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Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men Hardcover – April 20, 1981


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About the Author

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Thal, Austria in 1947, and served as governor of California from 2003-2011. Before that, he had a long career, starring in such films as the Terminator series; Stay Hungry, for which he won a Golden Globe; Twins; Predator; and Junior. His first book Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder was a bestseller when published in 1977 and, along with his Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, have never been out of print since. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

PART I: FITNESS AND BODYBUILDING

What Is Fitness?

Physical fitness involves the development of all of the body's physical capabilities.

For example, when exercise physiologists tested weightlifters and bodybuilders about twenty years ago they found these men had tremendous strength and muscular development, but that most of them lacked the endurance that comes from cardiovascular training. Their muscles were in great shape, but not their heart and lungs.

Lifting weights, it was then decided, leads to an unbalanced physical development. But then it occurred to somebody that that kind of a standard should work both ways. If you test a long-distance runner, you will generally find he has enormous capacity for endurance but, unless he has done some kind of resistance training, he will tend to lack strength, especially in the upper body. He is also unbalanced.

But things have changed a lot since that time. It is now difficult to find a weightlifter or bodybuilder who doesn't do some kind of aerobic training, and many endurance athletes -- particularly swimmers -- include a lot of strength-training in their workouts. And it is working: the totally fit athlete is not only healthier, but he has an edge over his competitors as well.

I have always followed this principle in my own training. Having been a competitive swimmer and soccer player before I became a bodybuilder, I knew what being in shape really means. So I always included a lot of, running and stretching movements in my workouts along with progressive-resistance weight training.

Total fitness, as I see it, has three components:

(1) Aerobic conditioning. Aerobic activity is anything that uses up a lot of oxygen. Oxygen is delivered to the muscles by the cardiovascular system -- the lungs, heart and circulation of the blood. This system is developed by continuous, high-repetition exercise such as running, swimming, jumping rope, riding a bicycle, etc.

(2) Flexibility. Muscles, tendons and ligaments tend to shorten over a period of time, which limits our range of motion and renders us more liable to injury when sudden stresses are placed on these structures. But we can counteract this tendency by stretching exercises and physical programs such as yoga.

(3) Muscular Conditioning. There is only one way to develop and strengthen the muscles: resistance training. When you contract the muscles against resistance, they adapt to this level of effort. The best and most efficient way of doing this is through weight training.

Beyond this, once we have the body in shape, we have to learn to use it. This is where sports and athletic activities come in. But we cannot fully enjoy the act of physical play if we haven't developed the basic physical systems with which we have been endowed.

Nutrition and diet are also essential. It makes no sense to make demands on the body if you haven't given it the nutrients it needs to function properly. Therefore an important part of this program involves learning how and what to eat to maximize health and energy.

But of all these areas the one which is most often misunderstood -- and which in many ways incorporates the widest range of benefits -- is weight training. And the reason that progressive-resistance weight training is so valuable to building and maintaining health and strength become obvious once you take a look at the nature of the muscle that makes up the human body.

The Nature of Muscle

There are three kinds of muscle in the body, each with its own characteristics.

(1) Smooth muscle is found in the walls of internal or visceral organs such as blood vessels and intestines.

(2) Cardiac muscle is the tissue that makes up the heart, and it can be strengthened by cardiovascular, high-repetition exercise.

(3) Skeletal muscle is the system of long muscles that control the movement of the body. It is this kind of muscle, under voluntary control, that weight training is designed to strengthen and condition.

Muscle has one simple function -- it contracts. Nothing else. That is why our bodies are designed with opposing muscles or sets of muscles. When you extend or move a part of the body in one direction, it takes the contraction of an opposing muscle to bring it back.

We have muscles because of gravity. Our planet's gravitational field holds us prisoner, and the purpose of muscle is to overcome this basic force. If we lived on a larger planet with a stronger gravitational field, we would have larger muscles. If evolution had prepared us for life on the moon with its one-sixth earth gravity, our muscular structure would be correspondingly lighter.

Muscle is highly adaptive. It changes according to the demands put upon it. For example, a friend of mine broke his leg skiing and was confined to a hospital bed for several weeks. When the cast finally came off, I could hardly believe how thin and weak the injured leg had become. Kept immobile by the cast, the muscles had shrunk noticeably.

The same sort of thing happened to our astronauts who spent so much time in Skylab. I was discussing physical fitness with some NASA officials recently and they told me that these men practically had to learn to walk all over again after returning from long periods of weightlessness in space. Outside the earth's normal gravitational field, their muscles had become maladapted for moving around the planet.

When you lift a weight, or work against some other sort of resistance, you are, in effect, creating an artificial gravitational field. When I was training to win my Mr. Olympia titles and was lifting enormous weights every day in the gym, it was as if I were living on a giant planet like Jupiter instead of the earth. As a result, my body was forced to adapt to this extra effort and my muscles became stronger and more massive.

Since I train these days as much for flexibility, coordination and endurance as for strength, my physique has changed. But by going back to my former hard training for six months or so, I could build myself back up from 215 to my solid 240-pound competition weight. Other people may not be able to make gains like this -- a lot of it is genetic -- but the basic principle is the same: use a muscle and it gets bigger and stronger; fail to subject it to sufficient stress and it will get weaker and smaller.

Muscle Size and Strength

The shrinking of a muscle due to underuse is called atrophy. The increase in size of muscle when it is subjected to greater amounts of stress is called hypertrophy.

