Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Golden Six Workout


In Arnold’s early days of training when he was trying to get bigger he followed a full body routine called the Golden Six.  He has claimed to have made “remarkable” gains on this workout routine as did many others who trained at his gym in Munich (his hometown) back in the 60’s.  The “Golden Six” routine is based on as you guessed it six key exercises (listed below) all done 3 days a week on non-consecutive days (Mon,Wed, Fri) per week.

The Golden Six:

  • Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 10 reps 
  • Bench Press: 3 sets of 10 reps 
  • Pullups: 3 sets of max 
  • Behind-the-neck Press: 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Barbell Curls: 3 sets of 10 
  • Bent-knee sit-ups: 3-4 sets of 20 or more
Key points to be successful are to strive to progress whenever possible.  Once you can do 2-3 reps above the suggested amount, increase the weight and repeat.  Rest 2 minutes between sets on the first five exercises but a minute or less for the last movement.

After a 3 month cycle many have opted to increase the sets on the first five exercises to four after three months and eventually after six months getting up to six sets.  In fact, Paul Grant a friend of Arnold’s and fellow bodybuilder who appeared in the classic bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron followed this same routine and that is what he did and it has been stated by Arnold himself that Paul gained over 65 lbs in a year with this routine with that set progression.

This type of full body workout routine is great for beginners, hard gainers, the over 40 bodybuilder, those with limited amount of time to train or quite frankly anyone looking to to add strength a size to their frame. If you are looking for something different than the excessively high volume and inefficient routines displayed in the muscle magazines these days give Arnold’s Golden Six a try.


3 thoughts on “Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Golden Six Workout

  1. Wish I did workouts more like this when I was starting out instead of following Arnold’s later routines that obviously if you are not on gear to enhance your recovery you burnout quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think all of us do that got roped into those marathon routines.


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