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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Home Workout Review (Quarantine Edition)20/01/2021
You’ve seen it plastered everywhere:
Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.
With gyms across the land brandishing ‘closed until further notice’ signs, and being on day 1,528,372 of quarantine has resulted in your skin fusing to the couch, the fridge seeing your face more times than your manager telling you to ‘get a fucking haircut’ on Zoom and your biceps desiccating into a cold-brushed penis –
– You would be forgiven for feeling (and looking) deflated.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom.
If you weren’t fortunate enough to be born with half a brain cell boasting an online following large enough to be labelled as ‘#instafamous’ who has descended to Dubai, whoring around Jumeirah Public Beach in nothing but skimpy speedos alongside other roided-out human skid marks, claiming to be a key worker in order to gain access to the abundance of gyms available –
– you’ve stumbled on the right article.
With ongoing lockdowns inevitable, and looming fears of entering Tier 37 looking more realistic than ever, one man has imparted a timeless workout routine to keep your gains in check which you can follow at the comfort of your own home.
That man is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Terminator took to Reddit (who is an avid user of the ‘front page of the internet’) to give his views on the current global situation, conjuring up a great home workout to keep everyone motivated and fit.
(You can read his full two cents’ worth on Reddit here).
The plan is so simple and versatile that by performing this workout routinely, the Gods may shine favourably upon you and bless you with the gift of muscles in these times of uncertainty.
Without further ado, let’s get into it:
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home workout is predicated on 9 basic body weight exercises which aims to target all of your primary muscle groups.
The plan has been put together to cater to different fitness levels: beginner and advanced.
This makes it a great a plan to follow regardless of how experienced you are as there are no prescribed sets to complete each exercise in.
What matters most is that you complete each rep of the exercise as perfectly as possible.
“The system is simple. If an exercise says 50 reps, you are doing 50 reps however you can. You can do 10 sets of 5 reps, 5 sets of 10 reps, 2 sets of 25 reps. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you finish 50 reps with perfect form. Once you complete the reps of one exercise, move on to the next exercise.“
If you’ve never exercised a day in your life, it’s important to get familiar with the movements first before jumping right into the deep end.
Adjusting the exercise to accommodate your experience and fitness level is a prudent approach which will help you build up the necessary strength over time in order to complete each exercise as demonstrated later on.
“I have given repetition guidelines for beginners who don’t train very often and for more advanced trainers. But if you have actually never worked out, spend your first few workouts just getting used to the movements.
I don’t want you to force yourself through 25 rows or knee-bends and then be unable to do the workout again in two days because you are too sore. And adjust the exercises for yourself – if a push-up is too much, instead of putting your hands on the floor, put them on a counter to make the movement a little easier. If a dip between chairs is too much, use your feet on the floor to take some of the weight off of your upper body.
Don’t feel bad about working your way up to the full workout – we all start somewhere.“
Check out the full home workout below:
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Home Workout
|Push Ups||25 reps||50 reps|
|Dips Between Chairs||20 reps||50 reps|
|Row Between Chairs||30 reps||50 reps|
|Sit Ups||30 reps||100 reps|
|Bent Leg Raises||25 reps||50 reps|
|Bent Over Twists||25 reps||50 reps|
|Knee Bends (Squats)||25 reps||50 – 70 reps|
|Calf Raises||25 reps||50 reps|
|Chin Ups||10 reps||30 reps|
We also put together the below infographic which includes additional notes and considerations when performing each exercise (click image to enlarge).
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Arnold’s home workout is a no-nonsense, simple routine that will cover all of your bases.
You’ll go from push ups, dips and rows to squats and chin ups with some ab and calf work thrown in for good measure.
As this workout mainly places greater emphasis on compound movements, you’ll get the benefit of hitting multiple muscle groups from one exercise which will help build a solid foundation (if you’re a beginner) as well as save you a lot of time.
Whether you’re working from home or still going into work, the beauty of this routine is that you can perform these movements pretty much anywhere and any time due to the lack of equipment needed.
For me, one of the biggest flaws of this routine is the lack of emphasis on developing the shoulders.
Whilst performing push ups will work your anterior deltoids and doing rows will slightly target your rear deltoids, there isn’t a specific shoulder exercise to really target all 3 heads of the shoulders.
Arnold does address this when questioned by one Redditor who raised the same issue:
If you’re a beginner, I’d look to add in some pike push ups off of the floor and gradually increase the leverage of the push up by moving your feet against a wall.
Once you begin to feel a lot more comfortable with this exercise, slowly move your feet higher and higher until you can fully do a handstand push up against a wall.
If you are an advanced lifter, simply incorporate handstand push ups against a wall for a target shoulder exercise.
Depending on your experience, some of the prescribed exercises might be the first time you are performing these at home (or for the first time in general).
