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The Real Arnold Schwarzenegger Beginner Programs
June 23, 2009
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Reg Park
At age 15 Arnold glanced in a store room window and saw what was a cover of a magazine depicting the new Hercules movie starring none other than Reg Park. Arnold was not a man to learn from books or abstract ideas but by identifying with what he considered to be admirable individuals. ¡°Reg Park became my idol,¡± Arnold said in 1976. ¡°In time I would base my whole bodybuilding future on Reg.¡± ¨CFantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I was a 15-year-old farm kid growing up in Austria when I was first inspired by a bodybuilding magazine with a picture of him on the cover from one of his Hercules movies. My life was never the same. He was so powerful and rugged-looking that I decided right then and there I wanted to be a bodybuilder, another Reg Park. I could not have picked a better hero to inspire me. Reg went from bodybuilding to the movies. He became a smart and successful businessman, and he was the first person who gave me a glimpse of what my life could someday become if I dreamed big and worked hard. -Arnold Schwarzenegger, A Tribute to Reg Park
I knew that would be me. I would look like Reg Park. I studied every move he made, every gesture. From that point on my life was utterly dominated by Reg Park. His image was my ideal. It was fixed indeliably in my mind. All my friends were more impressed by Steve Reeves, but I didn¡¯t like him. Reg Park had more of a rough look, a powerful look, while Steeve Reeves seemed elegant, smooth, polished. I knew in my mind that I was not geared for elegance. I wanted to be massive. It was the difference between cologne and sweat.
I found out everything I could about Reg Park. I bought all the magazines that published his programs. I learned how he started training, what he ate, how he lived, and how he did his workouts. I became obsessed with Reg Park; he was the image in front of me from the time I started training. The more I focused in on this image and worked and grew, the more I saw it was real and possible for me to be like him. -Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder
From the beginning I was a big believer in the basic movements, because that was Reg Park¡¯s preference. He would stay with the basic exercises¨Cbench presses, chin-ups, squats, rowing, barbell curls, wrist curls, pullovers, leg extensions, calf raises. These were the movements that worked most directly on all body parts. I was following his example to the letter. And as it turned out, I could hardly have chosen more wisely. The basic exercises were creating for me a rugged foundation, a core of muscle I could later build upon for a winning body. Reg Park¡¯s theory was that first you have to build the mass and then chisel it down to get the quality. -Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder
The basic exercises will appear throughout the entire training program. There are no alternatives to these exercises. For example, every bodybuilder has to do squats from the time he starts until he finishes. You can¡¯t build your legs without the squat. -Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder
Reg Park and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Already a Mr. Britain title holder, Reg Park took the American bodybuilding world by storm. He was the first ever non-American to win the National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) Amateur Mr. Universe contest and went on to win the 1958 and 1965 Pro Mr. Universe titles. At 6¡¯1¡å and topping out at a weight of 250 pounds, Park was fast becoming a legend. Park¡¯s winning physique stemmed from the basics; barbells, dumbbells and a chin-up bar.
It was with these simple tools that, in addition to earning him record breaking musculature, earned him his equally renowned strength. He often participated in strongman competition and was the first bodybuilder to ever bench press 500 lbs. Most of all Reg Park is credited with ushering in the golden age of bodybuilding and passing his legacy on to a new generation of bodybuilders, including a young man growing up in Austria, the likes of which the world had never seen before.
Reg Park¡¯s Stats: http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/blog/2007/09/reg-park.html
Training like Reg Park
If you¡¯re a beginner and you want to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then you have to train like Arnold Schwarzenegger trained as a beginner. When Arnold first began training he trained 3 days a week, so you¡¯ll train three days a week. When Arnold first began training he followed a Reg Parks routine, so you¡¯ll follow a Reg Parks routine. When Arnold first began training, he focused on the big heavy compound lifts, so you¡¯ll focus on the big heavy compound lifts.
This is how Arnold got his start on the road to being the best that there ever was and it¡¯s my hope that this could be your start as well. Let¡¯s take a look at some of the programs advocated by Reg Parks, all of which Arnie would have used at some point. Try to imagine Arnold at 15, 16 and 17 doing the exact same things that you¡¯ll be doing. Try to recreate for yourself some of the same excitement, determination and raw power that Arnie did, and ultimately, success.
