Reg Park Training Routine

Reg Park (7 June 1928 – 22 November 2007) was an English bodybuilder and businessman. He won the Mr Universe in 1951, 1958 and 1965.
He is probably best known as an idol and mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold learned a lot of training stuffs from Park!

Before using one of Reg Park training routine I would recommend to read his thoughts about technique and the importance of some exercises. But of course you can skip this short instruction and start reading the routines (it’s just below).

(1) Technique
(2) Reg’s First Training Cycle 1948
(3) 1949 Mr. Britain Leg Training
(4) 1951 Mr. Universe Training/Pre Contest Training
(5) Reg’s “Off-Season” Training around 1952-1957
(6) 1965 Mr Universe Training, 1st Place 
(7) Powerbuilding Routine (For Beginners)
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(1) Technique

Barbell Cheat Curl

Reg Park cheating curl

Reg Park cites body movement is allowed and thus you will handle more weight. But the pump in your biceps is very important and should care about it. And by cheating he did not mean to swing the barbell through the whole lift. Curl the weight controlled until the steaky point and now you are allowed to lean back SLIGHTLY to complete the lift.

Seated or Standing Triceps Curl with Dumbell

Reg Park Tricep Training

Keep the elbows close to the head. This throws more work on to the triceps muscles.

Seated Dumbell Curl

Reg Park Marvin Eder

Can performed with palms facing the body or with the palms facing the front.
Strict as possible. Reg’s knees were held down to prevent leg raising. Especially when handling with heavy weights. And yes, it is Marvin Eder helping him to correctly curl 110 lb each hand.

Standing Press

Reg Park Standing Press

Lifted from the floor to the starting position. Keep the legs straight and the body upright. Take a deep breath and press the weight to arm’s length. Pause for a moment. Lower to the shoulders and repeat. Do not hold the breath. Inhale before the effort and exhale on the completion.

Bench press

Reg Park bench pressing

Keep hips high on the bench all the time in order to throw the utmost work on the triceps, deltoids and pectorals. Use a grip just slightly wider than the standing press grip.

Reg believed that if this grip is used and each rep is pressed from the chest (not bounced) it will improve your performance in the Military Press/Press. According to Reg you should not perform this two exercises with heavy weight on the same day.

Concentration curl

Reg Park concentration curl

Reg Park cites this exercise is only for advanced not beginners. Keep the upper arm and body. Move only your forearms up and down!

Full Squat

Reg Park Squat

Can be performed flat footed or with heels raised – which ever gives better position, balance and performance. Keep the back straight, and chest held up, with good deep breaths between each repetitions.

Sometimes he used a wooden block under his heels (1949 Mr Britain Leg Training). The higher the block the greater the concentration on the thigh muscle.

Legs Bicep Curl

Reg Park Leg extension

He used a training partner to provide resistance.

Rowing with Base Pulley Lat-Machine Sitting on Bench

Reg Park Lat Training

Start position: have to feel pull in your lats. Body inclined forward and legs straight.
Pull the bar slowly to the abs. Stretch of lats and arms must be felt when the pulley is returned to the start position.

Sit Ups

Reg Park Sit ups

Legs kept straight throughout the movement. Raise and lower the body SLOWLY. Jerky movements should be eliminated. Reg used an abdominal board.

Skull Crusher

Reg Park Tricep Training

According to Reg Park the best exercise and one which he used very often. Grip with hands 6 inches – 8 inches apart. Elbows as close together as possible.

The Pullover w. Dumbell/Bar

Reg Park Pull Over Back training

Lie on the back on the floor with arms outstretched. From this position keep the arms straight and pull the bar over until it is directly over the chest. From this position keep the arms straight and pull the bar over until it is directly over the chest.

Bent-over Reverse, Close Grip Rowing

Reg Park Lat Back Training

Grip: Reverse
Standing On Thick Board or low bench. Keep elbows close to the body and pull the bar up to the abdomen. When you lowering the weight bend the knees slightly.

