Quarantine training: The Arnold Experiment Quarantine training: The Arnold Experiment

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Thread: Quarantine training: The Arnold Experiment

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019

    Default Quarantine training: The Arnold Experiment

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    So, I'm screwed out of having a gym at the moment, as just about everyone is. and can't train a real strength training program. So, I've decided to run an experiment. Since my setup's primary limitation is that I can't get weight onto the bar like in a real gym, I figured training something more volume intensive would at least provide some kind of stress. So I got to thinking, bodybuilders love their volume programs. So hey, maybe I'll try a bodybuilding routine, see what happens. I decided to do this routine, namely the first one listed, not the second one. There's a few things I have to change due to limitations of training in my basement, so I'll lay out what I'm doing here.

    There are three different lifting days, and the cycle repeats twice in the week, with only sunday as a dedicated day off from lifting. Based on what I read in Arnold's book that I have a very old copy of, he seems to advocate doing a lot of lifts for working sets of 10, 6, and then 4 reps, aiming to fail at the end of each set, and keeping the weight the same across all three. At least that's what I THINK he was advocating. I don't know how the hell someone can do this 10-6-4 with each set to failure and a one minute wait time with increasing loads on each set, anyway. But it does seem to work out exactly right that way, with the 1 minute rest interval and the load staying the same, that each set hits failure at around that number so long as the first set was to failure at 10 reps. For some isolation type exercises I am adding another set in front for 15 reps, since those types of exercises seem to need more volume anyway.

    For advancement (if indeed much of any of that happens), I'm going to be gauging how the sets after the first go. First I will try to get the final set to be the same amount of reps as the set prior (so sets 2 and 3 both go 6 reps), and then have set 2 duplicate set 1. So for the three set lifts I will be aiming to get at least 10-10-6 instead of 10-6-4 before I increase the weight. The lifts with 4 sets I will aim to get to 15-15-10-6 before increasing the load. Will this work well? I have no idea. Both the program on the webpage and Arnold's book give terrible (or even no) guidance on progression, the single most important aspect of any training. The ab work seems mostly designed to produce tons of swelling in those muscles to maximize visibility and definition, so I doubt I'll push at any kind of advancement there.

    Day 1
    Bench Press
    Incline Bench Press
    Dumbbell Pullover
    Barbell Row
    Supine Grip Pulldown (instead of chin ups)

    Day 2
    Seated overhead press (instead of clean and press, can't doing any kind of standing press in my basement)
    Hang power clean (Instead of the widely-maligned upright row, I figured I'd get some practice cleaning, particularly at the hard part, maybe I'll change to full power cleans as time goes on)
    Arnold Press (instead of "military press", which I'm assuming was supposed to be a standing overhead press, which I can't do here)
    Dumbbell lateral raises
    Barbell Curls
    Close Grip Bench Press
    Seated Dumbbell Curls
    Tricep Pushdowns (instead of standing barbell tricep extension, can't do that here)
    Wrist Curls
    Reverse Wrist Curls
    Reverse Crunches

    Day 3
    Squats (low bar, as taught in SS method)
    Front squats (I tried doing lunges the first week, I couldn't really find enough room in my basement to do them with a bar like Arnold seems to recommend)
    Leg Curls
    Stiff Leg Deadlift
    Good Morning
    Calf Raises

    Days 4, 5, and 6 are just repeats of 1-3, with day 7 as a rest day. This experiment will be terminated abruptly if it seems to cause me to backtrack in strength at all or if the powers that be decide to turn society back on again. I'll be making weekly entries until either of those happens.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2019


    WEEK 1

    Day 1
    Bench Press 10-6-6 145 pounds
    Incline Bench 10-5-4 120 pounds (final set lowered to 115 pounds because second set failed to hit 6)
    Pullover 10-10-10 24 pounds (still trying to get a feel for the right load to do here, ultimately decided to move this one to a 4 set lift)
    Deadlift 10-6-4 245 pounds (deadlifting like this is a hell of an experience)
    Barbell Row 10-6-4 125 pounds
    Supine Pulldown 10-10-10 120 pounds (still trying to find the right load obviously)
    Crunches 5 sets of 20

    Day 2
    Seated Overhead Press 10-6-4 95 pounds
    Hang Power Clean 5-5-5 75 pounds (trying not to do these for too many reps a set, and starting very conservatively with the weight)
    Arnold Press 10-8-8 20 pounds
    Dumbbell Lateral Raise 10-10-8 10 pounds
    Barbell curl 8-6-4 65-55 pounds (overestimated load for first set, so I dropped 10 pounds and am working up from there)
    Close Grip Bench 10-6-5 120 pounds
    Seated Dumbbell Curl 10-6-6 20 pounds
    Tricep Pushdown 10-6-6 45-35 pounds (got a full 10 on the first set at 45 pounds, but the form started shortening up more than I liked so I lowered the weight)
    Wrist Curls 12-8-12-12 55 pounds (experimenting a bit with form and load, think I settled on a good one)
    Reverse Wrist Curls 15-10-6-4 25 pounds (this is when I settled on doing this set/rep scheme for the lighter lifts)
    Reverse Crunch 5 sets of 20

