Long before he was paid $25 million for his movie roles, Arnold Schwarzenegger penned monthly articles for bodybuilding godfather Joe Weider’s muscle magazines. Arnold’s writing didn’t win any journalism awards, but he later collected his ideas and training philosophies in his best-selling “The New Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding,” which is still used as a reference tool by bodybuilders today.
Perusing Arnold’s signature tome requires some effort: The hardback version comes in at an even 800 pages, after all! While it’s hefty weight might make it a nice addition to your coffee table, the nuggets of training gold take a little work to find. In the interest of mining the best knowledge from one of the strongest minds in bodybuilding, here are 31 Arnold-approved training tips to help you build your best body ever!
1. CHOOSE THE BEST EXERCISES FOR GROWTH
For the Oak, training hard was as important as training smart. “To get big, you have to get strong,” he wrote. “Beginning and intermediate bodybuilders shouldn’t be as concerned with refinement as with growth.”
With this in mind, focus less on single-joint movements (sometimes called isolation exercises) in favor of multijoint ones. The bench press, squat, deadlift, overhead press, bent-over row, and power clean are examples of solid multijoint exercises that require several muscle groups to work in coordination. These exercises should form the foundation of your training plan.
While these movements are more difficult to master than their single-joint counterparts, they offer the added benefit of allowing you to train very heavy to overload the target muscle groups. Arnold believed that performing these moves and challenging yourself with heavy weights was the single most critical component of gaining strength and size.