Thus, it’s important to consider how you can perform them safely and effectively.
Dips Between Chairs
When performing this exercise, it’s imperative you use two solid chairs that are able to support your entire body weight.
I’d also recommend placing some heavy books or weights on the chairs to prevent them from rocking as this exercise could become extremely unsafe (especially when fatigue begins to set in).
You’ll want to start this exercise by holding your entire bodyweight up with your arms fully extended, elbows locked, knees bent and feet elevated.
Next, lower your body by bending your arms at the elbow until both arms are parallel to the floor. Avoid letting your elbows wander out and ensure they remain as close to your torso as possible.
Repeat this movement for the desired reps.
If you’re unable to execute this exercise, you can progress to this variation by performing dips on one chair instead.
Place both hands on a chair behind you and extended your legs out in front with your heels resting on the floor and toes pointing to the ceiling.
Lower your body by bending your arms at the elbow until they are parallel to the floor. Raise your body up by extending the arms and locking the elbows.
If you’re at an intermediate level, you can use a resistance band by wrapping it under your hands and knees to help push you up when you’re performing dips in between chairs.
Row Between Chairs
When performing this exercise, the importance of using chairs and a supporting object to hold your body weight cannot be understated.
Ensure you have taken the necessary safety precautions first before attempting this.
Position the chairs’ backrests so that they are facing one another and are placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Using either a broomstick or a barbell, you’ll want to place this on top of the chairs. Next, lay with your back under the object, with it positioned in-line with your shoulders.
You’ll then need to grip the object and extend your legs underneath with your heels on the ground and toes pointing up.
Depending on which muscles you would like to target, an underhand grip will place greater emphasis on the biceps, whereas an overhand grip (pictured) will focus more on the back.
Keep your core engaged and pull your body up using your arms until your chest almost touches the object.
Repeat this movement for the desired reps.
Depending on your strength and skill level, you can progress up to this variation by simply bending your knees and keeping your feet planted on the floor.
This will make the exercise a lot easier to perform until you build up the required strength to complete the movement with your legs fully extended out.
Bent Over Twists
This is a great exercise to increase rotational strength as most athletes generally train in a lineal plane of motion.
Performing bent over twists will allow for greater core stabilisation and bracing capacities when increasing poundage. It also helps improve core flexibility as well.
To perform this exercise, place a broomstick or barbell on your upper back, holding it at its ends.
Ensure your feet are shoulder-width apart and bend at the hips, keeping your back flat until your upper body is parallel to the floor.
Slowly turn your upper body 90 degrees from one side to the other, preventing the broomstick or barbell from touching the floor.
The lower body does not move throughout the movement.
If you are wanting to increase the range of motion (ROM), lift your upper body up slightly above parallel to the floor which should allow you to go past 90 degrees.
This exercise fires up the obliques and lower back, so be sure to control the movement throughout and avoid letting momentum move you from side to side to avoid injury.
Knee Bends (Squats)
Squats are arguably one of the best compound exercises you can perform (from anywhere) that will charge up your central nervous system and give you a tremendous pump in your legs.
You’ll notice in the above image that Arnold is raising his heels by placing them on a book on the floor.
This provides a different dynamic to the traditional squat.
Firstly, by elevating the heels, you call upon more muscle fiber recruitment in the quadriceps to complete the exercise.
Secondly, elevating the heels increases the range of motion at the knee (and reduces it at the hip), making it a great alternative to isolate the quadriceps without growing larger hips.
Lastly, it’s also a great alternative to increase the depth of your squat if you struggle to reach parallel when your feet are flat on the floor.
As demonstrated by Arnold, look to use a book or some other raised platform to execute this exercise.
If this exercise is too easy, you can incorporate some added resistance by holding a barbell across your upper back, holding a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands or simply loading up a backpack with some weights.
Similar to performing squats, Arnold recommends performing calf raises on an elevated platform (pictured above using a book).
The primary benefit of elevated calf raises is that unlike standard calf raises that are performed on a flat surface (such as the floor), you’re able to achieve greater range of motion which enables you to fully flex/stretch the muscles over a great distance, thereby increasing intensity.
Performing single leg calf exercises are more intense than using both legs together as all of the resistance is working through one of your calves, rather than both.
By doing calf raises on a single leg, you prevent your dominant calf from taking on more of the movement. This will force you to work each muscle equally, thereby preventing any muscular imbalances to form.
If performing single leg calf raises is too difficult, try performing standing calf raises on a flat surface with both legs until you’ve built up enough strength and balance to be able to perform them unilaterally.
Chin ups are one of the best compound movements you can perform for your upper body.
Done correctly, chin ups will target a variety of muscles simultaneously including the back, biceps, forearms and core, making it a very efficient movement in terms of workload.
