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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint To Mass Review

09/02/2021

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Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blueprint to Mass Review - Pose

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint to Mass Review

Today,

It is still largely agreed that despite there being many Mr. Olympias, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Golden Era’ physique is still the elucidation of perfection.

Not only does his physique continue to evoke admiration from his impressive measurements (boasting a 57 inch chest and 22 inch arms during the prime of his career), but equally through his extraordinary harmonious total body development and definition.

There’s no denying,

Achieving these incredible aesthetics is a by-product of performing legendary workouts.

Arnold is famous for advocating high-volume, body part split routines which he frequently shared in various Weider publications to help novices build unprecedented levels of muscle and strength.

One such routine we will be covering in this article is his Blueprint to Mass workout.

An 8 week training programme designed to pack on some serious mass, make the ladies’ knees weak and put you on the path to Mount Olympus glory.

Of course:

Building serious mass comes with a serious workout, and building a physique of a champion requires dedication and sacrifice thus don’t expect a magic bullet.

So,

If you want a chest to impress, 22-inch bicep peaks and a wide back with trim obliques, then you’ve stumbled on the right workout.

Let’s get into it.

Overview

Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass is an 8 week training programme designed to pack on muscle mass.

It consists of 3 workouts performed twice per week for a total of 6 days per week with Sundays reserved for rest.

This allows for greater focus and allows you to bring up any lagging areas on your body.

The workouts are split into the following:

  • Chest, Back and Abs

  • Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms and Abs

  • Legs, Calves and Abs

In case you haven’t already gathered,

Blueprint to Mass is strictly for advanced lifters with years of lifting experience.

If you’re just starting out, or have at least one year of lifting experience under your belt, consider completing a few beginner to intermediate routines.

For the absolute beginner, your primary focus should be on building some foundational strength. Consider doing Arnold Schwarzengger’s Home Workout for a few months before lifting weights.

For the experienced beginner or intermediate lifter, a few cycles of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Golden Six, Vince Gironda’s 8×8, Stronglifts 5×5 or Jim Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size should be done first before attempting this plan.

This is so that your body becomes accustomed to a lot of volume and intensity as well as primary lifts such as the bench press, squat, deadlifts and barbell curls as there are numerous transitions in this plan that you might not be used to.

Back to the plan itself,

Blueprint to Mass is split into 2 phases.

  • Phase 1 – which includes lifting moderate weights for higher reps.

  • Phase 2 – which includes lifting heavier weights for lower reps.

Across both phases, depending on which body parts you are training, you’ll perform anywhere between 7 – 14 exercises in one session.

Not only this:

During each workout, you’ll be required to complete a superset (or five) which will no doubt push you to the edge.

It’s important to stay focused on the task at hand and avoid negative self-talk to help you pull through.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint to Mass Workout

Phase 1 – Week 1 to 4

Monday: Chest, Back and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Flat Barbell Bench Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Incline Barbell Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Flyes (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Pullovers 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Wide Grip Chin Ups (superset with 2 following exercises) 4 Failure
Bent Over Rows or Dumbbell Rows or T-Bar Rows 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Leg Raises 5 25-30

Tuesday: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Clean and Press 5 5
Dumbbell Press (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Full Frontal Raise 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Lateral Raise (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Upright Rows 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Barbell Curls 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Concentration Curl 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Close-Grip Bench Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Barbell Skullcrushers (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Wrist Curls (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Reverse Wrist Curls 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Decline 3/4 Sit-Ups 5 25

Wednesday: Legs, Calves and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 5 8 – 12
Straight Leg Deadlifts 1 10, 6, 4 / 5, 5, 5 / 12, 10, 8
Lunges 5 8 – 12
Leg Extension (superset with following exercise) 5 8 – 12
Leg Curls 5 8 – 12
Standing Calf Raises (superset with following exercise) 5 8 – 12
Seated Calf Raises 5 8 – 12
Kneeling Cable Crunch 4 25

