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The Bench Press Skills of Arnold Schwarzenegger

written by: Angela Atkinson • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 5/18/2011

Have you ever wondered how much the legendary bodybuilder turned politician can bench press? Find out how much he could lift at his prime and what he says about bodybuilding today.

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    In their quest to become better bodybuilders, many people find themselves wondering what their favorite bodybuilding idols can lift. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one such idol. In addition to being the former governor of California, he is an accomplished actor, legendary lifter and former Mr. Olympia.

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    The Legend

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    The Man, The Myth, The Legend

    While the average 175 pound man can bench press about 135 pounds, Schwarzenegger is said to have been able to bench press up to 500 pounds during his prime. According to experts, while more may have been possible, Schwarzenegger never attempted it. Still, along with his peers, Schwarzenegger helped to make competitive body building what it is today.

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    Train Like Schwarzenegger

    Arnold Schwarzenegger used a fairly basic, though incredibly intense, training routine in his bodybuilding days, one that is likely far less complicated than those used by his present-day counterparts. His usual lifting routine, for example, consisted of bench presses, incline presses, dumbbell flyers and cable crossovers.

    While his routines were far too strenuous for average Joes, the average person can gain insight from Schwarzenegger’s fitness philosophy. He believes that it’s important to pay attention to every part of your body, lest you risk being weak and disproportionate in certain areas. He knows what he’s talking about—Schwarzenegger himself is rumored to have worn pants for the first several years of his bodybuilding career to hide his scrawny and neglected legs.

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    The Current Reality

    In an interview published on his website, Schwarzenegger is asked directly how much he can bench press, to which he replies, “To be honest, I have not bench-pressed for 20 years. No. I mean, you know, I'm out of the competitive arena of bodybuilding -- for fitness purposes, and so I don't do any bench press."

    But, says Schwarzenegger, he stays in shape. He believes that aerobic activity, including running, biking and swimming, is one key to staying in shape. He spends a half hour each day on his aerobic workouts. Plus, he says, he strength trains for a half hour each day on the weights. Schwarzenegger says he does more intensive workouts during the shooting of a film.