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Arnold’s Arm Workouts and Advice for Huge Biceps

Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for his impressive arm development, and he had various arm workout routines throughout his career. We will explore 10 powerful arm exercises that have been a part of Arnold’s pre-contest arm workouts regimen. From classic bicep curls to skull crusher, each workout is designed to target specific muscle groups, promoting strength, size, and overall arm definition.

Learn how to perform these exercises with proper form, understand their benefits, and discover expert tips for optimal performance.¬†Whether you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a beginner, incorporating Arnold’s Arm Workouts into your routine can propel you towards your desired strength and definition.

Unlike other male celeb in Hollywood, Arnold Arm Workouts were created with his specific objectives and experience level in mind. Beginner or intermediate trainees are advised to start with a lesser volume and raise it gradually as they advance. It’s also crucial to pay attention to your body and modify the intensity and volume in based each individual requirements.

3 Thing You Should Know About Arnold’s Arm Workout:

  • Routine Duration: Arnold’s arm workouts were known for their high volume and intensity. According to one source, each arm workout would take a full two hours, with 45 minutes dedicated to triceps, 45 minutes to biceps, and 30 minutes to forearms
  • Volume: Arnold’s arm workouts were known for their high volume. He would often perform multiple sets for each exercise, sometimes up to 20 sets for biceps, split evenly between mass-builders and exercises for definition
  • Exercises: Arnold incorporated a variety of exercises to target different areas of the arms. Some of his favorite arm exercises include

Arnold Arm Workouts Pre-Contest and Split Routine Chart

Incline Dumbbell Curl

Performing Incline Dumbbell Curls with Proper Technique:

  1. Starting Position: Set an incline bench at a 45-degree angle. Sit back with your back firmly against the bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward.
  2. Curling the Dumbbells: Exhale and curl the dumbbells upward, keeping your upper arms stationary and allowing your biceps to do the work.
  3. Top Position: Hold the contracted position briefly, ensuring maximum muscle engagement in the biceps.
  4. Lowering the Dumbbells: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbells back down to the starting position, maintaining control throughout.
  5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions, depending on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Incline Dumbbell Curls:

  • Targeted Bicep Focus: Incline Dumbbell Curls effectively isolate the biceps, targeting them from a different angle for improved muscle growth.
  • Enhanced Range of Motion: The incline bench allows for a deeper stretch and greater muscle activation in the biceps.
  • Preventing Cheating: By supporting your back against the bench, this exercise minimizes the use of momentum, promoting strict form and reducing cheating.
  • Balanced Muscle Development: Independent arm movement with dumbbells promotes balanced muscle development and addresses any strength imbalances.

Similar Workout: Concentration Curls

For a similar workout that hones in on bicep isolation, consider Concentration Curls. Sit on a bench, lean forward, and brace your elbow against your inner thigh while holding a dumbbell. Perform curls, ensuring full contraction at the top and a controlled descent.

Fitness Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on establishing a strong mind-muscle connection with your biceps, visualizing them working throughout the exercise.
  2. Proper Incline Angle: Adjust the incline bench to suit your comfort and ensure the targeted angle is achieved.
  3. Controlled Repetitions: Perform the curls with controlled and deliberate movements, emphasizing both the concentric and eccentric phases.
  4. Breathing: Exhale during the upward curling phase and inhale during the lowering phase.
  5. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the weight or repetitions to continually challenge your biceps for optimal growth.

Tricep Cable Pressdown

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Arnold Schwarzenegger, the iconic bodybuilder, incorporates Cable Tricep Pushdowns into his arm routine for sculpting strong and defined triceps.

Executing the Cable Tricep Pushdown with Proper Technique:

  1. Starting Position: Stand facing a cable machine with a straight bar attached to the high pulley. Grip the bar with an overhand grip and position your elbows close to your sides.
  2. Pushing Down the Bar: Exhale and push the bar down until your arms are fully extended, while keeping your upper arms stationary. Squeeze your triceps at the bottom of the movement.
  3. Returning to Starting Position: Inhale and slowly release the bar back up, controlling its ascent.
  4. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions, depending on your fitness level and goals.

