Is Arnold Schwarzenegger the latest fitness influencer? Let’s take a look

While bodybuilding enthusiasts may have something to say about Arnold’s status as the greatest iron pumper of all time, there’s no question that to the casual observer, Schwarzenegger is by far the most infamous bodybuilder to walk the Earth. .

The impact The Austrian Oak has had on the entire fitness world cannot be underestimated. Would it be an exaggeration to crown Arnie the greatest fitness influencer of all time?

To celebrate Arnie once again gracing the cover of MH, we’ve tracked down a rare TV appearance of a young Arnold not only flexing his biceps, but dropping knowledge bombs on how beginners can build themselves. The short segment titled, “Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Exercises for Beginners”sounds exactly like the kind of posts you’d expect to find on your Instagram explore page in 2023. But is the advice any different? Our fitness editor takes a look…

Hives on the… bench

Arnold starts with the bench press, because, well, of course he does. A key thing to keep in mind here is that while 21st century youth are born with a genetically imprinted fascination for ‘bench’, this was a relatively new movement to the general population then. You are literally watching history as Arnold prioritizes the bench press over all other movements, on national television. It’s enough to make a gym bro cry.

bench press with barbell

Schwarzenegger’s suggestion of a light warmup, leading to a total of 5 sets of 10 reps, may not be the most technical protocol in the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Are there any more “optimal” movements and rep schemes for pumping the pecs? Safe. Simply swapping the barbell for dumbbells would be a good start. Even Arnold observes that the movement can be performed in a variety of different ways, apparently acknowledging that the “movement model‘ itself is far more important than what kind of kit you use.

That said, many barrel chests have been built this way in the past and it could continue for a long time. Everyone cheers the bench.

Arnie on… barbell back squats

It would be an easy cop-out to simply focus on showcasing big, sexy, upper body-building moves when you’re pressed for time. And on the ‘gram in today’s age,’ the algorithm he would definitely reward you for doing so. But Arnold is obviously a man of integrity, so he dives right into the father of lower body lifts, the squat.

Arnie’s advice to take each rep “below parallel” shows that form is important to him. And while Schwarzenegger himself is no stranger to breaking this very rule, if you’re a beginner, nailing manual technique (as it pertains to your body) can be incredibly important.

arnold schwarzenegger cheats curls

Arnold breaks all the rules about good form with heavy cheat curls.

Arnold Schwarzenegger//Youtube

The barbell back squat, however, isn’t the best version of the squat to learn if you’re just starting out. And if you suffer from limited mobility in your hips and legs, it’s a challenging movement to perform. If this sounds like you, a better starting point might be to learn to simply squat on a bench with your body weight, lifting your heels with a plate if needed, before progressing to goblet squats, followed by front squats, and finally moving to heavy back squat shot that Arnold espouses here.

air squats no block
squat goblet
front squat with dumbbells
back squat with barbell

Going beyond just pumping those pins, Arnold argues that athletes, from “skiers, to hockey players, to soccer players,” could benefit from incorporating weighted squats into their regimen, showing that his experience of trainer transcends the world of bodybuilding.

Arnie about… dumbbell curls

Now, if you were to ask me to name three beginner-friendly movements for the weight room, I’d be tempted to include an upper-body “push” movement, such as the bench press; a big lower-body lift, such as in the squat; and for balance, an upper body “pull” motion, which the dumbbell curls technically AND. However, it might be a little too specific and not offer the same “value for money” as the previous two movements. That said, we may have just stumbled upon one of the (many) reasons Schwarzenegger sports significantly bigger guns than me.

A better solution for beginners who are interested in more than just strengthening their biceps would probably be to master the pull-up or incorporate some variation of the “dumbbell row” into their regimen.

row of dumbbells supported by the chest
Weights, exercise equipment, shoulder, overhead press, kettlebell, arm, dumbbell, physical fitness, standing, muscle,

Schwarzenegger’s advice on how to do curls, however, is absolutely flawless, advising that you approach each repetition “always very slowly and concentrate on the muscle you are training.” This focused “mind/muscle connection” is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of muscle-building training and something Arnold is still keen to promote.

Arnie goes on to add that the biceps have two jobs to do: forearm lifts and wrist twists.” Arnie is no slouch when it comes to understanding anatomy and physiology, which is perhaps more than can be said for many fitness modern influencers Impressive.

Good advice, bad advice, dangerous advice.

It pains us to write this, it really does. But it’s comforting to know that even the best can get it wrong from time to time.

Reviewing footage from the then-new and now legendary documentary film “Pumping Iron,” Arnold offers some seriously dubious advice: “What you’re seeing right now, is just a workout that’s done before the competition, a very strenuous kind of workout that let’s go on. It’s two hours in the morning and about two hours in the evening.

Now, clearly, Arnold is no longer targeting beginners, but with what we know today, it’s hard to imagine professional bodybuilders bragging about high-volume training sessions as well. Especially before a competition, where calories may be restricted and recovery hampered. It’s hard to say how much of this is hype for the film itself, and it might include low-intensity cardiovascular efforts in this estimation, but still, this is the exact kind of “questionable” advice we’d immediately skip over. on the average Instagram influencer per. I’m sorry Arnie. We have to keep it consistent.

Arnie has made other claims as well. Specifically, how he and his muscle-up cohort are expected to “gain about 20 pounds of muscle mass about three months before a competition.” We have to disagree with him here. These types of gains are really only possible for complete beginners and those who dabble in the dark anabolic arts. Which, of course, includes Arnold.

Stains on his record aside, Arnie also offers some amazing words of motivation and even touches on body positivity and acceptance. “First of all, I have to compliment you on your physical development, because you look very athletic, so don’t beat yourself up,” she tells the presenter. He is then asked if it is essential to have someone help you in the gym. Arnie’s answer is perfect: “You get into the habit of helping yourself.” A throwaway joke, perhaps, but one that shouldn’t be ignored: Paste that caption on the right image and you can only imagine how many likes he’d get in today’s world.

los angeles august 26 arnold schwarzenegger, host of an upn television special, arnold's rock 'n' roll bodybuilding championship originally aired august 26 1998 cbs photo via getty pictures

CBS Photo Archive//Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Super Influencer?

In light of the above evidence, plus Schwarzenegger’s unrivaled track record of conquering every goal he has ever set himself for, it is hard to imagine that Arnold would not being the undisputed king of social media fitness, if he existed in his heyday.

What’s even harder to imagine is the current world of physical culture looking like something as is the case today, in the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

According to statistics, the global fitness industry is worth an estimated $96.7 billion, and it’s safe to say that Arnie’s iconic physique, coupled with his undeniable charisma and incomparable drive for success, are to thank for a large chunk of that cake.

Ladies and gentlemen, we bow to the biggest influence of the fitness influencer: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new issue of Mens Health is out.


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