“When I was trying to get bigger in my early days of training, I followed a routine called the Golden Six,” said legendary bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. “I made tremendous gains on this program and so did many others who trained at my gym in Munich,” he said. “All agreed that this simple system of training produced excellent gains in muscle size and body weight.”
Goal: Building muscle mass and strength
Technical complexity: Medium
1 – Day Split
Duration: roughly 60 minutes
Frequency: 3 times a week
Schwarzenegger’s “Golden Six” is the workout routine you need if you’re trying to build muscle and make serious gains throughout your whole body. Make sure your basic fitness level is adequate enough to get you through this relatively intense training. The Golden Six workout plan is extremely simple and plain, but it will put you and your body to test. It consists of six basic exercises:
1. Squats: 4 sets of 10.
Squats not only develop and build muscle in the lower body, but they strengthen the heart and lungs, all while improving their general circulation. Use a weight that will allow you to perform 4 sets of 10 reps. Always lower yourself until your upper thighs are at least parallel to the floor, and keep your back flat. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
2. Bench Press: 3 sets of 10.
This is Schwarzenegger’s favorite upper body exercise. Take a fairly wide grip, keeping your hands about 32 inches apart. Inhale as you lower the bar to your upper chest – where your nipples are – and exhale as you push it back to arms’ length. Try not to bounce the weight off your chest. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
3. Pull Ups: 3 sets of the maximum number of reps you can do.
If you have limited training experience, you may find pull-ups difficult at first. If you have a lat machine, you can practice pulldowns until you’ve developed sufficient strength to do them without assistance. Use a fairly wide grip, and try to bring your chin over the bar. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
4. Barbell Military Press: 4 reps of 10.
This exercise is yet another great way to build muscle. It reigns supreme for widening and thickening the shoulders. Use a wide grip, keeping your thumbs about six inches wider than your delts on each side. Lower the weight slowly, and don’t pause at the bottom. Rest 2 minutes between sets.
5. Barbell Curls: 3 reps of 10.
The triceps have already been thoroughly-exercised with the Golden Six thanks to the bench press and overhead press. Use a shoulder-width grip and a weight you can easily curl without any other body movements. Don’t let your elbows move away from the sides of your body, and make sure you straighten your arms completely before each rep. Rest 90 seconds between sets.
6. Abs: 3 sets.
These ab exercises include crunches and/or V-Ups. Rest one minute between sets.
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