Bent-Over Two Dumbell Rowing Exercise

Reg Park back training oldschool

Head supported on a bench. Keep the elbows close to the body. When you lower the dumbell bend the knees slightly. Allow the dumbells to drop to a full hand position.


Reg Park Deadlift

Arms straight. Hips and body in a similar position of a clean. Hands reverse grip. Medium paced pull using hip and thigh push until the bar is resting across the front of the thighs.

Shoulder Shrugs

Lift the bar until it is resting across the front of the thighs. From this position raise the shoulders in a shrug motion until they are in line with the ears. Now push the chest forward and lower the arms until the bar is resting in the starting position across the thighs. Breath in deeply before each shoulder shrug.

Calf Raises

reg park calf raises training calves

He used the above apparatus. But he cites you can use a barbell/training partner on your shoulders. Use a block three inches high and stretch/extend the calves as much as possible. Before winning Mr. Britain 1949 Reg used “Henry Atkins'” method/technique for the best results:

30-40 reps
15 seconds rest
20 – 30 reps
15 seconds rest
(..) repeat until it is impossible

(2) First Training Cycle 1948

Reg Park 1947 bodybuilding

In September 1948 Reg started training serious. He was 20 years old and weighed 190lb. He trained three nights a week and Sunday morning and his training was something like this

Incline D.B Press – 5 sets of 5 reps
Flat Bench D.B. Press – 5×5
Pushups with Press – 5 x 10
Standing Barbell Press – 5×5
Press Behind Neck – 5×5
Standing Two D.B Press – 5×5
Chins – 5×8
Barbell Row – 5×8
D.B. Row – 5×8
Barbell Curl – 5×8
Incline D.B. Curl – 5×8
Central Loading Curl – 5×8
Standing D.B. Triceps Curl – 5×8
Lying D.B. Triceps Curl – 5×8
Triceps on Lat Machine – 5×8
Donkey Calf – 5 sets
Cross Bench D.B. Pullover – 5×8

Reg realized he was doing 90 sets a workout. And this was more than any British bodybuilder did in the 40s.

(3) 1949 Mr. Britain Leg TrainingReg Park 1949 Mr. Britain Training

Four weeks before winning the Mr. Britain title Reg Park trained two to three hours (3x per week) his legs.

Squats and Half squats 5-20 sets with feet apart and feet together, with toes turned in and toes turned out
Quadriceps stretch exercises lying 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Curls assisted by training partner 4 sets of 10 reps

Calf raises “Henry Atkins'” method
30-40 reps
15 seconds rest
20 – 30 reps
15 seconds rest
and repeat until it is impossible

+several other leg exercises

His bodyweight went from 190lb in September of ’48 to 205 pounds by March of ’49, and just prior to the time he entered and won the Northeast Mr. Britain Contest and his measurements were 48 in. chest and 16½ in. upper arm. He continued this training routine until October 1949 when he finally weighed 226lb (gain of 36lb in one year). He won the Mr. Britain title.

(4) 1951 Mr. Universe Training/Pre Contest Training

1951 Mr. Universe Reg Park Joe Weider

It was a split routine. This involved the upper half of the body one day and the lower half the following day. He trained 3 – 5 times each day every day. This could involve up to 30 sets on each body part.


morning: calves
Afernoon: thighs
Evening back and neck

morning deltoids
afternoon pectorals
evening arms

This is not recommended for the average bodybuilder! From January until the ‘Mr Universe’ contest he trained heavy and often with the following poundages.

