Build Your Upper Body the Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Way


Superset 1: Barbell bench presses and wide-grip behind-the-neck chins

Begin with a warm-up consisting of 30-40 reps on the bench with 135 pounds, then perform 15 chins. Alternate between bench presses and chins during the next five sets while pyramiding up in weight and reducing reps. Schwarzenegger’s typical rep scheme looks like this: 15, 12, 8, 6 for each exercise. After finishing the superset, rest for two to three minutes.


Superset 2: Incline barbell presses and T-bar rows

Again, pyramid the weight and reps, starting with 15 and going down to 10. T-bar rows were among Schwarzenegger’s favorite exercises because of their effectiveness at increasing thickness and width in the lats.


Superset 3: Flat-bench dumbbell flyes and wide-grip barbell rows

When performing dumbbell flyes, Arnold always made sure to bring his elbows as low as possible, while the dumbbells reaching bench level. Then, as he would start bringing them up, he’d stop right when they were about a foot apart in order to accentuate the tension in his pecs. For the barbell rows, he’d stand on a bench and perform all of his reps with perfect form, maintaining his torso nearly parallel to the floor. His emphasis on form was a crucial part of his great results, so you should pick up on that one. Start with sets of 15 reps, then continue with 12, 10, 10 and 10 for each exercise.


Superset 4: Weighted dips and close-grip chins

Strap a relatively heavy dumbbell around your waist and perform 15 reps in each of the five sets of dips, followed by five sets of chins, each consisting of 12 reps.


The finisher: Stiff-arm pullovers

This great exercise will literally force your chest to grow. Aim for five sets with 15 reps each as a killer finish of the workout.

If you don’t feel like you’ve just died and went to hell by the time you’re done with this grueling routine, you’re doing it wrong. Make sure to focus on maintaining proper form on every rep of every exercise and opt for three workouts per week for optimal results.


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