Many people are discovering bodybuilding these days. They see the benefits to their physique and mental acumen only bodybuilding can help them achieve.
That being said, a majority of people drop out because they don’t achieve success. They think doing some lifts is the surest way to achieve bulked up muscles. The truth, however, is different.
Body building needs a solid and ironclad plan to achieve its aims, a well-formulated plan that is.
This guide is geared towards people who want to hit the ground running and achieve results with their body building the right and proper way.
Gaining muscle will not be an issue if you follow these rules:
#1: Warming Up Is Important
Before you start lifting any weights, some warm-up exercises are in order. This reduces the risk of injury.
So our advice, never short-change your warm-up. Take your sweet time and rev up first.
Common sense dictates the stronger you get, the more time you need for warming up. Warming up also lets you push serious weight later on.
Trainers recommend a good 5 to 10 minutes on the bicycle, pedalling. It’s a great way to kick-start your lightweight sets. This can get the blood pumping and make your muscles warm and ready.
#2: Reps Are Good For Body Building
It’s a common question amongst beginners: how much weight should you start with? The answer to this question is not simple. It’s more about what your end goal is.
Whether you are looking to build strength or to build up muscles, it can give you an idea about how much weight to lose.
For strength building, its great to do heavy sets with fewer than 6 reps.
For muscle building, it is ideal to choose a weight which makes you reach muscle failure somewhere between 8 to 12 reps.
You can also build muscle endurance when you do 15 reps or more.
#3: Increase the Volume
There are people who are content spending many hours on just one single body part when they are working out. And then there are others who do just one set per exercise, but which is best?
The thing is there’s no finite number but for beginners, it is recommended to do at least 2 to 3 sets of any exercise that is tailored for them.
For advanced athletes, this number of sets can be as high as 3 to 4. If there’s one thing that’s evident here, it’s the volume of exercise. The number of reps and sets you complete for a specific muscle group.
For muscle growth, high volume exercises are the norm though you must never over-train as a consequence.
To start off we recommend sticking to 12 sets total in the beginning (3 sets of 4 exercises), doing exercises that work the larger muscle groups, such as legs, back, and chest.
With time, you can increase the volume, while at the same time, extending the number of days required to train that body part again.
#4: An Athletic Stance Does Wonders
So, you are exercising? Then its best to adopt an athletic stance like sportsmen do.
When you are getting into position for standing exercises, it’s a good idea to let your feet be shoulder-width part. Your toes should also be pointed slightly outward.
You should be able to bend your knees softly with a straight torso that leaves the chest out, shoulders back and a slightly arched low back. You head should be looking forward as you make this stance.
This stance serves as a great starting point for any standing exercise so make sure you utilise it.
#5: Haste Makes Waste
Nothing can be accomplished in a hurry which is why you need to give yourself time to recover between sets.
Rest times should be maximised as it is a good idea to be fully recovered when you want to gain muscle.
You want to be able to push the weight as many times as possible which is why recovery matters. For this, you need to recover.
#6: Overloading leads to Growth
You want to stimulate your muscles and help it grow? Then get ready to be a little aggressive in your workouts.
By challenging your muscles continually, along with your good form (you should never allow yourself to fall into a comfort zone), you can make great gains as you overload.
#7: Change your grip
Believe it or not, just by merely changing your grip, you can make an effective addition to your workout.
If you use a wide, overhand grip, simply exchange it for an underhand grip.
This kind of change also works great with barbell curls, bench presses, lat pull downs, tricep pushdowns and bent-over rows.
#8: Don’t forget about Balance
Strength training is something most people do. Equally important is maintaining your balance, which most people don’t care about. You need to train for them both separately. Do the squats one day and the dumbbell presses the other day.
Devote each day to just one particular thing: either strength or balance.
#9: Go Wide or Go Home
What can you do when you have a blocky physique and want a small waist in return?
Unless you have low body-fat levels with a natural V-taper, getting a wide and balanced body is something to strive for. You need to put emphasis on upper back and middle delts.
To do this, you can do some sets of wide grip movement. You can also do few sets of upright rows and lateral rises. By increasing your width, your waist will appear smaller.
#10: Use the Dumbbell
You have, in your hands, a number of training options. However, if you are looking for a simpler way to take advantage of the most challenging exercises, its time to use dumbbells.
This is because dumbbells are unlike barbells in one crucial aspect: they make the whole body work out rather than just one side of the body.
One more reason to get dumbbells: gyms are busy in the evening so all the barbells are occupied. Why not do the dumbbells substitute for that particular exercise instead?
#11: Cheap Reps Can Help Too
It’s not uncommon to encounter people who are using bad form in the gym. They continually put pressure on the surrounding joints and not on the target muscle.
However, this technique can also prove useful when done right. They can make the target muscle work hard. They can stimulate the muscle fibres with greater intensity.
To do this, all you need to do is 6 to 8 reps in your good form and then the bad form reps for just a few sets.
#12: Drop-sets Are Helpful
When you rep a muscle to failure and then use lighter weights to progress with that muscle group, you are doing a drop-set. This can result in a good deep muscle burn.
This is also great for bodybuilders looking to drop a few calories before a contest.
