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Arnold Schwarzenegger Chest Workout – The Complete Routine

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest/most famous bodybuilder of all time and probably will be for decades to come, simply put he’s a legend. With the help of his perfectly symmetrical 58-inch chest and vaunted arms (his two most impressive body parts that is widely considered to be the best ever) he won the Mr Olympia title 7 times and the Mr Universe title 4 times. So what did Arnold exactly do to build arguably the best chest of all time ?


While some might regard this as overtraining, Arnold trained his chest 3 times a week with heavy weight and back together as one giant superset ! Of course Arnold had superior genetics and was taking steroids, so training like this may prove too rigorous for most natural bodybuilders which is why only the chest part of his routine is listed:

Exercise 1 – Flat Barbell Bench Press

Lay down flat on a bench. Pinch your shoulder blades together, this will take tension of your shoulder blade and rotator cuffs. Ensure your elbows are closer to your ribs to put more emphasis on your triceps. The further away they are from your ribs the more emphasis it will have on the anterior (front) delt and you want to prevent this or else you risk your shoulders from getting injured.

bench press

1 Warm-Up Set 30-45 Reps

5 Sets 6 Reps

Exercise 2 – Incline Barbell Bench Press

Ensure your bench is at 30-45 degrees and follow the exact same form as the flat barbell bench press. Arnold used a full range of motion with a high touch point (literally just below the collar bone) because he believed that it better engages those upper pec muscles. P.S. make sure you’re not just bouncing the barbell of your chest when doing any kind of bench press.

incline bench press

5 Sets 10-15 Reps

Exercise 3 – Flat Dumbbell Flyes

Begin the exercise by retracting your scapula while laying on a flat bench. Once you are holding a pair of dumbbells over your chest with both your arms slightly bent, begin to lower the dumbbells as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your chest and upper chest. Most people like to keep there feet planted on the floor when doing this exercise, but Arnold did the flyes with his knees bent/elevated because doing this helps you engage the core and chest more during the movement.

incline dumbbell flys

5 Sets 10-15 Reps

Exercise 4 – Weighted Dips

Get a belt with a chain and attach some plates to the chain. Keep your chest out and hook your heels, then come down just pass 90 degrees and push straight back up. If you can’t do weighted dips just do it with your own bodyweight.


5 Sets 15 Reps

Exercise 5 – Dumbbell  Pullovers

This is great for the lats, but also works the chest which is why Arnold would end his workout with this particular exercise. Begin by laying flat on a bench while holding a dumbbell over your chest with your arms extended and elbows slightly bent. Once in place lower the dumbbell behind your head without touching the floor and repeat.

dumbbell pullovers

5 Sets 15-20 Reps

If you remember from before I mentioned that Arnold trained his chest and back as one giant superset. Which is why no rest times have been listed since after completing one set of the chest exercise he would move on and train his back straight away, alternating between the two. However, since you’re not supersetting your chest and back exercises you should rest between 1 minute 30 seconds – 2 minutes between each set.

That was Arnold’s full chest workout and you will make some serious chest gains by following this workout. As always, if you have anymore questions about this topic then please leave a comment about it below.

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