Long before he was an icon, long before everyone knew his name, once he to be a fast-growing nobody back in Austria and then in Germany, he was a competitive weightlifter and also then powerlifter. Then, during his Olympia-winning years in California, his fame thrived with his muscles, yet did his stamin grow, too? How solid was Arnold Schwarzenegger?


WEIGHTLIFTING

Young Arnold completed in at the very least three Olympic-style weightlifting contests, the an initial (in one Austrian beer hall) as soon as he just 14. In 1965, approximately the time the turned 18, he winner the heavyweight class of the Austrian Olympic Lifting Championships. Ago when there were three lifts, his bests were: overhead press 264 lbs. (120 kg.), snatch 243 lbs. (110 kg.), and clean and jerk 298 lbs. (135 kg.). Two years later, a journalist observed that Arnold at the time “occupied one undisputed an initial place in the list of Austrian weightlifters.” Still, the complete of 805 lbs. (365 kg.) would’ve to be a warmup for the optimal lifters in ~ the 1964 Olympics; the heavyweight gold medalist topped it by over 200 kg. No worries. Arnold was simply a kid, and also he was already collecting bodybuilding title and about to try powerlifting.

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POWERLIFTING

Arnold contended in at least three powerlifting meets over 18 months in 1966-68, progressing rapidly from a 1290-lb. Complete to simply shy that 1600-lbs. The last high note was collection at the 1968 German Powerlifting Championships, where, in ~ 20 and currently Mr. Universe, he won the heavyweight course while pull on in simple gym clothes. His finest lifts climate were: squat 474 lbs. (215 kg.), bench press 441 lbs. (200 kg.), and also deadlift 683 lbs. (310 kg.) because that a total the 1598 lbs. (725 kg.). His squat was clearly lagging, however that deadlift was phenomenal, close to 700 when the 800-pound obstacle had however to fall. And, again, he was just 20, and also his toughness was swiftly increasing. If he had actually bulked-up and also focused top top deadlifting for the next few years, that could’ve chased the civilization record. Yet this to be his last powerlifting meet. Training solely for bodybuilding, that did not do lot deadlifting ~ the ’60s.


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Arnold squatting 445, deep, for reps / Artie Zeller

Then there to be the squats, numerous them, an practice rarely connected with the seven-time Mr. Olympia and a glaring weakness from his quick powerlifting career. Topping turn off an exhausting onslaught of eight pyramided sets, both men did 465 for 6-8 reps. A one-rep calculator puts Arnold’s max squat in ~ 540 come 577, depending on if he obtained 6 or 8 reps, which is in line v his claimed ideal of 545. It’s feasible he grew stronger end the next couple of years (he completed at his heaviest in 1974, but he also had knee surgery in 1973), but we absence eyewitness or photographic proof of enlarge lifts.

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In his prime, if the wasn’t piling on more metal than ever before, he was straining come eke out much more reps. The photo above is the 445 collection before that 465 apex. A half-century ago, Arnold remained in a cinder-block box cranking out six to eight together deep together he can dive v a small stance and with essentially the very same weight that used, once, because that his powerlifting best two year before. Rising and also rising, rep after rep, that was turning a weakness right into a strength. That’s how legends are made.


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