Now that you’re motivated to start weight training, the next step is to learn about the correct way to go about it. These bodybuilding tips will be broken down into three categories.
Stimulate= Any action that breaks down muscle tissue via bodyweight training or weight training.
Recovery= After breaking down your muscles, the body will repair the fibers to their original form.
Growth= When you stress your body, it attempts to fix itself to prevent future harm. For example, when you weight train, your body will build muscle to acclimate itself to this new strain it’s experiencing.
Intense weight training will stimulate the muscles and start to break them down.
Proper nutrition, rest, and the correct supplements will allow your body to start the recovery process, which will lead to maximum muscle growth; each action relies on the last for you to receive the most significant results.
What Makes Your Muscles Grow
The human body has been evolving for millions of years, making it very effective at adapting to changes in the environment and different types of stress. This is essential since your body’s ultimate goal is to keep you alive long enough to pass your genes on to the next generation.
- When you’re tired, your eyes get heavy, and you start to yawn.
- Your sick; you’ll have a fever to fight off the infection.
- When something is causing you harm, you feel pain.
- If you start to overheat your sweat.
- Get too cold, and you start to shiver.
These are all examples of your body identifying specific stresses in the environment and coming up with ways to overcome them to keep you alive and healthy. You should know how to get past these challenges so that you can be at your best.
Intense weight training is just another example. Lifting heavy weights puts your muscles under stress; the body’s way of limiting this stress in the future is to rebuild your muscles to make them stronger.
This is known as Hypertrophy. This article will show how it’s vital to keep training to maintain muscles and optimal physical performance.
The quickest way to reach hypertrophy is to achieve maximum muscle failure. (this is where you can not continue with an exercise due to muscle fatigue) The safest way to do this is to stop one rep short of complete muscle failure; this will help reduce the chances of injury.
Achieving muscle failure will create deeper inroads into your muscle fibers and cause what is known as micro-tears. This process causes your body to perceive it as a threat, which will make it adapt.
As soon as you are done working out, your body will start this process to make you stronger. It’s straightforward when you break it down; there is one essential thing you have to understand.
For adequate muscle growth to happen, your body has to be put under enough stress that it thinks it is a threat to its well-being. In other words, you need to work hard and don’t half-ass your way through your workouts.
What Is The Secret To Gaining Muscle, The law Of Progression And Intensity?
To achieve any results, you must abide by these two rules. This is the most critical rule to pay attention to in this entire weight training guide.
Progression: This equates to regularly increasing the number of reps or the amount of weight lifted during your exercises every week.
Intensity: How hard you push your muscles on every rep of any given exercise.
Your long-term success heavily relies on this; to successfully build muscle, you must.
- Train with a high enough level of intensity on each given set to trigger an adaptive response from your muscles.
- Progressively increase the workload by adding more weight to your routine over time to produce consistent gains.
To continually see results in muscle growth and not reach a plateau, you have to keep your body adapting to more demanding workouts.
If you always lift with the same amount of weight and do the same number of reps, your body will eventually get used to this, and your results will diminish.
To prevent this from happening, you need to gradually and intelligently increase the amount of weight you lift over time. Fitness enthusiasts and athletes practice this principle because lack of training may result in muscle and strength loss.
For example, let’s say you were benching 180 pounds, and you did this for two months without making any changes. Do you think you would see much of a difference?
No, you wouldn’t.
It is vital that every single time you workout, you have a well-thought-out plan to implement.
You have to know what exercises, reps, and amount of weight you used in the previous workout to understand what you are trying to achieve during today’s workout.
The entire goal of everything you achieve during your workouts is consistent progression; then, clearly, the whole basis for building muscle is to build strength. This is a common law of muscle growth and applies no matter what type of approach you put forth in the gym.
It’s all about getting better at each and every workout.
For muscles to grow, they must perceive the stress placed upon them as a threat.
There is no room for slacking or laziness. If you genuinely want to add a considerable amount of muscle mass to your frame, then you will have to endure the inevitable discomfort that is associated with intense weight training.
The reality is that you won’t achieve increases in muscle mass and strength unless you train at a very close level to complete muscle failure.
Concentric Muscle Failure.
The point at which you cannot complete an additional positive repetition of any given exercise despite your greatest effort.
There are two sides to every exercise.
