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Arnold Schwarzenegger's Home Routine (No Gym? No Problem!)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico | Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Last updated: August 2, 2023

Arnold’s home routine is straightforward, easy to follow, and ensures you hit all major body muscles, preventing muscle loss and even supporting muscle hypertrophy.

After 10-hour research and a testing phase of Arnold’s home routine, I compiled a list of his best home exercises that helped him maintain his physique.

Follow along to get the most out of your home gym, learn about Arny’s diet and supplementation, and get a bonus recommendation for the best home gym equipment for maximal muscle-building effects.

Quick Summary

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger's home exercise plan consists of push-ups, dips between chairs, the row between chairs, sit-ups, bent-leg raises, bent-over twists, squats, calf raises, and pull-ups.
  • Arnold used many supplements during his own fitness journey, but the one he still uses today is a high-quality whey protein powder that ensures his physical fitness doesn't hit a plateau.
  • In his at-home sessions, Arnold mainly uses his body weight to build lower and upper body muscles.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Stats

  • Age: 75
  • Height: 5'11½
  • Weight: 154 lbs
  • Waist: 27½”
  • Chest: 41¼”

Arnold’s Home Routine

The full exercise session can be completed with no equipment, except for the last exercise, where you will either need a doorway pull-up bar or go outside and use a tree branch.

You may stick to the beginner 25 reps for the first few sessions and later progress to the advanced 50 reps.

This will certainly promote fitness, but remember that you will need to add some form of external resistance later to support hypertrophy and strength gains.

"Even without a gym, we can also control our physical fitness during this pandemic. Body weight, or freehand training is the oldest method in the world."

- Brett Williams, Certified Personal Trainer

1. Push-ups

Push-ups will build your pectoralis major, triceps brachii, and anterior deltoid.

How to Perform Push-Ups

  1. Assume a push-up position and keep your core tight.
  2. Lower your body towards the floor until your chest is 1 cm above the surface.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

2. Dips Between Chairs

A person doing dips between chairs workout at home

Dips will hit the lower fibers of your chest and activate the triceps brachii and anterior deltoid.

How to Perform Dips

  1. Assume a position with both your hands on the chair.
  2. Start bending your elbows and extending the shoulder to lower yourself down.
  3. When you reach the end range of motion, reverse the entire movement to return to the starting position.

3. Row Between Chairs

Rows will target your lats, trapezius, and posterior deltoid.

How to Perform Rows Between Chairs

  1. Lay on the floor between the chairs and put both hands on each chair to get a firm grip on its edges.
  2. Start the exercise by pulling yourself toward the ceiling and stop when your chest reaches the level of the chairs.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the starting hanging position. Don’t drop down to the floor.

4. Sit-ups

A person doing sit-ups at home

Sit-ups will activate your triceps, chest, and deltoid muscles.

How to Perform Sit-Ups

  1. Place your hands behind your body on an elevated surface, such as a chair or sofa.
  2. Start the exercise by lowering your body toward the floor.
  3. When you reach the end range of motion, reverse the movement to return to the starting position.

5. Bent-leg Raises

Bent-leg raises will activate your abdominal and hip flexor muscles.

How to Perform Bent-Leg Raises

  1. Assume a lying position on the floor and bend your knees slightly together with your upper leg towards the hip.
  2. Start the exercise by extending the knees and hips so all body parts are in the same line.
  3. Bend your knees and hips again to return to the starting position.

6. Bent-Over Twists

A person doing bent over twists in the gym

Bent-over twists will activate your internal and external obliques.

How to Perform Bent-Over Twists

  1. Assume a standing position with your torso bent forwards and knees slightly bent to avoid hyperextension.
  2. Start the exercise by twisting your body to the right side and stop when you reach the end range of motion.
  3. Return to the starting bent-over position and repeat the same movement on the left side.

7. Knee Bends (Squats)

Squats will target your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

How to perform squats

  1. Assume a standing position with your knees slightly bent. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder-width apart, and follow the line of your knees.
  2. Start the exercise by squatting down until your thighs parallel the ground.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

9. Calf Raises

A person doing calf raises

Calf raises will build your gastrocnemius and soleus muscles.

How to Perform Calf Raises

  1. Assume a standing position where your legs are close to each other, and your feet look straight ahead.
  2. Start the exercise by performing a plantarflexion in your ankle joint.
  3. Reverse the motion by performing dorsiflexion in your ankle joint and repeat the whole process.

