Whilst this article will most certainly not be turned into a debate about the use of PEDS (Performance Enhancing Drugs) in bodybuilding, what we will be doing is clearing up the fact that not every single bodybuilder is using anabolic compounds to improve their physique, which is one of the reasons why there are a number of natural bodybuilding divisions were 100% natural bodybuilders compete clean.
Learn to isolate specific muscles. Steady, controlled movements are the key to learning what it "feels like" to work a specific muscle or muscle group. It takes about three weeks for the novice to maximize the neuromuscular coordination necessary to identify and fully recruit muscle fibers from individual muscle groups. At this stage, you will be able to efficiently target these groups and minimize cheating with sympathetic muscles. This will also enable you to use virtually any unfamiliar piece of gym equipment (and invent your own exercises) simply by duplicating the appropriate "feel" when trying a new exercises for the same body part.
Do a single set of repetitions. Theories on the best way to approach weight training abound, including countless repetitions and hours at the gym. But research shows that a single set of exercise with a weight that fatigues your muscle after about 12 to 15 repetitions can build muscle efficiently in most people and can be as effective as three sets of the same exercise.
The vast majority of injuries are due to improper form. Spend time learning the basic compound movements properly. There are countless sources of instructional words of wisdom and video on the internet but they can't beat having an educated trainer walk through the motion(s). Starting off right will not only improve progression, it will prevent injury.
In his phenomenal book "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business," Charles Duhigg dedicates an entire chapter to what he labels the "habit loop." Without giving away any spoilers—I'm not kidding, it's a book that will melt your brain, and you should read it—Duhigg explains that one of the most fail-proof ways to create a habit is to preface the behavior you want to reinforce with a cue.
This no-holds-barred quest for growth is based on the principle of four: performing four exercises and adding four extra reps to each exercise after the first. Because each lift changes the area of the muscle that receives the most stimuli, the ever-increasing reps shift the demands of the muscle from strength to hypertrophy to endurance to a skin-stretching crescendo that flushes the muscle and celebrates the pump.
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They found little difference in muscle growth between those who worked in the hypertrophy range and those who lifted lighter weights for 20 to 25 reps (i.e., deep into the so-called “endurance range). As long as the subjects trained to “volitional failure” — the point at which they couldn’t perform another rep with good form — they got bigger and stronger. (Editor’s note: Volitional failure is different than absolute failure, which is when you simply can’t perform another rep. More on that in tip number six.)
1) Go to a health club. If this option is chosen, then select a club that is closest to your home. In this manner, you do not have to spend alot of time driving prior to your workout. A second choice would be to select a club closest to your workplace. This would work well only if you do not plan to ever go on weekends and if you do not plan to workout with your significant other. Other things to look for before choosing a health club are monthly fees, how well kept is the equipment, hours of operation, how clean is it, and whether or not you feel comfortable in the environment.
Perform 2 sets of each exercise for 10-12 reps and rest 1 minute in between sets. Move up to 3 sets after 4 weeks. At 2 sets per exercise the routine lasts 45 minutes if you rest 1 minute in between sets. At 3 sets it lasts 60 minutes. Do cardio on the days off (20-30 minutes) and also do abs (4 sets of Leg Raises and swiss ball crunches for 15-40 reps).
Assess your skills. Consider hiring a fitness trainer to work with you at a gym or at your home if you're a beginner. It's difficult to learn on your own how to lift weights from a book or even a video. You can do it, but the hands-on approach with a trainer is superior. You don't need to use the trainer forever, either. You can start by having the trainer design a plan for you and show you how to do it, and then depending on your skill, you might only need a couple of sessions and then a periodic follow-up with the trainer, say, once every one to two months. Learning how to lift weights properly will give you the confidence you need to lift on your own and get stronger and stronger.
I now know that was a mistake. An eight-week Australian study that found that doing one of four sets of bench presses to failure produced double the strength gains compared to lifters who didn't take any of their sets to failure. But in a follow-up study, the researchers found that doing more than one set to failure on the bench offered no additional strength gains.
Weight training and bodybuilding nutrition are sciences like anything else. There's biology and biochemistry and physiology, with rules and a base of evidence. Selling supplements, most of which are not needed, has become such a huge business in the commercial weight training and bodybuilding industry that it is almost impossible to know if you are getting an objective evaluation of a bodybuilding diet.
A bodybuilding diet aligns with all the general advice for a healthful diet: A balanced mix of macronutrients and plenty of micronutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Even in the bulking phase, the idea is to bulk up by eating more, but sticking with mostly healthy choices. Similarly, in the cutting phase, the goal is to cut out less nutrient-dense foods, not slash calories extremely and give up nutritious foods.
When lifting it is essential to focus your mind completely on the muscle group you are attempting to work on. This makes sure that you are actually using the target muscle to lift the weight rather than accessory muscles or even momentum. This skill will develop with time, and as you progress in making that mind to muscle connection, your workouts will become much more productive and efficient.