Bill Pearl’s Workout Routine (Plus 17 Tips Inspired by Him)

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Bill Pearl Workout Routine

When it comes to getting in shape, there are a lot of different opinions out there.

Some people think you need to spend hours at the gym every day, while others believe that simple exercises like walking are all you need.

So what’s the truth?

The answer is that it depends on your body and fitness goals.

However, one routine that has been shown to be effective is the Bill Pearl workout routine.

His programs consist of heavy weights and high volume to help you achieve your desired physique.

You can find more information about each workout routine below!

Who Was Bill Pearl?

Bill Pearl was a Golden Era bodybuilder, Gym Owner, and author. He was born in 1930 and died in 2022.

He was a Mr. America, Amateur Mr. Universe, a four-time Mr. Universe winner, and elected as chairman of the IFBB Professional Physique Judges Committee (only to name a few).

Pearl also wrote several books on bodybuilding, including ‘Getting Stronger: Weight Training for Men and Women’ and ‘Keys to the Inner Universe.’

Bill Pearl was one of the most influential bodybuilders of his time, and his legacy continues to inspire athletes and fitness enthusiasts today.

Early Bill Pearl Height and Weight: 5′ 10″, 210 LBs

Sample of a Bill Pearl Training Program

Bill Pearl’s workouts typically consisted of either full-body workouts or upper-body, lower-body splits.

And thanks to the help of Coach Leo Stern, these programs are ideal for progressive overload and muscle growth.

Now here’s an example of Bill’s Mr. America Training Routine designed by Leo Stern.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Full-Body

Training Notes:

  • Bill Pearl would perform a few warmup sets before getting into his working weights of 75-90% of a 1 RM (rep max).
  • His rest time was 2-3 minutes.
  • His weight training exercises focused on progressive overload week after week.

The following eight exercises are what Bill would do three days per week while following this program.


  • Hanging Leg Raises: 1xAMRAP (as many reps as possible)
  • Sit-ups: 1xAMRAP

For the AMRAPs, don’t go until absolute failure. Stop when you can no longer do the reps with good form.


  • Flat Bench Press: 5 sets x5 reps


  • Bent over Barbell or Single Arm Dumbbell Row: 5×5-10


  • Military Press: 5×5


When training biceps with a triceps exercise Bill would often superset to achieve a maximum pump.

  • Seated Dumbbell Curls: 4×5-10 (Super set with the french press)
  • French Press Behind Neck: 4×5-10 (Super set with DB curls)


  • Barbell Squats: 4×5

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: Rest

Non-training days were designed to provide adequate rest for the entire body.

This is crucial for allowing the muscle groups to recover and grow.

Eating enough food and getting quality rest are the main components of a Bill Pearl rest day.

Bill Pearl’s Workout Routine Before a Competition

In the final six weeks leading up to a competition, Leo would have Bill train 6x per week.

Let’s take a look at one of the pre-competition routines that Bill followed.

This is often considered his best training program.

Note that below is just an example, there may be inaccuracy from the entire training program that was used.

Some things to keep in mind with this one:

  • Supposedly eight reps were usually Bill’s target on working sets
  • Start light on the first few sets and add weight as the sets progress
  • Take 1-2 minutes rest between sets
  • Train these exercises using progressive overload each week
  • Perform each set until you can no longer complete the reps with proper form
  • Sunday’s are rest days

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Upper Body


  • Incline Bench Press or Dumbbell Flyes: 5 sets x6-10 reps
  • Flat Bench Press or Dumbbell Flyes: 5×6-10
  • Decline Bench Press or Dumbbell Flyes: 5×6-10


  • Behind the Neck Press: 5×6-8
    • Grip the bar wider than shoulder width
  • Military Press: 5×6-8
  • Bent-arm Lateral Raises: 5×6-12

Use either a cable, dumbbells or resistance bands for the bent arm laterals.


  • French Press Behind Neck: 5×6-8
  • Lying Dumbbell Extensions: 5×6-8
  • Triceps Pushdown: 5×6-8


Bill’s ab workouts usually consisted of extremely high reps.

  • Flat Board Sit-ups: 100-200
  • Alternating Leg Raises: 100-200
  • Side Bends: 25-50

Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: Upper/Lower


  • Wide Grip Chin-ups or Lat Machine: 5×5-10
  • Narrow Grip Chin-ups or Lat Machine: 5×5-10
  • Dumbbell or Barbell Shrugs: 5×5-10
  • Stiff Leg Deadlift: 5×5-10


  • Barbell Standing Curls: 5×6-8
  • Seated Incline Curls: 5×6-8
  • Bench or Leg Supported Concentration Curls: 5×6-8


  • Barbell Squats: 5×6-8
  • Hack Squat or Leg Press Machine: 3×10-12
  • Seated or Lying Leg Curls: 3×10-12
  • Standing Calf Raise Machine: 5×20
  • Donkey Calf Raises: 5×20

It is said that Bill would reserve a half hour for pure calf training.

Bill Pearl’s 20-Month Champion Routine

If you’re looking to get serious about working out, then you should check out Bill Pearl’s 20-Month Champion Weight Training Routine.

This routine is based on Bill’s decades of experience in the weight room, and it’s a surefire way to help you achieve your fitness goals.

The routine is divided into 20 months, and each month focuses on a different aspect of weight training.

It is designed to help people build up from beginner to advanced fitness levels.

Each phase lasts for four weeks, and during that time you’ll be doing the same set of exercises each day.

The exercises are all listed on Bill’s website, and there’s also a step-by-step workout guide that you can use to check your form.

So if you’re ready to start seeing serious results in the weight room, then be sure to check out Bill Pearl’s 20-Month Champion Workout Routine.

