The year is 1977. The British television show Magpie geared towards children’s entertainment was in its ninth year on the air and they invited Arnold Schwarzenegger to come on the program and share some beginner exercises that people could use to build a body like Arnold’s — the pinnacle of symmetry and aesthetics of the era.
By the time of this on-air interview, Arnold had won five Mr. Universe titles and was a 6-time Mr. Olympia champion (he would go on to win a 7th in 1980).
The interview took place on a set backdropped with cotton candy colored streamers and lit to look like a disco right before a party. The presenter of the show, Tommy Boyd, looks quite small standing next to an elite bodybuilder. The muscle tank he wore only accentuated the size discrepancy. Luckily, he was about to get some training tips from one of the best in the world.
Check out the entire interview on Magpie via the video below thanks to Blast From The Past’s YouTube Channel:
Of all the exercises in Schwarzenegger’s arsenal, he decided to keep it simple:
The first two are foundational movements for any powerlifter, weightlifter, strongman, or bodybuilder. The last is a bit more of a vanity exercise, but an integral one for a bodybuilder to obtain the proportions necessary to compete on stage. Schwarzenegger says to Boyd:
“First of all, I have to compliment you for your physical development because you really look very athletic and good. So don’t put yourself down.”
Using a 65lb barbell, Schwarzenegger performs a simple demonstration of each movement. The interview morphs into a comedy routine when Boyd tries to follow suit — the first thing Boyd asks is which muscles are targeted by the bench press.
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Once the exercise demo/comedy routine is complete, Boyd and Schwarzenegger take a look at some footage from Pumping Iron — a documentary that covered the golden age of bodybuilding. Boyd notices the agony on the athletes faces as they perform dumbbell flyes and inquires if that pain is “in any way important”. Schwarzenegger responds:
“You can see what kind of strenuous exercises one has to go through to become a world champion. That, I think, separates the ones who just do it for health and fitness and the ones who really do it for profession and want to be world champion. You have to break through that pain barrier if you ever want to get there.”
It seems Schwarzenegger’s training philosophy could be summed up by the classic phrase: “no pain, no gain.”
Feature image from Arnold Nation’s Instagram page: @arnold_bodybuildingmotivation