Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Golden Six’ routine for building strength and size

Additional notes:

Workout cycle

Arnold recommends that you do this routine 3 times a week every other day in a 3-month cycle.

How to progress

Once you’re able to do 2-3 reps above the recommended number increase the load. Strive to increase the weight at every training session.

Rest intervals

Rest up to 2 minutes between sets of squats and no more than a minute and a half for the other movements.

Training advice

The classic full-body workouts done in the ‘Golden Era of bodybuilding’ in the 60s and the 70s are ideal for beginners, especially ectomorphs who are trying to bulk up quickly and build a solid strength base. These kind of workout routines performed by legends such as John McCallum, Reg Park, Peary Rader and many others have sadly become totally neglected and are under-appreciated by many personal trainers today, which is a total shame, because even though they may not be fashionable or fitness mainstream any more, they are nonetheless the perfect method to lay the foundation for a muscular, strong and well-balanced physique.


The recipe for success is pretty simple: get in, train hard, get out, eat, recover, repeat. It’s really that simple.

When it comes to exercise selection in this routine, one could make a couple of adjustments, like adding in some barbell rows or some deadlifts, because there is a small imbalance between the push and pull exercises here, as well as switching the behind the neck press with a standard overhead press.

Not only does the behind the neck press force the body to move in an unnatural plane of movement which puts your rotator cuffs under a tremendous stress, it is also much harder to progress on it compared to the standard overhead press and as we all know increasing the weight is the main thing you should focus on. You can also do one more substitution, such as replacing the sit-ups with a more efficient ab movement like the hanging leg raises.



If you’re just starting out with bodybuilding and are looking for an efficient workout routine to build strength and muscle, ditch the body part splits, isolation movements and other unnecessary stuff, and give Arnold’s ‘Golden six’ routine a try. In fact, regardless of how advanced you are in your training career, a cycle of this routine will undoubtedly be extremely productive, that is if you’re eating enough of the right foods and recover adequately. It is simple, fun and effective and it comes with Arnold’s seal of approval. What more could anyone want?

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