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Arnold’s Golden six program for beginner (edited version)

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

What is the Golden Six?

“When I was trying to get bigger in my early days of training, I followed a routine called the Golden Six. I made tremendous gains on this program, and so did many others who trained at my gym in Munich. All agreed that this simple system of training produced excellent gains in muscle size and body weight.”—Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold’s Golden Six is a great workout that has helped thousands of people achieve their fitness goals. Even though Arnold was well-known for split training, it’s not news that he started his career with a full-body routine. And he still recommends it for those who are new to training.

Arnold’s Golden Six is one program he recommends to beginners as a very simple yet effective workout. It includes six basic exercises, which in principle, work almost all the muscle groups. If you perform this three times a week, you’ll get the results you want—guaranteed.

Arnold himself recommends the Golden Six for beginners, but I disagree that it’s a beginner’s program. While it is a simple program, that doesn’t mean it’s well-suited to beginners. Everyone knows Arnold’s Golden Six has a high volume for each exercise. This can easily lead to serious overtraining syndrome or injuries. I’ve made a version based on the original Golden Six, better suited to beginners.

Arnold’s Golden six program for beginners

In this beginner’s version of the Golden Six, I haven’t changed the fundamentals of the program, which are to work with every muscle group on the same day. It’s a one-day split workout, which is always suitable for beginners, and the six exercises cover almost your entire body.

The original Golden Six includes just six exercises that you must repeatedly perform for several months. But that kind of routine isn't enjoyable for beginners. I’ve added more exercises for each body part (easier versions), to be performed on alternating days.

Here’s the Golden Six program for beginners. (Instructions are shown as video)


Day 1

Leg Press—3 sets, 15 reps

Bench Press Machine—2 sets, 15 reps

Lat Pulldown—3 sets, to failure

Shoulder Press Machine—3sets, 15 reps

Preacher Curls—3sets, 15 reps

Crunches—3 sets, 15–20 reps

Day 2

V Squat Machine—3 sets, 15 reps

Pushups—3 sets, 20 reps

Seated Rowing Machine—3 sets, to failure

Dumbbell Arnold Press—3 sets, 15 reps

Hammer Curls—3 sets, 15 reps

Crunches—3 sets, 15–20 reps


Choose a weight that is 40–60% of your 1RM. If you’re not sure where to start, the best way to determine the right weight for your workout is to experiment. Start with low weight and gradually increase the weight. Once you feel you could’ve only done a few more reps after your last set, that’s the right weight for you.

Keep the weight the same for every set, but increase the weight gradually every few weeks. Once you do this workout for a couple of months, you’ll definitely see the differences in your body.


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