Reg Park and 5¡Á5
The 5¡Á5 model was Reg Park¡¯s choice du jour for packing on slabs of muscle and producing hundreds of pounds of strength. This is also the model that Arnie came to know and love during his formative years. But this isn¡¯t Bill Starr¡¯s 5¡Á5, this is Reg Park¡¯s 5¡Á5 and it¡¯s a little different.
The first two sets of five are actually used as warm-up sets. So let¡¯s say we¡¯re going to work our way up to a 150 lb bench, the first set of five would be about 60% or 90 lbs, and the second set of five would be about 80% or 120lbs. After that you would get down to the grit, what Reg liked to call Stabilizer Sets; 3 sets of 5 at 150lbs. So it would end up looking like:
5¡Á90 (Warm-up @ 60%)
5¡Á120 (Warm-up @ 80%)
5¡Á150 (3 stabilizer sets)
When you can get all your reps of 5 at 150 lbs, you add 5 lbs. So next time your bench it would be:
Reg liked to use about 3-5 minutes to rest in between sets.
One more thing: When you¡¯re first starting any 5¡Á5 program you never want to start with your max. Typically you start 30-45 lbs below what you think you can do and work your way back up. Starting anywhere near your maximum capacity is a good way to stall out, so give yourself a running start. If that means starting with an empty barbell, well, just consider that Arnold and Reg both started at the same place you will.
Onto the programs¡
The Reg Park Beginner Routine
Here is a workout that he and Arnold used with great success (provided by Kaya Park, Reg¡¯s grandson)
Back Squats 5¡Á5
Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups 5¡Á5
Dips or Bench Press 5¡Á5
Wrist Work (Grip Work) 2¡Á10
Front Squats 5¡Á5
Standing Press 5¡Á5
Deadlifts 3¡Á5 (2 warm-up sets and 1 ¡°stabilizer set¡±)
Wrist Work 2¡Á10
Week 1: A, B, A
Week 2: B, A, B
Week 3: A, B, etc
Reg Park¡¯s Power Training
Schedule 1 ¨C To be performed 3x/week for 4 weeks then a one-week complete layoff before continuing onto Schedule 2
Back Squat ¨C 5¡Á5 (increasing weight each set ¨C max full-range weight on 3rd set, 1/2 Squats* on 4th set, 1/4 Squats on 5th set)
Bench Press ¨C 5¡Á5
Power Clean ¨C 8¡Á2 (working up to max weight)
Press Behind-Neck ¨C 5¡Á5
Barbell Curl ¨C 3¡Á5 strict, add 20-30lbs then 2¡Á5 cheat curls
Once a week, on a day by itself: Deadlift ¨C working up in singles to a top weight.
*Also, it¡¯s important to note that Park and others of his day did Olympic Weightlifting style deep Squats. What he called 1/2 Squats are roughly what most people would consider Parallel Squats today.
Schedule 2 ¨C To be performed 3x/week for 4 weeks.
Front Squat ¨C 5¡Á5
Clean and Press ¨C warm-up 2 sets of 2, 5¡Á2 stabilizing sets. Optional: Perform 2 more sets of 3 Push Jerks on days you feel strong.
Upright Row (slightly wider than shoulder-width grip) ¨C 5¡Á5
Parallel Bar Dips ¨C 5¡Á8
Dumbbell Curls ¨C 5¡Á5
Once a week, on a day by itself: Deadlift ¨C working up in singles to a top weight
by Bradley J. Steiner- 1971
I happen to believe that Reg Park is the best example and single representative of what proper training with weights can do for a man. He¡¯s got everything: huge, almost superhuman muscles, the strength of the most powerful competitive lifter, and the perfect, well-balanced physique that one sees on Greek statues in museums. Whether or not you agree that Park is the Greatest ¡ª if you¡¯ve seen him, then you¡¯ve GOT to admit that he¡¯s good, to say the very least. OK. so who cares about my opinion anyway, and what in heck does this have to do with how you can get the Herculean build you¡¯re after?
The best physiques (and Park¡¯s is one of ¡¯em), were all built by hard work on the basic, heavy duty exercises. There are NO exceptions to this statement. Even easy-gainers who (like Park) build up very easily, never get to the Hercules stage without the ultimate in effort. Park worked up to squats with 600 pounds, behind the neck presses with 300 pounds, and bench presses with 500 pounds!