Benefits of the Bill Pearl Workout Routine

The benefits of the Bill Pearl workout routine are plentiful.

  • First and foremost, it can help you achieve a dramatic physical transformation.
    • If you stick to the program and follow a good diet, you can expect to see a decrease in body fat, an increase in muscle mass, and better overall health.
  • Provides adequate rest days per week for muscle recovery
  • The full body and upper/lower training styles are great for natural lifters.
  • Offers a mix of strength gains with muscle growth
  • If you’re a fan of power building you’ll probably love these training routines

Negatives of Bill Pearl’s Workout Routine

Bill Pearl was a world-champion bodybuilder and powerlifter. He is considered to be one of the most well-known bodybuilders of all time.

Although his workout routine is considered to be very effective, it is also very challenging and has some downsides.

The first negative is that the routine is very time-consuming, especially with a training partner.

It also takes a lot of dedication and commitment to follow it correctly.

The second negative is that it can be very difficult to stick to, especially if you are not used to working out regularly.

The third negative is that it can be dangerous if not done properly.

There are a lot of heavy compound exercises that require proper form and technique.

If you do not have someone to help you or if you are not careful, you could easily injure yourself or have an ineffective workout.

Bill Pearl’s Eating Habits

Bill Pearl’s eating habits started out pretty normal among bodybuilders.

He typically ate a lot of protein and carbs consisting of meat, veggies, and baked potatoes.

For most of his professional career, he ate meat, however, a blood test revealed that Bill’s blood pressure was high.

This led him to switch to a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet.

Meaning he still ate eggs and dairy products but avoided meats. Bill also ate more fruits and veggies while continuing to keep his fats low.

To gain weight and limit fat gain Bill had a structured eating routine where he would eat at the same time every day.

This is a great way to stay disciplined in a diet and avoid cheating.

17 Tips for Bodybuilding Success (Inspired by Bill Pearl)

1. It’s important to have a clear goal in mind when you start bodybuilding.

Whether it’s to gain muscle mass, lose weight, or simply get in better shape, having a specific goal will help you work out on a positive note.

2. Commit to your bodybuilding program and stick with it. This means setting aside time for your workouts and being consistent with your diet.

3. Maximize your efforts in the gym by using these training principles: progressive overload, periodization, and muscle confusion to stimulate muscle hypertrophy.

Utilizing a journal to track your training progress is essential for these principles.

4. Train hard but also make sure to give your body plenty of rest and recovery time. This is essential for optimal muscle growth.

5. Eat nutritious food that is packed with protein and carbohydrates. This will provide the energy you need to power through your workouts.

6. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. This is especially important when you’re working out hard.

7. Supplement your diet wisely. Try sticking primarily to whole foods and only using supplements when vital for your health.

8. Make sure your training program is challenging enough to produce results but not so difficult that you can’t stick with it long-term.

Avoid doing your exercises until the last impossible rep.

For example, if you’re doing nine exercises in a workout and go until failure on all of them this will quickly lead to overtraining.

This is because the target muscle group is already receiving plenty of stimulation from those nine exercises by stopping shy of failure.

9. Keep a proper mental attitude in your personal life and towards the gym. Be patient with your progress.

Bodybuilding takes time and effort, but the results are worth it!

10. Use visualization techniques to see yourself reaching your bodybuilding goals.

Picture yourself looking and feeling great after months of hard work in the gym!

11. Take advantage of online resources such as forums and blogs where you can find information and support from other bodybuilders.

12. Consider hiring a personal trainer who can help design a customized training program for you.

13. Be careful about using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs; they can be dangerous and may not be legal in your country or state.

14. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals every day. This will help keep you healthy while you’re working out hard.

15. Stay positive and focused on your goals; if you slip up occasionally, don’t let it get you down!

Just get back on track and continue working towards your ultimate goal.

16. Avoid doing the same exercises and rep ranges month after month. This can cause your muscles to hit plateaus.

17. Keep your body warm during workouts to promote blood flow. Wearing things like breathable hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, and sweatpants is great.

What Is the 3 7 Workout?

The 3-7 workout consists of 5 total sets with 15 seconds of rest between.

Here’s how it would look for your chosen exercise: perform 3 reps for set one, in set two perform 4 reps, set three would be 5 reps, set four is 6 reps, and finally set five for 7 reps.

What Is Vin Diesel’s Workout Routine?

Vin diesel’s workout routine is very intense. He typically focuses on supersets to burn more calories while building lean mass.

Diesel trains 5 days a week and uses weekends for flexibility training.

Here’s a brief of his weekly routine:

Monday is chest and tricep focused, Tuesday is back/shoulders, Wednesday is leg day, Thursday is another back and shoulder day, and then he ends the week with another leg workout.

How Many Days a Week Did Arnold Train?

Arnold Schwarzenegger trained six days a week. Sunday was always a rest day.

What Was Arnold’s Training Schedule?

Arnold’s training schedule was very regimented and intense.

He would typically start his day with a light breakfast, then work out for two to three hours. He would focus on weights, cardio, and flexibility.

After working out, he would have a light lunch and then continue to work until dinner.

He would usually finish his day with another one to two hours of training.

Wrapping Up the Bill Pearl Workout Routine

Bill Pearl is a bodybuilding legend and one of the most successful Mr. Universes in history.

Over his decades-long career, he’s learned a thing or two about training – including what works (and what doesn’t) for him.

In this blog post, I’ve summarized 17 tips inspired by Bill himself on how to get the most out of your workouts.

If you’re looking to take your fitness game up a notch, be sure to read these tips and put them into practice for maximum progress!


Eric De Cremer
Eric De Cremer

Eric is an NCCA-accredited Certified Personal Trainer and competitively trained powerlifter. Feel free to contact him anytime at!