Arnold Schwarzenegger

arnold schwarzenegger

Anthropometric Data

  • Height: 187 cm
  • Weight: 118 kg (off-season), 107 kg (competition)
  • Biceps: 56 cm
  • Chest: 145 cm
  • Waist: 86 cm
  • Thigh: 72 cm
  • Calf: 51 cm



The future world-famous bodybuilder was born on July 30, 1947, in Thal, a village located in the Austrian federal state of Styria. The village was near Graz. At birth, the boy was named Arnold Alois. His mother was named Aurelia, and his father was Gustav. The family had another child, who was only one year older than Arnold. The family was devout and attended the Catholic church.

When Austria became part of Germany, Gustav Schwarzenegger joined the Nazi army. Upon returning to his hometown after Austria regained its independence, he became the local police chief. Gustav secured this position because there was insufficient evidence of his involvement in or commission of war crimes. The family first had one boy, and then a second.

The salary of a law enforcement officer was quite modest. A decent existence for a family with two children was only a dream. They had to economize on literally everything. The only truly significant and worthwhile purchase, as Arnold recalls, was a refrigerator. Its acquisition was a major event for the family.

Arnold, who was yet to become a true star and icon of bodybuilding, had a tough childhood. This was not only due to financial aspects but also the strict atmosphere prevailing in Austro-German families, where everything had to adhere to rigid rules. From an early age, he desperately resisted conventional norms and opposed the Spartan lifestyle, declaring that he would become both rich and famous.

The lack of money did not deter Arnold from his favorite pursuits of sports and physical activities. He not only trained constantly but also continually sought new ways to improve his training approach. His father dreamed of Arnold becoming a football star. In his younger years, Arnold shared this vision. Everything changed when Arnold turned fourteen. Influential figures in this decision included athletes like Johnny Weissmuller, a five-time Olympic swimming champion, as well as Steve Reeves and Reg Park, who were professional bodybuilders.

arnold muscles

Inspired by the achievements of these athletes, Arnold decided to become a bodybuilder. To achieve his dream of becoming a professional, a star, and a wealthy man, he trained every day. The local club “Libernauer” did not operate on weekends, but this did not stop the determined teenager. Arnold would sneak into the gym through a window. He wanted to progress more and more, but it wasn’t easy for him. The lack of sufficient knowledge significantly hindered his development. At that time, there was little information about bodybuilding, and magazines and other publications did not provide detailed instructions on how to perform exercises correctly.

The lack of experience took its toll. At his first competition, Schwarzenegger was very nervous. He did not know how to pose correctly and demonstrated his muscular body only in the poses he had seen in photographs of Reg Park. It was this bodybuilder who became Arnold’s main role model. The absence of a mentor or quality bodybuilding guides did not prevent Schwarzenegger from quickly gaining good muscle mass. This was due to both regular training and his genetic predisposition. In his book, already a famous bodybuilder, he wrote that in two months, he managed to increase his bicep muscle volume by 1.27 cm, and in overall mass, he gained 9 kg in 12 months.

Since the age of ten, Arnold dreamed of visiting the USA. This dream came true in September 1968. Upon arriving in the United States, Schwarzenegger hardly knew any English. Most of the phrases he knew were spoken with an accent, making it quite difficult to understand him. There was a time when Arnold was in America illegally. He obtained American citizenship in 1983, but simultaneously retained his Austrian citizenship.

While in the USA, Arnold started attending the famous Gold’s Gym in Santa Monica, California, run by the great Joe Weider. In 1970, at the age of 23, he became “Mr. Olympia.” Meinhard, Arnold’s older brother, died in a car accident on May 20, 1971. He was driving under the influence of alcohol. A year later, Schwarzenegger’s father died. Arnold did not attend the funerals of either his brother or his father.

The deaths of his relatives did not hinder his career. He continued to rise in popularity but unexpectedly took a break and returned to competitive bodybuilding only five years later. In 1980, he won his seventh “Mr. Olympia” title. This was his last competition. He did not quit bodybuilding and even organized his own tournament, “Arnold Classic,” in 1988.

Best Achievements in Bodybuilding

best achievements in bodybuilding

Arnold Schwarzenegger, known as “The Iron Arnie,” became the embodiment of a bodybuilder, inspiring thousands of young people with his example. He was unmatched in competitions. His seventh victory at “Mr. Olympia” was particularly spectacular when he took the stage after a five-year break. Arnold himself remarked that he was not in his best shape at his last professional competition, but none of the gathered athletes could rival him. In 1969, Schwarzenegger won the titles of “Mr. International” and “Mr. Universe,” with the latter being a sort of redemption since he had placed only second the previous year. He did not manage to win the “Mr. Olympia” tournament in 1969. Winning the “Mr. Universe” contest in 1967 made him the youngest victor in the competition’s history.

Arnold’s Workout Program

Workout #1 — Monday and Thursday (Chest-Back):

arnold's workout program 1

  1. Bench Press on a Flat Bench
  2. Incline Bench Press
  3. Barbell Pullover
  4. Pull-Ups (maximum repetitions)
  5. Bent-Over Barbell Row
  6. Deadlift
  7. Abdominal Crunches

Workout #2 — Tuesday and Friday (Shoulders-Arms-Forearms):

arnold's workout program 2

  1. Standing Barbell Press
  2. Dumbbell Lateral Raises
  3. Upright Row with Wide Grip
  4. Barbell Clean and Press
  5. Biceps and Triceps:
    • Standing Barbell Curls
    • Seated Dumbbell Curls
    • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • Standing Dumbbell Overhead Press
  6. Wrist Curls with Barbell
  7. Reverse Wrist Curls with Barbell
  8. Reverse Crunches

Workout #3 — Wednesday and Saturday (Legs):

arnold's workout program 3

  1. Barbell Squats
  2. Barbell Lunges
  3. Leg Curls on Machine
  4. Calf Raises on Machine
  5. Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
  6. Good Mornings with Barbell on Shoulders
  7. Abdominal Crunches

This program is not intended for beginner athletes; you can only borrow some methods or exercises for your training program.

As you may have noticed, the abdominal muscles are worked on in every workout. There is only one rest day per week—Sunday.