This workout requires no equipment, but maximum dedication, and a touch of inspiration from the bodybuilding GOAT himself.
This Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodyweight Workout with PDF is deceptively tricky because it uses tempo to challenge you.
As a certified personal trainer, I’ll guide you through this quick and challenging routine that’s right for all fitness levels.
Here’s what’s coming up.
When it comes to legendary figures in the world of bodybuilding and media, few names resonate as powerfully as Arnold Schwarzenegger.
He’s known for his insane bicep peaks, massive chest, unforgettable movie roles, and of course as being the “Governator of California.”
In this recent workout featured on his Pump Club newsletter, Arnold uses the tool of tempo training to maximize time under tension.
This workout has three foundational movements: the push up, squat, and plank. Seems easy enough, right?
Maybe. The difficulty of the exercise is ramped up due to the tempo of the workout.
The workout is down in a 5:3:1 tempo. This means 5 seconds down, 3 second hold, and explode back to the starting position in one second.
This increase time under tension and makes you break a sweat and zone in to get it done.
Let’s talk about how time slowing down the tempo benefits your muscles during the workout.
Tempo & Workouts
The tempo of repetitions is also called lifting tempo or cadence of workouts.
Tempo is not emphasized enough, but it is a crucial factor in resistance training. It influences how your muscles respond to exercise.
Tempo is expressed as a series of numbers that represents the length of each phase of a repetition. In this workout, the tempo is 5:3:1.
Each number corresponds to the duration in seconds for the eccentric (lowering), isometric (pause), and concentric (lifting) phases of the repetition.
Here’s how tempo can affect muscles during exercise:
Eccentric Phase (Negative)
The eccentric phase, or the downward part of an exercise, involves lengthening the muscle while it is under tension.
A slower eccentric phase increases the time under tension, creating greater muscle fiber damage and contributing to muscle growth and strength.
Isometric Phase (Pause)
The tempo in this workout includes a pause at the midpoint of the movement. This isometric phase helps maintain tension in the muscles without lengthening or shortening them.
The pause can enhance muscle engagement, stability, and control.
Concentric Phase (Positive)
The concentric phase, or the upward part of an exercise involves shortening the muscle while it is under tension.
A controlled concentric phase means that you’re using the muscle to move the weight, rather than relying on momentum.
This helps improve muscle activation and strength.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodyweight Workout
This workout suitable for all fitness levels. It’s designed to strengthen your shoulders, triceps, chest, core, quads, and glutes without any weights.
Remember to do it at a 5:3:1 tempo. 5 seconds down, 3 second hold, and explode back to the starting position in one second.
Without further ado, here’s the Arnold Schwarzenegger bodyweight workout.
- Push ups: 3-5 repetitions
- Squats: 3-5 repetitions
- Plank: 15 seconds
- Do 5 sets
- Rest 2 minutes between sets
To make the push-ups easier you can do them assisted. Assisted push ups involve having your knees on the ground and using upper body to push.
You can also substitute with wall push-ups by placing your hands against a flat surface.
To make squats easier you can do box squats. Box squats involve sitting down in squat position on a bench or chair
and then blasting up.
- Push ups: 5-10 repetitions
- Squats: 5-10 repetitions
- Plank: 30 seconds
- Do 5 sets
- Rest 1 minute between sets
- Push ups: 10-12 repetitions
- Squats: 10-12 repetitions
- Plank: 1 minute
- Do 5 sets
- Rest 30 to 60 seconds or as little as possible
To make push ups harder you can do clap push ups or elevate your feet. To make squats harder you can add weight by using dumbbells or kettlebells.
Your Bodyweight Workout PDF
This workout is broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced variations.
While it’s the same movements for each, the repetitions increase. You can also make the exercises harder with different variations or add weight.
Take advantage of this free resource and make the effort to experience the power behind time under tension.
Study Of Time Under Tension
Time under tension is a fundamental concept in resistance training. It refers to the total time that a muscle or group of muscles is under load during a set of exercises.
The idea is that the longer a muscle is under tension during a set, the more it is stimulated for growth and strength.
When you exercise consistently, it triggers the creation of new muscle proteins that makes your muscles grow bigger.
In this study, one group of participants did a leg extension exercise with a light load. They did a slow tempo with 6 seconds up and 6 seconds down until fatigue set in.
Another group did the same exercise and load at a faster tempo with 1 second up and 1 second down.
It was found that there was greater increase in the rate of muscle protein creation in the slower tempo group than in the faster tempo group.
In other words, those wishing to build bigger muscles or prevent muscle loss should exercise with a slower tempo.
The formula for calculating time under tension for a single repetition is:
Eccentric Phase + Isometric Phase + Concentric Phase
= Time Under Tension
In this workout, the eccentric phase of a repetition takes 5 seconds, there is a 3 second pause in the middle, and the concentric phase takes 1 second.
The total time under tension for that repetition would be:
5 + 3 + 1 = 9 seconds. Manipulating time under tension can be a strategy to target specific training goals:
Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)
Longer time under tension, especially during the eccentric phase, can contribute to muscle damage and growth.
While strength gains are often associated with heavier weights and lower repetitions, a controlled and deliberate approach to each repetition can still contribute to strength development.
Higher rep ranges and a focus on maintaining tension for an extended duration can improve muscular endurance.
Looking for another bodyweight workout?
Check out my Complete Bodyweight Workout Plan PDF.
5 FAQs About Time Under Tension
Does Time Under Tension Really Work?
Yes, you could possibly see muscle gains. In the study above, leg extensions were done by a group at a slower tempo. This led to greater increases in the creation of muscle protein.
Is Time Under Tension Better Than Volume?
One isn’t better than the other. They are different training aspects. However, time under tension is more applicable to all fitness levels.
Adding more volume to workouts is easier at intermediate and advanced levels.
Time under tension extends the time of muscle contractions. This maximizes muscle fiber recruitment and promotes muscle growth.
You add more stress to muscles on a repetition basis.
Volume training maximizes the amount of repetitions and sets in a given workout or over the week.
Volume training adds stress to muscles because you hitting them harder with more sets and reps.
How Long Should 10 Reps Take?
A set of 10 reps, depending on the exercise, can take 15 to 45 seconds. This is highly dependent on lifting speed and wether you are doing pause reps.
The workout length increase with the amount of exercises, sets, and rest periods you do.
How Long Should 1 Rep Take?
One rep can take between 1 to 10 seconds when done at a normal pace. Some reps can be done at a very slow pace at over 10 seconds, but may not the best option.
Sometimes going slower can actually reduce how effective the exercise is. For best results go an average tempo of 5 to 10 seconds.
Do Slow Reps Build More Muscle?
Based on this study, yes they do. Slower reps speed may increase intensity of the exercise while decreasing the momentum.
One group of participants trained using regular speed for 8-12 reps per set. The did a tempo of 4:1:2. Four seconds down, 1 second pause, and 2 second lift.
The other group did super slow reps for 4-6 reps per set. They did a tempo of 4:10. Four seconds down ad 10 seconds lift.
The super slow reps resulted in a 50% greater increase in strength for both the men and women in the study compared to the regular speed.
As we wrap up the breakdown of the Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodyweight Workout, it’s clear that workouts don’t have to be complicated.
This routine proves that you can work towards an impressive physique with nothing more than the resistance of your own body.
So let the sweat flow, and celebrate the transformative power of bodyweight training with this PDF.
Looking for more?
Get great results with 26 Approaches To Working Out.