- Positive (concentric)
- Negative (eccentric)
This part is the lifting phase, such as the pressing motion of a push-up or the pulling action of a chin up.
This motion would be the lowering phase of a push-up or chin-up.
When we talk about Concentric muscle failure, we’re talking about being unable to perform an additional positive repetition.
So, training one rep short of this point means that you should continue each set until the end where, if you were to give an all-out 100% effort, you would only be able to do one more rep using proper form.
If you are not willing to cross a certain threshold on each set, your body will not respond positively. Muscle growth is an adaptive mechanism, and the body will only adapt if given the right incentive.
How Do Bodybuilders Gain Muscle Fast
Keep challenging your muscles; over time, your body will adapt to what you’re doing, so every two weeks, you have to change your routine to keep your body stimulated and make it believe that it has to build more muscle to keep up.
You can do this by…
- Doing more reps than you did before, lift lighter if you have to.
- Lift slower by concentrating on the concentric and eccentric parts of the lifts equally.
- Reduce the amount of rest in between reps and sets to further stress your muscles.
- Try different grip positions to stimulate other muscle groups.
- Try more challenging variations of an exercise like a pull-up instead of a chin-up.
More exercises will target the muscle groups more than just contributing to more muscle fibers being broken down.
I know this sounds like common sense, but in recent years doing only one set of exercises while increasing the weight has become more popular due to saving time, but this isn’t the best way to receive results.
What Nutrition Plan Is Best For Bodybuilding
To adequately cover the nutritional aspect of bodybuilding, I wrote an article covering the subject in its entirety.
But here is a quick list of the most popular foods to include and not include in your nutrition plan.
Foods You Should Eat While Bodybuilding
- Skinless Chicken Breast is one of the main staples of any workout plan; it’s low in fat, calories, and carbs but high in protein. In addition, its versatility makes it easy to eat regularly without getting tired of it.
- Red meat is a great way to change things up to make sure that your selecting lean cuts of meat like buffalo, bison, or 97% lean ground beef. If it’s steak your craving, you’ll want to purchase tenderloins, sirloin, filet mignon, or top round roast.
- Cottage cheese is a very healthy snack; if you buy a low-fat brand, it will contain 14 grams of protein, 80 calories, and less than 2 grams of fat per serving.
- Oysters may not be an everyday choice, but if you’re going out to dinner and you want to stick to your nutrition plan, they’re a great choice; 200 grams of cooked oysters include 40 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and a high zinc content that is important for protein synthesis.
- Eggs are another great source of protein and are so versatile that you can eat them daily and not get bored. The best practice is to mix whole eggs with egg whites to limit the cholesterol from the yolks and take advantage of the fact that egg whites are almost 100% protein.
Foods To Avoid While Building Muscle
- White bread is commonly thought of as a healthy choice, but it is high in sugar additives and is high in carbs; you want to eat 100% whole grain bread such as Ezekiel bread.
- Alcohol, I know I’m a party pooper. Still, high amounts of alcohol contain many calories and carbs and have no nutritional value, plus too much alcohol can stop your body from building muscle.
- Processed foods, many of my clients say they’re confused about what is included in this list, but I have to call bullshit on them. We all know by simple common sense that junk food, fast food, milkshakes, candy bars, chips, twinkies, etc., are not meant to be in a nutrition plan, and you shouldn’t be eating them.
- There is one caveat here, meal replacement shakes can have a place in your routine if they’re only used once in a while when necessary and that you’ve purchased the correct brands with the right ingredients.
How Do Bodybuilders Cut Successfully
- The first thing you need to make sure of is that you’re on a calorie deficit; the only way you will lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you’re burning. Do more cardio to keep yourself in a calorie deficit and track your weight loss every week.
- Drink more water; this will keep you satisfied longer, tricking your body into thinking that it’s full, and it will also keep your digestion system working, keeping your metabolism burning fat.
- Meal prep all of your meals; this will make sure that you can never use the excuse that life got in the way of you eating healthy. It’s a lot easier if your meals are already made and portioned out for you to heat up and eat.
- Make sure to cook all of your meals on your own to know exactly what’s in them. Often, when restaurants put the number of calories on their menu, it doesn’t count how the meal is cooked or all the sides that come with it.
