Reg Park Workout Routine: A Complete Guide

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: May 23, 2024
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Reg Park, a legendary figure in bodybuilding, has been a source of inspiration for many, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.

His workout and diet routines, which I've researched in-depth, have significantly influenced modern training methods.

Now, let’s explore the key aspects of Reg Park’s training that contributed to his iconic physique.

Reg Park Stats

Reg Park workout routine

Roy Reg Park (1928-2007) was an English bodybuilder, entrepreneur, and actor.

He achieved his first title as Mr. Britain in 1949, followed by victories in Mr. Universe in 1951, 1958, and 1965.

He gained recognition for his roles in five films, including four where he portrayed Hercules, and co-starred with Christopher Lee in "Hercules in the Haunted World".

In addition to his own successful career, Park is renowned as an idol and mentor to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

  • Age: Died at 79 years
  • Height: 6 ft 1 in
  • Weight: 220 lb
  • Waist: 32 in
  • Chest: 52 in

Reg Park's impact on the bodybuilding world extended beyond his workout routines.

His successful acting career, particularly in portraying Hercules, and his mentorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger, illustrate his diverse talents and significant influence in the industry.

Reg Park’s Tried and Tested Workout Routine for Muscle Growth

A person lifting weights in the gym

Reg Park 5x5 routine is a classic strength training program that focuses on building muscle mass and strength. In my coaching experience, incorporating elements of Reg Park's 5x5 routine has consistently led to significant strength and muscle gains in my clients.

It consists of two alternating workout days, typically performed three days a week, with a day of rest in between.

The workout involves training 3-4 days per week, allowing for adequate rest and recovery between sessions.

Rest periods between sets and exercises are kept relatively short to maintain intensity and maximize results.

You May Also Like: Reg Park Workout Routine PDF

Reg Park’s 5x5 Training Routine

A person in the gym following reg parks 5x5 training routine

Reg Park's workout routines follow a 5x5 approach, which involves performing 5 sets of 5 repetitions for each exercise.

Having implemented the 5x5 routine myself, I've personally witnessed its effectiveness in building both strength and endurance.

He would take rest periods of three to five minutes between work sets to allow for a full recovery and optimize strength during his weight training.

Here’s a sample of Reg Park’s workout plan consisting of chest, back, lower, and upper body movements:

Workout A

  • Squats - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Bench Press - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Deadlifts - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Barbell Rows - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Front Squats - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Rows - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Standing Military Press - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Deadlifts - 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Wrist Curls / Reverse Curls - 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Calves - 2 sets of 15–20

Workout B

A person lifting up a barbell in a gym
  • Standing Military Press - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Power Cleans - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Chin-ups or Pull-ups - 3 sets of 8–10 reps
  • Back Squats - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Dips or Bench Press - 5 sets of 5 reps
  • Wrist Curls / Reverse Curls - 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Calves - 2 sets of 15-20 reps

Related article: 5x5 Workout Program

Workout Split

A person setting up weights in a barbell

The routine consists of a 3-day split of full body workout, alternating between workouts A and B. From my coaching practice, I've seen the best results when clients stick to the 3-day split, just like in Reg Park's plan.

The suggested schedule for the first three weeks is as follows:

  • Week 1: A, B, A
  • Week 2: B, A, B
  • Week 3: A, B, A

I recommend training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, allowing for a day of rest in between the next workout and keeping your weekends free for family and work commitments.

Some people alternatively work out on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday to enjoy a rest Friday.

Progression and Recovery

Reg Park's training program promotes progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight lifted over time to continually challenge the muscles and promote muscle growth, according to the European Journal of Applied Physiology [1].

Incorporating progressive overload, as I learned from Reg Park's methods, has been a game-changer for advancing my clients' strength training.

"Training is like life, you get your ups and downs, but if you think about your problems hard enough and logically enough, you'll either solve them or reach a compromise."

- Reg Park

Here’s how to include progressive overload in Reg Park’s workout:

  • Warm-up sets: The first 2 sets in a 5x5 training routine are warm-up sets. For instance, if you're aiming for a 150 lb bench press during your session, the first set would be around 60% of that weight, or 90 lbs, performed for five reps.

The second set of five would be approximately 80% of your target 5-rep max, which would be 120 lbs in this case.