Hereditary advantages or not, Park sweated blood to earn the massive excellent physique that he has. And so did every other human Superman whose muscles aren¡¯t merely bloated, pumped-up tissue. The problem of WHAT these basic exercisers are, and HOW HARD one must work on them for satisfactory, or even startling results, is one that every bodybuilder, at one time or another during his career, is confronted with. This month we¡¯re going to solve the problem.
To begin, let¡¯s sift through the thousands of possible exercises, and variations of exercises that confront every barbell man, and set down a principle by which the trainee can determine the BEST among them; those upon which he should be concentrating his best efforts. Here¡¯s the principle: An exercise is worthwhile if it allows you to use very heavy weights ¡ª brings into play the BIG muscle groups ¡ª and causes lots of puffing and panting.
From the simple formula stated above, it is quite easy to see that fully eighty or ninety percent of the exercises followed by most barbell trainees do not come up to the standards required for maximum physical development. Concentration curls, Hack squats, lateral raises, thigh extensions, triceps ¡°kickback¡± movements, etc., all followed slavishly by thousands of misinformed bodybuilders, are a waste of time.
My very bitter apologies to the high-pressure ad-men, and the authors of all the super Space-age courses, but their stuff is strictly form hunger. If you¡¯ve been sucked into following any such routines, drop ¡¯em! In all honesty, fellows, that garbage won¡¯t do a thing for you, aside from bringing discouragement and disillusionment. Save your time and money, and put your effort into THESE exercises:
The Squat ¨C Regular, parallel, breathing style, or front style
The Press ¨C Military or behind neck, seated or standing, barbell or heavy dumbbells
Rowing ¨C Bent over, barbell or dumbbells, one or two arm
Power cleans and High pulls
Bench pressing ¨C barbell or heavy dumbbells, Incline or flat bench style
Stiff-legged dead lifting and heavy barbell bendovers
In essence, those are the exercises that you ought to be killing yourself on. We¡¯re concerned with the development of SIZE, POWER and SHAPELY BULK, so we¡¯ve eliminated all supplementary abdominal and calf work. This you can do at your leisure, or you can omit it entirely, with no consequences to your overall development. The stuff we¡¯ve enumerated above is what you need in order to turn yourself into a Human Hercules.
And, lest you believe that this writer has a vested interest in this, let me say that he HAS. I derive personal, private, selfish satisfaction pushing the truth about sensible barbell training, and seeing those guys who are willing to work for their goals, achieving the builds they desire. The muscle heads, the ¡°muscle-spinners,¡± the drug-takers, etc, are no concern of mine. They can go their own way; I¡¯m concerned about the rest of you.
Honest muscles, like honest men, are rare. But they can be attained, and the only way to do it is through HARD, HARD work, and an honest approach to training programs. So if you¡¯re willing, you can get the physique you¡¯re after; if you train as I have discussed on the Basic Movements.
There are reasons why these basic exercises are best. Let¡¯s talk about them.
It isn¡¯t generally understood, but the easiest way to build the small muscle groups is by exercise on the big ones! For example, it¡¯s impossible to build a broad, powerful back, and thick pectorals, along with terrific shoulders via the heavy cleaning, pressing, rowing and bench work that I advocate, without building enormous arm size and strength.
You couldn¡¯t do it if you wanted to! Yet, aside from weight-gaining, building big arms is a giant headache for most barbell men. How simple a matter it would become if only they would forget about the ridiculous pumping, cramping and spinning-type isolation exercises, and just train hard on the basics! The big arms would come naturally.
John Grimek once had arms that taped close to 19¡å. They were so big and powerful that they didn¡¯t look real! Grimek at the time was an Olympic weight-lifting contender, and he had trained for a long period without doing a single curl or triceps ¡°pumper.¡± His big arms got the way they did from the Heavy Lifting Training. You can do the same by working hard and heavy. And you don¡¯t have to enter Olympic competition!
The trapezius and neck muscles are impressive and too often neglected by many weight-trainees. But your traps will grow like crazy if you push your cleans hard, and if you get your presses up to really impressive standards.
Ditto for your neck muscles. The huffing, puffing, and muscular work and exertion caused by ALL heavy work will make your neck muscles grow.