The trouble is:
Most beginners will often find this exercise difficult to perform due to the strength needed in pulling up your entire body weight and ensuring your chin clears the bar.
Not only this,
Performing chin ups will require you to have access to a pull up bar.
Due to the current climate, it’s likely your local retailers are currently out of stock or are charging extortionate prices (I’ve seen a few being flogged on Amazon for well in excess of £100).
To counteract this, you can use the top of a door, a jungle gym at your nearest park or a tree branch.
As you’re more likely to have access to doors at home, be sure to check your door’s hinges are securely bolted in and is able to withstand your body weight.
It’s also a good idea to throw a towel over the top of your door to protect your hands too.
If you’re struggling to progress to this exercise, below are a few suggestions:
Depending on what equipment you have access to, you can perform seated or kneeling lat pull downs against a door using resistance bands as an alternative. This should help build foundational strength to perform a chin up.
If you have access to a bar and a resistance band, but are unable to perform one rep, you can use a resistance band to help you perform ‘assisted’ chin ups.
Simply tie the resistance band around the bar and loop it over one foot and execute the movement until you’ve built up enough strength to do chin-ups unassisted.
As this is a full body routine, Arnold recommends performing this workout on consecutive days to give your body ample rest in between.
Therefore, your workout schedule should look like the following:
- Sunday – Rest
- Monday – Train
- Tuesday – Rest
- Wednesday – Train
- Thursday – Rest
- Friday – Train
- Saturday – Rest
- Sunday – Train
- Monday – Rest
- Tuesday – Train
- Wednesday – Rest
- Thursday – Train
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – Train
Of course, if you are on your training day but your body is telling you to go fuck yourself due to the pain inflicted from the previous workout, take an extra day off to rest.
The idea is to perform this workout at least 3 days a week, however you are comfortable doing it. The above is a guide only.
Whilst it isn’t clear how long you should be performing this workout for, it’s safe to assume that it’s intended to be performed as long as we’re in a lockdown.
Whether that’s 3, 6 or even 12 months where you are, this workout is to be done as much as possible until gyms begin to re-open.
Advanced trainers are expected to complete this workout in 45 minutes. Beginners should be able to complete this in 1 hour.
In order to reap the full benefits of this plan, it is important to use good form.
If you are an intermediate to advanced trainer, then it’s more likely that additional gains will be difficult to come by.
However, using good form with added time under tension will ensure you are able to experience some muscular growth.
As is the case with the majority of home workouts that are performed with little to no equipment, sooner or later you’ll begin to plateau.
To prevent this, you’ll have to find inventive ways to ‘progressively overload’ your muscles.
Whilst it’s unlikely you’ll be able to add additional resistance at home, you can still apply the following methods instead:
- Adding repetitions
- Adding/decreasing sets
- Decreasing rest time between sets
Arnold recommends applying the first two methods that involve decreasing your sets and working against a timer.
Once you’re able to complete the desired reps in two sets, you can look to increase the reps.
This is a great way to continually keep your muscles guessing and to keep progressing.
Just be aware that going by down this route, you will also likely increase the time it takes you to complete this workout, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time.
Depending on what your goals are, Arnold recommends resting between 2 – 3 minutes in between sets for the purpose of building strength, and 1 minute for burning fat.
1 minute rest is also enough to support muscle growth and hypertrophy goals too:
Nutrition and Supplements
To get maximum benefit out of this workout, you’ll need to ensure you’re fuelling your body the right way.
This includes eating whole foods such as lean cuts of meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, grains, fruits and vegetables.
Try and avoid as much refined foods as possible, eating only what your body can easily digest and use.
In terms of supplements, a good quality protein shake is all you need to ensure you’re hitting your daily protein requirement.
We’ve reviewed a number of good options here.
Aim for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
This will go a long way in ensuring that your muscles are effectively recovering from each training session.
Overall, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s home workout is an excellent routine to follow during a global pandemic.
If you’re a beginner just taking up fitness for the first time and are looking to build some muscle, this routine covers all of your bases.
But don’t get me wrong:
Even if you’re an advanced lifter, performing this routine for a few months will also do wonders in maintaining your shape due to it’s ‘back to basics’ approach.
As you won’t be smashing your joints and tendons with weights that are double what you weigh, your body might begin to thank you in the long-run.
The fact is,
Arnold’s home workout is a classic, simple and efficient routine that is just as effective at building muscle and keeping you fit as most advanced workout plans out there.
Whilst it is always tricky to keep making progress at home, this plan should help keep everything in check before gyms can begin to re-open again.
What do you think?
Looking to give Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout a go?
What do you think of this ‘back to basics’ routine?
Drop a comment below with your thoughts!