Muscle tissue itself is composed of bundles of fibers. These fibers are really tiny, and they are wrapped together and bound in a sheath of tissue for strength. We are each given a certain number of these fibers at birth, and we can't increase them through diet, exercise, or any other means. But we can do a lot to alter their size and strength.

Strength is a matter of several factors:

(1) The number of fibers in a muscle.

(2) The number of fibers that participate in any given muscular contraction.

(3) The strength and thickness of the individual fibers.

When you attempt to contract a muscle, you are actually only using a percentage of the fibers that are theoretically available to you. You use only the number that you need to use.

If you keep trying to work against heavier and heavier amounts of resistance, the body adapts by causing more and more of the muscle fibers to engage in the contraction. This takes some time, and there is obviously a physiological limit to this process. But it remains true that the way you get stronger through resistance training is by forcing the muscles to call on increased numbers of muscle fibers to do the work you are asking of them.

In this way, the body is not like a machine. If you connect a 10-horsepower motor to a 12-horsepower load, it will burn out. But if you demand a 12-horsepower effort from a... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (April 20, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671256130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671256135
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Remember to keep your workouts fun.
rook056
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to make a positive change in their life by becoming more fit and healthy.
Dan Scoville
This has a lot of good, useful information in it.
Michael D. Smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cain on June 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
The information presented in the book is no-frills weight training and practical advice. Perhaps that is why some people don't like it. They are usually the ones who are taken in by the allure of protein shakes, supplements of dubious value, and exotic weight training routines. It is unfortunate that Arnold, like most bodybuilders, got his huge gains from steroids. He is clear, however that his massive gains took many years to achieve. People still believe they can go from flab to male model muscle in 12 weeks or 6 months. Muscle takes work, time, and dedication, more than most people are willing to devote. Arnold's dietary advice is practical and no-nonsense. He deflates the standard ideas of high protein diets and vitamin supplements as a way to speed muscle gains. His recommendations are pretty standard, lots of fruits & veggies, small amounts of meat, avoid heavily processed foods. Not a very marketable point of view but at least a logical one. His blurbs about daily nutrition requirements were most likely lifted straight from the FDA, but that info comes from scientists, so its better information than what you read in muscle magazines.
The pictures are of course dated. Nobody wears calf socks and skimpy shorts with white piping anymore, and the models are like normal folks, hairy, balding, shaped funny. Today we are so used to shaved, tanned and sculpted models in magazines and books it is somewhat disconcerting to read this older tome.
His routines are brutal, so don't expect to be able do them completely. Mutiple sets are at the core of his training regimen. I tend to do only 2-3 sets per muscle group, but that is what I am comfortable with. Vary the routines to your liking and ability, because not everybody can keep up with Arnie...
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lonnie E. Clemmons on November 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone who is just starting out in weight trainig. It has all the fundemental routines and breaks you in while keeping you motivated. A Must Have!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By bobluhrs@exchange.microsoft.com on January 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've used the method in this book for several years, starting at age 47, I'm now 52, and it changed my life, made me stronger, healthier and more sucessful. Highly, highly recommended. There's a lot to learn but when you do it completely for awhile, and then you see others coming into the gym doing their routines, you really see the superiority of this method. It is totally thought out and very beneficial for both men and women. I have started my daughter using it, and she has seen the same great results. Kudos to the master. I could lose his movies, but NOT this book!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By sneed hearn on September 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great, no frills, concise set of routines from the legendary Arnold. He covers the major muscles areas, stretching, diet, etc. My only fault with the book is the lack of variations in the exercises. I have created my own routines based on his sequence, however, and use his routines as the cornerstone of my workouts. For a huge choice of variations for each muscle group, check out Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl. I use Arnolds sequence and get my variations from Pearl's book. Arnold recommends three times through the workout, and when time permits I do that, but I've had decent results with 2x, adding a few reps to each set. This is a great addition to anyones fitness library.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By rook056 on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I can verify this book definitely works. Essential for those starting to workout with little experience or knowledge of fitness.

It's educational since it covers diferent body types, age groups, and fitness goals. The exercises are functional and provide results. They're broken down into several segments that cover various body groups. He gives recomendations as to how many reps and sets, and how you should structure your workout regimen based on what your goals are. An added bonus is he addresses workouts based on your age group. He also encourages you reap the benefits of getting fit by becoming more active with sports for recreation.

You can start out little equipment, gradually build up a collection of weights. His initial work out program is designed to increase your chest size and decrease your waistline by a couple of inches, to encourage you to keep on working out.

Some people may be put off by the old wardrobe in the photo's and the current trends such as kettle balls. This book is still worthwhile to buy!

My testimonial is:

Initially, I was shape in the US Army. I was 150 lbs. with a 26" waistline, yet was fit enough to fireman's carry a 210 lb. guy a 1/2 mile while jogging. My Army fitness was based on labor intensive work and routine PT (Physical Fitness Training). I got out, got out of shape, dropped to 130 lbs. and had little muscle.

I bought a starter weight set (80 lbs) and this book. Gradually, I kept working out and picked up more equipment. I was so weak that I had to use the bars (without weights since I had never lifted weights before. Honestly, I was embarassed to workout in front of anyone. My goal was to build strength.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 18, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book for my boyfriend and he loves it. The book is broken down in to specific areas and along with the pictures, make exercises easy to understand and do correctly. The pictures are VERY outdated which makes for a good laugh, but overall the book is great. NO FLUFF! And you can never go wrong with Arrrrnnnold.
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