Forearms ¨C ¡°stubborn forearms¡± will respond like obedient, trained seals to heavy rowing, cleaning and pressing. And just try to keep your grip on a super heavy barbell while doing a set of stiff-leg deadlifts, without forcing the forearm muscles to ache and grow beyond belief!
Heavy squatting will build heavier calves. Sounds impossible? Well, just try working your squats like you¡¯re supposed to, and you¡¯ll see your calves begin to grow no matter how they¡¯ve refused to respond to toe raises.
Power cleans are fine for the calf muscles too. Incredible as this statement may sound, it¡¯s absolutely true. The coordinated effort of leg and back movement in heavy cleaning DOES work the calves! Try it for a few months and find out for yourself.
Nobody wants to be fat around the middle. Yet, unless you¡¯re drastically overweight, you don¡¯t need more than one set of one abdominal exercise (done in high reps, with resistance) to keep a rock-hard, muscular mid-section. The hard work on squatting, cleaning, and ALL heavy exercises will inevitably keep you trim and hard.
And make no mistake about this: you are far, far better off with a thick, powerful waist than you are with a ¡°wasp-waist pretty body.¡± A man should be BIG. He should be strong and powerful. And he can¡¯t be if he tries to blow his biceps up to 20¡å and keep his waist down to 30¡å. Use your head! If there are any real supermen around who have waistlines below 33¡å or 34¡å, then they¡¯ve got ¡¯em only because they¡¯re SHORT, and, the small waist is proportionate tot he rest of their husky muscles.
Training on the big exercises builds HEALTH and LASTING muscle size. These two factors are very important. Today, men like John Grimek, Reg Park, Bill Pearl, and another lesser-known Hercules, Maurice Hones of Canada, all possess builds and physical power comparable to that which they had during their prime. The reason? They built REAL MUSCLE, Sig Klein must be around seventy, yet he¡¯s got the build of a twenty-five year old athlete. The reason? He built REAL MUSCLE. The same holds for scores of others in the weight game who got their physical development by hard, hard work with heavy weights on the best exercises.
If you¡¯re a young man now, then you¡¯re probably more interested in what you can look like on a posing platform, and in how fast you can get piles of muscle ¨C but don¡¯t, no matter how great the temptation for an ¡°easy way out¡± via pumping routines or muscle drugs, follow any system of training except the good, heavy, teeth-gritting type routines that build pure, strong, big muscles.
I say this as a sincere warning against charlatans who would rob you of your money and your health ¨C and do it gladly ¨C to sell you on their own private ¡°miracle systems¡¯ or methods¡¯. Keep clear of them, and remember, please, that you¡¯ve got a long life ahead of you after any physique competitions you might enter or win within the next few years. You want health, well-being AND big muscles that will stay with you for the rest of your life. You will only get them if you train HARD and HEAVY!
Here¡¯s a sample program that you can follow. It will give you every desirable physical quality. IF you work to your limit on it.
Warm up with one set of twenty prone hyperextensions.
Do two progressively heavier warm up sets in the squat, using five reps in each set. Then load on weight until the bar bends, and do three sets of five reps each with this limit poundage. Push! Fight! Drive! the SQUAT is THE builder of SUPERMEN!
Go to your flat bench and do two warm up sets, as you did for your squats, of five reps each in the bench press. Then do a final 3 sets with all the weight you can properly handle. In this, and in every other exercise in the program, REST WELL BETWEEN SETS!
Now do power cleans, stiff¨Clegged dead lifts, or barbell bendovers. Same sets., same reps and the same forced poundage attempts as in the preceding exercises. Your lower back is a vital body area. Turn it into a SUPER POWER ZONE by intensive back work!
Do heavy, bent-over barbell rowing. Two warm up sets ¨C then three limit sets ¨C five reps in each set you do. Reg Park (I always seem to come back to mentioning him, don¡¯t I!) used this exercise along with the power clean in order to build the unbelievable back that he possesses. He considers this bent-over rowing exercise the best single upper back movement a man can do.
Do some form of HEAVY pressing, If you read my stuff then you already know that I practically sneer at any shoulder exercise but the press behind the neck! But of course you can old military barbell presses, dumbbell presses, or any form of heavy seated pressing with excellent results sure to follow ¨C IF YOU WORK HARD.
