The Ultimate Arnold Split Training Workout

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 Arnold Schwarzenegger's exercises for the Mr. Olympia competition in the early 1970s were notorious for their extreme intensity. Arnold was said to need at least three different training partners at distinct exercises because no single mortal could keep up with the Champ week after week.

When in preparation for the Mr. Olympia competition, Arnold would train six days a week, twice a day. He'd also train each muscle group three times a week, with 20-30 sets for each body area.

The Ultimate Arnold Split Training Workout


FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE KING

Because Arnold was the unquestioned King of Bodybuilding at the time, everyone who lifted weights and aspired to be a bodybuilder followed his methods. Everyone worked out six days a week, twice a week for each muscle group. Monday and Thursday would be chest and back, Tuesday and Friday would be legs, and Wednesday and Saturday would be shoulders and arms.

Of course, Arnold and many of his contemporaries who worked out at the Gold's Gym in Venice, California, had several advantages that the average weight lifter lacked. First and foremost, he was genetically predisposed to muscle development. Second, during his contest preparation, he was utilizing performance-enhancing medications (which were allowed at the time with a doctor's prescription). As a result, the typical aspiring bodybuilder was frequently disappointed by their lack of muscular gains in comparison to the Bodybuilding Gods they idolized in the pages of muscle magazines every month.


THE SYSTEM OF NAUTILUS

Arnold Schwarzenegger's workout routine was diametrically opposed to Nautilus founder Arthur Jones's preaching. Jones recommended for short, hard workouts that lasted no more than 30 minutes. Rather than breaking the body down into individual muscle groups and training every day like the bodybuilders at Gold's Gym, Jones had his pupils execute only a few sets for each muscle group, as opposed to the high volume (20-30 sets) that was popular at the time.

Jones boasted to the world that bodybuilding prodigy Casey Viator was a staunch supporter of the Nautilus system and built his gorgeous physique with short but intensive exercises. Casey was 19 years old when he earned the prestigious AAU Mr. America title in 1971. A bodybuilder had never previously or since won such a coveted title at such a young age.


THE INVENTION OF HIGH-INTENSE-INTENSITY TRAINING

When rising bodybuilding legend Mike Mentzer won the IFBB Mr. America title in 1976, he followed a similar training regimen. After the win, Mentzer shocked the bodybuilding community by sharing his training technique in a Muscle Builder Magazine interview. He claimed to train six days a week, utilizing high sets for each muscle group, exactly like everyone else. However, discouraged by his lack of development, he decided to drastically reduce the volume of his training, completing as few as 5 sets per body part and only training three times each week. The term "high-intensity training" (HIT) was coined.


THE INVENTION OF HIIT WORKOUTS

When Mike Mentzer won the IFBB Mr. America title five years later in 1976, he used a similar training philosophy. After winning, Mentzer shocked the bodybuilding world by disclosing his training technique in an interview with Muscle Builder Magazine. He claimed to have trained six days a week, utilizing high sets for each muscle group, exactly like everyone else. However, discouraged by his lack of development, he decided to drastically reduce the volume of his training, completing as few as 5 sets per body part and only training three times a week. HIT stands for high-intensity training.

Some may wonder how often bodybuilders train out. You can workout long or hard, but not both at the same time, according to Mentzer. He compared himself to a runner. A bodybuilder who performs 20-30 sets for each muscle group is not training hard, just as you would never be able to sprint for a whole mile. He's just timing himself to get through the massive number of sets he has to complete each session. It would be impossible for him to accomplish so many sets at that intensity level if he was truly training hard. It'd be like sprinting for a mile at maximum speed.


THE ROUTINE OF 3 DAYS ON, 1 DAY OFF

Bodybuilders reduced their workouts throughout the 1980s and 1990s, recognizing the necessity of rest and recovery. Three days on, one day off was a popular training schedule in the 1980s, as opposed to exercising six days in a row. The extra day of rest helped the body recuperate and increase muscle growth.


TRAINING WITH HIGH INTENSITY MAKES A RETURN

HIT made a comeback in 1992, when Dorian Yates won the Mr. Olympia competition. Dorian followed a training routine that was quite similar to Mentzer's, training only four days a week with high intensity and low sets. As Dorian continued to win the Mr. Olympia competition and establish himself as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, more individuals began to follow his lead by reducing their volume and exercising less. Most bodybuilders began training each muscle group simply once a week during this time period.


AN APPROACH IN WHICH THE MORE THE BETTER

Bodybuilders and other aspiring physique athletes have returned to the 1970s training regimes in certain ways. Training frequency has grown, maybe as a result of the growing influence of social media, where people prefer to publicize what they are doing on a regular basis. Today, it's not uncommon to see people working out every day, often for seven days in a row. Aspiring athletes flaunt about their commitment to training by showing up at the gym every day, sometimes twice in the same day, with phrases like "killing it," "never give up," and "don't quit" hash tagged in social media posts. Muscle groups that are slow to respond are frequently targeted three times a week to help them catch up.


WHICH PHILOSOPHY OF TRAINING IS THE BEST?

After so many swings of the pendulum in terms of Training Duration and Frequency, the question remains: which training theory is the best? Much depends on a variety of elements, including your training goals (fitness, muscular mass, and definition), as well as your personal makeup (age, recovery ability, genetic and metabolic attributes).


1. The Influence of Age

Younger bodybuilders recover far more quickly than older competitors. Younger bodybuilders' tendons and muscles recover faster than older bodybuilders', therefore training each muscle group twice a week would be more beneficial to them than training each muscle group once a week. Subjecting older trainers to twice-weekly sessions for the same muscles is more demanding on their joints and tendons.


2. Intensity of Training

Intensity of training is another thing to consider. When opposed to training with less resistance for more reps and volume, training with heavy weights that only allow for 6-8 repetitions puts the body under a different type of stress. More muscle tissue will be torn down as a result of the harder workout, as well as the joints and nervous system. When training this hard, it's not a good idea to train every day. However, if your goal is more fitness-oriented exercise rather than muscle-building, you will use less resistance and put less stress on the neurological system. As a result, you'll be able to train more regularly while using fewer vacation days.


3. Type of Workout

It's also important to consider the type of workouts you do. Workouts aimed at burning body fat, increasing endurance, and improving general fitness will be completed faster and with fewer rest times. The emphasis is on exercising hard by working rapidly in order to increase endurance and muscle development.

However, if you want to get huge and strong, you'll need to take the opposite strategy. More resistance with fewer repetitions necessitates a full-throttle approach, akin to that of a sprinter versus a long-distance runner. Muscle development occurs when the muscles are pushed to handle heavier weights with maximum effort. This also puts additional strain on the nervous system, needing more rest and recuperation time.

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