Prolific bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger is a massive proponent of fitness and wellness since stepping away from the spotlight. In a recent Daily Pump Newsletter, Schwarzenegger shared his workout of the week, which focused on Myo-Reps, a Norwegian training technique that utilizes short resting periods.
While recording one of the most successful careers in bodybuilding history, Schwarzenegger commanded the stage en route to winning seven Mr. Olympia titles. He made a name for himself competing against Golden Era icons like Sergio Oliva, Frank Zane, and Franco Columbo.
As a movie star and former governor of California, Schwarzenegger has led the charge in making bodybuilding a more accepted mainstream sport. He took part in the 1977 docudrama Pumping Iron to elevate the sport to the heights enjoyed today. In addition, Schwarzenegger oversees the annual Arnold Sports Festival, which he began in 1989 with the late Jim Lorimer.
Schwarzenegger is known for offering workout wisdom and training advice in retirement. Whether it’s a full-body stretch to alleviate pain or a detailed ‘bulletproof’ lower-body training routine, Schwarzenegger is dedicated to making others more fit day by day.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Details How to Grow Muscle with ‘Myo-Reps’ Curl Workout
Check out Schwarzenegger’s workout that was inspired by a Norweigian strength coach named Borge Fagerli in the mid-2000s.
Workout of the Week
Just because a workout is short doesn’t mean you can’t see amazing results. We stress this each week, but many people have their doubts. So we’ll keep sharing difficult but time-efficient workouts to show you what’s possible.
Myo-reps are a strategy created by Norwegian strength coach Borge Fagerli in the mid-2000s.
Here’s how it works:
- Start with an “activation” set of 10-20 reps with lighter weights. Take this set almost to failure (but leave a rep or two in the tank…you’ll need them), and then put the weight down
- Take 3-5 deep breaths
- Grab the same weight, do 3-5 controlled reps, and put the weight down. This is one set.
- Repeat this process. So take another 3 to 5 breaths, and then perform 3-5 reps. Do this for 4 rounds, so you’ve done 5 total sets including the first 10-20 rep set.
According to Schwarzenegger, Myo-reps assist muscle-building efforts and help keep the heart pumping. He recommended using this principle with bicep curls or lateral raises.
“Myo-reps can help with building muscle because it taps into many of the ways that a muscle grows. In particular, muscular tension, metabolic stress, and muscular damage are the three primary drivers of growth. Plus, the limited rest will keep your heart pumping.
Myo-reps are best used with 1-2 “pump” isolation exercises like bicep curls or lateral raises.
But if you’re doing bodyweight workouts, you can apply this method effectively. Start with just your body weight for the “activation” set and then add some weight, even if it’s just some books in a backpack.”
Here’s how it looks (remember, just 3 to 5 big breaths separate each set). Normally, the weight would feel light. But in this case, because rest is limited and your muscle is activated, you’ll be able to create fatigue and overload with a lighter weight while maximizing your intensity):
- Set 1: 15 reps
- Set 2: 4 reps
- Set 3: 4 reps
- Set 4: 4 reps
- Set 5: 3 reps
Here’s how to bring it to life in a workout.
Upper body workout #1
- Exercise 1: Chest press variation (like dumbbell bench press, incline press, or pushups) 3 x 8-12 reps
- Exercise 2: Row variation (like dumbbell row, T-bar row, or pullups): 3 x 8-12
- Exercise 3: Lateral raise w/ myo-reps for 5 sets (First set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
- Exercise 4: Biceps curl w/myo-reps for 5 sets (First set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
Upper body workout #2
- Exercise 1: Row variation (like dumbbell row, T-bar row, or pullups): 3 x 8-12
- Exercise 2: Chest press variation (like dumbbell bench press, incline press, or pushups) 3 x 8-12 reps
- Exercise 3: IYT raises* w/ myo-reps for 5 sets (first set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
*You can do the bodyweight version or with dumbbells; perform the reps for the I’s, Y’s, and T’s….these will burn)
- Exercise 4: Triceps pressdowns w/ myo-reps 5 sets (first set 1 x 15-20 reps and then 3-5 reps per set like above)
Here is Schwarzenegger’s bodyweight variation:
At-home, bodyweight version:
- Do 15-20 bodyweight squats
- Take 3-5 breaths
- Immediately do 3-5 squats
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times (for 5 total sets of bodyweight squats)
- Do 15-20 push-ups
- Take 3-5 breaths
- Immediately do 3-5 push-ups
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 three more times (for 5 total sets of push-ups)
“Give it a try, and let us know how it goes!” Schwarzenegger shared.
In addition to training mechanics, Schwarzenegger takes a detailed approach to nutrition. In a previous newsletter, the Austrian native explained why caffeine is one of the best pre-workout methods for achieving an optimal pump. He called caffeine the “champion of performance-enhancers.”
Related: Rest-Pause For Strength, Muscle Mass And Fat Loss
RELATED: Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares 9-Min Ab Workout and the Health Benefits of Bodyweight Exercises
Schwarzenegger continues to inspire and motivate with demanding workouts at the age of 75. He hopes the innovative training technique helps others reach a new level of fitness in 2023.
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