Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Chest Workout

By / May 18, 2023

One of the most famous bodybuilders in history, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was known for his remarkable physique, especially his attractive and well-defined chest. In this post, we’ll look at some of the methods he employed to do this and discuss how you may utilize them to improve your exercise regimen.

The Anatomy of the Chest

arnold schwarzenegger chest flys
Via Arnold’s Instagram

It’s critical to have a firm grasp of the anatomy of the chest to more effectively comprehend how to build the chest muscles. The deltoid muscle is the biggest bundle and a key factor in the size and shape of the chest. The chest is essentially made up of a long bone and tiny muscle groupings.

The muscle known as the pectoralis minor stabilizes the shoulder blades and is situated below the pectoralis major. The clavicular head, which is located at the top of the chest, is primarily responsible for shaping the upper chest’s rounded form. The subscapularis major muscle is further split into the cephalic head and the ducal head.

The sternal head, located near the base of the chest, determines the thickness and general size of the chest muscles. Knowing these elements is essential to understanding Arnold’s training strategy for developing a fully developed chest.

After reviewing the fundamentals of chest anatomy, let’s examine Arnold’s training ideas.

Arnold’s Chest Training Principles

Heavy Compounds Exercise

arnold schwarzenegger chest workout exercises
Via Arnold’s Instagram

Arnold believed that effective compound exercises were necessary for boosting overall bulk and chest strength. He started with dips, inverted bench presses, and barbell bench presses for his chest workout. These exercises let you lift heavy weights while also working for several distinct muscle groups at once, which promotes greater overall muscular growth.

While performing heavy compound workouts, it’s critical to pay attention to form and technique. This will not only assist in preventing injury but will also guarantee that you are successfully hitting the intended muscle groups.

Isolation Exercises

arnold schwarzenegger chest workout youtube
Via Arnold’s Instagram

Arnold thought that isolation exercises, in addition to vigorous compound exercises, were important for targeting certain parts of the chest. In his workouts, he would often include movements like cable crossings, dumbbell flies, and pec deck flies. These exercises allow you to attack the pectoralis using both large and small muscles, resulting more specifically in increased total muscular development and definition.

It is critical to focus on a broad motion spectrum and a regulated pace when conducting solitary exercises. This will increase muscle activation and enhance muscular development and definition.

High-Volume Training

arnold schwarzenegger workout tips
Via Instagram

Arnold was well-known for his high-volume teaching strategy, which included a huge number of sets and reps for each workout. He thought that high-volume exercise was essential for maximizing muscular development and definition. He would often do 16–20 sets of chest exercises, with repetitions ranging from 6–12 per set.

It is critical to listen to your body and modify your exercise performance and volume properly when undertaking high-volume training. Overtraining can result in injury and burnout, so allow your body enough time to recuperate between exercises.

Constant Tension

arnold schwarzenegger training routine
Via Instagram

Arnold was a firm believer in keeping consistent stress on the chest muscles during each exercise. This included maintaining muscle tension throughout the movement range rather than simply at the top or bottom. He felt that doing so would aid in muscle building and definition.

Maintaining consistent tension requires a regulated cadence and a wide range of movements. This will help maintain muscular tension throughout the exercise and enhance muscle activation.

Arnold’s Chest Workout

arnold schwarzenegger workout routine
Via Instagram

Now that we’ve gone through a few of Arnold’s chest training ideas, let’s take a look at one of his chest exercises from his prime bodybuilding days. It’s crucial to emphasize that because this is a high-volume, hard workout, it’s not suitable for novices or anyone with injuries. Always speak with a licensed trainer or healthcare expert before beginning a new training regimen.


Arnold constantly stressed the need to warm up before beginning any workout. To get the blood flowing and prevent injuries, he would execute a few sets of lightweight bench presses, push-ups, or chest flies for his chest exercises.

Exercise 1Barbell Bench Press
Rest2-3 Minutes

Arnold began his chest training with the traditional barbell bench press. He’d choose a weight that would allow him to complete 6–10 repetitions with good form, focusing on the entire range of motion and keeping his chest tight throughout the exercise. He will rest for 2–3 minutes after each set before beginning the next.

Exercise 2Incline Bench Press
Rest2 Minutes

Arnold would go to the incline bench press after finishing the barbell bench press. This workout focuses on the upper chest and aids in the development of Arnold’s rounded look. He would do four sets of eight to twelve repetitions with a weight he was able to lift with good technique. He would take a 2-minute break between sets.

Exercise 3Cable Crossover
Rest1-2 Minutes

Arnold would then do cable crossovers to focus on the inside chest region. He would do three sets of 12–15 repetitions, emphasizing a complete range of motion and maintaining tension in his chest the entire time. Between sets, he would take a 1–2-minute break.

Exercise 4Dumbbell Flyes
Rest1-2 Minutes

Arnold would carry out dumbbell flies to target the outside part of the chest. Using a full range of motion and maintaining tension in his chest the entire time, he would execute three sets of 12–15 repetitions. He would take 1-2 minutes to relax in between sets.

Exercise 5Pec Deck Flyes
Rest 1-2 Minutes

Arnold would next practice pec deck flies to further isolate and focus on the chest muscles. He would do three sets of 12–15 repetitions, emphasizing a complete range of motion and maintaining tension in his chest the entire time. Between sets, he would take a 1–2-minute break.


Arnold would always follow the chest workout with a cool-down regimen that included brisk aerobic and stretching exercises. This aided in healing and injury prevention.

In conclusion, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest routine involves heavy compound workouts, isolated exercises, and continual stress. It is high volume and severe. You may develop a powerful, defined, and attractive chest according to Arnold’s guidelines.

Always pay attention to your body’s signals, modify the number and intensity of your workouts as necessary, and seek the advice of a certified trainer or healthcare provider before beginning a new exercise regimen.

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