Reg Park’s Beginner Routine

Perhaps the finest natural example of the perfect balance between aesthetic physique and phenomenal strength is the late Reg Park. It was Reg Park was the inspiration for a young Arnold Schwarzenegger to pick up his first set of weights. Park won Mr. Britain in 1949 and although there were bodybuilders before him, his level of size and development raised the bar and would not be surpassed until Arnold himself appeared on the competitive scene in the late 1960s. Reg stood 6’1″ and weighed over 250 pounds – standards which were enormous for the time. (comparing the physique of Park to his predecessors would be like us comparing Phil Heath today to the bodybuilders of the 70s!)

Reg Park’s Beginner’s routine below was the exact one used by Arnold in his late teens to get jacked. Like Park, Arnold trained at this routine 3 times a week and it comprised mainly of heavy compound movements done with the “5×5″ protocol. But unlike the more popular 5×5 “sets across” that we see in Bill Starr’s routine, Park advocated that sets 1 and 2 are to be warmups for sets 3,4 and 5. In other words, once you hit your max weight for five reps after two warmups, then crank out 3 sets of 5.

For example, say your bench press is a max of 225lbs for 5 reps (which is about 90% of 1RM), the first set would be at 60% – 135 lbs, then the next warmup set could be 80% – 185lbs.


Reg Park’s Beginner’s Routine

Workout A:
Back Squats 5×5
Chin-Ups or Pull-Ups 5×5
Dips or Bench Press 5×5
Barbell Curls 2×10
Wrist Work 2×10
Calves 2×15-20


Workout B:
Front Squats 5×5
Rows 5×5
Standing Press 5×5
Deadlifts 3×5 (2 warm-up sets and 1 “stabilizer set”)
Wrist Work 2×10
Calves 2×15-20


Training Schedule:
Week 1: A, B, A
Week 2: B, A, B
Week 3: A, B, A and so forth.


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10 Responses to Reg Park’s Beginner Routine

  1. nick December 30, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    why barbell curl is not in other websites

  2. Arnold Schwarzenegger January 4, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    One of my favorite workouts

  3. Cris January 12, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Rest beetwen set?

  4. admin January 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    Cris – that’s something variable – 2-4 minutes.

  5. Rill January 31, 2015 at 3:56 am #

    Haha, if anyone of you belive Reg Park was natural , bwahaha I feel sorry for you. “Finest natural example”.

  6. admin January 31, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    “… it can be stated with near certainty that Steve Reeves, Clancy Ross, John Grimek, Jack Delinger, Reg Park, John Farbotnik, George Eiferman, etc – who all won major physique titles before the Soviets began using testosterone and before synthetic steroids were introduced in 1956 – were not using bioavailable testosterone or synthetic steroids at the time of their Mr. America, Mr. USA and Mr. Universe wins.”

  7. John October 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    Is this a good routine for someone that practices karate 2 days per week/1 hour sessions?
    Need to pack on some size, but not over work to the point that I am unable to do my Martial Arts practice.
    We run sprints and do lots of bag work these sessions so that keeps my cardio good.

  8. Biff November 18, 2015 at 3:42 am #

    Testosterone Proprianate was developed in 1938. It was in widespread use in the Southern California bodybuilding scene by the early 1940′s. Of the old time bodybuilding greats, only Grimek would have been drug free because nothing was available when he started training. If you compare his physique to the more ‘finished’ physiques of the mid ‘forties and later, you see the clear difference that testosterone supplementation adds to a bodybuilder’s physique.

  9. Chris V December 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm #

    Do you think that squat, bench, overhead press, bent over row, pullups and sldl, 3×8-12 each, 3 days per week would be good? Can you overtrain on this routine?

  10. admin December 19, 2015 at 1:05 am #

    Chris, I think its way too much. I would either break that into an upper/lower or full-body push/pull.

    So U/L would be:

    Day One

    Day Two


    Day One

    Day Two

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