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The 10 Best Exercises for Developing a Chest Like Arnold Schwarzenegger


There's no denying that Arnold Schwarzenegger's physique, particularly his chest, has been iconic in the world of bodybuilding. His well-defined, voluminous chest is a testament to his dedicated and precise workout routine. If you're dreaming of building a chest like Arnold, here are the ten best exercises that you can incorporate into your training.

1. Barbell Bench Press:
Schwarzenegger often highlights the importance of the classic bench press in his chest workout regimen. It is a comprehensive exercise that targets the entire chest muscle, specifically the pectoralis major. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

2. Incline Barbell Bench Press:
Incline bench press shifts the emphasis towards the upper chest (clavicular head of the pectoralis major). This exercise was a critical part of Arnold's chest routine for a complete and balanced pectoral development. Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

3. Dumbbell Flyes:
Arnold used dumbbell flyes to stretch and add definition to his chest muscles. This exercise works the chest from a different angle, promoting an even development. It is best performed on both flat and incline benches. Target 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

4. Cable Crossovers:
For sculpting the inner chest, Arnold used cable crossovers. This isolation exercise primarily targets the inner pectoral muscles and helps in bringing about the striations in the chest. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

5. Decline Barbell Bench Press:
Decline bench press places a greater emphasis on the lower chest (sternal head of the pectoralis major). It can help you achieve the full, rounded look that was a signature of Arnold’s chest. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

6. Parallel Bar Dips:
Schwarzenegger used dips as an excellent compound movement for chest development. While leaning slightly forward during the movement, it engages the pectoral muscles extensively. Aim for 3 sets to failure.

7. Pullovers:
Arnold often coupled pullovers with his chest workout, as they not only worked his lats but also stretched and worked his chest. Schwarzenegger believed this exercise was key to expanding the rib cage for a wider, fuller look. Perform 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

8. Push-ups:
Arnold incorporated bodyweight exercises like push-ups in his routine to maintain his muscular endurance and add to his chest definition. It's an excellent exercise to finish off your chest workouts. Try to go for 3 sets to failure.

9. Dumbbell Pullovers:
This is another variant of the pullover exercise that Arnold used to stretch his chest muscles. By using a dumbbell instead of a barbell, it allows for a greater range of motion. Execute 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps.

10. Machine Chest Press:
While free weights were Arnold's go-to, he also used machines for a controlled and safe workout environment, especially when training heavy. Machine chest presses allow for steady resistance throughout the movement. Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

Remember, developing a chest like Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't happen overnight. It requires a consistent and well-structured training program, a balanced diet rich in protein, and adequate recovery time. Always focus on proper form to ensure you're engaging the chest muscles properly and to prevent injuries.

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