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Fitness & Health

13th Oct 2016

If you can’t build muscle try this old school Arnold Schwarzenegger approach to training

Ben Kenyon

If you want to put on some muscle, you could do worse than taking a leaf out of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s book.

The Austrian Oak is the world’s most famous bodybuilder and has one of the most iconic physiques of all time.

The Terminator star didn’t get there by just throwing a few weights around in the gym, sitting texting on his phone for a bit and then taking some selfies in the mirror.

The man put blood, sweat and tears into forging the world’s greatest body from the tender age of 15.

But for anyone starting out at the gym or someone who has hit a plateau, there’s one old school technique that Schwarzenegger used that helped him get some serious gains.

That’s volume training. This is where you try to exhaust the muscle and get a ‘pump’ on (where the muscles become engorged with blood) by hitting a moderate to high amount of reps for multiple sets.

Hitting a high volume of reps in his training helped forge that iron physique, but one of Arnie’s most famous acolytes Cory Gregory says it’s something newbies these days ignore.

Muscle Pharm founder Gregory has been hitting some insane volume training of his own – squatting every day for over 365 days now – and said it’s the best way to stress the muscle.

In an interview with Barbell Shrugged he said people tend to just go through the motions with 3 sets of 8-10 reps and aren’t working hard enough to force the muscle to grow.

“I think shit’s been messed up in the bodybuilding area for a while now.

“I do all these volume workouts, which are a mix of all worlds, but emulating the 70s-style volume.

“But what’s happening is these guys have read all these bodybuilding magazines for all these years, and Arnold and those guys had it right, I believe.

“That’s what changes the body. When people are reading stuff now 3 sets of 8 isn’t going to change your body. It’s not happening.

“For me it’s the volume and the supersets. When I first met Arnold I was like ‘we’ve got to bring it back’ kids don’t even know what a superset is. That stuff burns me to the core.

“If you’re following the thing in Muscle & Fitness, I’m sorry but it ain’t changing your body.

“You’ve got to bring some A-game in the gym (if you want your body to change). You’ve got to be uncomfortable.

“You have to stress the body if you want to grow.”

So if you want to force your muscles to grow, add in some volume training to your programme.

That means high reps on a medium to light weight with lots and lots of sets and short rest periods to keep the intensity high.

You can crank up the intensity even more by throwing in some drop sets or even go for supersets where you do two different exercises, one straight after the other.

German Volume Training is one of the most notable protocols that uses submaximal weights for high reps (10 sets of 10 reps) and it’s used by powerlifters, bodybuilders and Olympic weightlifters alike to break plateaus and pack on muscle.

If you need any more convincing, just look at the shape Gregory’s in. Not bad for a 38-year-old bloke…

This article originally appeared on

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