Weight Loss, Increase strength, At The Gym
Learn how to get shredded from the greatest bodybuilder of all time, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Building your dream body is about more than what you do in the gym. It's about what you do in your mind—how you visualize your success and envision your legacy. Arnold Schwarzenegger pictured himself as a champion bodybuilder, and he built a blueprint to become just that. Whether you want to shred for a competition or lose weight for life, Arnold's Blueprint to Cut will help you succeed.
Your eight weeks of training will be split into two four-week phases. Each week you'll hit chest, back, and legs twice, and during the second four weeks, you'll work shoulders and arms twice a week as well. If you find you're having trouble fitting all the volume into your customary workout time, consider trying two-a-day workouts, where you train the big-gun muscles during the morning or early in the day, and do detail work like calves, abs, and arms at night.
When you jump into Week 1, you'll quickly notice something missing. That's right: There's no programmed ab training for the first four weeks of the program. You can add a little if you feel you must, but it's not necessary, so keep it minimal and really consider leaving it out as recommended. You'll get plenty in Phase 2, and your body's recovery ability will already be tested throughout by the added volume and intensity techniques.
Over the course of the next eight weeks, you're going to encounter a number of Arnold's favorite intensity-boosting techniques. Some will be familiar if you followed the Blueprint to Mass trainer. Others might be new. Remember, Arnold advocated using an even greater number of shock methods when cutting than he did while building!
SUPERSETS AND TRISETS
If you need a quick refresher, a superset is simply two exercises performed back-to-back without rest. A triset or giant set is any series of exercises greater than two performed without rest between exercises.
Arnold's contest-prep training was incredibly efficient. He was rarely resting, choosing instead to perform supersets that forced one muscle to rest—and gave it a stretch—while another was working. One well-known example was his barbell bench press superset with wide-grip chin-ups. Phase 1 of the cut trainer is almost entirely comprised of supersets, while Phase 2 adds in abdominal giant sets and—one of Arnold's favorites—a triset finisher during chest workouts.
After a warm-up set or two, find a weight you're only able to lift for 1 rep. After you perform that 1 rep, take just enough weight off to perform 2 reps. From there, do the same for 3 reps and 4 reps, going all the way up to 10 reps. This is brutal because you take no rest between sets. The only rest you get is when you're unloading the weights.
STRIPPING METHOD, "STRIP SET," OR DROPSET
Immediately after your final working set, take some weight off the bar or stack and lift for another 5-10 reps. Then, with no rest, keep repeating this process. Reduce your weight, lift, reduce again, lift, and continue until you're down to the bar. Once you're down to the bar, lift for 20 reps.
Pick one exercise and see what you can do for a 1-rep max on that particular day. To get there, ramp up to the weight with the following rep pyramid, taking ample rest between each set: 20, 15, 10, 8, 5, 3, 1, 1, 1-rep max.
You could also call this the "1-1/4 rep method," to help distinguish it from the type of quarter-reps you might see in the gym on a daily basis. Here's how it works: Perform the complete eccentric (weight-lowering) portion of a movement. Then raise the weight only a quarter of the way back up, lower it back down again, and perform a complete rep.
RUNNING THE RACK
Running the rack was a well-known favorite technique of Arnold and his fellow Gold's Gym legends. You'll be using it on flyes, dumbbell skullcrushers, and front raises. It's simple to perform. Just go to failure with your prescribed weight, then put the weight down and pick up the next lightest in line. Repeat the process until you're exhausted.
Some exercises get more intense when you do them quickly. Others dial it up when you turn the pace down. At times during this trainer, you'll perform exercises like curls and lying lateral raises, and make both the lowering and raising halves of the lift last 5 seconds apiece. Those last few reps will definitely show on your face!
You probably know how to do 21s: 7 top-half reps, 7 bottom half, and 7 full reps. The 28 method adds a new level of intensity by changing up the order and adding in an additional 7 super-slow reps using the 5-count method, where you make both the raising and lowering portions of the rep last 5 seconds apiece. Here's the order: 7 full reps, 7 slow reps, 7 top-half reps, 7 bottom-half reps. You can read more about 28-method training here.
THE RUNNING MAN
Arnold made some waves in 2014 when he jumped into a Reddit thread titled Best Damn Cardio Humanly Possible in 15 Minutes and spoke up in defense of running. "My favorite form of cardio when we worked out at Gold's was to run down to the beach and run in the sand after I finished lifting," he wrote. "Today, I don't run, but I still ride my bike through Santa Monica and Venice. Or I do interval-style training on a stationary bike."
Running was even more prominent in Arnold's training when he was cutting for a contest, which is why, 3-5 times a week throughout this program, your assignment is to run 1-2 miles as fast as possible. How fast it ends up being doesn't matter; all that matters is that it's as fast as feels possible to you.
Running? Yes, running. Don't worry, despite what you've heard, this won't cost you any of your gains. You'll just find yourself leaner, meaner, tanner, and feeling more energetic and nimble. If it's at all possible, run outside like Arnold did, or even better, on an uneven surface like a trail or beach. With time, you might even enjoy it. You'll definitely enjoy the results it helps you achieve.
Achieve ultimate definition
"The most important thing is that you have a vision—a goal," Arnold told us. Yours can be an event, a person, a number—it's up to you. This program is the way to get dialed in for it. Don't just do these workouts to do them; do them right, and do them to get ready for something that truly matters to you. Make the right choices now, and you'll look back fondly on this adventure 40 years from now.