- If you’re not too sensitive to caffeine, try to drink it throughout the day, this will help you increase your energy since being on a calorie deficit can make you feel sluggish, and it will help with digestion and keeping your appetite at bay. In addition, coffee and tea are good caffeine sources that don’t have many calories, so you can comfortably consume them without worrying about going over your daily recommended calorie intake.
- One cheat meal a week is okay, it can be beneficial, but this doesn’t mean to eat an entire pizza. Keep it minimal, and make sure it doesn’t turn into a cheat day or cheat weekend. This can have catastrophic results on your metabolism.
- Avoid sugar and processed foods at all costs. They have very little nutritional value and turn into excess fat stores easier than whole foods.
- Eat blandly, and There’s a saying that you’ll hear from bodybuilders. “Eat to live don’t live to eat” means that you need to eat to stay alive and reach your goal, not to enjoy it and look forward to it.
Do Bodybuilders Eat Bananas
I know this is a weird question, but I’ve been asked this enough to warrant adding this to the article.
Yes, bananas are high in potassium that supplies energy and are a good source of protein.
They can be added to protein shakes, eaten by themselves, or put on top of ice cream to make your cheat meal a little more healthy.
Write Your Workout Progression Down
It doesn’t matter how good a memory you have; you must keep a written record of every workout you perform.
This will give you a visual record of the exact weight you used and reps performed in the previous workout.
You can keep a journal to remind you of what you did the past days, including your food intake. You can also use it to write how you feel about your body regularly. Noting down how you feel about yourself and your fitness lifestyle will help you appreciate your improvement.
This is a potent tool and will enable you to progress as fast as you possibly can. In addition, a written record will hold you accountable and motivate you to increase your weight and reps.
It’s also exciting to look at past weeks and have written confirmation that you are progressing in weight and repetitions.
How Often Should You Increase The Weight On Each Exercise.
Focus on increasing the number of reps that you can perform with a given weight until you’re able to hit the upper end of your targeted range with that specific weight.
So if the rep range for a particular lift is listed at 5 to 7, wait until you can perform seven clean reps on the first set with a given weight before adding more the following week.
Once you reach the upper end of your targeted rep range with a specific weight on the first set of the exercise, increase the weight on the first set for the following workout.
For smaller isolation lifts, a typical increase would be 2.5 to 5 pounds. On larger compound lifts, it would usually be between 5 to 10 pounds.
You also don’t have to use the same weight for every set of a given exercise. For example, if you only got five reps on the first set with a certain weight, decreasing the weight on subsequent sets would be acceptable to ensure that you stay within your assigned rep range.
Just make sure that anytime you increase the weight, you keep the same form and technique; you should never compromise this just for the sake of jacking up your numbers.
Actual progression means that your form remains precisely the same every time you increase the weight. If your range of motion begins shortening, you start using excessive momentum; your rep speed increases or your technique gets sloppy; this means you are adding weight too fast.
Building muscle isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon.
Keep your ego in check. Take your time and focus on gradually increasing the weight while maintaining perfect technique at all times.
Not only is lifting heavier weights with inferior form not going to help you gain muscle faster, but it’s also going to increase your chances of becoming significantly injured.
Intensity and progression is the most critical, foundational principle of your training routine. However, it must be implemented with caution and common sense if you want to produce permanent gains over the long term.
How many workouts should you do a week, and how often should you train each muscle group?
This has been a debate for years, and just like all exercise topics, there isn’t one answer that can be tailored for every person.
It will depend on your experience level, genetics, how disciplined you are with your nutrition plan, how quickly your body recovers in between exercises and the amount of intensity you put into your workouts.
Even with all those variables, we can still apply the basic guidelines that will help most people in most situations.
In today’s day and age of the microwave, most of us want results overnight. But, unfortunately, that isn’t possible when it comes to building muscle. So instead, you can apply techniques that will assure you progress at the fastest rate possible.
Your goal should be to work out at the highest frequency possible while still fully recovering between sessions.
The more often you work out and fully recover, will, over time, promote more muscle-building growth periods and, in the end, will result in substantial progress.
At the end of the day, the training regiment that allows you the fastest strength gains will likely be the same plan that produces the highest amount of muscle growth for you.
How do you know if you’re properly recovering in between Workouts
The two main things to look for are that you’re continually coming back to the gym stronger over time and that you’re not overly run down or exhausted during the week.
Remember, muscle growth doesn’t happen in the gym; muscle breakdown occurs in the gym.
