Time to get rid of those chicken legs with Arnold Schwarzenegger legs workout routine. Building legs like Arnold is not that easy as it need hard work, discipline and dedication.

Long before he governed the Golden State and out-muscled bad guys on the big screen, even before he won a then-record seven Mr. Olympia titles, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a promising young bodybuilder who had one glaring weakness (seriously)—his legs.

At 6’2″, Arnold knew firsthand the difficulty tall bodybuilders face in bringing up their bottom halves. Rather than accepting this shortcoming, however, Arnold endured grueling, even sickening, workouts up to three times a week to build massive tree-trunk thighs worthy of someone nicknamed “The Oak.”

With legs, the key is to shock them to experience substantial growth Opens a New Window. The most obvious way to do this is to perform a lot of very heavy sets of major exercises like barbell squats, leg presses, and hack squats, working up to at least 15 reps.

The legs are such a large group of muscles that you must train with high volume, more so than for smaller body parts.

While Arnold did conventional workout, his training approach was anything but. He approached leg days with an extraordinary tolerance for pain and dedication to push his body past its physical limits.


Endurance, in addition to sheer size, makes the legs a difficult body part to train.

It isn’t enough just to subject the legs to heavy overload,” Arnold said.

“You have to use heavy weights and sufficient volume to stress the fibers involved and exhaust the endurance capacity of the muscles.”

Arnold’s early training wasn’t sufficiently high in volume.

For many years, I did only five sets of squats when I really should have been doing eight…[and] I did not put enough weight on the leg-press machine,” he said.

“Once I realized my mistakes and corrected them, my thighs began to grow thick and massive.”

At his peak, Arnold did at least 20 working sets for legs and took each set except his warm-ups to failure. This high-volume approach helped him put on the size and build the strength (his best was a 400-pound squat for eight reps) that turned around a weak body part.


Arnold’s high-volume approach is extremely taxing at first, but eventually the body adapts and strengthens. Try it for 6-8 weeks to induce dramatic changes in your own legs.


Muscle fatigue inevitably sets in when you do several sets to failure, but Arnold used his mind to fight it.

I accepted the fact that leg workouts simply have to be brutal to be effective,” he said.

“Normal workouts are hard enough, but if thighs happen to be a weak point in your physique, you have to be prepared to push yourself even more. This involves a mental effort almost as much as a physical one.… This means forcing yourself to break down any inhibition or barrier.”


Don’t train legs without a partner.

A good training partner pushes you to handle more poundage and gives you incentive to grind out more reps per set,” Arnold wrote in his early autobiography.

“Workouts are more fun with a partner as well as more competitive…you challenge each other.”

When you’ve forced out all the reps you can for squats, for example, stand holding the weight for a moment, then do one more rep (with a partner spotting you) to push your body to its absolute limit.

Recently, Arnold shares his quarantine workout plan. Because gyms around the world ordered shut amid the coronavirus pandemic.


  • Squats | SETS: 4 | REPS: 30
  • Leg Extention | SETS: 5-6 | REPS: 15-20
  • Barbell Squat Superset  | SETS: 5-6 | REPS: 15
  • Leg Curls | SETS: 5 | REPS: 15
  • Standing Calf Machine | SETS: 10 | REPS: 12

Never skip legs day! How many times do you train legs in a week? Comment below.