Thursday: Chest, Back and Abs 


Exercise Sets Reps
Flat Barbell Bench Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Incline Barbell Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Flyes (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Dumbbell Pullovers 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Wide Grip Chin Ups (superset with 2 following exercises) 4 Failure
Bent Over Rows or Dumbbell Rows or T-Bar Rows 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Leg Raises 5 25-30

Friday: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Arnold Press 5 5
Behind The Neck Press (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Full Frontal Raise 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Incline Rear Delt Flyes (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Upright Rows 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Barbell Curls 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Seated Incline Dumbbell Curls (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Concentration Curl 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Close-Grip Bench Press 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Tricep Pushdown (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
One-Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Wrist Curls (superset with following exercise) 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Reverse Wrist Curls 1 30, 12, 10, 8, 6
Roman Chair Sit Ups 5 25

Saturday: Legs, Calves and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squats 5 8 – 12
Deadlifts 1 10, 6, 4 / 5, 5, 5 / 12, 10, 8
Lunges 5 8 – 12
Leg Extension (superset with following exercise) 5 8 – 12
Leg Curls 5 8 – 12
Standing Calf Raises (superset with following exercise) 5 8 – 12
Seated Calf Raises 5 8 – 12
Kneeling Cable Crunch 4 25

Phase 2 – Week 5 to 8

Monday: Chest, Back and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Press 10 4
Flat Barbell Press 5 6
Dumbbell Flyes (superset with following exercise) 5 12
Cable Crossovers 5 12
Wide Grip Chin Ups (superset with 2 following exercises) 1 50
Bent Over Rows or Dumbbell Rows or T-Bar Rows 8 8
Leg Raises 5 25

Tuesday: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Military Press 10 4
Arnold Press (superset with following exercise) 5 8
Lateral Raise 5 8
Heavy Upright Rows (superset with following exercise) 5 6
Bent Over Rear Delt Flyes 5 12
Barbell Curls 5 and 3 8 and 5
Concentration Curls (superset with following exercise) 5 6
Seated Two Arm Dumbbell Curls 5 6
Close-Grip Bench Press 8 8
Barbell Skullcrushers (superset with following exercise) 5 15
Bodyweight Skullcrushers 5 15
Wrist Curls (superset with following exercise) 5 12
Reverse Wrist Curls 5 12
Decline 3/4 Sit-Ups 5 25

Wednesday: Legs, Calves and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 8 8
Straight Leg Deadlifts 6 6
Lunges 4 4
Leg Extension (superset with following exercise) 5 20
Leg Curls 5 20
Standing Calf Raises 10 10
Kneeling Cable Crunch 4 25

Thursday: Chest, Back and Abs 


Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Press 10 4
Flat Barbell Press 5 6
Dumbbell Flyes (superset with following exercise) 5 12
Cable Crossovers 5 12
Wide Grip Chin Ups (superset with 2 following exercises) 1 50
Bent Over Rows or Dumbbell Rows or T-Bar Rows 8 8
Leg Raises 5 25

Friday: Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Behind The Neck Press 10 4
Arnold Press (superset with following exercise) 5 8
Lateral Raise 5 8
Heavy Upright Rows (superset with following exercise) 5 6
Bent Over Rear Delt Flyes 5 12
Barbell Curls 5 and 3 8 and 5
Concentration Curls (superset with following exercise) 5 6
Seated Two Arm Dumbbell Curls 5 6
Close-Grip Bench Press 8 8
Tricep Pushdowns (superset with following exercise) 5 15
One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 5 15
Wrist Curls (superset with following exercise) 5 12
Reverse Wrist Curls 5 12
Roman Chair Sit Ups 5 25

Saturday: Legs, Calves and Abs


Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squats 8 8
Deadlifts 3 4
Lunges 4 4
Leg Extension (superset with following exercise) 5 20
Leg Curls 5 20
Standing Calf Raises 10 10
Kneeling Cable Crunch 4 25

The above rounds off Week 1 for Phase 1 and 2 of the Blueprint to Mass workout.

Arnold believed you should continually challenge yourself and to keep your body guessing so as to avoid plateauing in your training.

