Arnold Split Workout Routine

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Arnold Split Workout Routine

The blog serves as a guide to understanding Arnold split and the training system that Arnold Schwarzenegger followed during his prime. All the workouts, routines, and exercises you’ll need to get into Arnold shape are here.

We’ll go over the basics of the Arnold split and weigh its benefits and drawbacks for you. We’ll also go over some Arnold split exercise examples and talk about how to programme the Arnold split.

There are also several suggestions for high-intensity training for experienced athletes, which have been shown to deliver much greater gains. While not everyone has Mr Olympia’s aspirations, you just could if you keep reading!

The Story of Arnold Schwarzenegger

Specific names will keep coming up when you question folks who motivate them to work out. Excepting mythical heroes like Hercules or the Dark Knight, Arnold Schwarzenegger is without a doubt one of the most iconic fitness icons of all time.

When one thinks about bodybuilding, immediately Arnold Schwarzenegger comes to mind. Many of today’s bodybuilders take their inspiration from him since he was one of the most accomplished bodybuilders in history.

Since his training system was a successful attempt at bringing home seven Mr Olympia championship trophies, he and his training system became a worldwide sensation.

As a bodybuilder, Arnold possessed one of the greatest physiques ever, but his personality and positive outlook also contributed to his widespread fame.

Many people are curious about Arnold’s training techniques because he is a motivational figure for those just getting started with weightlifting.

An Exploration of the Arnold Split

For most of his successful professional bodybuilding career, Arnold used a training method which later came to be famously known as the “Arnold split.”

Arnold’s splits may be identified with a few workout plans included in his training “book,” The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

The Arnold split refers to the way Arnold divided up his training in the months leading up to a bodybuilding competition.

A high-volume, high-frequency practice is not for the faint-hearted, but it may provide significant benefits if you stick with it.

Working out according to the Arnold split involves a weekly routine of hitting each muscle group twice which makes up for a total of six sessions each week.

The Arnold split is a standard method of bodybuilding that divides the body into three sections: the upper body (chest and back), upper arms, and lower body (legs).

The volume is substantial, ranging from 6-25 repetitions per set over three to four sets for most exercises.

Arnold used a double-split regimen, a more sophisticated variation, to maintain a high level of training intensity. With this goal in mind, he split his training up by doing double sessions on some days.

Only weightlifters with two years of training experience should attempt the Arnold split. It is not a good regimen for those who have erratic training schedules, since it requires close monitoring of both your diet and your recuperation.

Arnold Split: Full Workout Routine

We’ve finally reached the highlight of the blog- Arnold’s genuine training routine, the “split.” These exercises are based on the same split plan that Arnold utilized for most of his bodybuilding career.

Depending on your fitness level, you may use these routines to accomplish either the basic or advanced split.

Here’s an example workout based on the original Arnold split, complete with exercises and set/rep schemes. While supersets will not be called for in this regimen, they may be used to cut workout time in half.

When you feel like you need an additional push, try some drop set training or peak effort reps; just remember that every session shouldn’t fail. As a reminder, the main split is as follows:

  • Monday/Thursday: Chest and Back
  • Tuesday/Friday: Shoulders and Arms
  • Wednesday/Saturday: Legs and Lower Back
  • Every session: Abs
  • Sunday: Rest

With the Arnold split program defined, let’s get into the actual exercises.

Workout for the Chest and the Back

Among today’s many options, the first session’s focus is on the chest and back. In terms of contemporary training, the closest analogue would be an upper-body day without shoulder and arm exercises.

The huge chest and back muscles will benefit greatly from this session’s emphasis on compound movements.

Start with a few warm-up sets of 15 reps, 12 reps, and 10 reps, or a comparable number of repetitions for the bench press.

Exercises and Sets x Reps

  • Bench press: 3 x 8
  • Dumbbell incline bench press: 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell fly: 3 x 12
  • Chin-ups: 50 total
  • Bent-over rows: 3 x 8
  • Deadlift: 3 x 10/6/4
  • Crunches: 5 x 25

Workout for the Shoulders and Arms

The next part of the Arnold split is the lengthier part of the routine, which occurs on the days when there is just one session.

The number of exercises may seem overwhelming at first, but training these smaller muscle groups allows for more intense workouts with less time between sets.

You could conceivably do shoulder exercises first thing in the morning and arm exercises later on if you wanted to stick to the same workout routine every day. Once again, be sure to properly warm up before attempting any hard overhead pressing.

