Arnold Schwarzenegger the living legend was well-known for his roles in big Hollywood action films and as the former Governor of California.
For today’s topic however we look at Arnold Schwarzenegger the bodybuilder. He was regarded as one the best bodybuilders of all time. Here we shall investigate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top 5 chest exercises.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Top Chest Exercises
Arnold Schwarzenegger at his prime, in his Mr Olympia days had an impressive physique which he weighed 235 lbs with a whopping chest measurement of 57 inches. The ‘Austrian Oak’ had a chest that would even impress the judges in today’s modern day bodybuilding.
These are the 5 chest exercises that Arnold Schwarzenegger preached and lived by. He incorporated them into his workout which was responsible for his impeccable pectoral development.
1. Barbell Bench Press
The barbell bench press is undoubtedly a top favourite amongst Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest exercise arsenal. He stated that the barbell bench press it is one of the most crucial chest exercise for building muscle size and strength. The barbell bench press is regarded as one of the best compound chest exercise by most fitness experts.
This exercise involves the deltoids and triceps to assist the pectorals with the movement. It is this reason why you can load maximal weight on this particular exercise. Arnold has spent countless hours perfecting this particular lift.
For this exercise he presses the bar with explosive power then controls the weight down to his chest. What you will notice about Arnold Schwarzenegger, was that he had relatively long arms, therefore his grip width on the bar was also wide.
Bench pressing with a wide grip position engages more chest but can be very difficult to execute properly. Most bodybuilders that have strong chest muscles favour using a wider grip for benching. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a powerful chest hence he used the wide grip, which was most likely how he added great mass on his pecs.
Arnold’s personal record for barbell bench pressing was 500 lbs (227kg).
2. Incline Barbell Bench Press
The incline barbell bench press is another exercise Arnold Schwarzenegger loved to do. You may have seen plenty of videos of him, Franco Columbu and the rest of the ‘Pumping Iron’ bodybuilders perform this exercise on Muscle Beach Venice.
For years this exercise was neglected by many bodybuilders but now it has gained plenty of popularity. The incline version of the barbell bench press uses a lot of anterior delts. The target muscle for this is exercise is the upper pectorals. No chest is complete without having great upper chest development.
3. Dumbbell Flyes
Arnold Schwarzenegger always mentioned the importance of feeling the stretch for chest development. As a result Arnold would generally finish his chest workout with some flyes.
To maximise the benefits of dumbbell flyes one should keep elbows in a fixed position through the entire movement. Once you feel a deep stretching sensation at the bottom, instantly bring the dumbbells back up and contract your chest.
The dumbbell flyes are used to work the inner pectoral muscles. This will develop the vertical line that appears across the the chest.
4. Cable Crossovers
The cable crossovers are a very similar exercise to the dumbbell flyes. The similarities between these two exercises lies within targeting the inner chest muscles.
Cables are excellent for isolating the pectorals muscles as there is less gravity to push against. With the cable crossovers you feel an incredible contraction.
Beginners and even intermediate lifters find it difficult to contract the chest with dumbbells. Incorporating cable crossovers into one’s routine makes perfect practice for pectoral contraction. Dumbbells are excellent for that stretch which you do not really get with the cables.
Therefore it’s important to integrate both exercises into your routine. That is exactly what Arnold Schwarzenegger does. He utilises both exercises but he does not do them in the same workout.
5. Dumbbell Pullovers
Arnold used superset pullovers with a big compound exercise. Arnold loved training opposing muscles such as working the chest and the back at the same time.
He would superset dumbbell pullovers for example and then go straight into a back exercise such as lat pull downs. Arnold believed in training opposing muscles to give the body a 3D look, in which he accomplished.
The pullovers targets mainly the lats which are big wing muscles that appears across your entire back. They do stretch the chest in a vertical way.
Pullovers were used during Arnold’s era to help create bigger lung capacity. This improves the overall size of the ribcage which helps you achieve a bigger chest measurement.