Way back when there was a few routines available, you could count on Arnold Schwarzenegger for sharing his programs.
He arguably made his way to the top of bodybuilding since he was a young adult.
This program is a 3 day routine that can be done by beginners or intermediate trainees.
Yes, Arnold's golden six is a decent program to try.
Beginner to intermediate.
Follows a linear periodization.
High reps and volume for hypertrophy
Arnold's Golden Six is a 3 day program that can be used and run endlessly.
Schwarzenegger used this program before he got into high volume training.
It's considered to be a beginner program because it has little variation in exercises and advanced lifters would probably struggle with 4 sets of 10 with the same weight, multiple times a week.
There isn't enough variation for experienced lifters to progress with and if they use this they'll likely plateau.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger Gold Six Program Spreadsheet
You'll see for each exercise there's two columns to fill out, weight and total reps.
If you did 100lbs for 10 reps in each set for 4 sets, then you would just put 100lbs for the weight, and 40 reps.
It's a simple way of logging total volume and sets.
If you fill out the entire 12 week in the spreadsheet, then you can right click the tab “Golden Six”, click duplicate and then you'll have another 12 weeks that you can fill out.
You can find the spreadsheet here.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Golden Six Overview
Jason Blaha explains above why Arnold's routine may be better for natural bodybuilders.
Because Arnold's Golden Six is made out of a few but effective compound lifts, it is easily one of the best programs especially for beginners.
The only downside is that it doesn't have deadlifts, but this isn't a big deal for those looking to develop their physique and not strength.
It has everything that one needs to train train the whole body, including squats, horizontal presses, vertical presses, chin ups and curls.
Finding Your Working Weight
The biggest challenge with any program is finding your working weight.
But if you're approaching this as a beginner, it may be harder.
In this case, it's better to take a few workouts to see what weights you can work with for the entire workouts.
Going too heavy can set you back especially if you injure yourself.
So it's better to start light and the goal of this program is to feel the muscle squeeze.
It might be better to start with lighter weights even if you think you know your working weights.
Golden Six Progression
Since every set is set at 10 straight reps, increasing weight can be a tough decision.
An easier way to find out if you should add weight is if you get more than 10 reps at the final set.
Say on the 4th set of bench press you're able to get 12-14 reps, then you can add 5lbs (2.25kg or 2.5kg if you don't have 2.25kg).
But if you hit 11 reps then you should keep the weight the same for the next workout.
You can always add weight but start light as you'll have plenty of time to add on weight.
Golden Six Exercises
It makes sense to call Arnold's routine Golden Six.
It has 6 exercises per workout and it's all exercises used in the golden age of bodybuilding.
- Squat (4 sets x 10 reps)
- Wide grip bench press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Chin ups: 3 sets of AMRAP
- Behind the neck overhead press: 4 sets of 10 reps
- Barbell curl: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Bent knee sit up: 3-4 sets of AMRAP
AMRAP means as many reps as possible.
It's widely known that wide bench press can cause more harm than good to the shoulders.
So feel free to switch out the wide grip to standard grip bench press.
For warm up, take 5-10 minutes to walk or do some form of cardio.
After that, perform a few light sets of the muscles you're about to workout.
You should do at least 3-4 warm up sets before your actual workout, and then follow the program's workouts.
You can do 1-2 warm up sets before a specific exercise.
Signs of Burnout?
As a beginner, you're unlikely to burn out but it's good to understand what the symptoms are.
Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:
- Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
- Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
- Like feeling sore near joints.
- Lack of proper sleep
- Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
- Loss of libido
If you ignore these signs and keep exercising, you will eventually hit a plateau and will increase chance of injury.
If you're already experiencing these symptoms, take it easy and avoid pushing yourself for at least a week or two.
It's also a good idea to avoid working out when you are actually sick.
Golden Sixs at Home With Minimal Equipment?
Since the exercises are mostly compound lifts with barbell exercises, you can easily do this entire program at home.
If you don't have a chin up bar, you can do pull ups instead.
You can basically substitute any exercise and feel free to do so if you're not comfortable doing them or don't have the right equipment.