For instance,

It is recommended that when you are performing the incline barbell bench press in Phase 1, you should use a low angle incline in Week 1, a medium angle incline in Week 2, a high angle incline in Week 3 and finally a low angle incline in Week 4.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint to Mass Review - Max Effort

Not only this:

The rep ranges would often differ every week.

Below is a summary of the reps to be performed in the subsequent weeks in Phase 1.

Phase 1

  • Week 2 – 1 x 30, 8, 6, 4, 2

  • Week 3 – 1 x 30, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

  • Week 4 – 1 x Failure (on a major compound lift) then, 1 x 20, 15, 12 on the remaining exercises.

It’s important to note that Arnold prescribed different rep ranges when training back. This is as follows:

  • Week 2 – 1 x 30, 8, 6, 4, 2

  • Week 3 – 1 x 30, 12, 10, 8, 6

  • Week 4 – 1 x 20, 15, 12

Whilst it isn’t clear in the plan why the reps are kept consistently high for back, it’s likely Arnold felt that his back developed well using a lot more volume.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the Blueprint to Mass workout is primarily strength focused due to the lower reps involved.

Unlike Phase 1 that places a bit more emphasis on hypertrophy, Phase 2 requires you to not only develop more strength, but call on various other training principles to completely shock your muscles.

This includes testing your one rep max, drop sets, 8×8 training, 10×10 training and more.

Whilst Phase 1 isn’t plain sailing by any stretch, it doesn’t get any easier during Phase 2.

There’s no doubt that you will be required to summon the lifting Gods to keep you pushing through.

For more information on the workout you can download the full PDFs below:

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint To Mass: Phase 1 – [Free PDF]  Download

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint To Mass: Phase 2 – [Free PDF]  Download

You can also watch a full overview of the training plan here:

Examination

Across the board,

This programme does an excellent job of hitting all of your primary muscle groups throughout the week with a couple of single-joint exercises added in for good measure.

Going from pressing, pulling and raising exercises all in one session will stimulate your central nervous system (CNS) like no other.

Unlike most silver-era bodybuilding routines that focus on training the primary muscle groups (namely shoulders, chest, back and legs), Blueprint to Mass encompasses many concepts from this era and then some.

This includes high-volume principles from the likes of Steve Reeves’ Classic Physique workout and the strength-focused principles in Reg Park’s 5×5 workout, followed by numerous muscle-shocking essentials creating a near-perfect golden-era workout that will truly push you to your limit.

It’s important to note that in his prime, Arnold was on a serious amount of gear so his body was primed to handle the volume this plan entails.

In other words,

He was able to recover a lot quicker than those taking the natural route.

So:

When commencing this routine, the sheer amount of volume (particularly in Phase 1) might come as a shock to your body.

Ensure you’re not being too difficult on yourself and to listen to your body at all times.

You will be required to lift some heavy ass weights as the weeks go on, so it’s important to keep your ego in check as failure to do so will only lead to frustration, demotivation and a one-way train to snap city.

Performing the prescribed exercises shouldn’t be too complicated either assuming you have significant lifting experience.

Unlike the exercise selection in Shortcut to Size, the exercises in Blueprint to Mass are fairly straightforward (even for the more advanced lifter) and includes staples that most should be familiar with.

Nevertheless:

At first glance, despite the initial complexity of this plan, the timeless bodybuiding advice is that you need to be constantly challenging your muscles to grow.

Arnold was a big believer in avoiding plateaus as much as possible.

Even in his day, he knew that allowing your body to become accustomed to a workout would only breed inertia which still holds true today.

Not only will this programme challenge you like no other, but it is designed to leave your muscles so confused every week they can’t help but get bigger and stronger.

Notes

Cycle

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint to Mass programme will require you to workout six times a week with one day of rest reserved on Sunday.

During the week, you’ll be hitting each body part twice with the exception of abs which is trained during every session on the aforementioned 8 week cycle.

Personally:

I’d recommend avoiding any form of cardio or ‘active rest’ on Sunday and use the day to fully recuperate from the week’s workouts.

