So you’ve decided that you want to bulk up, get toned and build your muscle strength and you’ve decided that bodybuilding 101 is the way to do it.
That’s a great start, but now you have to figure out how to actually go about it.
It’s important to work with a professional trainer if at all possible, but for many people, hiring a personal trainer can be a bit too expensive to be practical.
However, you can still put together an effective workout plan for yourself and reach your weight gain and strength goals without the help of a trainer. You just need to understand the basics of bodybuilding training regimens.
From Soup to Nuts – A Quick Overview
All bodybuilding training regimens are essentially the same, being a combination of main lifts, assistance exercises and rest periods. Eating right and getting plenty of hydration is equally as important, with most trainers insisting on at least a gallon of water a day.
orkout days are balanced out by low impact cardio days, in order to maintain fat burning – strength and endurance training is not recommended every day because you run the risk of overworking your muscles and seriously damaging them.
Workout sessions also contain a lot of built-in rest periods between sets in order to give your muscles some recovery time. These periods can be as little as 90 seconds long or they can last a few minutes, but they are crucial to building your strength and endurance.
Main lifts form the core of your workout and include exercises like bench presses and squats. You can also add in more full range exercises like rowing – most gyms do have a rowing machine you can work on.
Deadlifts are also great for building muscle strength. The key through all of this is making sure that you are lifting the right amount. Lifting too little or staying at a lower load causes your muscles to plateau in terms of strength and size.
Lifting too heavy a load can lead to muscle injury which is the last thing you want. Experts recommend aiming for a load that is somewhere around 75% of your current maximum load for one rep of any exercise.
Of course, your one rep maximum load will increase as your progress in your training program and so will your training load.
Assistance lifts are only really used as a form of training by more advanced bodybuilders who are already seeing tangible results from their main exercises, but who have stagnated in terms of further development.
Competitive bodybuilders also use assistance training to strengthen certain body parts and muscle groups. For instance, powerlifters tend to focus on a variety of squats, like the overhead and front squats, to build up quad strength, balance, back strength and squat stability.
They also work on dips to improve their upper body strength, which comes in useful for weightlifting and bench press events.
Generally, most bodybuilders train three to four days a week, even if they are in training for a competition. Overworking your muscles is really the worst thing you can do – apart from potentially causing injury, it can cause your strength building and muscle development to plateau.
That’s why days off training are crucial to the long-term success of your bodybuilding plan. But you don’t just get to sit around on those days. Unless you’re starting off from a very low body weight and muscle mass to begin with, you should use your off days to do some light cardio work.
This helps to keep your endurance levels up and prevents your body from losing muscle development.
When it comes to bodybuilding, or indeed any form of weight training or sport, you are the only person who truly knows what your body is capable of and how far you can push it. You need to work hard to achieve your goals but you can also run the risk of derailing your training program if you try to do too much too soon.
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