#13: Take a second
Deadlifts are a great tactic to use when you need to shake up your exercises. Every exercise works by generating elastic energy, the energy which helps swing the weight from up to down and then repeat.
If you do exercises from a dead stop, such as by momentarily resting the bar on the floor and then lifting it up, you will notice it’s much harder to accomplish. This can help build your strength especially on the lower portion of your motion range.
You must have heard that opposites attract. The same is true when you use supersets of two exercises, except they speed up your workouts for opposing muscle groups.
This technique results in more than normal strength in the second exercise that you do in the grouping.
By pairing muscles between antagonistic groups, triceps vs. biceps, back vs. chest, or quads vs. hamstrings, you can come out stronger.
#15: Make Use of Your Weak Links with Pre-Exhaust Training
Big exercises we normally undertake are called compound or multi-joint exercises. They are called so because they allow you to push more weight by using a conjunction of muscle groups.
Normally, when doing these exercises, muscle groups can reach failure.
There is a method that works by getting around the ‘weak link’ in the chain and result in earlier than normal muscle failure. This is brought about by pre-exhaust training.
#16: Go in Reverse
Want to know the easiest way to shake up your workout regime? Simply reverse the order.
Start them with a good warm-up of course. And then start with the last exercise you do, making your way to the first one. Because you are used to it, you can do more reps this way.
This can work your target muscles in a way they are not used to, which can aid in muscle growth.
#17: Finish with a Pump
If you add a lighter weight after the last back-off set, you can get some higher reps done that flush your muscles with blood and water. This, in turn, can enhance muscles and strength.
#18: Use Speed for Gains
You are approaching the end of a set when suddenly you feel fatigue setting in. By using a slightly more explosive motion, an extra rep or two can be made.
It’s important to be constant with a strong and controlled rep speed as you start out a set. It’s only in the last rep or two you can take advantage of added momentum to help you make the most of the exercise.
#19: Do As the Egyptians Did
You can try a technique that lets you ‘pyramid’ your weight on each successive set. Start out small and keep stepping up the weight bit by bit.
It may lead to a fall in reps as you increase the weight but you get better gains in strength with the low reps you do.
Keep in mind no burnout occurs on the lightweight sets and you don’t reach muscle failure until you have reached the heaviest sets.
#20: Twice the Gains
Do you want to make huge gains? Find a workout partner who pushes you, or find a partner who is stronger and bigger than you.
They can help you train past failure by assisting you with forced reps and partials. They can motivate you on days when you don’t feel like hitting the gym.
#21: Wear a Belt
Are you serious about lifting? Then getting a weight belt is a good idea. They strengthen your lower back and are recommended for wearing for particularly heavy sets.
They are not good for all exercises but some of the ones they are needed are bent-over rows, deadlifts, squats and standing military presses.
Don’t use it on the lighter sets because your lower back needs to work for that.
#22: Use Band Aids
Bands and chains might seem inconvenient but by using them properly, you can take advantage of some big gains in both muscle and strength.
They might be uncomfortable in the beginning, but that is something you will get accustomed to in no time.
They can provide variable resistance, all in the course of one single rep. They unload some weight when you are in the down position. They appear lighter, but as you press up, they increase the tension in your target muscles.
If you have a sticking point, you need them.
#23: Strap Your Body In
Are you doing monster lifts? Try using wrist wraps to support the integrity of your wrists. They are great for the grip too and will enable you to do an extra rep or two on every set.
#24: Rest Easy
Resting is important. Always pushing yourself is counter-productive as you need some recovery time for your body to recover.
Including some rest days in your training split is recommended. Missing a day or two is no big deal. In fact it comes highly recommended.
This can reduce stress-inducing cortisol levels in your body too.
If it helps, it’s not about the duration you spend at the gym, it’s about the intensity. This is why taking a few rest days isn’t detrimental to your training regimen.
#25: Hit the Muscles Again
You should probably train your muscles every 2 to 3 days. Advanced lifters can do this after 15 to 30 sets for a particular muscle group after training them for 5 to 6 days at most.
#26: Big Moves First
Your energy levels are higher at the beginning of the workout so why not take advantage of the increased energy by doing the big or multi-joint exercises first?
They can work a lot of muscle groups and feature the most workout in far less time? Squats, overhead presses, bent-over rows and bench presses are some examples.
#27: Split Well and Wisely
When you are planning your training split, you need to be aware about the training you give a muscle group on consecutive days.
It’s recommended to rest your muscles on a given day as nutrition takes over and rejuvenates them.
If you follow a plan that involves shoulders on Monday, chest on Tuesday, and triceps on Wednesdays, you are not allowing your split to have a good recovery time.
Also to be avoided is the same training for two consecutive days. You need some rest days and some leg days to split your workout properly.
#28: Tune Your Lifestyle to Your Bodybuilding Goals
Last, but not the least, your lifestyle is important and factors in on your training regimen.
If you are the party type or the gluttonous type, you might need to be careful with what you consume.
Every single thing you consume has an effect on your bodybuilding efforts.
With these 28 laws, you can make a killer bod for yourself in no time at all.
It takes hard work and determination to succeed as well as the proper awareness of the dos or don'ts.
Follow this guide when in doubt and you will be running in peak human condition too.