10. Pull-ups

Pull-ups and chin-ups will build your lats, traps, and posterior deltoid muscles.

How to Perform Pull-Ups

  1. Assume a hanging position from a doorway pull-up bar or a tree branch.
  2. Pull your chin above the bar and hold the position for one second.
  3. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

Home Exercise Principles

A gym coach writing down workout principles

The principle of progressive overload is the primary principle for Arnold`s no-gym at home exercise routine.

There is no other way for a gym and a no gym-required routine to build strength and muscles if you fail to increase the total volume or intensity of each session [1].

You must increase sets, reps, or the total amount lifted to continue experiencing hypertrophy and strength gains.

However, you might be on the opposite side, complete too many sessions during the week, and even start as high as two a day.

This can produce consequences popularly called overtraining syndrome, a term used to describe a state of your body failing to super compensate glycogen and other energy sources [2].

Overtraining always results in gradually decreased performance, meaning your muscle-building and strength-training efforts will be neglected.

It would be helpful to use some form of external resistance, such as weight plates for bodyweight exercises like pull-ups and push-ups to facilitate hypertrophy [3].

Diet Plan

Close up shot of vegetable soup

Arnold prefers an omelet of scrambled eggs and a salad and vegetables for his lunch.

Additionally, he likes to have the same type of food for his breakfast but with additional yogurt or granola.

For dinner, Arnold prefers to have vegetable soup with pumpkin oil.

Overall, the diet isn't complicated, and the main thing to remember is to have enough proteins and carbs for each meal to support recovery after each exercise session.

Arnold likes to snack sometimes, and when he does that, he prefers to have almonds.

Diet / Nutrition Principles

The first principle of Arnold's diet is to get enough protein in each meal of the day.

He includes foods such as scrambled eggs in his lunch and breakfast.

The reason why Arnold prefers to have protein in every meal is that protein helps with the following:

  • Regeneration of muscle fibers
  • Recover after an intense session
  • Support hypertrophy if taken during the anabolic window (2-3 hours after the routine is completed)

He also adds that he despises measuring his food since he has no patience.


Close up shot of protein powder

There is only one supplement Arnold kept taking during his whole professional career and retirement: protein powder.

There are two main types of protein you should consider, and those are whey and casein.

Whey protein absorbs faster and enters the bloodstream much quicker compared to casein.

It also exits the bloodstream quicker, meaning some protein may not be absorbed during the anabolic window.

However, that is rarely the case, and my general recommendation is to stick with the quality whey protein powder if your aim is hypertrophy and strength gains.

On the contrary, casein is a type or source of protein that slowly absorbs in your system.

It stays longer in your bloodstream, but sometimes that isn't the best option since the anabolic window may close, and proteins may fail to absorb.

During my fitness career, I trained people who had problems with eating during the night, and to those people, I highly advise taking casein over whey.

You may take casein protein before bed as a meal replacement, and it will prevent you from getting up at 2 o'clock to attack the poor fridge in the kitchen.

The main reason is that casein promotes satiety, and you won't feel hungry.


What Are the 6 Exercises From Arnold Schwarzenegger?

The six exercises from Arnold Schwarzenegger are the barbell bench press with a wide grip, behind-the-neck press, pull-ups, barbell curls, sit-ups, and barbell squats.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Train 5 Hours a Day?

Yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger trained 5 hours a day. Arnold used to split his daily workout routine into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening.

Did Arnold Lift Every Day?

No, Arnold didn’t lift heavy every day. The amount of load Arnold used during his lifting sessions primarily depended on the time of the season and whether he was preparing for the upcoming competition.

What Equipment Should I Buy for My Home Exercises?

You should buy a doorway pull-up bar for your home gym exercise routines.

Pull-ups are a staple exercise for building most of your back muscles, such as the lats, trapezius, and posterior deltoid.

With a high-quality doorway pull-up bar, you can recreate all exercises from Arnold's at-home program and build a wide, thick back.

I suggest you read our guide on the 10 best pull-up bars for your doorway to maximize your purchase and ensure picking a high-quality and reliable product.

Let me know your thoughts on Arnold's home exercise regime and if you believe some additional elements should be added to the routine.


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