After that point, the workouts focus more on developing a strong mind-muscle link and pushing through muscular fatigue.

Exercises and Sets x Reps

  • Barbell overhead press: 3 x 8
  • Lateral raise: 3 x 10
  • Upright row: 3 x 10/6/4
  • Rear delt fly: 3 x 12
  • Barbell curl: 5 x 15/10/8/6/4
  • Incline dumbbell curl: 3 x 8
  • Close-grip bench press: 4 x 15/10/8/6
  • Overhead tricep extension: 3 x 8
  • Wrist extensions and flexions: 3 x 10 for each
  • Reverse crunch: 5 x 25

Workout for Your Legs and Lower Back

The Arnold split would be incomplete without discussing the lower body. Arnold praised the basic barbell squat as a key move for developing powerful legs.

Now that you’ve given your legs a solid workout with squats, it’s time to switch to some single-leg exercises like lunges, intending to stretch your glutes.

Exercises that focus on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves will be shown next. Finally, this routine incorporates straight-legged deadlifts and back extensions to develop strong and attractive erector spinal muscles.

Exercises and Sets x Reps

  • Squats: 5 x 20/10/8/6/4
  • Lunges: 3 x 10
  • Leg Press: 4 x 10
  • Leg curls: 4 x 10
  • Leg Extensions: 4 x 10
  • Standing calf raise: 4 x 10-15
  • Straight-legged deadlift: 3 x 10/6/4
  • Back extension: 3 x 10
  • Decline bench twists: 100 total for each side

Workout for Abs

Arnold would always make time to work on his abs. The more advanced Arnold split would resemble the one we have described below, which differs from the basic Arnold split by including numerous sets of a single core exercise after each session.

This is a comprehensive ab program that you may do if you have the time or if you want to work on your abs more than any other muscle area.

Exercises and Sets x Reps

  • Roman chair situps: 5 mins
  • Machine crunches: 3 x 25
  • Hanging knee raise: 4 x 25
  • Decline bench twists: 100 total for each side

Bodybuilding Routines Based on Arnold’s Methods for Muscle Growth

If you feel that a certain workout or muscle region needs an additional boost to develop, use one of the methods detailed below.

Shocking Principle

When you feel like your muscles have stopped reacting to your program, the first thing you should try is doing something else.

Shocking the forces may be accomplished via a variety of methods, including sudden shifts in weight, rep counts, rhythm, and rest periods.

If you want to spur new development, it’s worth it to sometimes throw a curveball at your body, since it can adapt to even massive pressures.

Partial Reps

Arnold preferred to do fewer repetitions with a lighter weight to work most of the muscles in his body. Although you may be familiar with this method, Arnold used a slightly different variation that is worth highlighting.

Arnold’s technique consisted of pushing himself to exhaustion in a set, then finishing the set with partial repetitions in varying motions.

Start at the top of the curl and work your way down, finishing with a few repetitions at the midpoint and a few more until you are completely fatigued.

Forced Reps

Arnold favoured a different approach to getting in a few additional repetitions than the conventional technique, which involves having a training partner assist with the concentric phase of the lift.

Arnold would employ rest-pause sets to get in those last few reps without overusing his training partner.

A rest-pause set consists of working to the first failure, reducing the weight if feasible, pausing for a few seconds, and then continuing the set. For best results, do it anywhere from once to many times.

Priority Principle

The priority concept is a strategy of exercise order in your program rather than a particular technique to apply throughout a set. To improve his physique, Arnold adopted the priority concept, which you may also apply.

Exercises targeting the desired muscle group should be scheduled early in the session, immediately after rest days, or with increased volume and intensity.


In lifting, the term “negatives” refers to the eccentric part of the motion, when the load is lowered vertically against gravity.

Another hallmark of a negative or eccentric action is that the muscle is extending rather than shortening under strain.

After a set, you may complete a few slow, controlled negatives with the help of an assistant or by carefully cheating the weight up.


Supersets are a common method of training, and there are many variations you may try.

One technique includes doing two sets of exercises targeting the same muscle area in rapid succession, maximizing the benefits of both sets.

As an alternative, Arnold loved supersets that worked for two muscle groups at once for the cardiovascular benefits and the huge pump they provided.

Tri-sets, or even “giant sets,” consisting of four consecutive exercises, are another way to increase the intensity of a superset.