Advantages of the Cable Tricep Pushdown:

  • Targeted Tricep Isolation: The Cable Tricep Pushdown effectively isolates the triceps, emphasizing muscle activation and growth.
  • Constant Tension: Unlike free weights, cable machines provide constant tension throughout the entire range of motion, maximizing muscle engagement.
  • Customizable Resistance: The cable machine allows for easy adjustment of resistance, accommodating various fitness levels and goals.
  • Multiple Grip Options: Experiment with different attachments like rope handles or V-bars to target the triceps from various angles.

Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Elbow Placement: Maintain your elbows close to your sides and avoid flaring them out during the movement to keep the focus on the triceps.
  2. Full Range of Motion: Ensure a complete extension at the bottom of the movement and a controlled release to fully engage the triceps.
  3. Avoid Excessive Swinging: Keep your body stable and avoid using momentum to move the weight. Focus on controlled movements.
  4. Superset with Other Exercises: Combine Cable Tricep Pushdowns with compound movements like bench press for an effective arm workout.
  5. Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on contracting the triceps throughout the exercise for better mind-muscle connection.

Standing Alternate Curl

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Standing Alternate Curls are a fundamental part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training routine, targeting the biceps and promoting balanced muscle development.

Executing Standing Alternate Curls with Proper Form:

  1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing forward.
  2. Curling the Dumbbells: Exhale and curl one dumbbell upward while keeping your upper arm stationary. Rotate your wrist so that your palm faces your shoulder at the top of the movement.
  3. Lowering the Dumbbell: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, controlling the descent.
  4. Alternate Arms: Repeat the curl with the opposite arm, maintaining the same controlled movement.
  5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions per arm, depending on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Standing Alternate Curls:

  • Bicep Isolation: Standing Alternate Curls effectively isolate and target each bicep individually, ensuring balanced development.
  • Stabilization: This exercise engages the core and other stabilizing muscles, promoting overall body stability.
  • Functional Strength: Standing curls mimic real-life movements that involve lifting and carrying, contributing to functional strength.
  • Variation: Alternating arms challenges the biceps differently than bilateral curls, adding variety to your arm workout routine.

Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Controlled Movements: Perform the curls with slow and controlled movements, avoiding any swinging or jerking.
  2. Full Range of Motion: Ensure a full range of motion by fully extending your arms at the bottom and curling the weight all the way up at the top.
  3. Focus on the Biceps: Concentrate on contracting and squeezing your biceps at the top of each curl to maximize muscle activation.
  4. Breathing: Breathe out during the upward curling phase and breathe in during the lowering phase.
  5. Form Over Weight: Prioritize proper form and technique over lifting heavy weights to prevent injury and optimize results.

One Arm Triceps Extension

One Arm Triceps Extension, also known as One Arm Dumbbell Triceps Extension, is a go-to exercise in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training routine. It focuses on developing the triceps while enhancing arm strength and definition.

One Arm Triceps Extension with Proper Technique:

1. Starting Position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in one hand. Raise the dumbbell overhead, keeping your elbow bent and your palm facing inward.

2. Extending the Arm: Exhale and extend your arm upward until it is fully straightened. Focus on contracting your triceps throughout the movement.

3. Lowering the Weight: Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position, bending your elbow to bring the weight down behind your head.

4. Alternate Arms: Perform the desired number of repetitions on one arm before switching to the other.

5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per arm, depending on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of One Arm Triceps Extension:

One Arm Triceps Extension effectively isolates and targets the triceps.

Core Engagement: This exercise engages the core muscles to stabilize your body during the movement.

Range of Motion: One Arm Triceps Extension allows for a full range of motion, enhancing the stretch and contraction of the triceps.

Unilateral Training: Training each arm independently helps to correct strength imbalances and promote balanced muscle development.

Fitness Tips for Optimal Performance:

1. Steady Movement: Perform the exercise with slow and controlled movements, avoiding any rapid jerking or swinging.

2. Elbow Placement: Keep your elbow steady and close to your head during the movement to isolate the triceps effectively.