It’s imperative to get as much rest as possible to allow your muscles, nerves and joints to recover for the week ahead.

Duration

During Phase 1 of the programme, your rest periods should be kept between 45 seconds – 1 minute during each set.

Generally speaking,

As you’ll be required to perform different reps for each exercise, your rest period will likely be taken up adding weights to the bar in preparation for the next set.

In total, each workout should last roughly up to an hour and a half.

During Phase 2 of the programme, when you begin to perform the more strength-based workouts, it’s important to rest as long as you need to in preparation for the next set.

Ideally,

Your rest periods should be kept between 2 – 3 minutes during each set.

This will give your body enough time to recuperate and allow you to perform those heavy lifts safely with good form.

Overall, each workout should last (or be slightly longer than) two hours due to the extended breaks.

Warm Up

In Phase 1, you’ll notice that most exercises start with you performing 30 reps.

This is designed as a warm up and you should by no means be lifting heavy for this set.

Aim to use the bar only or some very light weights that will allow you to safely complete the 30 reps to ensure your muscle and joints are well-oiled before commencing the 4 remaining sets.

In Phase 2, the 30 rep warmup is removed with each set used as a fully working set.

However, I would still include some form of warm up/light stretching beforehand as lifting heavier weights carries an even greater risk of injury.

Consider performing the exercise concerned with the bar only for 15 reps to get your heart rate up.

Weight Selection

Selecting the right weight to lift for each exercise is crucial for this routine.

Due to the high volume involved, the risk of injury is high particularly when fatigue begins to set in.

Provided you are an advanced lifter, you should already have an idea of what your one rep max (1RM) is for each exercise.

The below is a guide of what you should be aiming to lift based on the amount of reps required:

  • 30 reps – 25% of 1 Rep Max

  • 25 reps – 50% of 1 Rep Max

  • 20 reps – 60% of 1 Rep Max

  • 15 reps – 65% of 1 Rep Max

  • 12 reps – 70% of 1 Rep Max

  • 10 reps – 75% of 1 Rep Max

  • 8 reps – 80% of 1 Rep Max

  • 6 reps – 85% of 1 Rep Max

  • 5 reps – 87% of 1 Rep Max

  • 4 reps – 90% of 1 Rep Max

  • 2 reps – 95% of 1 Rep Max

The above isn’t set in stone and should only be used as an indicator depending on whether you’re emphasising higher or lower reps throughout the Blueprint.

If you are unable to lift a weight in the prescribed set and rep range, don’t be a douchebag and even attempt to – you’ll only tear your shit up (and not in a good way either).

Listen to your body, drop your ego and work according to your ability.

Chin Ups

Arnold would typically perform chin ups using his own bodyweight.

The primary purpose was to completely fatigue the back and arms and create a great pump before beginning a superset exercise for the back.

Of course:

If you’re up for a challenge, you can always add a light dumbbell between your legs when performing chin ups.

Just remember, you will either be required to go to failure or perform 50 reps so only do what you’re capable of.

1-10 Method

This was a go-to method Arnold used to supercharge his workout and completely disrupt his normal routine that involved switching up the number of sets, reps and weight selection on a given exercise.

For this method, I’d recommend using a barbell and avoid dumbbells due to the ease of ‘stripping’ down the weights from the bar as opposed to hogging hundreds of dumbbells at the gym.

The latter will only make you look like a cunt.

So, how does it work?

Using the barbell flat bench press as an example, after completing a warm set or two, load up the barbell with weights where you’re only able to complete one rep (i.e. your one rep max – 1RM).

After completing one rep, you re-rack the bar and remove enough plates so that you can complete 2 reps. Once you’ve done that, re-rack the bar again and remove enough plates so that you can complete 3 reps.

Keep following this process until you’ve completed 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and finally 10 reps.

In total:

By working your way up to 10 reps and stripping down the weights as you progress, you would’ve completed 55 excruciating reps.

Although we’ve used the barbell flat bench press as an example, you can do this with any other exercise that you prefer (ideally one that requires using a barbell).

