Build A Herculean Back: The Arnold Back Workout


Welcome, to those fitness enthusiasts who have made the gym a second home and look forward to each rep and each set as a step towards better health and a sculpted body. Our journey today takes us through the rigorous, yet rewarding Arnold Schwarzenegger back workout. An iconic figure of strength and discipline, Arnold’s routines have always managed to inspire and challenge individuals to push beyond their perceived limits. As we dive into the workout, it’s important to keep in mind that planning and tracking your progress can significantly enhance your results and help you stay motivated.

Arnold Back Workout



Arnold Schwarzenegger, the “Austrian Oak”, first rose to fame as a champion bodybuilder, winning multiple Mr. Olympia titles. His workout routines, characterized by their intensity and high volume, have been the blueprint for countless athletes and fitness enthusiasts for decades.

The focus on back development was a key aspect of Arnold’s training philosophy. It provided the powerful, wide V-taper that distinguished him in bodybuilding competitions. Arnold also saw the back as a foundation of functional strength, necessary for other lifting movements and a balanced physique.

Arnold’s Back Workout

Let’s get to the meat of it. Here are the exercises that made up Arnold’s back workout, their sets, and repetitions. Remember to maintain good form throughout and avoid injury.


  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 6-8
  • Tips: This foundational exercise works the entire back, from traps to erectors. Keep your back flat, hinge at your hips, and drive through your heels. Avoid rounding your back.

Bentover Row

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 8-10
  • Tips: This compound movement primarily targets the lats, while also hitting the rhomboids and lower back. Ensure that you’re bending at your waist and pulling the weight to your mid-section, not your chest.

T-Bar Row

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 8-10
  • Tips: The T-Bar Row is excellent for mid-back thickness. Be sure to squeeze your shoulder blades together at the top of the movement for maximal contraction.

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10-12
  • Tips: This unilateral exercise allows for a greater range of motion and helps to address any imbalances. Pull the dumbbell up to your hip, not your armpit.

Wide-Grip Pulldown

  • Sets: 3
  • Reps: 10-12
  • Tips: This exercise targets the lats for that broad, wing-like appearance. Remember to lean back slightly and draw the bar to your upper chest.

Arnold Workout Philosophy

For Arnold, the purpose of weightlifting went beyond aesthetics. He often spoke about the discipline, focus, and perseverance it taught him, values that he then applied to all areas of his life. This philosophy was evident in his approach to back training.

Firstly, Arnold believed in the principle of “shocking the muscle”, continuously varying his workout routines to keep his muscles guessing and to spur growth. He also focused on the “mind-muscle connection”, the idea of mentally focusing on the muscle being trained to maximize the effectiveness of each exercise.

Further, he emphasized the importance of volume and intensity in his workouts. His back workout involved numerous sets and repetitions, and he trained with the intensity of a champion, pushing himself to the limit with each exercise.

Moreover, Arnold was a strong advocate for full range of motion in all his exercises, believing that it was crucial for fully developing and stretching the muscles.

Finally, he did not neglect the importance of rest and nutrition. Understanding that muscles grow during the rest period, he ensured he got adequate sleep. Also, he consumed a high-protein diet to support muscle repair and growth.


Arnold’s back workout is a challenging yet rewarding routine that can help you build a powerful, V-tapered back. Remember, the key to success with this workout lies not only in the exercises themselves, but also in adopting Arnold’s training philosophy: train with intensity, focus on the muscle being worked, vary your routines, ensure full range of motion, and prioritize rest and nutrition.

However, it’s also worth noting that Arnold’s workout routines were designed for advanced lifters. If you’re new to weightlifting, you might want to start with less volume or intensity and gradually work your way up. Always listen to your body and make sure to get approval from a healthcare professional before starting any new workout program.

Finally, remember that while Arnold’s workout can provide a roadmap, the most effective workout is always the one that you can stick to consistently and enjoy. So, incorporate what works for you and get ready to lift those weights. The journey may be tough, but the rewards are certainly worth it.

I’ll be back!

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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