“Some Kind of a Mickey Mouse Exercise”: Bodybuilding GOAT Arnold Schwarzenegger Once Immediately Regretted Mocking ‘Iron Guru’s’ Famous Tricep Routine

Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America in 1968. While Schwarzenegger had won the Mr. Universe title before arriving in America, the bodybuilding culture in California surprised Schwarzenegger. Despite being a champion, Arnie received no special treatment from the veterans of the bodybuilding world. In the early days, Schwarzenegger learned from veterans like IFBB co-founder Joe Weider, Gold’s Gym owner Joe Gold, and Vince’s Gym owner Vince Gironda.

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Recently, the 76-year-old sat with ultra-marathon athlete Rich Roll for a podcast. During the conversation, Arnold Schwarzenegger recalled some of his experiences with the people who taught him lifelong lessons. One of the incidents Arnie talked about was with Vince Gironda. One day, the Austrian Oak saw the Iron Guru doing a tricep exercise. Arnie cracked a joke about it because it looked amusing to him. However, he realized his mistake the following day.

Looks can be deceiving


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After watching Gironda lying down with dumbbells while performing the movement, Arnie asked the bodybuilder what exercise he was doing. Gironda said the exercise targets the “outside triceps.” The triceps have three heads, and Gironda claimed the movement would isolate the outside head. However, Arnie wasn’t convinced because the weight was too light.

“This looks like some kind of a Mickey Mouse exercise. Jesus Christ!” said the young Mr. Universe winner. “It doesn’t look like some heavy lift,” he added. However, the gym owner invited Schwarzenegger to try. Since Schwarzenegger preferred high-volume training, he performed the exercise for 20 reps and did multiple sets. While he found it easy, the following day would be different.

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“The next day this muscle here (pointing at his triceps) was just jumping all over the place,” said the 76-year-old. Despite the light weight, the exercise had sufficiently worked Arnie’s pouter triceps muscle and made it twitch from soreness. “I realized he was absolutely correct,” the Austrian Oak told Rich Roll. However, this wasn’t the only thing Arnie learned from Gironda.

Watch this story | Here’s bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger’s exclusive training guide

Vince Gironda helped Arnie bounce back after a defeat


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Two weeks after losing the 1968 Mr. Olympia to Frank Zane, Vince Gironda helped Schwarzenegger bounce back. The bodybuilder tweaked several things in Mr. Olympia’s workout routine and introduced Schwarzenegger to the preacher curl. It later became one of Schwarzenegger’s go-to biceps exercises.

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Gironda also tweaked how the Austrian trained his legs. Just like one of his idols, Reg Park, told Schwarzenegger to train his calves to be proportional to his biceps, Gironda introduced hack squats in Arnie’s routine.


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Arnold Schwarzenegger underestimated an exercise based on how it looked. However, he soon learned to not judge something before trying it out himself. Have you ever made that mistake with an exercise? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: ZeroToHero

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