5 More Arnold Training Tips

While Arnold used anything and everything he could in his quest for muscle, he most often preferred basic free weights performed with solid form. Here are 5 classic Arnold moves you've got to be doing!

August 7, 2013

By Ted Hammond

Before you get started be sure to read the first 5 Arnold Training Tips!

Supinated Barbell Wrist Curl

If you look around your gym, you’ll likely see lots of of bulging biceps and huge chests, but if you look a little closer you’ll probably notice a serious lack of forearm development. Many athletes neglect to train their forearms, focusing instead on the “T-shirt muscles.” Like any other muscle group the forearms need proper attention to grow. One of Arnold’s favorite forearm exercises is the barbell wrist curl. This movement develops the inside of the forearms and creates a powerful look to the whole arm. To begin the exercise, grasp a barbell with an underhand grip, keeping your hands fairly close together. Sit on a bench with your forearms flat and your wrists hanging over the edge. Bend your wrists to lower the barbell slowly toward the floor. Let the weight roll right to your fingertips at the bottom of the movement and then slowly curl it back up. Contract your forearms hard at the top of the movement. Remember, the forearms are endurance muscles that’re used to being worked when you train other bodyparts. To encourage growth, you’ll have to train them hard and make them burn. Now go get ’em!

Bench Dip

Want a great triceps exercise that lets you build freaky thickness with just your bodyweight? Like Arnold add the bench dip to your routine. Bench dips are a fantastic triceps builder that you can do almost anywhere. To begin the movement, place two benches parallel to each other. Stand with one bench behind your back and grip the edge with your hands shoulder width apart. Then place your heels on the other bench. Bending your elbows, lower your body as far as you can without allowing too much internal (forward) rotation of your shoulders. Raise yourself back up to the starting position and contract your triceps hard at the top. If you can complete more than 12 reps with your bodyweight, have a training partner pile one or more plates on your lap for added resistance that will induce a triceps-searing burn!

Alternating Dumbbell Curl

This month we’re going back to basics. Readers write in month after month asking how to develop biceps like Arnold’s. The truth is, there’s really no secret to sculpting mind-blowing arms. You need to train hard on basic movements and use proper form. One great mass-building exercise Arnold liked to use was the standing alternating dumbbell curl. This fantastic exercise will develop overall size to both biceps heads.

To begin the movement, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells outside your thighs in a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Keeping your shoulders back and your back straight, curl one dumbbell toward your shoulder, stopping short enough to maintain tension on your biceps. As you curl the weight, supinate your wrist so that your palm is facing you at the peak contraction. Contract your biceps hard at the top of each rep and then slowly lower the weight in the same arc before alternating arms. Try to keep your body movement strict and minimal, especially during the first few sets.

There you have it — a simple movement that will build fantastic size. So don’t just sit there. Get your ass in the gym and start curling!

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

When training shoulders, many people focus mainly on the front and side heads of the deltoid muscles and neglect their rear delts. That’s a habit worth breaking, as paying attention to your rear delts will not only prevent imbalance injuries but will also fill out your back resulting in a thick, muscular appearance.

One of Arnold’s favourite exercises for the rear deltoids was the bent-over lateral raise. To begin the movement, hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward about 30 degrees. Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and bend your knees slightly. Keeping your elbows locked in a slightly bent position, raise the dumbbells to about shoulder height and then return them to the starting position. It’s critical that you keep your body bent at a 30-degree angle. If you raise your torso during the rep, you’ll add momentum to the movement and you’ll work more of the side delt than the rear. As with all exercises, Arnold has always stressed that proper form is the key. So hit them hard but hit them properly!

Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flye

If you had to ask anyone about building a massive chest, it would have to be Arnold! Arnold unquestionably had the biggest pecs of his era, and possibly ever to hit a bodybuilding stage. No one could come close to his chest development. To build such an impressive chest took time — Arnold trained chest up to three times a week with high volume — and a lot of very hard work in the gym. Arnold blasted his pecs at all angles until every muscle fiber was forced to grow.