Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

Did Arnold Schwarzenegger do Steroids? (Revealed) 

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Last updated: June 7, 2023

Arnold Schwarzenegger left a legacy in acting and bodybuilding like no other.

Nicknamed the “Austrian Oak” during this bodybuilding career, Schwarzenegger won the Mr. Universe title at the age of 20, is a seven-time Mr. Olympia winner, and remains a prominent figure in the bodybuilding world. Yet, a lot of controversy surrounds him and the use of steroids.

I spent a few weeks studying his interviews and his career to understand why Arnold has all this controversy surrounding him. So, in this article, we will look at just that.

Quick Summary

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger admits he used steroids at some point before becoming a renowned and celebrated bodybuilder.
  • Impressive muscle mass bulking up, and aggressive behavior are some of the things that made people suspect Arnold was on steroids.
  • Working out at least five hours a day for six days, eating healthy, and taking natural supplements can give you a body similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Relationship With Steroids

When Did Arnold First Take Steroids?

Before becoming a famous bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger first began using steroids at the age of 20.

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

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

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

Schwarzenegger’s old gym mates claimed he took Dianabol in Germany at the age of 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 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, and he did not want to send out the wrong message.

He wanted modern bodybuilders to work hard to achieve their desired physique by lifting heavy, choosing the right food, supplement intake, and keeping away from illegal drugs because as he said, it’s bodybuilding, not body destroying.

Reaching his level of fitness is possible without steroid use. However, finding the right workout roadmap is key to making this happen. To naturally maximize your full potential and achieve a physique similar to Arnold’s, watch our Free "Saiyan Unleashed" Masterclass. In this video, Total Shape coach Benedict Ang reveals exactly how to get incredibly shredded and insanely muscular without being a slave to the gym or using steroids.

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 steroids 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. If you look at photos from his prime, he has a bulked-up build rarely found in many bodybuilders with natural form.

Aggressive Behavior Towards Women

One of the biggest signs of using 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].

Since Arnold’s behaviors were non-consensual, and during the same time he was bodybuilding, I suspect that he was most likely under the influence of anabolic steroids.

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.

You can also speed up your efforts with bulking stacks of legal steroids that are based on natural supplements. These can increase your stamina, strength, and testosterone production, significantly fast-tracking your muscle growth. However, it's best to talk to your physician to ensure all these products are suitable for 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. This requires a full commitment, so it might not be an exercise routine most people can do, especially for those with day jobs.

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.

Was Arnold Natural or Juiced?

Arnold has not only displayed observable signs of using performance-enhancing drugs but has also admitted to taking them in the past.

As we’ve discussed, taking steroids isn't necessary to build your best physique because there are natural means to do so.

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

It’s not a shortcut to achieving an Arnold-like body, but it will give you a significant boost in muscle growth and performance.


Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *