The Amazing Physique Of A. Schwarzenegger & How He Developed It (1967 Article)


Published in Iron Man Magazine in 1967 by Arnold’s friend Albert Busek, the following article details Arnold’s rise to fame alongside his working routine of the time. A fine biography and reminder that even during the 60s, people marvelled at the Austrian’s successes.

JUST a short year ago his name was still generally unknown, but on October 30, 1965, in Stuttgart, his meteoric rise to international fame began.

However, let us review his story from the very beginning. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, the son of police inspector Gustav Schwarzenegger and his wife, Aurelia. As a child he was taken along by his father to curling contests, and very soon the desire to emulate his father’s interest in sports awakened in him. At the same time he realised that that wouldn’t be a very easy thing to do, for his father was – and still is – an outstanding sportsman. Among other things, his father was the European title holder in distance curling, and several times he won awards as state champion in gymnastics and calisthenics. In his early efforts to achieve distinction in athletics, Arnold had to content himself with a merely average performance, and was very disappointed in this result. That happened in February, 1962, at the Graz City Championship in Distance Curling for Juniors. Arnold only won sixth place. For the son of a well-known sportsman that was naturally an unfortunate start, but Arnold was simply too weak to assert himself against the best performers. Thus, for the moment, his drive to reach the top came to a sudden halt.

So it began…

One day in the late fall, on one of the last warm days of the season, on the beach of Thaler Lake near Graz, Arnold struck up an acquaintance which was destined to have perhaps the most important consequences for him. For a long time he had been watching a young man whose outstanding physique literally commanded attention. He tried to approach this young man, but didn’t trust himself to strike up a conversation. KURT MARNUL, who was at that time the ideal of all Austrian bodybuilders, had naturally noticed the admiring glances of the youngster, and spoke to him directly. The conversation ended with an invitation to Arnold to come along to a training session. The very next day Arnold appeared in the training rooms of the weightlifting club Athletic Union in Graz and met Kurt Marnul, who was employed there as a trainer. Under the guidance of this experienced bodybuilder and weightlifter he made rapid progress, and in a comparatively short time it became clear to all that here an extraordinary talent was developing. At the beginning of his training. Arnold’s measurements, as recorded by Kurt Marnul, were as follows:

Bodyweight 154; Height 5’11½”; Upper arm 13; Chest 41¼; Waist 27½; Thigh 21; Calf 14¾.

Early successes

By the following summer, Arnold’s measurements had improved markedly:

Bodyweight 176; Height 6′; Upper arm 16; Chest 45¾; Waist 28; Thigh 23; Calf 16.

As early as January of 1964, Arnold was able to reap the first benefits of his intensive training, naturally enough, in curling. In addition to working out with the barbells, he still went with his father to curling meets, and by now he enjoyed considerable success. He outdistanced his former competitors by far, and became not only state and provincial champion (Junior Class) in curling, put also won second place in the general European meet held in Yugoslavia. Thus Arnold had achieved his first ambition while barely 17 years of age, and his father was justly proud of him. After the general European meet, the young victor was able to concentrate completely on the forthcoming Mr. Austria 1964 contest, the date of which had been set for April. With almost fanatic zeal, Arnold trained for two to three hours a day, was able to make even further improvements in the little time left him, and made an impressive showing in his first major contest. He became Junior Mr. Austria, and took third place in the Senior Class after Kurt Marnul and Helmut Cerncic. Since he trained in a weightlifting club, it was natural for him to take part in the weightlifting competitions too.

Master of weightlifting

In autumn of the same year he became Styrian champion (Juniors) with a total of 705 lbs. In the spring of 1965 he continued his string of victories by winning the Mr. Styria title. It is perhaps worth mentioning that the victory trophy was donated by the Austrian Chancellor of the time, Dr. Alfons Gorbach. In spite of his many successes, Arnold was never content to rest on his laurels, and kept trying to improve himself. Perhaps that is the secret of his success in general. One must, however, esteem his mental attitude and his modesty even higher than his athletic successes. These qualities, together with his outstanding physical development, made him stand out even early in his career in the competitions in which he participated.