3. Avoid Locking Elbow: Do not lock your elbow at the top of the extension to maintain tension on the triceps.

4. Breathing: Exhale as you extend your arm upward and inhale as you lower the weight.

5. Form Over Weight: Prioritize maintaining proper form and technique over lifting heavy weights to reduce the risk of injury and optimize results.

Alternative Workout: Triceps Pushdown

If you are looking for an alternative triceps exercise, consider the Triceps Pushdown. This exercise is performed using a cable machine and emphasizes the lateral head of the triceps.

Stand facing the cable machine with a rope attachment, push the rope down while keeping your upper arms stationary, and fully extend your arms. Control the return movement for a complete range of motion.

Preacher Curl

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Preacher Curls hold a prominent place in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training regimen, emphasizing bicep development and sculpting eye-catching arms.

Executing Preacher Curls with Proper Form:

  1. Starting Position: Sit on a preacher curl bench, placing your upper arms flat against the angled pad. Grip the barbell or dumbbells with an underhand grip (palms facing up).
  2. Curling the Weight: Exhale and curl the weight upward while keeping your upper arms pressed against the pad. Focus on contracting your biceps fully.
  3. Top Position: Hold the contracted position briefly, feeling the peak contraction in your biceps.
  4. Lowering the Weight: Inhale and slowly lower the weight back down in a controlled manner, allowing your biceps to stretch.
  5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions, depending on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Preacher Curls:

  • Targeted Bicep Emphasis: Preacher Curls specifically target the biceps, helping to enhance their size and definition.
  • Isolation and Focus: The preacher curl bench isolates the biceps, minimizing involvement of other muscle groups, allowing for better focus and muscle engagement.
  • Reduced Cheating: By stabilizing your upper arms against the pad, preacher curls reduce the likelihood of using momentum or cheating to lift the weight.
  • Overcoming Weak Points: Preacher curls can help overcome strength imbalances and target weak points in the biceps.

Advice for Optimal Performance:

  1. Controlled Repetitions: Perform the curls with slow and controlled movements, emphasizing both the concentric and eccentric phases of the exercise.
  2. Mind-Muscle Connection: Focus on establishing a strong mind-muscle connection with your biceps throughout the exercise.
  3. Adjust the Bench: Ensure the preacher curl bench is appropriately adjusted to fit your height, allowing your arms to rest comfortably on the pad.
  4. Alternate Grips: Experiment with different grip widths (narrow, wide) to target different areas of the biceps.
  5. Form Over Weight: Prioritize proper form and technique over the amount of weight lifted to prevent injury and maximize results.

Lying Triceps Extension

Barbell Skull Crushers are a key component of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training arsenal, renowned for their effectiveness in isolating and developing the triceps.

Executing Barbell Skull Crushers with Proper Form:

  1. Starting Position: Lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, extending your arms directly above your shoulders.
  2. Lowering the Barbell: Inhale and slowly lower the barbell toward your forehead by bending your elbows. Ensure your upper arms stay perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Pressing the Weight: Exhale and push the barbell back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
  4. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions, based on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Barbell Skull Crushers:

  • Targeted Tricep Isolation: Barbell Skull Crushers effectively isolate the triceps, leading to significant muscle growth and strength gains.
  • Elbow Extension Strength: This exercise enhances elbow extension strength, which is vital for various upper body movements.
  • Versatility: Barbell Skull Crushers can be performed on a flat bench, an incline bench, or even with an EZ bar for added variety.
  • Stability and Control: To perform Skull Crushers correctly, you need to maintain stability and control throughout the movement, which helps in developing better mind-muscle connection.

Expert Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Choose the Right Weight: Select a weight that challenges your triceps but allows you to maintain proper form throughout the exercise.
  2. Elbow Placement: Keep your elbows stable and avoid flaring them out during the movement to maximize tricep engagement.
  3. Gradual Progression: Gradually increase the weight over time to progressively challenge your triceps and promote growth.
  4. Use a Spotter: As the exercise involves weight above your face, having a spotter can provide safety and assistance if needed.
  5. Superset with Bicep Exercises: Combine Barbell Skull Crushers with bicep exercises for a well-rounded arm workout.