When you perform intense weight training, you are damaging your muscles. This is because while you’re out of the gym resting and eating, the muscle growth process is taking place.
This is when your body will be rebuilding the muscles more extensively in preparation for the next workout. You, therefore, must not interfere with this process and allow your body sufficient time to repair and heal itself before you break them down again.
If you’re unsure of how often to train a particular muscle group, always err on the side of caution and go with more rest rather than less.
If you give a muscle an extra day of rest after it has already fully recovered, there is no threat of a loss. Muscle loss won’t occur until a particular muscle has gone untrained for about 2 to 3 weeks.
However, if you overtrain a specific muscle, you will have a direct and immediate threat of interfering with the recovery and growth process gained from the previous workout.
As I already mentioned, recovery is growth. If you make a habit of training your muscles before they fully recover, you will either gain muscle mass at a slower rate than what your maximum potential would allow, or even worse; you won’t grow at all.
Perform 3-5 total weight lifting workouts per week
3 to 4 will most likely be your sweet spot, but those who are more advanced with good recovery ability can stretch it to 5 in some instances.
Taking a break to give time for your body to recover will also help prevent any risks of injury. So, ensure that you balance your exercises and rest, depending on the needs and capacity of your body.
Directly train each muscle group 1.5 to 3 times per week.
Beginners who are just starting and using lighter weights can generally recover faster than more advanced trainees handling heavier weights.
For that reason, newbies are typically better suited to directly hitting each muscle group at a slightly higher frequency, while more advanced trainees should use a lower frequency.
When we talk about workout volume, we’re referring to the total number of muscle sets that you will perform for each specific muscle group for each workout.
Like training frequency, there is no way to apply a single guideline here for everyone since it can vary depending on several factors.
Remember that intensity and volume go hand in hand; as intensity increases, the work must decrease and vice versa.
For that reason, the specific amount of reps a trainee should perform during a workout would be mostly dependent on the overall intensity they were putting forth on each set.
For example, a person who was training all the way to complete muscular failure on every set would require less overall volume than a person teaching at a lower level of intensity.
You should be training one rep short of concentric muscular failure, and this will land your optimal volume range on about the medium end of the scale.
Below is the total sets per muscle group per workout.
- Beginners will generally be best off training with a lower volume of sets per muscle group for each workout. Three direct sets are the recommended number.
- Intermediate will land in the middle of the range with a moderate volume of six sets for large muscle groups and three smaller muscle groups.
- Advanced trainees will perform a bit more volume per muscle group at eight sets for large muscle groups and five smaller muscle groups.
Keep in mind these are basic guidelines and can be tailored to your individual liking.
How To Select Your Exercises
There are two main exercises you will perform.
Multi-joint movements require the use of more than one major muscle group at a time. (squats, deadlifts, bench presses)
Single joint movements only require the use of one major muscle group at a time. (tricep pushdowns, lateral raises, bicep curls)
If your goal is to create a well-rounded muscular physique instead of gaining pure strength or improving athletic performance, then a mix of both types of exercise is ideal.
Compound exercises will form the foundation of your workouts to train multiple muscle groups simultaneously using maximum weight efficiently. In contrast, isolation exercises will only target smaller muscle groups that may not receive optimal stimulation from compounds.
The basic compound movements include squats, deadlifts, leg presses, lunges, rows, chest presses, pull-ups, pull-downs, and overhead presses.
The main isolation movements include bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, flys, calf raises, shrugs, and direct abdominal exercises.
When it comes to free weights vs. machines and cables, you should use all three throughout your routine as they each provide their unique advantages depending on the situation. Free weight exercises will be used in most of your workouts, with machine and cable exercises being mixed in for specific movement patterns where they are best suited.
Remember that you can always opt for alternative movements or take things slow if you have certain physical conditions that hinder you from executing an exercise.
For example, if you have weak knees, try to see if you can handle weighted squats or deadlifts with a lightweight first. You can also consult a trainer so that you can work around your physical limitations.
Rep Ranges During Workout
Although rep ranges will vary depending on the specific exercise or muscle group being trained, low to moderate rep sets will be used most of the time.
Sets that utilize heavier weights and low to moderate reps are the most effective to stimulate maximum muscle growth and strength gains.
