comes forth. The shining light comes in the shape of the father of the modern-day fitness industry and action movie icon-Arnold Schwarzenegger. To help everyone get through these tough times where everyone is either in a government-enforced lockdown or in a self-imposed one, Arnold blesses us with his old school, home workout routine.

The routine isn’t anything groundbreaking but it’s something and it’s approved by the cybernetic organism, living tissue over metal endoskeleton, himself!  Now, let’s dive right into it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s At-Home Workout

This coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. I have heard from so many of my fans that you are anxious and scared.

Almost everything happening around the world right now is out of our control. Almost everything. Instead of worrying about the things we can’t change, let’s focus on the things we do control.

First, and most importantly, we can control how responsible we are right now. We can slow down the spread of the virus by staying at home as much as possible. I know that isn’t easy, but right now it’s our responsibility. Most of us will be fine if we get the virus. This is a time not to think about yourself, but to think about the people you could be infecting. Be a part of the solution, and stay home every chance you can. That means no bars, no restaurants, no gatherings, and you’ll all be shocked to hear this from me, but no gyms.

Even without a gym, we can also control our physical fitness during this pandemic. Body weight, or freehand, training is the oldest method in the world. Gladiators and Vikings didn’t have gymnasiums. I started my own fitness journey with chin-ups on a tree branch by a lake in Austria. My father would encourage my brother and I to train by following the footsteps of a boxing hero of ours, László Papp, who chopped wood when he was preparing for a fight (this was a great trick to get us to do our chores). And once, when I found myself in New York to promote fitness, but ironically I couldn’t find a gym, I still found a way to train. I ran up the steps of the Park Lane Hotel where I was staying, all 46 stories, and by the end I was completely schvitzy and my legs got an incredible pump.

You don’t need a gym to be fit. I’ve written a program for all of you. You can do it every other day and it will cover all of your muscle groups.

The system is simple. If an exercise says 50 reps, you are doing 50 reps however you can. You can do 10 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 10 reps, 2 sets of 25 reps. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you finish 50 reps with perfect form. Once you complete the reps of one exercise, move on to the next exercise.

A note on form: if you cheat at an exercise, you are only cheating yourself. Don’t let your ego do the movements for you. You might want to show off to me or your friends and do 50 push-ups in one set, but if you can’t do them with perfect form, I’ll be more impressed by 5 sets of 10 perfect push-ups.

I have given repetition guidelines for beginners who don’t train very often and for more advanced trainers. But if you have actually never worked out, spend your first few workouts just getting used to the movements. I don’t want you to force yourself through 25 rows or knee-bends and then be unable to do the workout again in two days because you are too sore. And adjust the exercises for yourself – if a push-up is too much, instead of putting your hands on the floor, put them on a counter to make the movement a little easier. If a dip between chairs is too much, use your feet on the floor to take some of the weight off of your upper body. Don’t feel bad about working your way up to the full workout – we all start somewhere.

You aren’t adding weight like you would be in the gym, but you can still track your progress. If you could do 5 perfect push-ups today, do 6 in your next workout. Track the number of sets it takes you each time to hit your total reps, and watch as the number of sets goes down over time.

 

1. Pushups

Beginner: 25 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

Place palms hip wide, keep your back straight and core tight, then push yourself up from the ground up. Repeat this motion 25 times if you’re a beginner or 50 if you mastered the push-up.

2. Dips between chairs

Beginner: 20 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

Stand between two chairs wide enough that will allow you to perform a dip. Once you got the distance right, straighten up your arms as you raise your body upwards and cross your legs so you get more range of motion in the exercise. Once you’ve done that, go down until your knees touch the floor now. Repeat this motion anywhere between 20 to 50 times.

3. Row between chairs

Beginner: 30 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

This is basically a reverse push-up. Stand in a push-up position underneath the broomstick or whatever you are using as a makeshift barbell and pull yourself up. The same rules apply here as they apply for the push-up. Keep the back straight and core tight.

4. Sit-ups

Beginner: 30 Reps

Advanced: 100 Reps

I’ve seen variation with arms across your chest, with fingers interlocked behind your head and now Arnold’s variation with palms placed at waists. Not much to say about this other than this. Try all three and see what works for you. Everything else, you get from the name of the exercise and the picture above.

5. Bent-leg raises

Beginner: 25 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

Hands behind your back or slightly on your ass, raise your legs and bring your knees to your chest. Arnold places his legs on the floor in the picture but if you want constant muscle tension I suggest you keep your legs elevated throught the entire set.

6. Bent-over twists

Beginner: 25 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

This might look silly, but it’s a good oblique exercise and it looks fun to do. Put the improvised barbell behind your neck, bend down and go with your left arm towards your right knee and vise versa.

7. Knee bends (squats)

Beginner: 25 Reps

Advanced: 50-70 Reps

Arnold does his squats here with a super narrow stance, a book planted underneath his heels and palms on his hips. Never tried doing this variation but from the looks of things, it should be hitting your quads dominantly.

8. Calf raises

Beginner: 25 Reps

Advanced: 50 Reps

Stand on a book with your toes and grab a chair in front of you or a wall. Then begin raising your heel upwards with your other leg bent at the knee. 

9. Chin-ups

Beginner: 10 Reps

Advanced: 30 Reps

Do you really need me to teach you how do a proper pull up/chin up? Grab a bar and pull yourself up, that’s it. You can do it with your palms facing the bar or with your palms facing yourself. The first one will hit your lats and back more, while the other will be hitting your biceps a lot more.

Do not miss our Best Old-school workouts series:

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