When it comes to bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger knows best. His plan for quality mass and extreme strength isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s steeped in the fundamentals and old-school exercises that should be at the heart of everyone’s program. It’s a surefire road to growth, but it’s fraught with pain and struggle. If you want to learn bodybuilding from the world’s best bodybuilder, you’re in the right place.
Basics Are Best
“The biggest mistake being made in bodybuilding today is that people aren’t covering basic exercises,” says the Austrian Oak. And by basic, Arnold doesn’t mean easy. Many contemporary fitness centers are full of people on machines, not in squat racks, and big-box gyms often lack even a single platform. Arnold disapproves: “Today, when I go in the gymnasium, I don’t see any of the kids learning about the clean and press, or the snatch, or the upright row from the floor.”
Schwarzenegger’s insistence on the essential lifts is not due to some grandfatherly desire to live in the past. It comes from decades of continued interest and expertise in the industry, and from the hard-earned knowledge that it doesn’t take fancy machines or off-the-wall programming to become arguably the best bodybuilder in history. Get back to your bodybuilding roots and experience unbelievable growth.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Training Tips
Chest: “There are three chest exercises that should always be done,” Arnold says. “The bench press, the incline bench press at different angles, and the dumbbell flye.”
Back: “For back, I did chin-ups, bent-over barbell and dumbbell rows, and the T-bar row. Any kind of rowing movement will give you that thickness. Those are the exercises I relied on from the beginning of my career to the end.”
Arms: Arnold relied on the barbell curl to build thick biceps, but he also used incline dumbbell curls and concentration curls to isolate his biceps. “For triceps,” Arnold says, “we did a lot of narrow [close-grip] bench press in the early days. And then triceps push downs and overhead triceps extensions later.”
Shoulders: Arnold’s shoulders were built by barbell presses, behind-the-neck barbell presses, lateral raises, military presses, and dumbbell presses. “We always did presses behind the neck and a special dumbbell press which would stretch out the front delt at the bottom and fully flex it at the top. Now those are called Arnold presses.”
Legs “The squat is the most important exercise to create big thighs,” says Arnold. “I did back squats, front squats, leg extensions, lunges, single-leg deadlifts, good morning exercises, and a lot of leg curls.” Abs: “The regular training we did for abs was just leg raises, knee raises, crunches, and sit-ups. We all believed in doing 500 reps of Roman chair sit-ups.”
Ron Fronings Insane Crossfit Workout Program
Doing CrossFit with Rich Froning is like playing hoops with LeBron or golf with Tiger. Let’s see if you can hang! This makes a great CrossFit workout of the day (wod).
I’ve never competed as a bodybuilder, but I trained like a bodybuilder for many years. I started doing CrossFit as a supplement to my regular training. Then, I fell in love with it and I haven’t looked back! You don’t have to be a CrossFit competitor to do CrossFit-style workouts.
If you’re a bodybuilder, physique athlete, or even someone new to fitness, you can use a CrossFit workout as your cardio day, or you can add the movements to your normal routine for a new challenge. If you want to add a CrossFit workout to your program, try this one. It’s a quick, fast burner that will improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular endurance, work capacity, and more.
This workout will also help your grip and coordination. You might even learn some new movements! This workout is designed for anyone. It’s a CrossFit-inspired metabolic-conditioning circuit. There’s a push, a pull, and a cardio element. As soon as your push gets uncomfortable, move to the pull. When the pull becomes an issue, move to the jump rope. Jumping rope will make you tired and challenge your forearms just enough to make the other two movements a bit harder.
The workout isn’t fancy: You don’t need much equipment, and you can do it in less than 10 minutes. This workout is done for time. Complete all the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are no programmed rest periods; the only breaks you get are during transitions from movement to movement. You’ll begin with shoulder to overhead (STO).
After you complete 15 reps, you’ll go directly to pull-ups (PU) and do 15 reps. After you’re done with pull-ups, you’ll do 30 double-unders (DU).When you’re done with the DUs, return to STO and do 12 reps. Then you’ll do 12 reps of PUs and another 30 reps of DUs. You’ll keep repeating that pattern. The STO and PUs will go down by three reps each set, while the double-unders remain constant at 30 reps. Shoulder to Overhead The point of this movement is to get the barbell from your shoulders to over your head. Your arms must be completely locked out and the bar must end up over the center of your body.
