It Takes More Than Lifting Weights to Train Like Arnold
If you’ve been following along on my month-long “Train Like Arnold” Challenge on Instagram (@rocklockridge), then you’ve seen various pics and short videos of me doing several exercises such as incline bench press, squats, various curls, and yes, even Arnold presses.
It’s come out to nearly 24 hours a week that I am in my barn clanging and banging. That is a lot, but if you believe that is all it takes to train like a bodybuilding legend, then it’s a short-sighted observation.
The recovery from that amount of volume is also time-consuming, and it’s about more than taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon and downing a couple protein shakes. I’m doing this in my 40s, but I didn’t want that to be an excuse or a safety net if I fell short on this venture. So, every workout is followed by around 20 minutes percussion gun work and 20 minutes of foam rolling the entire body. I also add stretching into the daily routine.
Beyond that, I’ve used water in my recovery process. A local pool has both cold and hot water access, so I alternate between the two when I take the trip. I’ve also used my shower to do the same when I’m home. If you choose to try the shower version, I go five minutes with hot water and two for cold. I learned that strategy from legendary wrestler Dan Gable, who would use two showers in the locker room after his weight-training sessions. HIs times were longer than mine.
Fuel Up to Level Up
Then, there’s the food. In spite of losing 15 pounds since the start of this challenge, I’m eating more than I was before I started. I have anywhere from 5-6 meals per day, and I don’t eat small. I’ve kept my protein to around 300 grams per day. My main sources being chicken, steak, eggs, greek yogurt, and protein shakes. My fats are about 60 grams a day, and the main sources come from various nuts, egg yellows, and natural peanut butter.
For carbs I’ll consume anywhere from 200-300 grams a day. I let my energy levels determine how much I eat. My typical pre-workout meal is greek yogurt with fruits and nuts. I also have rice and oats, as carb sources. I found my body handles these better than other sources such as multigrain pasta. As for veggies, since they are low calorie, I have as much as I want. Usually it’s broccoli, salads, and even carrots. There is no real science behind this except if I found it helps me train better without compromising how I feel afterward, then I stuck with it.
The supplement strategy is a simple one as well—protein powder, preworkout, BCAA’s, and a joint supplement for recovery. In case you haven’t figured this out about me yet – simple works best for me. If I have to think about it too much, then it’s going to likely be harder to follow.
Back to the Weight Room
Now let’s talk about how I do what I do in the barn. This has actually been more complicated for me than the other parts of this challenge. It would’ve been really easy for me to simply do the exercises the way I have traditionally, but this is called the Train Like Arnold challenge for a reason – I needed to train like Arnold. That meant trying to emulate his form as much as possible so I could have a better understanding of how he was able to train the way he did.
Let’s take the dumbbell flye as an example. If you’ve watched “Pumping Iron,” then you saw him perform his flyes with his arms stretched out and pulled back as far as possible. That’s to get a deep stretch in his pecs. But did you ever pay attention to his feet? His legs are lifted up and his feet are up above the bench. This makes it even harder to perform this isolation movement because of the body having to remain stable. That took some getting used to, but I’ve gotten the hang of it. I’m using 50-pound dumbbells as my top set. That’s a far cry from the 85’s he could be seen using.
There are some things I am limited on due to past injuries. For example, I can’t lower a barbell as far as he could due to past problems with my right shoulder. I manage to use the best range of motion that I can. The strange part is that because of the turning in the Arnold presses, I can do those relatively pain free.
I now have a greater respect for actors and how they work to portray real people in films. I’ve been watching and reading as much as I can about Arnold’s training so I apply his form instead of my own. I even went and bought a new copy of “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding” in order to read his descriptions. No, I’m not talking like him. So, you’re still going to hear my country-boy voice when I speak.
My Main Role: Dad and Husband
Even with all of this going on, my main focus is to make sure my family felt no ill effects from this. Believe me, this hasn’t been easy. Packing food while running errands has been part of the daily routine. More important, however, is making sure I don’t miss any of my son’s school events. This requires me to keep a tight schedule, almost down to the minute in some cases.
In Part 1 of this series that it was actually my wife who gave me the final incentive for me to take this challenge. She was the one who convinced me I could do it. We’ve traditionally gone on weekly “day-dates” while our son is in school to spend some time outside of the house. So far I haven’t missed a single one. Our lunch selections are different because I’m now eating for purpose instead of enjoyment, but I’m still present with her. Unfortunately, it’s just I move slower due to the DOMS, which has also been quite present.
Check out my posts on my Instagram (@rocklockridge). If you choose to follow, I promise to do my best to keep it interesting even when this is over.