This method should last just over 5 minutes depending on how quickly you are removing the weight.

The 1-10 method is brutal because there is no rest in between sets. The only rest you get is when you’re unloading the weights.

I’d therefore advise only performing this method if you have a training partner to spot you, and I’d also avoid doing this every week (only if you’ve get into a rut with your training) as doing so can quickly diminish its effectiveness.

Check out the below video of Arnold describing how he used the 1-10 method:

Drop Sets

Also referred to as the ‘stripping method/shocking principle’ in the Blueprint, performing drop sets is a great way to fatigue the working muscle further by creating greater intensity and stress.

After completing your final set on a given exercise, immediately remove a few plates (or go a few increments down if you’re using dumbbells) and churn out an extra 5-10 reps.

With no rest, keep repeating this and reducing the weight down to the bare bar or a weight that will only allow you to lift as much as you can in your current state and crank out 15-20 reps.

The idea is to create massive muscular and metabolic stress to the point where your muscles have hit complete failure and you can no longer do a single rep.

A good indication of when this has been achieved is when your muscle(s) are trembling uncontrollably.

Check out the below video of Arnold describing this method:

Max Effort

Every now and then, Arnold would look to test his one rep max (1RM) to check if he was able to move the needle further.

Doing so is also recommended in the Blueprint to Mass as it is necessary to get stronger in order to promote more muscular growth in the long-run.

Ideally:

You should be performing your 1RM max on a big compound lift such as on the bench press, squat, deadlift, military press and so on.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Blueprint to Mass Review - One Rep Max

Getting stronger in these movements will have a positive net effect on how much you can lift with the other isolation-based exercises throughout the plan.

In order to perform this, you should work your way up to your 1RM and ensure the muscles being worked are fully warmed up.

This is prescribed as follows:

  • 1 x 20 reps

  • 1 x 15 reps

  • 1 x 10 reps

  • 1 x 8 reps

  • 1 x 5 reps

  • 1 x 3 reps

  • 1 x 1 rep

  • 1 x 1 rep

  • 1 x 1 rep (max)

When maxing out, it is also beneficial to have someone spot you so as to avoid any injuries.

Therefore, ensure you have someone on hand to cover you.

Running The Rack

Whilst not strictly included in the Blueprint, running the rack is another method Arnold would employ to completely confuse the muscles.

The principle is simple.

Choose a dumbbell-focused exercise (such as dumbbell curls or the dumbbell press) and grab a weight where you can barely perform 6 reps.

When you’ve completed the 6 reps, drop the dumbbells and grab a pair of dumbbells that are 2kg (5lbs) lighter and perform another 6 reps.

Once done, drop the dumbbells again by a further 2kg (5lbs) and perform yet another 6 reps.

Keep repeating this process until you’ve started on one end of the dumbbell rack at the gym and ended up on the other end.

You should end up at a pair of dumbbells (on the lighter end of the rack) where the thought of completing another 6 reps will send your muscles into a complete oblivion.

This is a great training method to really challenge yourself and fire up the muscles being worked.

Check out the below video of Arnold talking through this training method:

Nutrition and Supplements

Regardless of how effectively you train, the sad reality is you can’t out train a bad diet.

Because of the serious amount of volume involved in the Blueprint, it’s unsurprising to find that as far as nutrition goes, you will be required to eat like a champion every day.

Sadly,

This doesn’t mean getting to see the priceless look on your Uber Eats courier’s face after realising that he’s delivered 2 Large Pizzas, 1 Side and 1 Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to your house for the tenth time this week.

Although this is reserved for Saturdays.

Instead:

Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass meal plan was compiled to ensure that not only are you adding mass, but lean mass.

You’ll be eating foods rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats to grow and recover in between each workout.

This will require you eating anywhere between 3,500 – 3,800 calories a day.

No simple task.

The most basic part of Arnold’s nutrition plan is eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight every day:

“There’s always a debate about how much protein the body actually needs. I always lived off the rule that for every pound of bodyweight, I needed one gram of protein.”

