Three key muscle building tips from the great Arnold Schwarzenegger

Three Key Muscle-Building Tips From The Great Arnold Schwarzenegger

These tips apply to both men and women — so do read on

At 74, Arnold made some training alterations but still stuck with the basics of bodybuilding. I’ve been an avid follower of this great man most of my life. I always thought of Arnold as a talented actor with this sculpted, godlike physique. His body was always remarkable in my eyes. I don’t believe I missed any of his movies to date, and I love to watch the classics like The Terminator and Conan. Arnold was my favourite actor as a kid in the 90s. It wasn’t until I began training in the gym and lifting weights that I paid more attention to him. One of my close friends laughed when I mentioned buying The Arnold Training Bible on my kindle, so I could follow and learn his workout routine. I, too, wanted to build muscle, and he knew a thing or two about it. Following the best in the field and applying their principles will surely lead you to success. Today, I read something exciting in fit and well, solidifying my philosophy of building muscle. Although I’m not as old as Arnold yet, he seems set on giving such wise advice that many people should listen up and follow. So much went into what helped him gain such an incredible physique as well as helping him to maintain muscle in his 70s and beyond. I wanted to share his top three muscle-building tips that all women and men should follow. Women have just as much potential to build an incredible physique by following the simple principles below. It shows that you don’t have to fancy and follow these influencers. Some of the exercises they perform for the general public are anything but easy. But I guarantee most of them to stick with the basics and get creative for the camera! Here goes…

One: Get back to the bare bones of weight training

I LOVE this principle and have followed it for years and years. Arnold did train in the gym for more hours than any of us would ever want to, but he was training to win titles. But what’s interesting to note is that he never did anything too complex and kept with the bare-bone basics of weight training. I mean by the basics that these movements work more muscles and take a lot more energy to perform. Exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses are your essential “get the most out of your workout” moves. I understand many people have injuries, and these exercises can be tricky. But you’ll win if you can perform alternatives to get these benefits. It does take the basics of weight training to get the best results. I’m always surprised by the lack of enthusiasm people have for these compelling moves. Instead, I would master these and get results faster than doing something unnecessary. It’s a waste of your time and effort. Perhaps you don’t know how to execute these exercises properly. I would look online for some tutorials (youtube) or get help from a personal trainer. My journey involved a trainer because I learn best visually, verbally, and with instructions. Have them guide you through the movement whilst giving you pointers. That’s the best way to fast-track your results.

Two: Don’t do the same exercises every day

When your body gets to a certain level that doesn’t change (same with weight loss), It’s called a plateau. As you start to hit a wall, it’s only a matter of changing up your workout to start making those necessary shifts again. If your body can guess what you are about to do, they are one step ahead of the game: alternate exercises, routines and the amount of weight you lift.

Here are some ideas

  • Perform three exercises back to back without a rest
  • Instead of the usual 12 reps, try 21 or more! Lower the weight you use to achieve this.
  • Try circuit training
  • Use sprinting as a means to burn fat while sustaining muscle
  • Train with kettlebells
  • Use your body weight and perform lots of reps
  • Slow down the movement or make it faster

There are so many alternatives; I haven’t scratched the surface here. Be creative and make every workout unique in its way. Try different ways — don’t be scared. You have to have some kind of fun on the journey, and a lot of this is self-experimentation. We don’t know how our bodies will react until we try something new. Why you should vary your workout here.

Three: Nutrition is essential

Now, Arnie had to eat a lot of protein. These days, he’s a vegan now. I assume he’s both sick of animal protein, and it doesn’t do too much for him. Don’t stop training with weight, thinking that protein will do all the work for you. If you eat more protein but do not train, you will not build or maintain muscle mass — you will put on weight. The right amount of protein needed for men and women varies and depends on your particular goals. Women may want to tone their bodies, build some muscle, and lose body fat. Men might want to focus on muscle building. It doesn’t matter what your goal is; nutrition is essential. Without it, you set yourself up for failure to achieve results. Plus, you won’t have the energy to make the most of your time in the gym. As we age, we lose muscle at a faster rate. As a result, women who reach menopause are more likely to gain weight, lose bone density, and have trouble putting on muscle. Lifting weight and eating well is the only way to overcome this natural life obstacle. We must keep adapting to what faces us — both in age and gender. 

Key take away

Keep exercise and nutrition simple. It has developed into a very complex and unsustainable event now, and more and more people are becoming overwhelmed and frustrated. But, it really doesn’t have to be anything but simple. So, take a leaf out of Arnie’s book; even though you may not want as much muscle as he has — his wisdom is wise through application and hard work. Keep it simple stupid was invented for a reason — maybe it’s about time we started listening more! 

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