Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Level 1 Exercise Program

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding is a must ready not only for aspiring bodybuilders but also for people who just want a some knowledge about this vast topic so that they can apply it in their life.

I read this book way back when I was getting my Diploma in Fitness and I still turn to this book when I’ve to read about something that caters to the bodybuilding aspect of physical fitness.

arnold schwarzenegger

In this article, I’ll go over the Basic Level 1 Training Program that Arnold shares in his book if you’re someone new to bodybuilding and a few other things that I would want you to know before you jump into action.

Who’s This Program For?

If it’s your first day in the gym then maybe starting with this program might not be in your best interest even if you’re a bodybuilder, mainly due to its intensity. But if you do want to get started with this, I would suggest you to keep the intensity low, listen to your body as you don’t want to overload it the stress it can’t handle which may lead to injuries.

I would suggest you do spend time with split training routines like Full Body Workouts or the Upper Lower Training Split and then move to a 6 day routine such as this. It’ll not only prepare your body for the intensity but make it even better due to the experience you’ll gain in the period of time.

When Should You Workout?

There’s no rule to this. You can workout whenever your schedule allows it.

Arnold mentioned in the book, “My best workouts were always in the morning, when I was rested and fresh. Some bodybuilders prefer to train later in the day, but the majority of the competitors I’ve been around also liked to train first thing in the day. To this day, Bill Pearl gets his workout in at 5 A.M. and then has the rest of the day to pursue his other interests.”

He goes onto saying that this is his personal choice and it is what worked the best for him and you have to decide what works for you. If working out in the evening is getting you results, there’s no problem with that.

Level 1 Exercise Program

Workout #1 MONDAYChest & Back
Workout #2 TUESDAYShoulder, Upper Arms & Forearms
Workout #3 WEDNESDAYThighs, Calves & Lower Back
Workout #4 THURSDAYChest & Back
Workout #5 FRIDAYShoulder, Upper Arms & Forearms
Workout #6 SATURDAYThighs, Calves & Lower Back

*Abdominals Everday

Monday and Thursday


Bench Press

Incline Press



Chin-Ups: (do as many repetitions at a time as you can until you reach a total of 50 reps)

Bent-Over Rows

Power Training

Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure


Leg Raises: 5 sets of 25 reps

Tuesday and Friday


Barbell Clean and Press

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Power Training

Heavy Upright Rows: 3 sets of 10, 6,  4 reps to failure

Push Presses: 3 sets of 6, 4, 2 reps to failure

Upper Arms

Standing Barbell Curls

Seated Dumbbell Curls

Narrow-Grip Bench Press

Standing Triceps Extensions with Barbell


Wrist Curls

Reverse Wrist Curls


Incline Sit-Ups: 5 sets of 25 reps each

Wednesday and Saturday




Leg Curls


Standing Calf Raises: 5 sets of 15 reps each

Lower Back

Power Training

Straight-Leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure

Good Mornings: 3 sets of 10, 8, 6 reps to failure


Leg Raises: 5 sets of 25 reps each


So, you’ve the Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout plan with you now. Before you go start cranking those reps, I would suggest you keep some important things in your mind.

Firstly, the volume. How many sets and reps are you thinking of doing? If you want greater insight on this subject, read this article — Strength Training Vs Hypertrophy Training. What’s Better For You?.

The number of sets and reps will vary from person to person but generally speaking 3-4 sets with a rep range of 8-12 is considered good for hypertrophy and if you want to train for strength then increase the weight and reduce the number of reps to 4-6.

Don’t forget to take rest periodically and give the due importance to sleep(8 hours is the best).

Supplement this workout with a high quality diet, if you want to learn more about what diet to follow, I would suggest you read this article — How To Lean Bulk The Right Way. Include fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables and sources of lean protein like chicken breast, eggs and whey protein in your diet.

I hope you enjoyed this article, if you’ve some suggestion for our website or you want a particular topic you want to be addressed, put them in the comment section down below.

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