There are three ways to do STO, which I’ll go over below. Pull-Up A pull-up rep counts when your chin is above the bar. There are multiple ways to do pull-ups for a CrossFit workout. Double-Under A lot of people are going to hate these. Yes, they’re difficult. The rope goes under you twice in a single jump. The trick is to keep your hands slightly in front of you and close together.
The wider your hands are and the farther they are away from your body, the shorter the rope is. That’s when you start smacking yourself in the shins. It might take some work to get the timing right.
CT Fletcher on Motivation & Greatness
In the lifting world, few who seek the Holy Gains haven’t heard the name CT Fletcher, aka the “Superman of Compton.” If you haven’t, you will soon hear the booming thunder from beautiful Southern California, commanding your muscles to grow!
In 2013, CT Fletcher stormed onto YouTube as part drill sergeant, part preacher, and his no-bullshit approach to training and motivation caught fire. His videos showed brave souls receiving sinister exercise prescriptions that pushed them to the edge of quitting, while an overbearing CT barked madly at them with colorful sayings like, “Fuck average!” and “It’s still your motherfuckin’ set!”
Now with more than 140 videos to his name, this BAMF (that’s badass motherf—you get the idea) spurs nearly a million subscribers to “stop being a punk-ass” and put in the work. Although his on-camera personality portrays him as one stone cold hard-ass, I would describe his in-person demeanor as a gentleman of gentlemen (a strong and burly one, at that).
When you first meet him, you realize that his massive arms are no camera illusion. He didn’t acquire them by accident. More than anything, CT was captivated at a young age by the potential admiration one could garner with bigger-than-normal arms. He adds, “Walking down Compton Boulevard and hearing someone say, ‘Damn, look at those motherfucker’s arms—that’s what did it.”
CT knew he was strong, since strength had always coursed through his family bloodline, so eventually he turned to powerlifting to chase a shot at Mr. America, the Mr. Olympia-level glory of yesteryears. His powerlifting career proved to be shorter than he’d hoped, however. After he underwent open-heart surgery in 2005, his training philosophy switched from lifting heavy-ass weights to his more popular and current style of menacingly high-volume, high-repetition training. THE ISYMS TRAINING METHOD Perhaps more diabolical than the workouts themselves is the mind of the man who comes up with them.
CT’s upbringing taught him early on that having an iron will and mind helped breed the laser-focused discipline and dedication necessary to push through any physical or mental adversity. His father, being both a soldier and a preacher, instilled in him a sense of taking action simply because “I fucking said so” (which unsurprisingly is also CT’s go-to reason). There’s no why or any room for questions or doubt—just action.
“I think that’s where my style came from,” says CT. You can see his father’s no-sugar-coating influence on CT when he trains himself or teaches others. Whereas some folks bust out textbooks, Excel sheets, and formulas to get the most out of their training, CT relies purely on instinct honed over 35 years, simply saying to do it “until you can’t do any fucking more.”
Traditional sets-and-reps schemes don’t apply to his workouts; in fact, he encourages you to just take that system and throw it out the window. Some might call his style a bit extreme or masochistic, but CT calls it the no-choice method of training. “I give you no choice, no options, no plan B ’cause I fucking said so,” he says.
“When you’re in the gym, you should be drained,” he explains. “You should have a hard time making it to your car.” He achieves this level of fatigue by employing a method called OMW, or one-movement workout. For example, if he squats, he will squat for the entirety of his leg workout. Other times, he’ll just do whatever the hell he feels like, pulling whatever happens to surface from the vast training library in his brain.
“Whenever someone asks me what I think about a training method, I always tell them, ‘Try it for yourself. Never dismiss it without trying it first, no matter how stupid it may seem to you or other so-called experts,'” CT remarks. “Worst thing you can do is discover it’s absolute bullshit; or best case, you add a valuable technique to your ever-growing bank of training knowledge.”
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