One of many memorable training scenes in "Pumping Iron" is when Arnold and Ed Corney trade off sets of heavy squats, adding weight and reps for what seems like an eternity. Arnold pushes through placidly, while Corney grunts and roars in pain. He seems ready to break, but Arnold prods and goads him to continue.
Arnold and Ed Corney Squats
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"It was just awesome," Corney recalled of the workout in an interview with Bodybuilding.com in 2008. "We were doing 15 reps. We started at 135, put a quarter on and did 15 more reps, a quarter off and another 45 on, 15 more reps, another quarter on. We just kept going until we got to 315, 345. Now we are doing 5 sets of 15. Your legs are like rubber.
"I got 13 and he said, 'Come on, Eddie. Time to get serious now. Two more, no matter what.' He pissed me off, and that's when I said, 'God damn!' You know how an automobile responds when it goes uphill: that chug, chug, chug slowing down. And that is exactly what I did. You do or you don't. I did."
Arnold was insistent, both in the film and throughout his career, that the last few reps beyond "the pain barrier" were where muscle growth really happened, and where champions were made. Corney would go on to earn second place in the under 200 in Pretoria that year, losing only to Franco Columbu, another of Arnold's training partners. Gold's Gym once again set the standard for the rest of the world to follow.