Platoon System

The platoon system, sometimes called “21s,” is a step up from the one-and-a-half method.

Seven repetitions of the lower half of the exercise, seven repetitions of the upper half, and then seven repetitions using the complete range of motion constitute this method.

Arnold used to complete 10 reps in each range, but this may be changed to suit the individual’s needs.

Method of Flushing

During the flushing procedure, you will hold isometric contractions at different joint angles.

This method is excellent for increasing metabolic stress in the muscle and fostering a mind-muscle connection across the whole range of motion.

Pick either a compound exercise, like a leg press or an isolated exercise, like a lateral raise.

For each repetition, slowly go through the full range of motion, stopping for up to 10 seconds at the end of each set.

Stripping Method

The stripping technique, which includes dropping the weight gradually and finishing a set through failure, is also known as drop sets or “running the rack” when using dumbbells.

To increase the mechanical strain on the muscle, drop sets have been endorsed in the scientific literature.

Arnold suggested saving this technique for the last set of an exercise to guarantee maximum strength throughout the primary working sets.

One-and-a-half Method

This straightforward method involves pausing briefly between each standard repeat to complete a half-range rep. This technique may be used either at the beginning or end of the workout.

Depending on where you struggle the most during a bench press, you may do a one-and-a-half at either the lockout or the bottom of the lift.

Ballistic Training

Large compound actions, such as squatting or pressing, are ideal for ballistic training because they help develop explosive power. With this technique, the load is lifted in a concentrated motion.

Training using a ballistic approach is great for breaking through plateaus and activating fast-twitch muscle fibres. In terms of overall muscle mass, this is crucial since fast-twitch fibres are far bigger than slow-twitch fibres.

Isotension Principle

While those who regularly lift weights may be acquainted with this strategy, many of those reading this will likely be unfamiliar. Using this method, you may strengthen your isometric contraction by flexing a muscle in between sessions.

For a bodybuilder, this may entail striking certain positions that target the muscular group being trained. According to Arnold, this technique is crucial for anybody who wants to compete successfully in a big bodybuilding competition.

Pre-Exhaust Principle

This strategy is excellent for optimizing the benefits of complex workouts for smaller muscle groups. The term “pre-exhausting” refers to the practice of doing an isolated exercise on the bigger muscle before moving on to the compound lift.

If you want to use the pre-exhaust strategy for your bench press, try doing several chest flys beforehand.

You won’t be able to lift as much total weight since your pecs won’t be able to recover as quickly, but your smaller muscles will get a good workout in the process. Because of this, they’ll bulk up and boost your strength and muscle tone.

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Arnold Split Positives

Here are some of the pros of choosing to do the Arnold Split workout routine:

1. Excellent for Professional Bodybuilding

In discussions about elite-level bodybuilding, the Arnold divide is undeniably valid. The Arnold split was designed with increasing muscle mass and aesthetics in mind, but it may also be used to great benefit by those seeking to increase strength.

The Arnold split is more sophisticated and allows for maximum intensity throughout every training session.

Maximum improvements will be achieved even while training groups of muscles that are generally worked on later in the session. In addition to ensuring steady improvement, training like Arnold is one of the best ways to guarantee it.

2. Significantly Reduces Fatigue

By working opposing muscle fibres in a single session, you may do more with less effort. The Arnold split is useful because it allows you to work on opposing muscle groups simultaneously.

Suppose you train your chest and back twice a week. Because the muscles used in the various workouts targeting these regions are distinct, you may train them intensively without having to set up a full day for each.

Additionally, workouts that focus on the shoulders and arms do not primarily activate the chest and back muscles.

Training your upper body on consecutive days has several benefits, including the fact that you can focus just on your arms and shoulders while they are well-rested, as opposed to squeezing in a few shoulder and arm exercises after a lengthy upper body workout.

3. Multiple Days to Recover

It takes a few days for each muscle group to heal. Doing body part splits allows you to rest each muscle group enough even if you exercise six days in a row.

Your muscles will have at least 48 hours to heal between sessions focusing on different parts of your body.

4. Promotes Balanced Training

A well-rounded physique may be achieved with the Arnold split’s emphasis on working all of the major muscular groups.

You still have to be selective in your workout choices; you shouldn’t only focus on quads on leg days.

But because you’ll be working out every muscle group twice weekly, you can give them all the attention they need. It also provides additional chances to strengthen your vulnerable spots, which might reduce the likelihood of injury.

