Build your own 5-move functional fitness workout with Arnold Schwarzenegger — here's how

Man performing a Russian twist outdoors with a medicine ball
(Image credit: Getty)

If there’s one fact we know about Arnold Schwarzenegger — that man can work out. So what better way to celebrate the release of his new docuseries Arnold than to use The Terminator’s know-how and build a functional workout of your own?

We’ve got a few of Schwarzenegger’s creations under our belts, but this time, it’s different — you can build your functional fitness workout from scratch with the help of his team. “We’re going to help you build a workout,” The Pump Club says. “The same rules apply: it’s going to be time efficient, it’s built for at home or the gym and it’s going to be intense.” We believe you. Arnie. 

This five-move workout taps into functional training — a buzzword in the fitness industry right now — using exercises like pulling, squatting or pushing to build functional strength, muscle and power. So, if you want to train like Arnie, grab some weights, and read on to see how. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout of the week: 5-move functional fitness workout

Schwarzenegger’s 15-minute workouts are a popular feature of The Pump Club, proving you can build strength, muscle and endurance without an extensive gym set-up, whether your goal is to pack on lean muscle mass, develop functional fitness or improve muscular endurance.

According to The Pump Club, the workout is “all about combining different movements” by performing five exercises corresponding with a squat, pull, push, carry and hinge. 

But remember, whether you’re training for a half marathon or prefer strength programs, exercise regimes only account for a small percentage of daily calorie burn. You’ll need to move more often to increase your daily NEAT total (how many calories you burn throughout the day) and reduce sedentary time, which studies say negatively impacts the metabolism.

A photo of arnold schwarzenegger

(Image credit: Jack Mitchell / Contributor)

Step 1: Choose 1 exercise from each category

Below are just examples. You can select different ones if you want to repeat this workout in the future.

Squat:

Pull:

Hinge:

Push:

Carry: 

Step 2: Build your workout

Superset the first two exercises (perform back-to-back), then do the same with the third and fourth exercises. Complete your reps for the first superset, rest for two minutes and repeat for the remaining sets and reps. Move on to the next superset using the same format, then finish with your farmer’s carry.

Here’s an example:

Superset 1

1A: Leg press
1B: Pull-ups

Superset 2

2A: Hip thrusts
2B: Chest press

3. Farmer’s walk.

We recommend having kettlebells or dumbbells — we love the best adjustable dumbbells — to hand, but you could use a backpack or filled water bottles for the farmer’s walk if you prefer. Find out what happened when I did the farmer’s walk every day for a week here for tips on scaling the move.

For best results, repeat 3-4 times a week, starting with 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise and resting after every set or superset. Increase to 3-4 sets as you grow in confidence; you could even combine the five moves into one giant circuit to increase intensity further and reduce rest times. In that case, perform the circuit, then rest between rounds.

Verdict

Every move above is a compound exercise using weights or your body weight, meaning you’ll target and strengthen as many muscles as possible in a short time. Exercising like this burns more calories, strengthens bones and joints and provides more bang for your buck overall.

We’ve included some affordable ideas for home gym equipment that you could use to elevate each move, and we also did Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2-move 360-rep bodyweight workout if you don’t have any equipment and want to rely on your body weight. 

The farmer’s walk is tough on your forearms and grip, so start light and build up as your strength improves. For those who’ve mastered the walk, add steps or a hill for even more intensity. Keep your core engaged and avoid hunching or leaning to one side, as you risk hurting your lower back and compromising your posture.

More from Tom's Guide

Here are more celeb workouts you can try.

Sam Hopes
Senior Staff Writer - Fitness

Sam Hopes is a level III fitness trainer, level II reiki practitioner, and senior fitness writer at Future PLC, the publisher of Tom's Guide. She is also about to undertake her Yoga For Athletes training course. Having trained to work with mind and body, Sam is a big advocate of using mindfulness techniques in sport and fitness, and their impact on performance. She’s also passionate about the fundamentals of training and building sustainable training methods.  When she's not writing up her experiences with the latest fitness tech and workouts, you’ll find her writing about nutrition, sleep, recovery, and wellness.