Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Training Routine with Dave Draper

Arnold used to vary all the time his training routines. He never stayed on the same routine. But there are many snapshots how Arnold trained during his competition years. Here’s one of many Arnold workout routines. The following system used Arnold as he trained with Dave Draper (should be around 1970). Have fun!

Art Zeller was a American bodybuilder and photographer. He has watched the champs training through the year at Gold’s Gym. The following informations are based on Art Zeller’s report.

During this period Arnold trained with guys like Dave Draper (IFBB Mr. World), Franco Columbo (IFBB Mr. Universe, Mr. Europe), Ken Waller (Amateur Mr. World), Mike Katz (IFBB Mr. America) and Frank Zane (Amateur Mr. Universe).

Arnold and his buddies were hitting the weights twice, sometimes three times a day. They would come before breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch.

The monsters used to come to the gym more out of habit than a desire to train. It’s as if they had nothing better to do. They might hit out a few sets of prones, some inclines, a few cheat curls, maybe some squats.

The weights employed are heavy and their training style were very loose. They explained that is the Weider instinctive Training principle. In other words, they trained as they felt, used to take a break from routine.

All through the winter and spring they trained this Instinctive way, building power, muscle density, giving weaker bodyparts a chance to catch up with the rest of their physiques.

Arnold explained: “If you try to keep in peak contest condition throughout the year you’ll just end up burning yourself out.”

Arnold weighted about 265lb around this time.

July: Most of the guys are still fairly heavy but the majority did their exercises in super sets and tri sets. No discussions between sets!
The only sound from Arnold’s corner is his grunt and the clanging of the weights. He was still massive but the bulky look was no longer here.


This time they had Mike Katz, Leon Brown, Pete Caputo and some lesser known folk from New York. They said that nowhere in the world is there quite an atmosphere as in Gold’s gym.


They put finished touches to their physiques. There was Dave Draper in one corner. The concentration on the guy’s face was incredible. He paid no attention to what other lifters did.

The sweat dropped from his head as he put force reps on his deltoids. He finished the set, dropped the bar into a rack and grasped both deltoids, screamed painfully. But this was welcome pain, the pain that told the trainee he’s getting there!

Without even a second’s pause, he took a pair of forty five pound dumbbells for standing laterals.

The gang has converged on the 90 degree bench. Although each had his own workout routine, they sometimes worked together. Especially where assistance is needed (squats, benchpress). They did some behind neck presses. Quickly, arrangements of sequence are worked out – speed was essential if the pump was to be maintained.

Mike Katz went first. Frank Zan, Arnold and Dave all shouted encouragement to Mike, willing him to force out just one more rep!

You know, it seemed practically impossible to fail with those guys for training buddies. Mike stood up, proud. His normally high chest seemed higher than ever!

Arnold was the spiritual leadership. Everyone wanted to train when Arnold did, and the gym was mobbed. His defeat by Sergio Oliva in 1969 has left him undiminished..

Arnold chiselled his body “Just wait,” he said, “I get them all by the neck!”. He finished working his arms and flexed them.

“Arnold,” Art Zeller asked, “how do you think you’ll do? Don’t forget that, among others, you’ll be competing against Reg Park and Sergio Oliva!”
“They’ll cry when they see me,” said Arnold
“And if you should win all three shows,” Art Zeller asked, “what then?”
“Then,” said Arnold, “I will be what I started out to be..THE WORLD’S GREATEST BODYBUILDER!”.

And now here’s Arnold’s arm routine from an old Weider magazine. Also published around 1970

Arnold’s Arm Training Routine
-Cheat Barbell Curl
-Seated Alternate Curls 5x8reps
-Lat Machine Pressdown 6×10 reps
-Lying Triceps Stretch 6×8 reps
-Barbell Concentration Curls 4x12reps

Arnold handled heavy poundaged in most exercises and he trained at a very leisurely pace. He warmed up with chins: 2 sets of as many reps as possible.

Cheat Barbell Curl

-3 sets 8 reps
-close hand grip
-weight is swung very slowly into shoulders, held there then very slowly lowered
After doing 3 sets 8 reps he reduced weight. He did half curls

Half Curls
-4 sets 10 reps
-Curled the bar from his belt into the shoulders.
-Weight is not lowered past his belt.

Seated Alternate Curls

Arnold held the bell away from his body throughout the movement. Arnold cited this is a great biceps thickener. He performed 8 reps 5 sets for both arms. He used 75lb dumbbells.

After training biceps he turned his attention to the triceps

Lat Machine Pressdowns (heavy)

-10 reps 6 sets
– Arms as close to the body as possible as he pushes down
-return is slow
-He locked his elbows at the end of the downward, held the position and returned slowly to the start position
-He does his reps complete

Lying Triceps Stretch

-8 reps 6 sets
-He is very concerned about the technique in this exercise
-Elbows are kept pointing directly upwards, hands held close together
– He lowers the bar SLOWLY to a point just above his forehead and then SLOWLY returns to the start
-He did not allow the elbows to lock out.
-Tried to keep the tension in the triceps

Concentration Curls

-Arnold performed it with light weight
– Went through the movement slowly
– 4 sets 12 reps

Arnold’s biggest role model was Reg Park. As a youngster Arni used to read Reg’s training magazines. And one day after he won the Mr. Universe contest Reg Park invited him to train. Reg influenced him in many ways. You might be interested about Reg Park’s training philosophy. Just use the tag system below and click “Reg Park”. You will find the article ‘Reg Park Training Routine’. Have fun!

source: Muscle Builder , Article: Golden Impression by Zeller

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