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Arnold Schwarzenegger Shoulder Workout

by Steve Theunissen
arnold shoulder workout

Want to build huge muscular shoulders like the king of bodybuilding Arnold Schwarzenegger? This workout is a great routine for adding size to your deltoids using the rest-pause technique.

Arnold Schwarzenegger had great shoulders, he had shape, striations, and size. Many gym-goers want to build boulder shoulders just like Arnold but focus on shape and striations. If you really want to build big shoulders you must concentrate on building the size of your deltoids and gaining muscle mass. Follow these three tips king-sized boulder shoulders.

To perform this exercise, place a barbell on the shoulders with the flat side facing upward. Next, bring the barbell up to the chest level by lowering the shoulders. This is the starting position. The elbows should be slightly bent while locking the wrists. This is also the starting position for the Arnold shoulder workout.

This Arnold shoulder workout includes the use of both hands to elevate the dumbbells to the starting position from a wide-angle. Next, inhale until the muscles are completely contracted and then exhale while slowly lowering the dumbbells back down to the starting position. Hold the motion in one breath. This is one repetition.


For building muscle I generally stick to the 8-12 rep range, for most bodyparts this is considered the optimal rep range for muscle growth (except for legs which I believe respond better to a slightly higher rep range). However, sometimes muscles respond better when they are subjected to extra heavyweight – for example, a weight in which you can do a maximum of 5-6 reps. I would suggest going heavy on overhead press movements only, keep front raises and lateral raises to 8-12 reps or even higher.

Going heavy doesn’t mean that you have to go all out on every set, for example, if you do 5 sets I would recommend doing 2 sets with lighter weights that you can do 8-12 reps then follow that with 3 sets with heavy weights with 5-6 reps.


One of the biggest problems I see people make when they are training shoulders is they don’t vary the workouts enough. Yeah, they might switch front raises and lateral raises with different angles, cables, and dumbbells – but for the biggest moves like overhead presses, they stick to barbells and dumbbells. There are so many versions of overhead presses that you should consider adding to your workout such as Arnold press, overhead smith machine press, behind the neck press, (with either a barbell or a smith machine), and standing military presses.


Drop sets or supersets are great with front raises, lateral raises, and rear deltoild workout. However, for overhead press movements, the rest-pause technique is one of my preferred techniques for promoting new muscle growth. The rest-pause technique is great because you don’t have to change the weight throughout the set. For example to perform this technique use a smith machine with a weight that you can do overhead presses for 6-7 reps. Now start by doing a set of 4-5 reps then stop and rest for 15 seconds, then do another 2-3 reps then rest another 15 seconds, finally perform a final 2-3 reps. By now you will have performed 8-11 reps. So give it a try on your next shoulder workout.


Use rest-pause for the last 2 sets

Miltary press on the Smith machine


Standard sets

Arnold dumbbell press


Upright barbell row



Dumbbell lateral raise


Seated bent-over rear delt raise


How to perform Arnold shoulder workout exercises

After the first three repetitions of this exercise, you will perform three repetitions of this movement with the same starting position but this time, raise the dumbbells to your sides. In order to perform this movement properly, it is important for you to keep your elbows slightly bent throughout the entire movement. The elbows should not be locked during the whole movement. Hold the movement for four seconds and then lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

The next part of this Arnold shoulder exercise is the extension movement. This requires you to stand with an underhand or neutral-handed barbell as opposed to using a dumbbell. With your palms facing out, extend the barbell up to your sides. When the barbell reaches the highest point out of your grasp, inhale and contract your abdominal muscles to slowly lower the barbell back down. Hold the movement in one breath.

With your palms facing out, extend the barbell down again. Again, inhale and contract your abdominal muscles to slowly bring the barbell back down to your sides. Repeat this process for as many times as you are comfortable. Note that you should maintain a wide grip on the barbell throughout the process. To test yourself, hold the barbell straight above your head for two seconds before allowing it to dip down to your lower chest.

In order to perform this Arnold exercise, you must begin in the starting position with your hands placed comfortably on the sides of your hips. Next, you will place your dumbbells across your body in the starting position. Now, lift your dumbbells up to your sides while engaging your abdominal muscles. Hold this position for three seconds before returning to the starting position and repeating this process.

After completing the previous exercise, switch to an Olympic weight bench and start performing alternating dumbbell presses with both dumbbells in the starting position. Perform each dumbbell press for four sets, followed by 4 sets of 12. After completing the first set of dumbbell presses, switch to the weighted bench and perform twenty-one repetitions per set. After completing the second set, switch to the bench press barbell and perform twelve repetitions per set. Following reps, switch to the standing dumbbells and perform five complete sets.