Some exercises will have a rep range of 5 to 7, while others will be between 8 to 10. But, again, this depends on the particular movement and how large or small the range of motion is.
Once you can complete the maximum number of reps with a given weight, it’s time to add more weight to the bar.
Why 5 to 10 reps
Training 1 rep short of failure within a range of 5 to 10 will generate optimal stress and tension on those muscle fibers that are most susceptible to hypertrophy.
Besides, it’s a good range for generating maximum intensity since you know that the set will be short and sweet rather than dragging on for minutes on end.
What happens when you go above or below this range
1 to 3 reps: The primary benefit you’ll achieve in the 1 to 3 rep range is increased strength. You’ll be optimizing your body’s neural efficiency, meaning you’ll become more efficient at using the muscle mass you already have.
This is a good range for powerlifters and athletes looking to enhance their strength without actually getting bigger. Still, for those explicitly aiming to build muscle, it’s not going to be optimal.
Ten plus reps: While you will undoubtedly see gains in muscle size and strength with higher rep ranges, in most situations, I wouldn’t advise going any higher than ten reps.
As you drift into higher reps, lactic acid build-up increases, and the cardiovascular system comes more heavily into play. This is good for increasing endurance but not ideal for achieving maximum muscle overload.
Mixing in some higher rep work toward the end of your workouts is not a big deal, but the foundation of your training should rest between the 5 to 10 rep range.
This range is not too high, not too low, and allows for the best mix of strength and size gains while allowing you to execute each set with maximum focus.
How Fast Should You Do Your Reps
To understand the speed at which you should perform your repetitions, you must first understand the two primary weight lifting phases.
Concentric or Positive
When the muscle contracts by shortening. For example, the pushing phase of a bench press or the pulling phase of a chin up.
Eccentric or Negative
When the muscle is put under tension as it lengthens—for example, the lowering phase of a bench press or the lowering phase of a chin up.
So, how fast should you perform your reps?
The concentric portion of the rep should be performed as fast as possible while maintaining complete control of the weight, while the eccentric portion should be performed in 2 to 3 seconds.
One error a lot of weight lifters make is assigning a set speed to the concentric portion of the rep. Since you’ll be training with as much resistance as you can safely handle, the weight should be heavy enough that you must exert maximum force at all times on the positive motion.
You must always be in complete control of the weight, but it makes no sense to say, for example, that each concentric phase should be performed in 4 seconds. Because reps 1 through 3 will be quicker than agents 4 through 7.
As you get closer to reaching muscular failure, the reps will naturally slow down as you push with all your strength, and your body’s energy stores gradually run out.
Don’t worry about how long the concentric phase takes to perform; focus on moving the weight as fast and hard as you possibly can while still maintaining proper form.
The research has clearly shown that hard and fast concentric reps stimulate a more significant hypertrophy response than slow concentrics do.
The eccentric phase is different and can be assigned a basic time frame to be completed in.
Do not underestimate the importance of the lowering phase. Some studies show that more muscle breakdown occurs in the eccentric phase rather than the concentric phase.
The most important factor in this part of the rep is that you are in complete control of the weight at all times. In addition, since your muscles are about 2 1/2 times stronger in the eccentric phase, you will never reach muscular failure on this portion of the lift.
That being said, you should aim to lower the weight in 2 to 3 seconds. You don’t have to go with the super slow mentality, but make sure you reduce the weight in good form and a controlled manner.
How Long Should You Rest Between Sets
Although many programs will advocate one exact rest time between sets, I’m afraid I disagree with that theory. This is because the amount of rest you’ll require is highly situational and can differ from exercise to exercise and from workout to workout.
The reality is that some sets will tax you very heavily and force you to rest longer, while others won’t have as great of an effect.
It all depends on which exercise you’re performing, how much weight you are moving, and how you feel on any given day.
A set of squats will take more out of you than a bunch of dumbbell presses will, while a set of dumbbell presses will take more out of you than a set of tricep pushdowns will.
In short, larger compound exercises will require a longer rest time between sets, while smaller compound exercises will need less rest.
For that reason, the basic guideline you follow is this…
It would help if you rested as long as you need to feel fully recovered from the previous set and to where you’ll be able to execute the next set with maximum proficiency.
If that means resting 3 minutes after a set of squats, 2 minutes after a set of dumbbell rows, or 1.5 minutes after a set of lateral raises, that is completely fine. As you progress and improve your physique, you can recover from strenuous exercises much faster.