As early as the summer of 1965, he occupied an undisputed first place in the list of Austrian weightlifters, thus outstripping all his former teachers and training companions, and at the age of hardly 18. In September Arnold passed his examinations in business school, and thus his commercial apprenticeship ended. On the first of October, he was drafted into the army, where he served as a tank driver. Everyone knows that basic training for military service involves, even for a highly trained athlete, great hardships and deprivations. And one is astonished to discover how, in spite of it all, Arnold still found time to prepare for the Best Built Athlete of 1965 in Stuttgart. Naturally he wasn’t able to improve markedly; he was only able to stay in condition. Nevertheless, that didn’t damage his unshakable optimism. And thus he appeared for the first time in an international competition and had to compete at the very outset with some of Europe’s finest among the Juniors, such as Dischinger and Fluck. That he walked away with the victory here too, at his very first attempt, and that he was able to do so with the very highest number of points possible, proved even then his exceptional standing in weightlifting circles. The underdeveloped beginner had, in three short years, turned into an athletic young man of incomparable size and muscularity, as can be seen by his measurements, which were then:

Bodyweight 198; Height 6’1″; Upper arm 17¾; Chest 50; Waist 30; Thigh 24½; Calf 16¼.

He awakens admiration, however, not only by his measurements, but equally by virtue of his extraordinary harmonious total development and definition. His appearance in Stuttgart impressed the experts so much that he was signed up immediately for the next Mr. Germany contest, as a guest star, by the president of the DKV, Mr. Putziger. When his basic training was over, Arnold was able to devote himself increasingly to his training with barbells. In the barracks his experiences in the army were similar to those of Reinhard Lichtenberg. He was frequently asked by his buddies to remove his shirt and put his muscles on display. That there was also strength and endurance in those muscles (which was doubted by some of the skeptics) Arnold proved at the military meets held in Graz.

At those meets he took a distinguished third place, although he hadn’t prepared himself for specifically these disciplines at all. For example, he did a shot putt of 13.85 metres, threw the baseball 95 metres, and broad jumped 6.10 metres.

Then on March 6, 1966, when Arnold appeared as a guest at the Mr. Germany contest, many of the experts were convinced that he had then reached his peak development, and from there on could only improve minimally. On the basis of his measurements, he could be numbered even then among the best of European bodybuilders. Since Arnold made such great progress in the last half of the year, he entered the Mr. Universe contest with the official association of the NABBA in London.

On August 1, Arnold moved to Munich where he took a job in a sporting goods store. His employer, himself a great sports enthusiast, left him enough time to prepare for the Mr. Universe contest.

Those who had thought earlier in the spring that Arnold had already attained his best possible form and peak development, were now forced to change their opinions. It is difficult to believe how, in the space of two short months, Arnold built up and increased in massiveness. It contradicts every traditional law and norm. In this short time he almost equaled his great ideal, Reg Park. It is hard to imagine where Arnold picked up the strength of will and found sufficient training energy to carry out his staggering programme; for now he was training seven times (!) a week, in training sessions that lasted from five to six hours. During training he pays particular attention to his ‘weak’ spots. His thighs and calves he trains daily. He worked his upper arms three times a week for two to three hours, doing a total altogether of 60 sets. His preparation demanded not only great physical exertion, but also the most careful way of living. That means ten hours of sleep daily, no alcohol, and no nicotine.

Breaking through to international fame

The time had finally come. Arnold had done everything possible to make the best impression he could at his first participation in an international contest. Shortly before his flight to London, he had himself measured once more. It seems hardly possible, but the following measurements are strict fact:

Bodyweight 235; Height 6’1″; Upper arm 20½; Chest 54½; Waist 31; Thigh 26¼; Calf 17¾.

Although many of those who saw him only a short time before were convinced that he would be the new Mr. Universe, Arnold repeatedly pointed out the heavy competition, and said that if he placed somewhere among the first six, he would have achieved the ambition of his dreams. It was a ‘youngster’ of 19 who said that; a young man who, for his age, had the best measurements possible and had no need to fear any opponent of his age group in the world. Oscar Heidenstam, the organiser of the Mr. Universe contest, said later of Arnold that it was refreshing to see how little the young man realised how good he actually was. Oscar Heidenstam also mentioned that he had never seen a better built 19 year old-and Mr. Heidenstam has been organising these international competitions for many years and has seen all the great figures in the iron game. This opinion carries great weight. Arnold Schwarzenegger, it can be said without exaggeration, was the sensation of the Mr. Universe contest of 1966. To be sure, he had to yield first place to the experienced and tremendously defined Chester Yorton, but he didn’t consider that a defeat, for his second place was a triumphant success.

All the members of the judges’ panel were enthusiastic about Arnold, and concede him leading chances for the title in 1967. In point of fact, Arnold had the largest measurements of all the participants in the international meet. During the competition in the huge Victoria Palace Arnold had to appear on the stage a second time and repeat his performance, because the public literally overwhelmed him with applause and demanded it. In the history of the Mr. Universe contests, only two athletes up to that point in time had been caned back to the stage a second time, Reg Park and Earl Maynard. On October 9 and again on October 30, Arnold was chosen the best built athlete of Europe in Cologne and Stuttgart respectively.