Calves, Thighs, Back and neck
Calf Donkey Style on Calf Machine 10×20
Squats 3×20 320lb
Chins 5×8
Bent Over Rowing 5×8 250lb to 300lb
1 Arm 1 D.B. Rowing 5×8 100 to 120lb Dumbells
Pulldowns on Lat Machine 5×8

Deltoids, Pecs, Arms
Incline D.B. Press 5×5 2x140lb
Flat Bench D.B. Press 2x140lb
Press Behind Neck 5×5 210lb
Press 5×5 210lb
2 D.B. Press 5×5 working up to 2x100lb
2 D.B. Laterals 5×8 2×50 to 60lb

Central Loading Curls 5×8 140lb
Incline D.B. Curl 5×8 5×8 2x70lb
Barbell curl 5×8
Lying on Back 2 DB Curls 5×8 2×50 to 60lb
1 D.B. 2 Arm Triceps Curl 5×8
Lying B.B. Triceps Curl 5×8
Triceps Dips or Parallel Bar Dips 5×8
Triceps on Lat Machine
D.B. Pullover 3×10

His weight went back to 225lb. Eating habits: ate everything was his mother cooked and baked

(5) Reg’s “Off-Season” Training around 1952-1957Reg Park Off Season Training

In the early 50s Reg started making his own Business with Health Magazines and tried establishing himself in the fitness industry. There was no energy and time left for training 3-4 hours. The following routine was developed by Reg Park and is Perfect for people who do not want to spend hours in the gym:

Military Press
Press behind Head
Lateral raises to side

Bench Press with bar or dumbell or both

Bent over rowing motions (bar/dumbell)

Barbell Curl with dumbells

standing and lying with barbell

Half squat
Donkey Raise

Sets varied from 3-6 and reps from 6 to 10

Poundages he used:
Press behind head 280lb 6x, Squat 550lb x5, Rowing Motion 400lb. X6 reps; Curls 220-260lb 6x, Triceps 200-220lb 8-10reps, Lateral Raises to side 65lb 10 reps

(6) 1965 Mr Universe Training, 1st Place 

He started serious training for this contest on the 1st August and continued training until the 22nd of September. During this time he trained for two hours each and every day.

Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

Incline bench curl-dumbells 5×8
Sitting curl-dumbells 5×8
Lying curl-flat bench 5×8
Single seated curl

Plus the following exercises
Calf work 20 x 15
Leg curl 5×10
Squat 5×10
Sit up 5×20
Leg raise 5×20

Monday – Shoulders
Press behind neck 5×8
Dumbell press – together 5×8
Lateral raise – dumbells 5×8

Wednesay – Triceps
Tricep extension on lat machine 5×8
Standing extension with dumbells 5×8
Decline triceps extension 5×8
Dips for triceps 5×8

Friday – Back
Chins 5×8
Reverse grip rowing (barbell) 5×8
One arm rowing 5×8
45 degreee pull-down on lat machine 5×8

If he felt like working calves or midsection he would. He did not any chest work. He felt pectorals were heavy enough. Reg cites with heavy pecs you will have a narower appearance. He wanted to avoid this.

Sunbath is also important. Sun bathing helped him cut down some weight.

He eliminated salt, bread, potatoes and sugar. He ate steaks, fish, fowl, salads, fruit and fruit juices. He took supplements like super protein powder, milti-vitamin tablets and wheat germ capsules.

(7) Reg Park’s Power Building Routine

Basic exercises of power training are the squat and bench press. Performed with 10 reps and less reps are performed with heavy weight. According to Reg all exercises affects larger and stronger muscle groups and the small and weaker musle groups such as the biceps and triceps are ignored.

Full Squat, bench press, standing press or press behind neck, dead lifts or cleans or bent over rowing with 5×5 style

Reg’s Power Building Program

Squats 5×5
Power cleans 6×2
Bent Over Rowing 4×5
Chins 4×10
Calf 6×24
Barbell Curls 3×10
Incline Dumb-bell Curls 3×10
Curls with lat machine 3×10
Prone Hyperextension 3×10
Light Dumbell Pull-overs

Press behind Neck 5×5
Dumbell Press 3×6
Seated Dumbell Lateral Raise 3×10
Calf 6×25

Squat 5×5
Bench Press 5×1
Press off stands 5×2, Lying Triceps Curl 4×10, dumbell triceps curl 4×10, Calf 6×25, Pullovers 3×15

Thursday– Rest

Friday – As Monday

Deltoids as per Wednesday followed by Triceps as per Wednesday

Sunday – Rest

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