Ted Arcidi's Workout & Diet (Master Strength & Intensity)

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 26, 2024
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One of the strongmen with a fascinating career and list of achievements has to be Ted Arcidi.

Just seeing pictures of him in his prime is enough to understand that this strongman and former bench press champion has a serious workout routine going.

And it also took a very focused mental attitude to switch from just bench presses to becoming a professional wrestler in the heavyweight category.

So, we spent some time to see what we could find out about the heavy intensity training that Ted went through to compete at such levels.

His Stats

Portrait image of Ted Arcidi
  • Born: June 16, 1958
  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 285 lbs

Before entering the professional wrestling scene, Ted held several bench press world records, with his biggest achievements coming at the 1985 Budweiser World Record Breakers.

I know that’s ancient history to some of our readers, but just look at the massive chest and arms that Ted achieved.

It’s no wonder he did so well with the bench press. So let’s see how he did it.

Ted Arcidi’s Workout Routine

A man lifting a barbell

We’ll get into Ted’s training principles shortly, but it’s important to note that he would progressively reduce the repetition pattern during his training cycle for competitive bench press events.

In the first three weeks, he would do three sets of 6 reps, then reduce it to 3 sets of 5 reps for the next three weeks.

Then he further reduced things to 3 reps for three weeks. And the final two weeks would involve a mix of 2 or 3 reps per set.

His workout days were extremely intense, but he managed to achieve his size by going to the gym on only three days of the week.

And if you want to follow his approach, then you definitely want to avoid any kind of light weight.

Monday:

man in a gym using barbell
  • Regular bench press (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Lying triceps extension to the nose (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Behind the neck press (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Standing Barbell curls (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Lat machine pulldowns (3 x 3-6 reps)

Wednesday:

man in a gym doing a lat pulldown
  • Regular bench press (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Lying triceps extension to the nose (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Behind the neck press (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Standing Barbell curls (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Lat pulldowns (3 x 3-6 reps)

Friday:

shirtless man in a gym holding a barbell
  • Squats (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Deadlifts (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Behind the neck press (3 x 3-6 reps)
  • Lat machine pulldowns (3 x 3-6 reps)

Rest Days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday

Ted had a scheduled rest day 3 or 4 times a week, and he did something many other athletes would avoid. He dedicated himself to a complete rest, even in a competition phase of training.

His Workout Principles

man showing off his arm muscles with back

In Ted Arcidi's bench press routine, we've covered sets and reps. Now, let's delve into some crucial aspects.

Firstly, Ted stresses the importance of maintaining a controlled pace during exercises. It's not about racing; the key is to keep your muscles engaged for longer. This method promotes muscle growth.

From time to time, Ted adds forced reps with the help of a spotter when needed.

Ted also highly recommends the behind-the-neck press for upper body strength. He sometimes includes a heavy set of this exercise at the end of his workouts.

When it comes to breathing, Ted has a unique approach due to the slower movements. He often exhales and inhales twice during the lockout to stabilize his chest and ensure even pressure distribution across his shoulder girdle and joints.

Ted's preference for progressively increasing weights and reducing reps is based on his experience. Developing greater lung capacity for six reps made handling heavy weights for three reps much easier.

Ted Arcidi's Diet Plan

bowl of salad, and a bowl filled with cooked potatoes

Here is the type of food that Ted would typically have to get through in a day to bulk up to that size.

  • Meal 1: 8-egg omelet with steamed vegetables, a large bowl of oatmeal with unsalted nuts and seeds;
  • Meal 2: mass gaining shake with 500+ calories and mostly carbs, fresh fruit and berry salad, double scoop of protein shake;
  • Meal 3: a large bowl of rice or sweet potatoes, 4 lean chicken breasts, a large portion of steamed vegetables;
  • Meal 4: mass gaining shake with 500+ calories and mostly carbs, a large bowl of mixed salad, double scoop of protein shake;
  • Meal 5: a large bowl of rice or sweet potatoes, 20-ounce steak;
  • Meal 6: a bowl of mixed salad, double scoop of protein shake;

As you can imagine, that’s a ton of calories, but that kind of bulking with extremely heavy weights will require a lot of excess energy.

Ted Arcidi's Diet Principles

Ted Arcidi's diet principles revolve around supporting his powerlifting and strength training goals. He follows a high-protein diet, prioritizing lean sources such as poultry, fish, and lean meats.

Carbohydrates, mainly complex ones like whole grains and vegetables, provide energy for intense workouts. Healthy fats from sources like avocados and nuts are included for overall well-being.

Ted ensures adequate hydration for muscle recovery and performance. His calorie intake is adjusted according to bulking or cutting phases, and he monitors his macros closely, with protein being a consistent focus.

Ted Arcidi's diet emphasizes nutrient-dense foods to optimize muscle growth, recovery, and sustained strength.

What Supplements Does He Use?

spoon of white powder, and some white pills

Ted’s diet efforts were always a very important factor in preparing for a scheduled meet or just to maintain his massive bulk.

And to achieve that, he would have relied on two types of supplements.

1. Creatine

Not only would creatine supplements have helped him speed up his recovery phases, but it would also provide good endurance and reduced levels of fatigue [1].

2. Whey Protein

The kind of heavy benches and the fact that there are no light days at the gym says it all. To get the maximum bulking and recovery effect, it’s likely that you would need multiple scoops of whey protein each day.

FAQs

How Much Could Ted Arcidi Bench Press?

Ted Arcidi could do 705 bench presses.

How Often Does Ted Arcidi Work Out?

Ted Arcidi typically trains intensely 4-5 days a week, allowing for adequate rest and recovery between heavy lifting sessions to prevent overtraining.

How Does Ted Arcidi Manage Recovery and Rest?

Ted Arcidi prioritizes sleep, adequate nutrition, and active recovery techniques like foam rolling and stretching to support muscle recuperation.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23715246/
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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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