Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Use Steroids? Yes. He Admits Why

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 10, 2024
FACT CHECKED by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
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Arnold Schwarzenegger has openly discussed his steroid use and how it influenced his career as a bodybuilding icon and a legend in the movie industry.

However, controversy persists, particularly around the misconception that steroids alone can build muscles without working out.

As a Certified Professional Trainer, I delved into Schwarzenegger's story to comprehend why he's surrounded by controversy.

After spending weeks studying his interviews and career, read on and find out the reasons why he decided to use performance enhancing drugs.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Stats

Arnold Schwarzenegger is currently 6'3" (190.5cm) and weighs between 225–235 lbs (102.1–106.6 kgs).

His body measurements are as follows:

  • Chest: 57 inches
  • Waist: 30 inches
  • Arms: 22 inches
  • Thighs: 28.5 inches
  • Calves: 20 inches

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Relationship With Steroids

This is a topic I've often discussed with fellow gym enthusiasts. Let's dive into it.

When Did Arnold First Take Steroids?

Before becoming a famous bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger first began taking steroids at the age of 20. Steroids enhance muscle growth by boosting protein synthesis and nitrogen retention while also mitigating muscle breakdown, but their misuse can cause serious health issues.

In 1988, Arnold told Playboy Magazine he used steroids under doctors’ supervision once a year, six to eight weeks before competitions.

“All you want to do is be a champion, and you take what anyone else is taking.”

- Arnold Schwarzenegger

What Others Have to Say About Arnold’s Use of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

black woman in gym clothes with measuring tape on her neck and holding a scale thinking

Former California Governor Schwarzenegger’s old gym mates claimed he took Dianabol in Germany at 17 and routinely injected himself with testosterone-based substances after landing in America in 1968 [1].

Interestingly, Arnold did not respond to the above claims, which leads me to question what anabolic steroids he took, how much was taken, and whether it was truly under doctors’ supervision.

Arnold’s View of Using Steroids

Although Arnold Schwarzenegger personally admitted to abusing steroids, he said he’d never endorse their use because bodybuilding is a respectable sport. He did not want to send out the wrong message.

He wanted bodybuilders today to work hard to achieve their desired physique by participating in weight training, choosing the right food, taking supplements, and keeping away from illegal drugs.

Were There Any Apparent Signs Of Arnold's Steroid Use?


I've sifted through hundreds of Arnold's photos and videos to see if there were some evident signs he was using performance-enhancing drugs at the time. Here are the ones that stand out.

Impressive Muscle Mass

During his peak, no one would argue that Arnold’s amazing physique was the best of his time. Seven Mr. Olympia awards will back up this claim.

Aggressive Behavior Towards Women

One of the biggest signs of using anabolic steroids is violent and aggressive behavior. A 1996 study found that users of men using anabolic-androgenic steroids were more likely to show heightened aggressiveness than non-users [2].

According to an LA Times news report, six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets said he inappropriately sexually touched them without their consent [3].

Is It Possible To Achieve Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Body Drug-Free?

close up image of a syringe

Yes. But keep in mind that Arnold is blessed with superior genetics that allows his muscles to grow larger than the average person’s.

Achieving Arnold’s body drug-free takes years of heavy lifting, experimentation with programs, and a strict eating regimen.

Additionally, you’ll need to work out six days a week, using high sets for each muscle group, giving each rep full focus and concentration.

You may not look exactly like Arnold, but you’ll look as ‘Arnold’ as your body allows. Either way, the health benefits, and the confidence boost could be enough to make all the effort worthwhile.

I've recommended powerful legal substitutes to avoid steroids to my clients and readers to achieve strength gains and a ripped physique. Here are my top choices:

You can also speed up your efforts with bulking stacks of legal steroids based on natural supplements. These can increase your stamina, strength, and testosterone production, significantly fast-tracking your muscle growth. However, consider getting a doctor's supervision to ensure all these products suit your body.

“Every sport needs a hero, and I knew that Arnold was the right man,”

- Joe Weider, Co-Founder, International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB)

Related Articles:


How Many Hours a Day Did Arnold Schwarzenegger Work Out?

Arnold claimed to have worked out for five hours a day, six days a week, sometimes working out twice a day. This included 45 minutes of cardio.

Was Arnold Schwarzenegger Ever Banned for Steroid Use?

Arnold has never been banned from any contests for his steroid use. Either he was never tested for it or participated in contests that didn’t administer drug tests.


  1. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2003-sep-29-fi-arnold29-story.html
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8797026/
  3. https://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-archive-schwarzenegger-women-story.html
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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