Arnold's Schwarzenegger's Leg Routine Was Tough but Simple
Regardless of where you stand on the steroid questions and despite whatever genetic gifts he has, Arnold Schwarzenegger developed into one of the most amazing specimens in weightlifting we have ever seen - and he did it one way. Hard work. This includes his massive, defined and striated legs that are legend to this day.
His routine wasn't any secret nor could it be with the media and attention he began to garner shortly after entering into the bodybuilding arena. In 1976, a Schwarzenegger during his prime shared his workout blueprint. The following is an excerpt outlining his grueling and apparently ultra-effective routine.
* Where possible considering the involved lift, Arnold used a vertical sliding machine (Smith model), to allow more concentration and focus on the movement and for safety.
Using a set number, Arnold may have done declining rep sets of 30, 20, 15 and finally doing sets of 10 for as many remaining sets as he could (this is the set structure of sets he uses for squats). With every decreasing set of reps he would increase the weight. Following leg extensions he would jump straight into his squat sets which are as follows:
His exercise of choice may vary, with the most often used squat probably being the Tension Squat. This squat is aptly named because of the constant tension induced by the technique. Also called the three-quarter squat, the lift is the motion of going three quarters of the way down before rising back to a position just short of locking out the knees. Keeping the knees from locking or keeping them tense creates the constant tension on the leg muscles.
Of course there were all of the conventional squat methods used, from the Full Squat to the Front Squat as each exercise works particular muscle groups. His warm up set being that of the same squat exercise.
Arnold would do one set of 30 reps using 135 lbs. generally.
20 reps with the weight now being increased.
15 reps with the weight now being increased.
10 reps with the weight now being increased.
Final set would be 8 reps at generally 400 lbs. at this point.
If you were wondering, yes Arnold earlier in his career began using much heavier poundage. He realized that with focus and concentration combined with excellent form, these heavier weights weren't necessary.
Of course there are many intricacies that were involved in Arnold's technique. This man did not arrive at the level he did by accident, his brilliance is evident when he discusses all things weightlifting. Such a detail could be found in the position of the feet during squat sets. Literally pointing your toes outward will change the entire focus of the muscle group being worked.
Maybe the most important thing Arnold would say regarding squats is, - DO THEM. That is speaking on his behalf, however, he does say that that squats and the full squat in particular are, "the best all around exercise.". That is good enough for me.
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