Years later, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains the king of bodybuilders all over the world. Ahead of the release of a three-part docuseries, Arnold, Due to hit Netflix on June 7, I’ve decided to test out some of his workouts to prepare for all things Arnie in the coming weeks.
The simplicity of this “workout of the week” – The Longevity Workout – was too much to resist. But don’t let that fool you because Arnie isn’t easy. This three-move weight workout is still guaranteed to hit your muscles hard and make you sweat and pant. Do not you believe it? Check out the session plan below to try for yourself.
I recommend a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells—at Tom’s Guide, we love the best adjustable dumbbells during hectic training sessions—but we also provide some alternatives for those who don’t have weights to hand. The workout is suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts, so read on to see what happened when I tried Arnold Schwarzenegger’s three-move full-body dumbbell workout.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Longevity Training
I tackled several of Arnie’s 15-minute workouts from The Pump Club and even tackled 50 Arnold presses every day for a week. You never need a large home gym setup, nor do you need to train for hours at the gym like The Terminator to build strength and muscle and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
This is accessible and efficient, and while Arnie is famous for his daily double-split workouts, you may benefit from prioritizing shorter training bouts more often. As published by Nature Medicine and quoted by Arnold’s Pump Club, micro-workouts that involve short, intense bouts of exercise (even up to one minute) repeated several times throughout the day could help you live longer. This could include “bursts of walking very fast” or climbing stairs.
Moving more often contributes to your daily NEAT total (how many calories you burn during the day) and reduces sedentary time, which studies have shown to have a negative impact on your metabolism. Basically, move more to burn more.
Enter: The farmer’s walk, squats, and pushups. Three compound strength and conditioning exercises that work multiple muscle groups, build strength and muscle, and improve cardiovascular health and muscular endurance between them.
In the words of Arnie’s team, “This workout includes the exercises you need to get stronger and increase your likelihood of living longer.”
How to do longevity training
The workout features two circuits and two exercises per circuit.
Circuit 1: 3-4 laps
- 1A Farmer’s Walk: 20-30 steps
- 1B Pushups: 10-30 reps
Choose two heavy weights for the farmer’s walk and walk 20-30 paces. He lowers the weights, then immediately moves on to push-ups. He rests for 2-3 minutes, then repeat for 3-4 rounds.
You can learn how to do push ups here. Replace the weights with groceries or filled water bottles if you like, but make sure the weight is hard to grip.
Circuit 2: 3-4 laps
- 1A Farmer’s Walk: 20-30 steps
- Squat 1B: 10-30 reps
Use the same format as the first circuit, saving rest between rounds, not exercises. To progress into squats, add weight by holding one or two dumbbells, kettlebells, or using a barbell. We cover squats and how you could get squats wrong here.
I Just Tried Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 3-Move Full Body Workout – Here’s What Happened
Expect to feel these three exercises everywhere, including your chest, shoulders, back, arms, core, glutes and legs. This short but effective weight workout addresses the needs of upper and lower body, functional training, weight training, and bodyweight exercise – all help build muscle, strengthen bones and joints, and test cardiovascular endurance.
If you don’t have quality or alternative home gym equipment, I did Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2-move, 360-rep bodyweight workout, which is just as difficult to complete and offers plenty of opportunity to scale.
I like to believe I can rack up a number of quality push-ups, but this one literally brought me to my knees. Scale the reps according to your ability, starting with 10 for beginners and increasing when you get too comfortable. I divided them into three sets of 10, minimizing the rest between. Remember, the first round might seem doable, but you have three or four to go, so find a maintainable pace—this trick will help you master a push-up.
The farmer’s walk tests your grip and forearm strength. Avoid leaning to one side or leaning too far forward or backward. Instead, maintain tall posture and take measured steps. He pulls your shoulders back and down and tries not to hunch over as you walk, as this strains your back and encourages poor posture and lower back pain.
I tried it in a small apartment – not conducive to long walks – so I measured how many steps it would take to cross the room and paced back and forth instead. The farmer’s walk burns your core and shoulders quickly, then reset the weights to the ground if your form slips or take it up the stairs for an extra leg burn.
I’ve found it easier to grip the dumbbells, so if you’re having a hard time holding kettlebells (here’s how to hold a kettlebell properly), use grip gloves or casts for extra support. If the farmer’s walk intrigues you, find out what happened when I took the farmer’s walk every day for a week (spoiler: he hurt me a lot).
Like all of Arnie’s workouts, this one is no joke. The accumulated reps go a long way to working your muscles hard, and you don’t even need to spend your entire lunch in the gym. I suggest replacing the squats and pushups in this workout with other movements like lunges, overhead presses, or even the complimentary Arnold press to the man himself, if you want to repeat the session regularly and mix it up.
Remember to use your own body weight until you’re comfortable with your form, then add weights to increase the intensity.
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