Why Arnold Schwarzenegger, 74, is ditching weights in his workouts

"Physically, you just have to accept reality and do the best you can," shared the seven-time Mr. Olympia

Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press event
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It's no secret that our bodies change as we age. The activities we could do with ease in earlier days become more of a challenge, and we have to learn to adapt to this new reality. 

Fortunately, you aren't alone in this transition as even Arnold Schwarzenegger, now 74, has switched to using the best workout equipment for home, leaving free weights training behind. 

The Terminator star revealed the changes to his exercise routine in his October newsletter. Each month, the former Governor of California rounds up his latest adventures and answers fan questions. 

Schwarzenegger acknowledged his switch to weights machines in response to a reader who asked, "How has aging affected you physically and mentally?"

He commented, "I've chosen to adapt to my age, make my workouts a little bit different and focused on staying lean, and avoiding injury. This is why I've moved away from free weights and stick to the workout machines."

It seems a surprising revelation for the seven-time Mr. Olympia. Still, it shows that you don't have to be lifting the heaviest weights or achieve personal best deadlifts to keep in shape, particularly as you get older. 


Work your ass off. ##foryoupage

♬ Heart Of A Champion - Nelly

Weights machines are a great way to work specific muscles while also avoiding injury. The machine supports you should you need to drop the weight, which makes them ideal when working out alone. 

The question also got the actor and bodybuilder in a reflective mood, leading him to ponder that "none of us can beat time. So you can either mope around and be mad about it, or you can adapt."

Ever the motivator, he ended, "I still workout, because luckily, I'm addicted to training... even though my body won't react the way it did 50 years ago, I can maintain as much as I can and it brings me great joy."

The takeaway is that it's okay to change along with your body, adapting to each day as it comes. The important thing is to stay safe and avoid injury while working toward your fitness goals. 

If you've been looking to burn fat and tone up simultaneously, researchers have found that lifting weights is better than cardio for weight loss as it increases our resting metabolic rate to burn more energy at rest.

This means that some of the best exercise machines to lose weight, like a multi-gym, can help you build lean muscle as they give you access to strength training options for supported workouts. 

James Frew
Fitness Editor

James is a London-based journalist and Fitness Editor at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.

In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.