Same set-rep scheme for your pressing as for the other exercises, and a tip: May guys have complained to me that I don¡¯t understand (a-hem!) their difficulties when it comes to heavy pressing behind the neck. It seems that the effort of cleaning the bar up and behind their necks before each set tires their poor little bodies out. What to do? Do your presses right off the squat racks! Load the bar up. Get set comfortably under it. Get a good, solid grip on the bar and set your feet firmly.
Now go to it. Press the weight right off the racks. Then, after each set, return the bar to the squat racks. Simple? you¡¯ll get wonderful results this way ¨C since you¡¯ll be saving your energy and concentration exclusively for the pressing action, and all of the work will be thrown directly on your deltoids¡so, better and bigger muscles!
End your workout with an abdominal exercise. Do any one that you happen to like. I prefer leg raises off the end of a flat bench, with iron boots on my feet, but it¡¯s really only a personal preference, and you can work your midsection with any ¡®ab¡± exercise that you happen to like. Just do one set, and run the reps at around twenty or thirty.
The Hard Work 5¡Á5 Routine
Hyperextension Warm-up ¨C 1 x 20
Squat ¨C 5 x 5
Bench press ¨C 5 x 5
Stiff-leg dead lift ¨C 5 x 5
Bent-over rowing ¨C 5 x 5
Standing Press ¨C 5 x 5
Leg raises 1 x 25
Do that routine ¨C or a similar one ¨C as described in this article, and your muscles will bulge through your clothing after a year or so of training!
The watchwords are BASIC EXERCISES and HARD WORK. Remember them when you walk into the gym next time. You¡¯ll be grateful for the rest of your life that you did!
Reg Park¡¯s 1951 Mr. Universe Workout
This is the same workout that Reg Park trained with to win the 1951 Mr. Universe title. He won Mr. Universe again in 1958, becoming the first to win the prestigious event twice. Park, who later went on to replace Steve Reeves as Hercules in the mid sixties, gained 25 pounds of muscle on an already solid frame in 10 months with this program.
Reg trained three days a week on this routine. He ate 3-4 meals per day and had a protein drink that was made up of milk, cream and honey, which he drank six times a day. Proof that you don¡¯t need to buy expensive supplements.
Grab any photo of Reg Park and you¡¯ll see what can be done with hard work and determination. Remember, Park was a pre-steroid bodybuilder, all natural. And to me he looks a lot better and more powerful than the drug induced bodybuilders of today.
The Reg Park Classic 1951 Workout
Squats 5 x 10
Bench Press 5 x 10
Weighted Dips 5 x 12
Barbell Curls 5 x 10
French Presses 5 x 10
Chins 5 x 10
Donkey Raises 5 sets
Abs 5 sets
Notes: There was no rep scheme for his abs and calves, he¡¯d work them until they had enough. Park, like all the old timers, lifted heavy weights and didn¡¯t use many isolation exercises in his routine. If you decide to follow this program and feel wiped out on three days a week, knock it down to two. Park had exceptional genetics and recovery ability that most don¡¯t have.
Understand that to be successful in any weight training program ¨C hard work is a must! Half-hearted effort does nothing for you. If you¡¯re new to weight training or grossly out of shape, consult a physician first and get on a beginners program. End of disclaimer.
Brian Carson is a writer and workout enthusiast who write and edits the Workout Routine blog, the site devoted to workout routines by bodybuilders, powerlifters, strength trainers and strongmen from the past to the present.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Brian_Carson
Reg Park Muscle Magazine
Check it out, here¡¯s 2 actual articles that Arnie read as a teenager in Austria in their original format! Includes more old school Reg Park muscle programs, illustrations and explanations of the big muscle movements, and diet advice that Arnold actually followed as a teen!
Reg Park ¨C A Hercules for Our Time, An Interview by Osmo Kiiha
Strength & Bulk Training for Weight Lifters & Body Builders by Reg Park
This basic, no-nonsense training guide cuts through all the fluff and gives you only the essentials for getting results:
Three different routines for strength and bulk, best exercises, diet advice, getting through sticking points, single training and mental horizons, dealing with boredom, strength training for athletes and much more¡
Available at oldtimestrongman.com: http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/reg_park.html