So for example,

If you currently weigh 85kg (187lbs), you should be aiming to eat 187g of protein each day.

As a 250-pound colossus, the challenge for Arnold (which will also likely befall you as well) was eating 250g of protein daily and making sure that his body could use it all:

“I felt like it worked best when I had five meals a day. There are some people who can work with three meals. For me, five meals was the answer, the reason was because I never was a big eater. I always felt comfortable with a regular sized steak. If you gave me a 10-ounce steak, even in my heyday, I was happy.”

In the morning, Arnold would often start the day with 3 scrambled eggs, with a bit of bacon or sausage, followed by some chopped tomatoes and onions.

The problem was:

2 hours after that meal he would begin to get hungry again.

To get around this, Arnold would supplement his meals with a high-quality protein shake to ensure he was hitting his daily protein requirement as well as keeping his hunger in check.

“As I was sitting there at Santa Monica City College or I was at the workplace doing construction work or wherever I was, I would pull out of my bag a little plastic container that had milk and protein powder. That was the additional 30 grams of protein that I needed at that time.”

An hour later, Arnold would then head to the gym and do what he did best – lift some heavy ass weight.

After an exhausting 2 and a half hour workout, he’d have a steak and some vegetables for lunch which was then followed by another protein shake 2 hours later.

So, I would have protein drinks two times a day in order to get up to the 250 grams that I needed because it is absolutely essential that you have enough protein so you can really experience muscle growth.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint to Mass Review - Protein Shake
 

Below is the meal plan Arnold followed to add lean muscle mass onto his frame:

Meal 1 – Breakfast (Option 1):

  • 3 – 4 whole eggs
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1 – 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread with almond/cashew butter
  • Or, 1/4 avocado

Meal 1 – Breakfast (Option 2):

  • 3 – 4 whole eggs
  • 2 pieces of bacon
  • 1/3 cup of oats with 1 tablespoon of honey

Meal 2 – Lunch:

  • 10oz of grilled meat (red meat or fish recommended)
  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables or large salad (served with olive oil)
  • 2 – 3oz of nuts (almonds, walnuts or cashews recommended)
  • 1 – 2 sweet potatoes

Meal 3:

  • 2 scoops of mass gainer of your choice
  • 12 – 16oz of whole milk of your choice

Meal 4 – Dinner:

  • 12oz of grilled meat (lean meat recommended)
  • 1 – 2 cups of mixed vegetables or large salad (served with olive oil)
  • 1 – 2 cups of brown rice

Meal 5:

  • 2 cups of full-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 – 3oz of nuts (almonds, walnuts or cashews recommended)

Here’s the best part:

Saturdays are for you to enjoy.

We’re talking Bargain Buckets at KFC, Full Platters at Nandos, Double Whoopers at Burger King – you name it.

The plan allows you to have a ‘slutty’ meal of your choice every Saturday (preferably after your workout) in order to re-fuel your body and build up your reserves.

In terms of supplements:

As previously mentioned, Arnold was a big believer in supplements to fuel his body and ensure he was getting in enough calories and protein to build mass.

Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass was sponsored by a sports nutrition company called MusclePharm whom Arnold had his own line of supplements with called the ‘Arnold Series’.

However:

Numerous financial issues, shoddy products and selling supplements with ingredients which weren’t approved by the FDA meant that Schwarzenegger’s name was being dragged through the dirt.

This resulted in Arnold severing ties with the company in 2016.

As a result,

We will not be promoting the specific supplements in this article (or our website for that matter) but the premise is simple.

Before hitting the gym, the plan recommends taking a good quality pre-workout. After you’ve completed your workout, it is recommended to take a high-quality protein shake for recovery as well as a mass gainer to help you get the additional calories you need to build size.

Finally:

Before you hit the hay, it is also desirable to take a some form of slow absorbing protein, such as casein, in order to provide a steady supply of protein to the muscles as you sleep.

We’ve reviewed a few premium options here which you can check out.