    Day 3
    Squat 10-6-4 195 pounds
    Lunges 10-10-10 unweighted
    Leg Curl 15-15-10-6 40 pounds
    SLDL 10-10-10 175
    Good Morning 10-10-10 95
    Calf Raises 20-20-20-20 25 pounds
    Crunches 5 sets of 20

    Day 4
    Bench Press 10-10-6 145 pounds
    Incline Press 10-6-4 115 pounds
    Pullover 15-15-15-10 24 pounds
    Deadlift 10-8-6 245 pounds
    Barbell Row 10-8-6 125 pounds
    Supine Pulldown 15-10-8-8 120 pounds (not sure if I'm going to do this as a 4 set or 3 set lift yetm probably as a lighter 4 set lift for now since my home pulldown setup can't accomodate a good brace to do the lift really heavy)
    Crunches 5 sets of 20

    Day 5
    Seated Overhead Press 10-6-6 95 pounds
    Hang Power Clean 5-5-5 78 pounds
    Arnold Press 10-10-8 22 pounds
    Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15-10-6-6 10 pounds
    Barbell Curl 10-6-6 60 pounds
    Close Grip Bench 10-10-6 120 pounds
    Seated Dumbbell curl 15-10-6-6 17 pounds
    Tricep Pushdowns 15-10-6-6 35 pounds
    Wrist Curls 15-15-10-10 55 pounds
    Reverse Wrist Curls 15-10-6-6 25 pounds
    Reverse Crunches 5 sets of 20

    Day 6
    Squat 10-6-6 195
    Lunges 10 25 pounds (cut this short because lunging with a bar on the shoulders as Arnold recommends is causing me to bump into shit in the basement with the bar, going to do front squats here going forward, or slash this slot from the routine entirely since the low bar squat still does its job perfectly training the leg muscles)
    Leg Curls 15-10-6-4 42.5 pounds
    SLDL 10-6-4 185 pounds
    Good Morning 10-6-4 100 pounds
    Calf Raises 15-15-15-15 30 pounds
    Crunches 5 sets of 20

    NOTES: I don't know yet if this is making me any stronger, but it sure is making me sore. Also makes the muscles really swell up. Definitely not going to be able to do those barbell lunges in my basement, so I'm gonna do conservatively loaded front squats instead. I'm hoping it'll help with my tendency to drop down in the clean with a lateral split instead of knee bend. Getting more comfortable with the front squat motion may help fix that, I hope.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2019


    WEEK 2(The End)

    Day 1
    Bench Press 10-6-6 147.5 pounds
    Incline Press 10-6-6 115 pounds
    Pullover 15-10-10-6 30 pounds
    Deadlift 10-10-6 245 pounds
    Barbell Row 10-10-6 125 pounds
    Supine Pulldown 15-10-6-4 125 pounds
    Crunches 5 sets of 20

    Day 2
    Seated Overhead Press 10-6-4 95 pounds
    Hang Power Clean 3x5 80 pounds
    Arnold Press 10-6-4 24 pounds
    Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15-10-8-6 10 pounds
    Barbell Curl 10-6-4 60 pounds
    Close Grip Bench 10-10-10 120 pounds
    Seated Dumbbell Curl 15-10-8-6 17 pounds
    Tricep Pushdowns 15-10-8-6 35 pounds
    Wrist Curls 15-10-6-4 60 pounds
    Reverse Wrist Curls 15-10-8-6 25 pounds
    Reverse Crunch 5 sets of 20

    FINAL NOTES: Noticed a backslide in strength on the overhead press, and ended up sleeping 12+ hours after the day 2 workout. Made the executive decision to terminate the program as I was getting a whiff of overtraining. I started pretty conservatively with a lot of these lifts and figured I'd work my way up to hitting failure as directed. I started off at that spot on the seated overhead press, and it actually went down between workouts. The program succeeded at creating the "pump" effect, but there are probably smarter ways to achieve that while still effectively strength training. I would personally rate this program poorly. Maybe I just don't have "superior genetics" required to make it work, or maybe it's something...else. But the combined volume, frequency, AND intensity (shooting for failure in every set) just don't work well. As has been said, you don't get stronger from lifting weights, you get stronger from recovering from lifting weights. And this program has very little recovery from lifting weights.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2017


    The best any of us can do for now is to improvise with what is available. At least you will gain instead of loose muscle mass. Once back in the gym strength training progress will be made much faster then if you had done nothing. I am very fortunate to have a rack/weights setup in my basement so my training will not be affected at all. Keep it up! I am curious to track your progress and see what the results are.


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