Arnold Golden Six Routine

“When I was trying to get bigger in my early days of training, I followed a routine called the Golden Six. I made tremendous gains on this program and so did many others who trained at my gym in Munich. All agreed that this simple system of training produced excellent gains in muscle size and bodyweight.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Why Golden Six Routine?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is known to be one of the best built bodybuilders in the world. He is the ultimate split weight training king but he started his profession on a full-body routine and he recommends it even today for all beginners.

Arnold Schwarzenegger tried this method of six key exercises and found success, the method was fondly called as “The Golden Six“. Now it is popularly known as “Arnold’s Golden Six Routine”.

Arnold’s Full Body Golden 6 Workout vs. Normal Split Routine

There are pros and cons in every kind of workout, full body workout and split routines are no exception.

Pros – Arnold’s Golden 6 Workout

  • A full body workout stimulates many muscles in a single exercise on the same day whereas the split routine performs different methods for different muscle groups and on different days.
  • In simple words you would be doing a full body workout on all three days you have planned to work out on, but in split routine you will perform different kinds of exercises focusing specific muscle groups on the prefixed days.
  • A full body workout works on entire body at a time, hence you tend to have a balanced body structure and even if you miss a session of exercise on a days, it will not make a huge difference as you have already worked on all the muscle groups on the other days.
  • Arnold’s full body workout precisely helps you reduce the fats and burn more calories than a split workout. It cuts fats and boosts the muscle hypertrophy.


  • You may feel overtired in a single day as your entire body has worked towards the exercise. You may feel exhausted and it may take 4-5 days to recover from the fatigue.

It is advised to increase training frequency and go for higher weights and follow different training methodologies. Reduce the number of reps to avoid over tiring effects of a full body workout. Increase sets instead of reps. So you can lift higher weights.

Pros – Normal Split Routine

  • It works on the spot enhancement. You can focus on any specific muscle group and build it well.
  • Easy to perform and less tiring than full body workout.
  • It is easy to change the workouts on every other day. As your focus changes from one muscle group to the other.


  • Burns Less Calories as you tend to focus on specific part of the body.
  • This does not give you a definitive body structure as you may focus more on a specific muscle group than the entire body.
  • You can’t really skip a workout when you have scheduled your muscle groups to be exercised.

A beginner can successfully and efficiently build muscle, or can lose fat with both these types of workouts. But when it comes to having a overall well-structured strong physique, full body workout is always recommended.

Arnold Golden Six Routine

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What Should Be Your Workout Schedule?

This is one of the most simple full-body workouts and can be performed three times a week on alternate days, without disturbing your busy life schedule. If you have a real busy schedule, try to reduce the session time and opt for shorter ones. You can also bring out some extra time for workout by getting up a bit earlier.

  • Day 1: On
  • Day 2: Off
  • Day 3: On
  • Day 4: Off
  • Day 5: On
  • Day 6: Off
  • Day 7: Off

Arnold Golden Six Routine

Arnold's Golden Six Routine

Wide Grip Barbell Bench Press310
Chin Up3Failure
Behind The Neck Overhead Press410
Barbell Curl310
Bent Knee Sit Up3-4Failure

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Arnold’s Golden focuses precisely on six of the main compound exercises namely:

  • Squat
    The most common and notable benefitof squats is construction of the full leg muscles i.e. quadriceps, calves, and hamstrings. These workouts also produce constructive metabolism and also increase testosterone level, which promotes extensive body muscle building, and improves muscle mass.

  • Wide Grip Barbell Bench Press
    It is one of the most popular strength training exercises. It is a part of any classic workout method because of all the good reasons. It is a greater kind of targeted chest exercise that helps you build the chest and shoulder muscles precisely.

  • Chin Up
    Chin up works on the biceps, lattissimus dorsi OR lats, and teres major OR outer back. As you pull up all your body weight relying on the palms, this makes Chin ups one of the effective yet easier exercises to do. Hence doing 3 set of eight to twelve chin ups is good for every beginner.

  • Behind The Neck Overhead Press
    The behind-the-neck pressworks on the supraspinatus muscles, situated at the top of the shoulder This exercise puts extra pressure on the whirligig cuff muscles of the shoulders. As a beginner start with small weight to know your strength and slowly move to the heavier weights.