Reverse Tricep Pushups

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Reverse Tricep Pushups, also known as Diamond Pushups or Close Grip Pushups, are an essential part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training routine. They effectively target the triceps and promote upper body strength.

Performing Reverse Tricep Pushups with Proper Technique:

  1. Starting Position: Begin in a plank position with your hands close together, forming a diamond shape with your thumbs and index fingers. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders.
  2. Lowering Your Body: Lower your chest toward the diamond shape formed by your hands, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  3. Pushing Back Up: Exhale and push your body back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.
  4. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions, based on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Reverse Tricep Pushups:

  • Tricep Emphasis: Reverse Tricep Pushups effectively target the triceps, helping to develop strength and definition in this muscle group.
  • Upper Body Workout: This exercise engages the chest, shoulders, and core muscles, providing a well-rounded upper body workout.
  • No Equipment Required: Reverse Tricep Pushups can be performed anywhere with no equipment necessary, making them a convenient bodyweight exercise.
  • Variation: You can modify the difficulty of this exercise by adjusting the hand placement and the angle of your body.

Alternative Workout: Tricep Dips

If you’re looking for an alternative tricep exercise, consider Tricep Dips, which can be performed using parallel bars or sturdy elevated surfaces. Lower your body by bending your elbows and then push yourself back up to the starting position.

Reverse Pushup Tips :

  1. Proper Alignment: Keep your body in a straight line throughout the movement, engaging your core for stability.
  2. Elbow Placement: Ensure your elbows remain close to your body during the pushups to emphasize tricep engagement.
  3. Controlled Movement: Perform the exercise with controlled and deliberate movements to maximize muscle activation.
  4. Breathing: Exhale as you push yourself back up and inhale as you lower your chest.
  5. Progressive Challenge: Increase the number of repetitions or the difficulty level as you progress to continue challenging your triceps.

Concentration Curl

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Arnold can often be seen doing concentration curls in many of his exercise videos. Why he likes it? This isolating movement primarily targets the biceps, aiding in sculpting impressive arm muscles.

How to Properly Execute Concentration Curls:

  1. Starting Position: Sit on a flat bench with your legs spread apart. Hold a dumbbell in one hand and rest the back of your upper arm against your inner thigh. Ensure your arm is fully extended, and your palm faces forward.
  2. Curling the Weight: Inhale and slowly curl the dumbbell upward towards your shoulder while keeping your upper arm stationary. Focus on squeezing your bicep at the top of the movement.
  3. Top Position: Hold the contracted position for a moment, maximizing the tension in your biceps.
  4. Lowering the Weight: Exhale and lower the dumbbell back to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions per arm, depending on your fitness level and objectives.

The Advantages of Concentration Curls:

  • Targeted Bicep Isolation: Concentration Curls effectively isolate the biceps, allowing for intense muscle engagement and growth.
  • Arm Symmetry: This exercise helps improve arm symmetry by ensuring both biceps receive equal attention and resistance.
  • Enhanced Mind-Muscle Connection: Concentration Curls promote a strong mind-muscle connection, which is essential for maximizing muscle activation during exercises.
  • Portable and Versatile: Dumbbells are easily accessible and portable, making this exercise suitable for both gym and home workouts.

Difficulty Level:

Concentration Curls are considered suitable for individuals of various fitness levels. Beginners should start with lighter weights to focus on form and gradually increase the resistance as they become more confident with the exercise.

Maintain proper posture and avoid using momentum to lift the weight, as this may compromise the effectiveness of the exercise.

Preacher Reverse Curls

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Preacher Reverse Curls are a key component of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training routine, focusing on the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, which contribute to overall forearm and arm strength.

