5 Muscle-Building Lessons from Arnold Himself!

If you have any interest in building muscle, or more specifically in bodybuilding, then you will no doubt be familiar with a certain well-known Austrian Oak. Arnold Schwarzenegger had both the incredible physique and the huge amount of charisma that it took to take bodybuilding the next level and make it a mainstream pursuit, and with his consecutive Mr Olympia wins he is something of a legend among those who covet muscle and weight lifting.

Arnold Schwarzenegger biceps fles

But as well as just inspiring a legion of future bodybuilders, Arnie also had some advice to impart – and there is an awful lot that we can learn from the guy when it comes to training. Here we will look at some lessons from the great man who you can take with you to the gym.

5. Don’t Forget the Legs

One of the legendary tales you hear about Arnold is that he once cut the bottoms of his trousers off in order to expose his calves. At one point his calves were his weakest asset, and clearly Mr Olympia had some difficulty motivating himself to work them properly. By exposing them however Arnie would embarrass himself on encounters with admirers and fellow bodybuilders and this forced him to catch them up to the rest of his high standard.

4. Be Committed

If there’s one thing that comes across when reading about Arnie in the early days, it’s that he was incredibly committed to his training. In fact Arnie was so committed to his training that when the gym near his home was closed on a Sunday, he would actually break in in order to continue working out. Another story of Arnie’s dedication was that he snuck out of his barracks when he was doing his conscription time in the army in order to attend a bodybuilding competition.

The story goes that rather than disciplining Arnie, the general actually praised him for showing such dedication and encouraged the others to be more like him. (Another lesson then is that being teacher’s pet can pay off).

3. Visualization

Arnie also promotes the use of visualization to enhance your training. He reports that when he used to do curls for instance, he would imagine his biceps getting bigger and bigger until eventually they filled the entire room. This would help focus his efforts in the right direction as well as giving him the motivation to keep training hard and communicating to his unconscious what it was that he was aiming for.

2. Go for the Pump

Arnold talked a lot about how much he liked the feeling of ‘pump’ and about how important it was for his training. This is sound advice too – that feeling of pump means that your muscle is really working hard and if you don’t feel it then you aren’t pushing hard enough to create the necessary microtears. Without those microtears, you don’t get any muscle growth.

1. Train With a Friend

Arnie and his friend Franco Columbu were something of a double act when they started out, and there are videos of the two of them training together and pushing each other to go further (check out the Pumping Iron documentary). This is a great way to inspire yourself, and if you can find a training partner half as dedicated as either of these two then you’re on the right track for sure.

Abby Evans is an expert blogger and writes blogs on exercise for hinged knee brace, legs and body. You can also view different exercise technique in his blogs.

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This post was written by contributing author at Hive Health Media. If you would like to write for us about health, fitness, or blogging topics, click here.

3 thoughts on “5 Muscle-Building Lessons from Arnold Himself!

  • June 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    In the 80’s Arnold was one of the most popular and admired people in our country. He inspired many other people to start body building. QWe definitely can learn some lessons from him. Thanks for posting! 

  • June 19, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Good tips.
    A comment on “pump”.
    Yes, it’s a glorious feeling, particularly because it’s a quick affirmation that your workout is working. But don’t get too infatuated with pump.
    Some of the best, most effective exercises don’t produce a pump, such as those that Olympic lifters perform — velocity-based, multi-joint/muscle lifts.  You get strong with these exercises and your muscles dense, not puffy.
    So, enjoy the pump but don’t make it your focus each training day.
    My 2 cents.


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