You should listen to your body and perform your next set once you feel physically and mentally prepared to complete that set with optimal strength and focus.
As you already know, building muscle is about progressive overload.
It’s about continually adding more weight to the bar over time on all of your exercises and steadily improving upon the previous week’s performance.
If you perform your next set before you allow yourself to recover from the previous set fully, you’re ultimately selling yourself short by decreasing your performance and minimizing muscular overload.
Intentionally using a shorter, predetermined resting time between sets is undoubtedly useful if your weight lifting goals revolve around improving muscular endurance or cardiovascular health. Still, in the world of muscle hypertrophy and strength, this doesn’t apply.
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your training sessions, stop worrying about specific workout rest times, and listen to your body.
Not only will this optimize your performance, but since you’ll always be performing each set with 100% of your focus intact, it may also serve to reduce the chances of injury due to sloppy form.
In the interest of efficiency, ensure that you aren’t taking any more rest time than needed by providing that you start the next set as soon as you feel ready to do so. Otherwise, your workouts may drag on for an unnecessary amount of time, and you’ll end up spending a lot more time in the gym than you need to.
Warming Up Before Lifting.
A proper warm-up is one of the most overlooked aspects of strength and bodybuilding training. Yet, it’s one of the most effective ways of minimizing injury risk and improving overall workout quality over the long term.
A solid warm-up is very easy to execute and shouldn’t take any more than about 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
The first part of your workout will consist of simple mobility exercises.
These will prepare your body for your workout by raising core temperature, improving joint mobility, lubrication, and range of motion, and activating the muscles and nervous system for maximum strength and performance.
After your mobility exercises you will move on to what’s called weight acclimation.
This is where you will take the first significant compound exercise of your workout and perform three low-intensity sets, gradually building up to the weight you will use during your regular activity.
Here is a chart you can use to calculate your warm-up weights; remember, these percentages are based on the weight you will use during your typical exercises.
- 50% x 7 reps
- 75% x 3 reps
- 100% x 1 rep
So if you were going to bench press 150 pounds for your first set, your warm-up would consist of 75 pounds for seven reps, 115 pounds for three reps, and 150 pounds for one rep.
Your warm-up should not fatigue you in any way or compromise your strength for the workout ahead, so make sure to take things slowly and ease up if you start to feel tired.
The only purpose of these sets is to warm up your joints and muscles involved in your first exercise and acclimate your body to the movement.
Performing these three warm-up sets should give you a small strength increase once the actual workout begins.
Warming up may not be the most enjoyable or exciting thing in the world, but the time it takes is minimal, and the benefits are well worth it.
How Many Hours A Day Do Bodybuilders Workout
The simple rule I would follow here is that your workout can last as long as you need it to, as long as your overall training intensity, energy, and focus have not declined significantly.
When your intensity and focus drop, your training performance drops with it, which minimizes your ability to stimulate the targeted muscles and increases your chances of injury.
Assuming that you are resting in between sets for only as long as you need to and are not wasting unnecessary time, your workouts will likely last somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes, including your warm-ups.
If you’re done quicker than 45 minutes, you may not exert enough on each set.
If it’s lasting longer than 90 minutes, then you may be taking longer breaks than needed in between sets.
Don’t obsess too much over the length of time your workouts are lasting; just make sure to train with high intensity and only take as much time in between sets as needed.
Bodybuilding Tips For Total Body Training Why It’s Important
If you want to experience the most dramatic results possible, you need to focus on training your entire body equally.
A huge tendency of people who are just beginning a weight lifting program is to neglect certain body parts and only train their showy muscles.
They’ll put all their efforts into select muscle groups that people tend to notice the most, such as the chest, biceps, and abs.
It is essential that you refrain from this way of thinking and instead focus on stimulating every muscle group in your body to the same degree.
There are two main reasons for this;
Every muscle has its own unique role in making your entire physique come together.
For example, you may be interested in developing a big chest rather than an extended back; your back contains about 70% of your total upper body muscle. A well-extended back will make you look bigger than an overly trained chest will.
Please don’t be the guy who only trains his upper body while completely neglecting their legs; you don’t want to look like a candy apple. Significant on top, stick figure on the bottom.