  • Barbell Curl

This workout method typically puts a strain on your biceps along with a mild pressure on forearms and shoulders. Start with small weights at first and slowly change to the larger ones.

  • Bent Knee Sit Up
    The classic abs strength building sit ups can be performed easily and with some tweaks they simultaneously build Also this exercise provide comfort to some extent.

It gives all the benefits of a full-body workout and no muscle group remains neglected instead it covers complete exercise of all muscle groups.

Why no dead lifts and calves?

When you have done 4 sets of 10 squats thrice a week, your legs are already tired. If you are going to add dead lifts and calves to the same session, it can do a lot of damage to the hamstrings and legs overall.

So when you perform voluminous sets of squats, avoid going for the dead lifts or calves in the same session to avoid exertion and severe damage.

If you want deadlifts in your workout, then replace squats with deadlifts

Why should you avoid behind the neck shoulder press?

A behind the neck shoulder press or overhead press adds a lot of stress on the rotator cuff muscles that evens out your shoulder junctures. If you have a bad shoulder mobility or you are using the weights heavier than your capacity, it can damage your shoulder muscles.

Along with the shoulders it can hurt your neck too as it puts massive pressure on both the body parts.

You may choose the alternative exercises that are equally beneficial i.e.

  • Behind the neck press with the dumbbells
  • Basic shoulder press as you hold the weight in front of your body

Modified golden six routine

How to modify golden 6 routine?

To make the program more effective you should include few isolation movements. Also regularly change the exercises.  Once you hit a training plateau you need to change the exercise or your training style. Here we listed some of the best alternative exercises and some effective training methods.

Alternative exercises for the existing ones:

  • Squats: Sumo Stance Deadlift, Deadlift, Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, Leg Press
  • Wide Grip Barbell Bench Press: Barbell/Dumbbell Floor Press, Incline/Decline variations of Dumbbell/Barbell Bench Press, Close-Grip Bench Press, Reverse-Grip Bench Press etc.
  • Chin Up: Lat Pull downs, Bent Over Barbell/Dumbbell Rows, Cable Rows etc.
  • Behind The Neck Overhead Press: Standing Overhead Barbell Press, Overhead Dumbbell Press, Arnold Shoulder Press etc.
  • Barbell Curl: Barbell Curl With Chains, Close Grip & Wide Grip Curls, Seated Dumbbell Curl, Incline Bench Seated Curl, Spider Curl, Preacher Curl etc.
  • Bent Knee Sit Ups: Decline Crunches, Lying Leg Raises, Hanging Leg Raises, Wood Chopper, Bicycle Crunches etc.

Different Training Methodologies

  • Pyramid Style Workout

    Pyramid style workout is an assortment of sets, of the same workout. It starts with a light weight and greater reps, scaling up to a denser weight and reduced reps. Basically you will start with light weights and increase the weight on successive sets, as you increase the weight the number of reps goes down.

Example:  3 set x 12, 10, 8 reps or 4 sets x 12, 10, 8, 6 reps

  • Reverse Pyramid Training

    It is a workout pattern in which the initial set of an assigned exercise is done with the heaviest weight. And then it goes on decreasing the weight with increasing reps.

  • Negative Training

    This is a different style of weight lifting where a weight lifter carries out a peculiar phase of a lift. These are mostly used to develop muscular strength and power, and is generally known as hypertrophy training. It is one of the easiest way to increase weight because here we give more importance to the lowering phase. To achieve this you have to slow down lowering phase to a 3-5 seconds tempo. Most importantly you need a training partner to do negative training.

  • The 28 Method

    This is a new lifting practice used in bodybuilding, and it works for anyone who wants to build some muscles. In 28 method workout you will combine 4 sets of 7 reps of the same workout one after another in a single set. And with each set, you will have to keep changing the speed of exercise.

Basically in a single set one will do 7 full reps, 7 slow reps, 7 top half reps and 7 bottom half reps without any rest. Then you will repeat the set.


    In bodybuilding AMRAP typically stands for As many Reps As Possible. It means that you need to perform workout of maximum possible reps. Typically bodybuilders do AMRAP on the last set of exercise.

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A workout style you opt for should be depending upon your goals, lifestyle and determination to achieve your goal. To build a great muscle The Golden Six Workout is a very useful workout program which can be altered as per your capacity. Choose your best method and build a new you.