Arnold Schwarzenegger And the 5×5 Workout

By Steve Hall

April 14, 2013

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see our Disclaimer to learn more.

Arnold Schwarzenegger 5x5 is often talked about but what is the history behind this and what connection does Arnold Schwarzenegger have to today's popular Stronglifts 5x5 workout programme?

Arnold, Arnold, Arnold!!!

Famous words heard being grunted in a dingy New York gym. Aspiring lifter Lou Ferrigno gunning after the title. A scene from Pumping Iron.

It seems like anyone who has picked up a weight knows who Arnold Schwarzenegger is. To many men he is the ultimate idol for fitness potential. Young and old we all know Arnold! Arnold Schwarzenegger 5x5 is often mentioned but what is the history behind this?

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Get bigger, faster, stronger. Look hot naked. Warrior this, Spartan that. The internet is saturated with sites, videos, posts, e-books, so on and so forth talking about getting big, getting lean, and getting strong. Routine after routine. Method after method. Diets, pills, supplements, whatever!

But there's one basic concept that has been around for ages, 5x5.

The Tests Of Time

I don't know about you, but for me if I want to learn how to do something I look for someone that already knows what the heck it is I need to figure out. Makes the most sense. In this case I was one of those guys that wanted to get bigger and stronger. I spent the time doing research and trying all these routines. What did I learn? That to get big you gotta lift big.

Being a fan or Arnold I obviously had a few of his books. Which in this case became very helpful. Reading through Arnold's early manuscripts he talks about his training methods. But more importantly he talks about his idol, the great Reg Park.

Then and now Reg Park is synonymous with bodybuilding and weightlifting. He had a great physique. The question I had was how did he do it? What was his secret?

reg park 5x5

Turns out there wasn't a secret at all. Reg, who passed his knowledge along to Arnold, used a very basic principal 5 sets of 5 repetitions with heavy compound lifts. Thats it.

Albiet Reg Parks routine that I found online seems to be rather extensive taking upwards of 2 hours it still was based on a 5x5 routine. I don't think that I would have been enlightened to this amazingness had it not been my admiration of The Terminator himself.

Thanks to Arnie and Reg I was able to find a plethora of info regarding the, now gaining popularity, 5x5 routine. Sites like StrongLifts5x5, books like Starting Strength, and videos like the one below all shed light on these techniques and further solidified the amazingness in which they contain.

With that being said. Get your ass off the computer and in the gym!

Social box scroll stop element

Steve Hall

Steve is a strength training fanatic who geeks out over the best, most efficient workouts, nutrition and gear to help get you stronger and healthier!

More to explore


Whether you’re just starting out or starting again, these strength training for beginners workout routines are the best to get your body back in shape and ready for [...]

The name sissy squat is hardly any indication of the level of gusto required to perform this quad trembling feat. In fact there isn’t anything sissy about this [...]

The Shark skill test is a performance test designed to measure lower body agility, muscle control and single leg functional balance.It is a progression from single-leg squat assessments [...]