  • Stabilizer sets:  Once you've completed the two warm-up sets, the final three sets are considered working sets, referred to as Stabilizer Sets by Reg Park. These consist of 3 sets of five reps at 150 lbs.

Begin the program with a lighter weight and gradually increase over time. Test your one rep max every 4-6 weeks to track progress.

Training Principles

A person doing deadlifts in the gym

Applying Reg Park's principle of focusing on compound exercises has profoundly impacted the effectiveness of the workout routines I design for my clients.

Late Reg Park emphasized the following training principles:

  • Focus on compound exercises: Reg Park centered his workout plan around key compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups instead of isolation exercises. He referred to squats, deadlifts, and bench presses as primary strength exercises.
  • Take breaks: Park was a huge advocate of the belief that taking breaks from training is crucial for building up reserves and allowing the body to rest. He emphasized that taking time away from training can reignite enthusiasm and motivation to push forward when returning.
  • Prioritize strength training: Park viewed strength training and bodybuilding as intertwined, with increased strength leading to increased muscle size through lifting weights.
  • Periodize: Reg Park trained with periodization, which involves dividing upper and lower body movements into distinct phases or cycles to vary the intensity, volume, and muscle groups in exercises used. This helped him prevent plateaus caused by the same weight.
  • Take balanced nutrition: Reg Park recognized the significance of nutrition in supporting his training goals. He followed a balanced diet that included sufficient protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to provide the necessary nutrients for muscle building and recovery, according to the Nutrients [2].


Diet Plan and Principles

Close up shot of cooked steak

To complement his rigorous training, Reg Park followed a highly specific diet plan that significantly contributed to his muscle growth. His diet was rich in proteins and included staples like steak, eggs, and milk, consumed in considerable amounts daily.

Emphasizing a balanced diet akin to Reg Park's, I've noticed a significant improvement in my clients' muscle-building results.

Reg was famous for consuming generous portions of food to sustain his body. He had a particular fondness for steak.

He consumed 4–5 meals every day, along with a protein beverage consisting of milk, cream, and honey six times daily.

According to the nostalgic recollection of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Park's daily diet included copious amounts of milk, dozens of eggs, 4 kg of steak, cakes, and generous servings of vegetables.

For his early morning meal at 5 am, he would have cornflakes topped with protein powder.

His typical meal plan looked like this: 

Meal 1

  • A glass of fresh orange juice
  • One banana
  • One papaya

Meal 2

  • One plateful of cooked oatmeal
  • One pint of full-fat milk
  • Fresh cream
  • A plateful of bacon
  • Four eggs
  • Two tomatoes
  • Three rounds of toast
  • Two cups of tea

Meal 3

  • One large bowl of soup (including tomatoes and peas)
  • Two slices of rye bread
  • Bowl of boiled vegetables
  • Grilled beefsteak
  • Two cups of tea
  • Three pieces of chocolate
  • Two glasses of wine or a pint of Guinness

Meal 4

  • Eight ounces of tuna
  • Green vegetables
  • One large baked potato

Meal 5

  • Grilled beefsteak
  • Green salad
  • Bowl of mixed vegetable soup
  • A pint of full-fat milk

Did Reg Park Use Any Supplements?

Close up shot of supplement pills inside a pill bottle

Reg Park used protein powders, multivitamins, and mineral supplements to fuel his body for monster sessions of his workout program.

He generally aimed to obtain all the necessary nutrients for building an impressive physique through food.

However, he did mention using protein powder, multivitamins, and mineral tablets in addition to his consumption of Guinness for its iron and fat content.

Drawing from Reg Park's supplement use, I've advised my clients on similar supplementation, leading to noticeable improvements in their training outcomes.


What Is the 5x5 Workout Good For?

The 5x5 workout is good for both men and women who desire to gain muscle, reduce body fat, and become generally fit.

How Did Reg Park Get So Big?

Reg Park got big through a combination of heavy weight training, a healthy diet, and supplementation with protein powder, multivitamins, and mineral tablets.

How To Train Like Reg Park?

To train like Reg Park, focus on compound movements, follow a 5x5 training protocol, alternate between workouts A and B, and progressively increase the load. Also, pay attention to your diet and supplements.


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About The Author

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
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

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