Performing Preacher Reverse Curls with Proper Form:

  1. Starting Position: Sit on a preacher curl bench, but this time, grip the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing down).
  2. Curling the Barbell: Exhale and curl the barbell upward, keeping your upper arms against the pad. Focus on contracting your brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.
  3. Top Position: Hold the contracted position briefly, emphasizing the peak contraction in your forearms.
  4. Lowering the Barbell: Inhale and slowly lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner, allowing your forearms to stretch.
  5. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions, based on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Preacher Reverse Curls:

  • Forearm Emphasis: Preacher Reverse Curls effectively target the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles, leading to improved forearm and arm strength.
  • Wrist Stability: This exercise enhances wrist stability and strength, which is essential for various upper body movements.
  • Eccentric Emphasis: The controlled lowering of the barbell in this exercise emphasizes eccentric muscle contractions, aiding in muscle development.
  • Joint-Friendly: Preacher Reverse Curls provide stability and reduce strain on the wrists compared to traditional reverse curls with free weights.

Alternative Workout: Hammer Curls

If you are looking for an alternative exercise to target the same muscle groups, consider Hammer Curls. This exercise involves standing with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing your body. Curl the dumbbells upward while maintaining a neutral grip (thumbs pointing up), emphasizing the brachialis and brachioradialis muscles.

Fitness Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Controlled Tempo: Perform Preacher Reverse Curls with controlled and deliberate movements to maximize muscle activation.
  2. Full Range of Motion: Ensure your forearms are fully contracted at the top of the curl and adequately stretched at the bottom.
  3. Breathing: Exhale during the upward curling phase and inhale during the lowering phase.
  4. Appropriate Seat Adjustment: Adjust the preacher curl bench to ensure your elbows rest comfortably on the pad.
  5. Form Over Weight: Focus on maintaining proper form and technique, prioritizing muscle engagement over lifting heavy weights.

Barbell Wrist Curls

Barbell Wrist Curls

Barbell Wrist Curls are a crucial component of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm training routine, targeting the forearm muscles and promoting grip strength.

Performing Barbell Wrist Curls with Proper Form:

  1. Starting Position: Sit on a bench or stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a barbell with an overhand grip, palms facing down, and your wrists resting on your knees or the edge of the bench.
  2. Curling the Wrist Upward: Exhale and curl your wrists upward, lifting the barbell by bending your wrists.
  3. Lowering the Weight: Inhale and slowly lower the barbell back down in a controlled manner, allowing your wrists to stretch.
  4. Repetition: Aim for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions, based on your fitness level and goals.

The Benefits of Barbell Wrist Curls:

  • Forearm Strength: Barbell Wrist Curls effectively target the forearm flexors, enhancing forearm strength and development.
  • Grip Strength: This exercise improves grip strength, which is crucial for various weightlifting and functional activities.
  • Wrist Stability: Barbell Wrist Curls promote wrist stability, leading to better performance in other upper body exercises.
  • Injury Prevention: Strengthening the forearm muscles can help prevent injuries related to repetitive wrist movements.

Alternative Workout for Dumbbell Wrist Curls

If you’re looking for a similar workout that offers variety, consider Dumbbell Wrist Curls. This exercise is performed similarly to Barbell Wrist Curls but using dumbbells instead of a barbell. It allows for greater freedom of movement and individual wrist targeting.

Fitness Tips for Optimal Performance:

  1. Controlled Tempo: Perform Barbell Wrist Curls with slow and controlled movements to maximize muscle activation.
  2. Full Range of Motion: Ensure a full range of motion by fully curling your wrists upward and adequately stretching them downward.
  3. Wrist Placement: Keep your wrists stable and maintain contact with your knees or the bench throughout the exercise.
  4. Breathing: Exhale as you curl your wrists upward and inhale as you lower the barbell.
  1. Progressive Overload: Gradually increase the weight or repetitions over time to challenge your forearms and stimulate muscle growth.

Conclusion:

Aspiring bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike can draw inspiration from Arnold’s legendary arm development journey. Remember, it’s not just about lifting weights; it’s about pushing boundaries, maintaining form, and unlocking the full potential of your arms.