Arnold Split Negatives

Here are a few cons of doing the Arnold Split workout routine:

1. Challenging for Beginners

The Arnold split indeed produces excellent results, but it doesn’t mean it’s the optimal method for everyone.

Beginners to weightlifting may find even the article’s most basic split too complex. It may be tempting to get right into Arnold-level training, but doing so might lead to injury or overtraining if you don’t start at the right level.

2. Time-consuming

Workouts may take up to two hours to complete, depending on the number of exercises performed, the length of time spent waiting for gym equipment, and the amount of time spent resting in between sets.

Additionally, you won’t see results from the program if you miss training days, and many individuals find it difficult to exercise six times each week.

3. Reduced Flexibility

Because of this workout, there is no time for anything else. Having only six days to train each week limits your ability to mix and match different types of exercise.

The Arnold split allows for some steady-state cardio, but it is not possible to prepare for other objectives, such as a marathon while following the Arnold split.

No amount of time spent recovering and refocusing on each objective would be sufficient.

What Outcomes Ought to Be Anticipated From the Arnold Split?

Consistency is key to maximizing the benefits of a 16-week Arnold split program. The outcomes will also be influenced by your genes, exercise history, nutrition, recuperation, and other behaviours.

It is possible to grow between 4 and 8 pounds of muscle by eating enough calories, avoiding excessive amounts of cardio, getting adequate sleep, and correctly managing the stressors of everyday life.

Even while you could acquire some fat as well, a lean bulk will help you keep it to a minimum.

Because the Arnold split necessitates four upper body training days per week, you may find that you gain more muscle growth in your upper body than in your bottom body.

However, if you keep up a substantial number of leg workouts, you’ll see excellent gains in leg size as well.

Furthermore, you will strengthen even though this is not a strength-based program.

Besides bulking up your muscles, hypertrophy exercise also makes them stronger.

This is why, after the Arnold split is complete, you should immediately go on to a strength block.

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How Did Arnold’s Diet Work?

Even when he was at the pinnacle of his bodybuilding career, Arnold’s attitude to nutrition remained mostly the same. First, he kept his macronutrient ratio of protein 40%, carbohydrates 40%, and fats 20% relatively constant.

Arnie made sure he had plenty of everything he needed by eating a healthywell-balanced diet and taking vitamin and mineral supplements.

He didn’t think you should avoid losing weight by avoiding certain food types. Arnold’s diet was very standard: eggs, bacon, and milk in the morning; meat, chicken, or fish with vegetables for lunch and supper; protein shakes in between.

Final Words

Although the Arnold split is not for everyone, it may be effective in helping you build muscle and look better if you are dedicated to it and take care of your diet and rest.

You may always take a break day in the middle of the week or use undulating periodization to control your training intensity if you feel the volume or training frequency to be too excessive. In this way, you may maintain the six-day split without burning out.


1. Do PPL and the Arnold split mean the same thing?

Differences exist between the Arnold split and PPL. The sole shared feature between the two plans is a focus on the legs. Each split’s routines are designed to target a certain set of upper-body muscles.

During an Arnold split exercise, you’ll target opposing muscle parts like your chest and back together. The muscles are broken down into groups according to their specific roles, such as pushing or pulling, in a PPL exercise.

2. How efficient is The Arnold Split?

There is no better hypertrophy plan than the Arnold split. Each muscle group is worked out twice weekly, which allows for rapid gains in muscular growth and development.

3. When doing the Arnold Split, how much food should you be consuming?

Calorie’s needs during the Arnold split will vary from person to person. If you want to maximize the muscle-building effects of the Arnold split, you should consume at least enough to maintain your current weight, if not in excess.

4. Should You Avoid Cardio While on the Arnold Split?

While following the Arnold split, you may still do cardio. Remember, too, that your body will be put under a lot of stress if you lift weights six days a week.

Repeated high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or other severe cardio sessions might hinder recuperation.

I would suggest beginning with two or three sessions of steady-state cardio each week and seeing how you respond before attempting to increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts.

5. If you’re doing the Arnold Split, do you have to exercise twice a day?

When adopting the Arnold split, some individuals choose to train twice per day to cut down on gym time, particularly if they are also doing cardiovascular exercise.

However, you don’t have to go to the gym twice a day if you don’t want to or can’t.

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