Training one set of muscles over another can create strength imbalances which eventually lead to injuries.
Injury prevention should always be treated as a significant concern. If you get injured, your entire training plan will be completely thrown off track.
Fail to train your entire body equally; the risk of injury increases since you will start to push your joints out of proper alignment.
For example, placing more focus on chest presses instead of rowing movements will eventually roll your shoulder joint forward and out of place, which can easily set you up for rotator cuff injuries.
The bottom line is relatively simple: developing every muscle equally to end up with a complete, symmetrical, injury-free physique.
Deloading (When To Take A Week Off)
Deloading is the process of scheduling periodic breaks into your workout routine as a way of preventing plateaus and injuries.
To successfully deload, take one full week off from the lifting after you’ve completed 8 to 10 weeks of consecutive training.
Benefits of deloading
First, off it will give your joints and connective tissue a break. High-intensity Lifting can hurt your joints over time, and taking a full week of rest is a useful way to prevent injuries.
Secondly, it will allow your immune system and the Central Nervous System to recover fully. Training intensely does not just stress your muscles, joints, and tissue, but it also stresses your entire body as a whole.
Deloading will help prevent overtraining by giving an overall rest to all of the systems in your body that are put under stress from your workouts.
Thirdly, deloading has psychological benefits by giving you a chance to recharge and get in some well-deserved mental relaxation time fully. Many lifters find that this increases their overall motivation and has them feeling eager to get back in the gym.
Listen to your body on this one; if you feel that a break is in order after eight straight weeks of training, then go ahead. But, on the other hand, if you feel like you can go the full ten weeks before resting, then that’s fine too.
Bodybuilding Tips To Prevent Injury While Working Out
While training hard is the most effective means of stimulating muscle growth, doing this also puts your joints and ligaments under massive amounts of stress.
There is no way around this, and if you don’t continually pay attention to your technique and form, you will end up with an injury that will stop you dead in your tracks.
Trust me; I’ve been there; I messed my shoulder up when I was first starting, and it took months for me to get back to the type of training I was used to. So it is the last thing you want to happen.
It is sporadic to spend years lifting weights and not have at least a couple of training-induced injuries; unfortunately, it goes with the territory.
Here are some fundamentals to train by that will help keep your joints and connective tissue strong and healthy and keep your training regimen on track for as long as possible.
One Of The Most Underrated Bodybuilding Tips Is To Warm Up
If you read this entire article, you already know how vital the warm-up phase of your workout is; it helps to get your body and mind ready to lift heavyweight. It lubricates your joints and gets your blood pumping into the surrounding connective tissue.
It’s not the most glamorous part of the workout, and many people half-ass it, don’t be one of those people.
Always Use Proper Form
This can be done with common sense. Every set you perform should be done with the correct technique and form for that exercise. Therefore, before performing any exercise, you need to understand how it is supposed to be executed.
This rule especially applies to the bigger lifts such as squats and deadlifts, since you’ll be moving the most significant amount of weight and because these exercises are much more challenging to perform.
You can always ask a trainer or a more experienced individual for help on the proper form if you don’t know if you’re doing your exercises right.
This is very important if you’re a true beginner and have never trained with weights before, as you don’t want to develop bad habits right from the start.
Exercise Within Your Own Personal Limits
When I talk about training heavy, I’m referring to you using heavy weights for YOU.
Whether at the gym or in your basement, working out isn’t a contest to see who can outdo each other. (check your ego before you start your workout)
As long as you’re following the rules of progression and intensity, your weights will increase a lot faster than you think.
Know When To quit
The absolute highest level of intensity that any set should be performed is to the point of concentric muscular failure; I recommend one rep short of complete inability to decrease the chance for injury.
Unless you’re very experienced, stay away from advanced moves like forced reps or slow negatives, these are not recommended.
If done too often or incorrectly, these moves are a sure-fire way to injure yourself; besides, these are not necessary to create muscle growth anyway.
Take each set 1 rep short of complete muscular failure or until you’re physically unable to perform the exercise with proper technique.
Nothing will guarantee that you’ll never be injured, but following these tips will drastically reduce the risk of it happening.
How To Get The Proper Amount Of Sleep To Build Muscle
Getting a sufficient amount of deep, restful sleep consistently is a far more critical factor when it comes to maximizing muscle growth, fat loss, and overall health than most people think.
