Build Pillars of Strength: The Arnold Leg Workout


We’ve all admired the Herculean physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger, marveled at the discipline that built such muscles. Have you ever wondered how you can incorporate the training principles that led to such awe-inspiring legs into your own routine? Today, we’re going to delve into that very topic. Welcome to the journey towards a stronger, more powerful you. The Austrian Oak’s leg workouts were as grueling as they were effective.

Arnold Leg Workout



In the annals of bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s name is inscribed in golden letters. A seven-time Mr. Olympia winner, Arnold revolutionized the world of bodybuilding, crafting routines that inspired generations of athletes. One of the signature elements of his regime was the focus on leg workouts. Let’s take a dive into the history of Arnold’s legendary leg workouts.

Arnold’s training methodology stemmed from his extensive bodybuilding experience. Starting his training at the age of 15, he went on to become the youngest ever Mr. Olympia at 23, a record he still holds today (source). He believed in training each muscle group with intensity and high volume, a principle he applied to his leg workouts too. His lower body routine was specially designed to maximize muscle hypertrophy and strength, key factors in his competition success.

Furthermore, Arnold believed in prioritizing his legs due to a principle known as ‘muscular balance’. As detailed in his autobiography, Arnold noted that having disproportionate muscle development could lead to long-term injury, something he wanted to avoid (source). As such, he emphasized the importance of leg training in achieving a balanced physique. This philosophy continues to impact bodybuilding today.

Arnold’s Leg Workout

Before we delve into the specifics of the workout, always remember that the number of sets and reps is adjustable according to your own fitness level. Without further ado, here’s Arnold’s leg workout:


The Arnold Leg Workout begins with a superset that targets the quadriceps and engages the lower body muscles. Supersets involve performing two exercises back-to-back with little to no rest in between. This approach not only increases the intensity of your workout but also improves muscle endurance and promotes hypertrophy.

Leg Extension

  • Sets: 5-6
  • Reps: 15-20
  • Tips: When performing leg extensions, ensure that your back is firmly pressed against the backrest and your feet are properly positioned against the foot pad. Start with a weight that challenges you without compromising your form. Focus on squeezing your quadriceps at the top of the movement and maintaining a controlled tempo throughout.

Barbell Squat

  • Sets: 5-6
  • Reps: 15
  • Tips: The barbell squat is a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, primarily targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Maintain a proper stance with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell resting comfortably on your upper back. Keep your chest up, back straight, and descend into a squatting position while ensuring your knees track over your toes. Rise back up, pushing through your heels, and repeat.

Leg Press

Following the superset, it’s time to move on to the leg press exercise. The leg press primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while offering a great alternative to barbell squats.

  • Sets: 5
  • Reps: 15
  • Tips: The leg press targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. While doing this exercise, make sure to keep your back flat against the seat and your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform. Lower the platform until your legs form a 90-degree angle, then press back to the starting position.

Hack Squat

The Hack Squat is an excellent compound exercise that emphasizes the quadriceps while engaging the hamstrings and glutes as well.

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 30
  • Tips: Hack squats are a great exercise for targeting the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Keep your chest up, back flat, and descend until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Remember to push through your heels on the way back up.

Arnold’s Workout Philosophy

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approach to bodybuilding was one of intense dedication, involving both the mind and body. This philosophy can be broken down into a few key principles:

  1. Intensity and Volume: Arnold was a big believer in high-volume and high-intensity training. His workouts often involved multiple exercises for each muscle group, high repetition ranges, and minimal rest periods between sets. He believed that this intensity in the gym was essential for muscle growth and development.

  2. Progressive Overload: Schwarzenegger understood that in order to continuously grow and improve, he needed to consistently increase the intensity of his workouts. This could be achieved by lifting heavier weights, increasing the number of sets or reps, or reducing rest time between sets. This principle of progressive overload is a fundamental aspect of any successful strength training program.

  3. Mind-Muscle Connection: Arnold put a significant emphasis on the psychological aspect of training. He often talked about the importance of the “mind-muscle connection”. This involves focusing your attention on the muscle you’re working, and really feeling every contraction and stretch. He believed that by doing this, you could engage more muscle fibers and stimulate greater growth.

  4. Balanced Training: Arnold always advocated for a balanced approach to training. He thought that every muscle group was important and that a bodybuilder should never neglect their less visible muscles. This is why his training programs often included a comprehensive range of exercises that targeted all muscle groups.

  5. Recovery: Despite his high-intensity approach to training, Arnold understood the importance of recovery. He ensured that he got enough sleep each night and took rest days when necessary. He also prioritized good nutrition and would consume a diet rich in protein to aid muscle recovery and growth.

This philosophy underpinned Arnold’s training regime and allowed him to build one of the most iconic physiques in bodybuilding history. By applying these principles to your own training, you too can enjoy significant improvements in your strength and physique.


Now that you have discovered the secrets of the Arnold Leg Workout, it’s time to unleash your inner strength and transform your lower body. Remember, consistency is key, so incorporate this workout into your fitness routine and stay committed to your goals.

Before starting any exercise program, it’s essential to consult a fitness professional to ensure that the workouts are suitable for your individual needs and capabilities. Remember, your journey to a stronger and healthier body begins with a solid foundation and proper guidance.

In addition to the Arnold Leg Workout, consider exploring other workout routines designed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. His comprehensive approach to training targets different muscle groups and ensures a well-rounded physique. From arms to back, chest to shoulders, there are various articles available that provide insights into Arnold’s workout methodologies.

The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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