Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routine known as “Golden Six” is a 3 day beginner bodybuilding routine that can be run indefinitely. It was used in the early days of Schwarzenegger’s training before he started higher volume training programs.
While this is often considered a “beginner” program, it is really only considered that because of the lack of variation and the high volume volume -- advanced lifters would likely struggle hitting 4 sets of 10 reps with straight weight 3 times each week with no variation in load between sessions.
Spreadsheet: Arnold Schwarzenegger Golden Six Workout Program
The weight and total reps (e.g. 4 sets of 10 reps = 40 total reps) can be logged for each movement to help track training volume over time.
If you fill out all 12 weeks in the spreadsheet, you can simply right click on the “Golden Six” tab, select duplicate, and begin tracking the next 12 weeks of your training.
Overview: Arnold Schwarzenegger Golden Six Workout Program
The strength of this routine lies in its simplicity.
By completing the squat, a horizontal pressing movement, a vertical pressing movement, chins, curls, and sit ups, the athlete is effectively training the entire body.
While the lack of deadlifts is problematic from a powerlifting point of view, this is less of an issue for the individual primarily training for aesthetics and general strength.
Selecting Starting Weights
You should plan to allocate the first couple of sessions to understanding what weights you can comfortably perform. Do not be afraid to start “too light,” especially if you’re generally untrained or if this is a higher volume program than you’re previously used to.
As Golden Six is a bodybuilding program, the goal is to feel the “squeeze” in your muscles and develop a mind/muscle connection, not to constantly add weight onto the bar.
With that said…
Progression & Adding Weight Onto the Bar
If you’re contemplating whether or not to add weight to a given lift, perform an AMRAP set on the last set of that movement. If you can get 13+ reps on that set, then add weight.
For example, your programmed squats call for 4 sets of 10 reps at 245. You hit all 10 reps on sets 1, 2, and 3. On the 4th set you are feeling good and go for extra reps and hit 14. Congrats! You can add 5 lbs/ 2.5 kg. If you hit 11, then keep the weight the same for the next session.
Every session is an opportunity to add weight. This can mean up to 15 lbs / 7.5 kg added to a lift per week (assuming you add 5 lb / 2.5 kg per session) -- so, again, don’t be afraid to start a little light. There will be a lot of time to add weight.
Workout Routine Exercises
As you probably noticed, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Golden Six program got its name from the six exercises that comprised the workout.
|Wide Grip Bench Press||3||10|
|Behind the Neck Overhead Press||4||10|
|Bent Knee Sit up||3-4||AMRAP|
Video: About Arnold’s Golden Six Routine
Jason Blaha describes Arnold’s routine in this video, including why he thinks it is superior to a body part split for drug free bodybuilders.