If you’re unable to find a suitable product, a few brands we’d highly recommend you shop from include:

Alternatively, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, Myvegan are a good option as well.

Recovery

Recovery is a critical aspect of training that doesn’t get the attention it needs.

No matter how on point your nutrition and supplement game is, poor sleep and inadequate rest will not result in any noticeable gains.

Thus, ensure you’re getting at least 8 hours of undisturbed every single night for optimal recovery.

Thoughts

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Blueprint to Mass is a great programme to follow for the advanced lifter.

The variation in sets and reps coupled with the numerous ‘shocking principles’ such as the 1-10 method, drop sets and testing your 1RM makes the likelihood of plateauing miniscule.

With that said:

The gains made on this programme cannot be understated.

Training each body part twice per week will help build more muscle tissue as opposed to simply training them once. As a result, following this plan will help you build a well-balanced, fuller physique.

After just 4 weeks of doing this workout (completing Phase 1), I noticed my arms, chest, back and legs were all getting noticeably bigger.

The transition from high volume training in Phase 1 to more strength-focused training in Phase 2 also meant that over 8 weeks in total, my body wasn’t able to guess what was coming next (due to progressively overloading the muscles each week) which meant even more gains.

Not only was I physically a lot bigger, but my strength increased dramatically on a number of compound lifts such as the flat and incline barbell press, squats, deadlifts and even on the concentration curls.

In total, I roughly put on an extra 2kg of muscle mass onto my frame (not bad for an 8 week programme).

However:

Despite the impressive gains made on this plan, there are a number of flaws with it.

Firstly, training six days a week consistently over 8 weeks requires a heck of a lot of discipline.

There were often days where I was so brutally sore that I didn’t feel like training. If this was the case, I’d still will my way to the gym but I would just go easier on the poundage.

That way, I was still working the muscles, but reducing the stress on my joints and tendons.

This leads me to my next point:

Recovery.

It’s no secret that Schwarzenegger was on the juice in the peak of his career, and a plan like this with a mix of high volume, high intensity and heavy poundage will take its toll on any natural lifter.

Your body just isn’t recovering as well (and as fast) as someone who is on performance-enhancing drugs.

Steve Reeves said it best:

“Don’t forget most of the ‘champions’ you read about today are full of anabolic steroids and other such growth-enhancing drugs which make their training programs useless to the natural bodybuilder – which is the only type of bodybuilding I care about...

…You need rest in between, otherwise your nerves will get shattered and you lose your enthusiasm. So you need to find the maximum workout you can take, with the ideal amount of recuperation time in between workouts.

Personally, this plan does not include enough rest throughout the week to warrant the amount of stress being placed on your body.

Being an average, natural lifter – I am a testament that this plan can be done on no drug enhancements.

However, progress will be slow and it’s important to monitor how you feel.

If you genuinely cannot bare the site of another dumbbell, take an extra day off to fully recover. You’ll avoid the likelihood of injury and you’ll come back a lot more refreshed.

In terms of nutrition,

The plan is simple and effective and should come natural to the bodybuilder who is accustomed to eating such ‘clean’ foods.

The best part is:

Restriction is limited and you are able to enjoy yourself on the weekend.

The plan prescribes one cheat meal on Saturday, but personally, I turned this into a cheat day instead.

It’s important to award yourself for your hard efforts throughout the week but if you’re anything like me and have a fast metabolism, turning Saturdays into a cheat day shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Of course,

If you give into temptation like a priest seeing a new choir boy during Sunday service and feel you would over-indulge, I’d recommend sticking to the one cheat meal per week so you don’t reverse your progress.

Conclusion

In summary:

Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass is an effective workout programme built on tried and tested methods to promote muscle growth as quickly as possible.

Whilst this plan isn’t for the feint hearted, it does give you a clear direction as to where you should be heading (to build mass).

Not only is this plan challenging both physically and mentally, but some impressive gains will bestow you by following this plan right until the very end making it both fun and encouraging.

Over To You

Have you tried the Blueprint to Mass plan?

Did you see good results?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!