The third and final part of this Arnold exercise consists of a strict deadlift. Stand in front of a barbell with your palms facing away from your body, while lifting the barbell to your side. You will use your legs to guide the barbell to your back. Make sure that you keep your elbows within a couple of inches of your hip bone while maintaining a strict hold onto the barbell. After finishing the repetition, exhale and slowly return to the starting position.

After a count of seven, raise the barbell and perform one of the following exercises. First, inhale deeply and bend your elbows, so that they are approximately an inch away from your body, and your palms are facing your legs. Second, while keeping your arms straight, bend your wrists, and push your body up until your chest is about three feet from the floor. Finally, exhale and slowly lower your body down to the starting position, performing one of the following three sets: front incline, decline, or flat.

Extra Tips: Arnold Schwarzenegger Cardio Workout

Arnold Schwarzenegger is known for his bodybuilding and movie star looks, but he credits his cardio workout as one of the things that got him to where he is today. In fact, the idea for his routine was started by another bodybuilder, Joe Lewis. He found that when he was lifting weights and doing various other exercises, that his body would sometimes complain and needed a bit of cheering up.

So, he did just that. He added jogging to his exercise routine and soon found that he could go for long runs while feeling like he was on fire. He credits this particular workout for helping him to lose 20 pounds in one month. Today, he is an actor and entrepreneur who play the role of the nerdy teacher in the hit movie, The Gym. His workout today is much more vigorous than it was then and he has to have a jet pack to get him to work.

It is easy to be seduced by all of the Arnold Schwarzenegger action movies that you can find on DVD. You just see the ripped bodies of the various action stars and forget about doing the hard work. If you want to get results and not look like just an action star, a cardio workout should be at the top of your list.

A cardio workout should get you moving without exhausting your lungs or your heart. You need to make sure that it is intense enough to really get your blood pumping and working. While watching the famous movie, Iron Man, did you realize that there was actually a time when there weren’t any ironies in America? Those people practiced a cardio workout that included running and biking.

A cardio workout doesn’t have to be hard. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym, hundreds of dollars on equipment, or suffer through strenuous exercise routines. All you need is the motivation to get up and get moving. Arnold Schwarzenegger did it and so can you.

The best way to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger cardio workout is two-fold. The first is that you need to start burning fat right away. There is no point in doing an intense workout if you are not going to be burning any fat. You can stimulate the fat burning process while at rest by watching the foods that you eat.

Eat foods that have been proven to contain high amounts of calories. It is common sense to eat the foods that you want to lose fat with. This means that you need to cut down or eliminate carbohydrates from your diet. You also need to cut down on the amount of fat that you eat. An Arnold Schwarzenegger cardio workout is not going to get you anywhere unless you do something about the fat.

The second step to a great Arnold Schwarzenegger cardio workout is to mix it up. In other words, you do not want to do the same routine for every workout. Instead, change it up every few workouts to get the best results possible. Do not get stuck doing the same old thing every time. If you want to get results, you have to find a workout that you can adapt to.

When it comes to an Arnold Schwarzenegger cardio workout, there are a few things that are common. Remember that bodyweight and interval walking will help to burn off some fat. Also, make sure that you are rotating through the different exercises. For instance, you may do ten minutes of cardio and then do ten minutes of leg lifts. Just do the same thing in reverse. This will keep your body guessing and it will continue to burn off calories. Check out Steve Reeves workout also.

Final thoughts

In order to perform this Arnold shoulder workout, you will need a barbell, a bench press, dumbbells, and a dip. Gather your dumbbells and stand in front of the barbell. Start the workout by lowering your legs, while pushing your arms straight out in front of you, until they are approximately two feet apart from your body. In a slow controlled movement, lower your body until it is almost touching the bench, and then extend your arms towards the sky and hold them there, until your elbows are approximately an inch from the bench.

The reason why Arnold Schwarzenegger does such amazing cardio is that he is using his body as opposed to weights to build up his muscles. He does this by giving his body a more intense workout, but since he is not putting weights on his body, he can get away with much more intense workouts since his heart rate and muscles are in a natural state of constantly changing. This is exactly what you need to lose fat. The best part is that the intensity and duration will be determined by how much you want to lose and how quickly you want to get rid of those stubborn bulges. With the right Arnold Schwarzenegger cardio routine, you will find yourself burning fat, looking ripped and feeling great.

Disclaimer: This article is written for general informational purposes ONLY and does not address individual circumstances. The WorkoutPlan doesn’t substitute any professional advice or help, you should always consult with your doctor.

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