To be the best, you have to learn from the best. So if you want to get built, what better way to learn than to follow Arnold Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding advice? After all, the man was elected Mister Olympia 7 times and Mister Universe 5 times in his career. His six best bodybuilding tips are guaranteed to help you make progress.
Never forget where you started
To see the progress, you have to know where you started. Take pictures at the beginning of every program you start. Schwarzy writes in his book The Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding:
This way, you can always check back to find out what kind of progress you have made.
If you want to build muscle, don't go straight to isolation exercises. Instead, focus on compound exercises. They will allow you to gain more overall strength.
Once you have gained 15 pounds or more of muscle mass, you are ready to begin adding a great variety of exercises to your routine.
Chase the pump
Anyone who knows Arnold Schwarzenegger knows he loves 'the pump.' The idea is to perform a number of exercises to create as much tension as possible in the muscle. Scientifically speaking, 'the pump' is blood rushing to the muscle you're training, causing the muscle to literally swell inside. You should aim to achieve this every time you work out because it also helps you gain muscle.
Don't be single (ditch the 1RM)
Although it does help you gain strength, doing one repetition at your maximum weight (1RM) isn't going to help you gain mass. Drop the very heavy weights and work on doing 8-12 repetitions with slightly lighter load instead.
No matter how many fibres the weightlifter involves in one maximal lift, he still uses fewer than he would if he used less weight and did more repetitions.
Even though strength and mass don't require the same fibres, Schwarzenegger knows what he's talking about. But if you really want to do both, try this upgraded version of the 5X5.
Don't fear the machines
The machines that you have today, I wish that I could have used them in addition to what I did.
That's saying a lot. Free weights are good but don't fear the machines. They were conceived to avoid injuries and optimize muscle contraction. They're a great addition to any workout—just hit them at the end.
Take all the rest you need
You won't see results if you're not getting enough rest. It's one of the basic rules of bodybuilding. To achieve this, you must listen to your body and take at least one day in which you avoid intense physical activity, regardless of your goals. If you feel like your body needs another day to recover from a tough workout, take the day off. But be mindful not to start using workouts as an excuse to get more rest than you need. That won't help you get results either.