Invitation to England

Among the English public Arnold created such a sensation that he was immediately invited to three competitions in England, among them also to the Mr. Britain contest. He was signed up by Umberto Devetak to appear as a guest star at the Mr. Italy contest. On November 12 in Amsterdam he was jubilantly greeted at the Mr. Holland contest. A well deserved reward for hard and steady training. It is typical of Arnold that after his return from London he allowed himself only two days of rest and then immediately resumed his training. His goal: the Mr. Universe title in 1967. If we can assume that he continues to work towards his goal as dedicatedly and single-mindedly as he has in the past, then in 1967 his name will have to be mentioned in the same breath with those of Reeves, Park and Pearl

His measurements

Bodyweight 235 (formerly 154); Height 6’1″; Neck 18; Chest 55 (formerly 41¼); Waist 31; Upper arm 20½ (formerly 13); Thigh 26¼ (formerly 21); Calf 17¾. (measurements taken before training, cold.)

His best lifts

Full squats 430
Bench press 410
Curl 285
Deadlift 605
Three Olympic Lifts total 805
Press 265
Snatch 242
Clean and Jerk 300

His training programme

Monday, Wednesday and Friday: Upper arms and shoulders.
Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: Chest and Lats.
Sundays: All muscle groups.
Thighs and calves daily.

In any case, we wish him all the best, and we hope that he will be the first German-speaking Mr. Universe. That Arnold not only has fantastic measurements, but also belongs among the strongest athletes alive (and in this connection we must remember that he hasn’t yet reached his natural limits by any means), he proved on October 30 in Stuttgart, where, in three major lifts he beat the winner of the previous year, Pelekies, with a total of 1290 in power-lifting.


Monday, Wednesday, Friday
LATS- Chins–15 sets of 15 reps.
Bent-over rowing–15 sets of 10 reps.
CHEST- Incline-press 8 sets of 8 reps.
Bench press 8 sets of 8-8-6-6-5-5-3-3.
Flys on flat bench 8 sets of 8 reps.
Dips 5 sets of 10 reps.
Pullover on flat bench, 5 sets of 10 reps.
SHOULDERS- Press behind neck 8 sets of 8 reps.
Side laterals 8 sets of 8 reps.
Bent-over raise, 8 sets of 8 reps.
Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
ARMS – TRICEPS- Bench press with narrow grip 7 sets of 8 reps.
Tricep barbell lying 7 sets of 8 reps.
Dumbbell French press 7 sets of 10 reps.
Pull down on lat machine 7 sets of 10 reps.
ARMS BICEPS- Barbell curl 7 sets of 8 reps.
Seated dumbbell curl with one arm 7 sets of 8 reps.
One arm concentration curl with dumbbell 7 sets of 12 reps.
LEGS- Squat 5 sets of 8 reps.
Front squat 5 sets of 8 reps.
Sissy squat 5 sets of 8 reps.
Leg curls with leg machine 10 sets of 10 reps.
CALVES- Heel raises 10 sets of 20 reps.
CALVES AND ABDOMINALS Donkey raise 15 sets of 20 reps.
Sit-ups 10 sets of 20 reps.
Leg raise on incline 10 sets of 20 reps.


– Arnold Schwarzenegger is reputed to be the greatest physique prospect in the bodybuilding horizon and he was a sensation at the recent Mr. Universe, and is predicted as a sure winner next year. Those arms are now up to 21½, with a 56 chest. At 6’3″ and weighting over 235, he wants to become the biggest bodybuilder in the world. He is quite strong and has done well in lifting, and is a champ at swimming and other sports.

– Arnold uses conventional exercises known to all bodybuilders but has been training hard since he was 13, though not on weights that long. At upper left he does seated press behind neck, then rowing, curl and dumbbell concentration curl.

– Even tho a big man with huge measurements Arnold presents a clean, well proportioned appearance.

– Arnold doing the squat and seated dumbell curl, very much as you who read this do this exercise.

– Performing the chin and bench press. You will note that tho using these conventional exercises, the secret of his success is first that he was given a good foundation by his healthy parents and he works extremely hard and is very dedicated.

– You could not guess that Arnold weighs 235 as he is so well proportioned and poses very well. He wants to improve his legs considerably and feels that he will have attained closer to perfection when he does this.

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