Here’s Why Arnold Schwarzenegger Could Squash You with His Thumbs

Gabriel Luna needed a kick in the pants to prepare for his role in the upcoming Terminator: Dark Fate. Today Luna is best known for playing Robbie Reyes. The demonically possessed Ghost Rider on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. After the latest Terminator movie opens, he’ll be known as the newest, meanest, most advanced killer cyborg. The 36-year-old actor had to get his body in a better place to play the next-generation Terminator Rev-9 going up against the iconic original T-880.

Training started the day Luna landed the first audition. “I knew I had to get my body into a good place,” he says, “because at the time, I was drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes and all this other stuff I didn’t need to be doing if I intended to play this role.”

Luna knew he’d eventually have to go on set and stand in front of Arnold Schwarzenegger. “…my motivation was, I want him to see me and see a formidable foe. I don’t want him to see me and think, I could squash this guy with my thumbs.

When you need motivation before your next workout, put yourself in Luna’s place. You don’t want to be the guy that Arnold can squash with his thumbs. Get out there and maximize your program. Build your body with training guidelines from Schwarzenegger’s book, The Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding.

Concentrate on first things first.

Building strength should be your first goal, and you can get strong by focusing on multi-joint moves like bench presses and squats. “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,” says Schwarzenegger. Then you can move on to those biceps curls that will give you the big guns you want.

Favor the reps.

Go ahead and take pride in hitting that single rep at your heaviest weight. You’ve earned the applause. Just remember that Arnold says doing 8 to 12 reps every set will do you more good. “No matter how many fibers the weightlifter involves in one maximal lift, he still uses fewer than he would if he used less weight and did more repetitions,” Schwarzenegger says.

Feel the pump.

Strive to feel the “pump” in every workout even if you are struggling. Concentrate hard enough, and you’ll feel the sensation of blood pumping to the muscle you’re training. The rush of blood causes the muscle to swell, and that’s what you’re looking for when building muscle, Schwarzenegger says.

Cut yourself a day of slack.

Flat-out, non-stop, 7-day-a-week workouts are counter-productive. Stay away from touching even a single weight at least one day each week. Don’t schedule strenuous activity on that free day. “If you’re running marathons Sunday, you are probably not going to have much energy when you go back to the gym on Monday,” says Schwarzenegger.

Track your progress.

Before you begin a serious training regimen, document your start by taking pictures of yourself from the front, back and side. “This way, you can always check back to find out what kind of progress you have made,” Schwarzenegger says.


  1. Hi Anthony! Thank you for your question! As Arnold says, “No matter how many fibers the weightlifter involves in one maximal lift, he still uses fewer than he would if he used less weight and did more repetitions.” And from our research and experience, lifting a lower weight with a higher number of reps increases your muscle endurance so you can move up in weight and therefore build more muscle mass. Happy weightlifting!

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