Creating good sleeping habits will
- Keeps your energy levels, mood, brain function, and motivation at peak levels to improve your performance in and out of the gym.
- Increases the output of important muscle building and fat burning hormones like testosterone and IGF-1
- Your respiratory exchange rate increases, which helps your body metabolize fat for energy instead of muscle.
- Reduces cortisol, which is a hormone that stores fat.
Please do not ignore the benefits of a healthy sleep schedule because it will have a measurable impact on your results.
How Many Hours Should You Sleep A Night For Maximum Muscle Growth
The general rule of thumb is 8 hours, but this is only an average and comes down to the individual and can vary from person to person. I need at least 7 hours to like myself the next day, where my wife is fine with 6. It comes down to you knowing your body and what fits you best.
Some people have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep; here are a few tips that can help you get a better night’s sleep.
Try To Keep A Regular Sleep Schedule
Going to bed and waking up simultaneously every day regulates your internal clock and cues it to expect sleep at a particular time each night; this will reduce the time it takes to fall asleep each night and improve your overall sleep quality.
Stay Away From Your Electronic Devices To Get To Sleep sooner
You may not realize it, but your laptops, cell phones, tablets, and tv can act as a stimulant and keep you awake at night.
The bright light put off by the screen can suppress your melatonin levels, which is an essential hormone for regulating sleep.
You want to put down all electronics 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime. This is because melatonin levels increase when it gets dark and signal the body that it’s time to go to bed, allowing you to nod off quickly and stay asleep for longer.
Instead of watching tv, skimming the web, or being on your phone, spend that time reading a book, listening to an audiobook, or just talking to your spouse. ( I know, that’s a crazy concept, right )
If you’re like me and love to read, but you read on your cell phone instead of a physical book, you can take advantage of the reading apps that have a setting that dims the screen with a sepia or orange hue, it helps relax your eyes and allows you to fall asleep easier. I know Kobo and Google Books have these settings built-in.
Try Not To Go To Sleep After Eating Too Much Or Being To Hungry.
This is common sense, but being full or feeling like your stomach growling is uncomfortable and won’t help you fall asleep.
You want to stick to an average-sized meal about 3 hours before bed, this will allow you to sleep more comfortably, and the insulin release will help improve melatonin production.
Change Your Room To How You Like To Sleep.
When I go to bed at night, I shut all the blinds, close my blackout curtains and turn on an air purifier because I like how it covers up any background noises, and the constant low hum helps me go to sleep.
My wife, however, likes it perfectly quiet ( this has caused many conversations in the middle of the night )
The experts will tell you that a colder room between 60 and 67 degrees is the optimal temperature for the best sleep.
I love it cold; my wife likes it a bit warmer.
The examples I’m giving you between my wife and I show you that everyone is different, and you need to know what is best for you.
Make sure to put your phone on silent, and if needed, use earplugs or a white noise machine to hide background noises.
Say No To Caffeine, Even If You Really Really Want One
This is hard for me, I am a coffee addict and love to have an espresso after dinner, but this can be a killer to your restful night’s sleep.
Even if you can go to sleep after drinking coffee, it can prevent you from getting into deep REM sleep since caffeine increases your heart rate and make you feel less energized in the morning.
For the best sleeping results, stay away from coffee 4 to 5 hours before bed ( As I shoot myself ) Or drink decaf ( No matter how many people tell me decaf tastes the same as regular coffee, I won’t agree)
As much as it pains me to say, you should try to keep your coffee drinking to the first two-thirds of the day. SORRY
Your Bed Should Only Be Used For Sleep And Pleasure
If you have work to do, bills to pay, emails to respond to, or any other stress-related activity, you should not do them in your bed; try to designate a different area in your house such as a desk or kitchen table, or sofa.
You don’t want to merge your sleeping space and workspace into the same area.
When you go to bed at night, you want your mind to associate this activity with rest, relaxation, or pleasure; if you’re continually doing stress-related activities in your bedroom, then it can carry over into your mood, disturbing your sleep.
Many people want a bodybuilder’s body but won’t put the time in to make one, or they think it’s hard and they’re not sure where to start.
It’s not hard once you learn the basics, these bodybuilding tips will help you understand what you have to do so that you can stay dedicated and eat a diet of whole foods, and the rest will sort itself out as you learn more and become more confident.