Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulder Workout Routine

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

Fact Checked

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the best bodybuilders in history, winning the most prestigious bodybuilding competition in the world, Mr. Olympia, seven times in his career.

Arnold’s Olympia Career

Arnold first retired from bodybuilding after the 1975 Olympia after winning the competition for six consecutive years, however in 1980, when he was supposed to judge the Olympia, he decided he wanted to make a comeback. So he won it again for the 7th time in 1980.

As most of us know, Arnold is the guy that made bodybuilding famous; he had a charismatic physique and was the main star in the popular bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron.

After Arnold retired from competitive bodybuilding, he became an actor and, after that, a politician.

Arnold was known in bodybuilding for his impressive physique; he had huge biceps, a massive chest, and a great back.

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Arnold’s Work Ethic

It’s no secret that Arnold Schwarzenegger trained for hours to build up his physique.

He has said that he trained for 4-5 hours a day in total sometimes; he did two workouts on the same day.

The work ethic Arnold had is not what we see most competitive bodybuilders today have; rarely do we see someone training 4-5 hours a day.

The old-school bodybuilders such as Arnold had a more aesthetic physique than today’s bodybuilders when it’s all about mass.

When Arnold was competing, every bodybuilder on stage could do a vacuum pose now; we barely see anyone on the top-level able to do this iconic pose.

Arnold trained hard, using old-school exercises to build up his shoulders.

Here’s a great quote from Arnold about shoulder training:

“Great bodybuilders have the same mind that a sculptor has,” said Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1975. “You might look in the mirror and say, ‘I need a little more shoulder, a little more deltoid, still to get the proportions right. ‘ So what you do is you exercise and put those deltoids on.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulder Workout Routine

Arnold wrote one of the best bodybuilding books available called Arnold’s bodybuilding encyclopedia; in that book, he reveals one of the shoulder workout routines he used to build up his deltoids.

  • Behind-the-Neck Barbell Presses – 5 sets of 15 rep warm-up; 10, 8, 8, 6 reps
  • Lateral Raises – 4 sets of 8 reps each
  • Bent-Over Dumbbell Laterals – 4 sets of 8 reps each
  • Dumbbell Shrugs – 3 sets of 10 reps each

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