This article is intended for the serious beginner. To clarify our meaning, we are addressing those of you who may be new to the bodybuilding game and who want to chart out a path for success. Even for those of you who have been training for a while, it might be helpful to try some of these methods.
What we will be presenting here is a unified plan that should help you to take yourself from a scrawny little wimp to a hulking behemoth. Of course, you will only obtain those kinds of results if you dedicate yourself and follow the expert advice below.
Step 1: Adopt A Proper Diet
As you might guess, protein is your best friend here. There is a huge plethora of evidence to show that a high-protein diet is essential for proper muscle growth, but you also need to think about what kind of protein you are getting from your diet.
A little terminology for you here: Anabolism is a state in which your muscles are being built, while catabolism is a state in which the muscles are being broken down. Obviously, an anabolic state is what you want to maintain, and a catabolic state should be avoided like the plague. Muscle growth can only occur when the anabolic rate is greater than the catabolic rate. This is called a “positive protein balance.”
Amino acids are probably the most important proteins from a bodybuilding perspective. These are the proteins that your body will use to build your muscles. They will literally act like building blocks, giving your body the extra mass that you want. Thus, you need to make sure that you are getting all of the essential amino acids in your diet.
Of course, you cannot live on protein alone. Make sure you supplement your protein-rich diet with plenty of other things. Don’t avoid all carbohydrates, as this will leave you low on energy and (as a result) low on motivation. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be eaten as much as possible. They may not provide much protein, but they provide a lot of other vitamins and nutrients that help you along.
Step 2: Find The Right Supplements
This is also a very important choice. Most bodybuilders choose to make use of dietary supplements in one form or another. Sometimes, this will take the form of simple protein powder, while some products offer a dazzling array of different ingredients. It is up to you to decide which supplement is right for you, and it’s a good idea to buy small amounts at first so that you can experiment without wasting money.
For one thing, you might want to choose a supplement that includes omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 supplements have been shown to have a stimulating effect on muscle metabolism, as this study shows. Arachidonic acid is a good example of an omega-6 supplement, and it has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle growth for most users.
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It’s not all about growth, either. There are many supplement ingredients that can aid with recovery, and omega-3 fatty acids are among them. Branched-chain amino acids (Also known as BCAA’s) have also been proven to aid recovery in most individuals.
Step 3: The Beginner’s Workout
Since you are just getting your feet wet, we need to make sure that you develop good habits now. This will make it much easier to maintain those good habits later on. The first thing to understand is that you will be given two workouts for this phase of the program. You are to alternate between these two workouts, doing your workout for three days out of every week.
It doesn’t really matter which three days you choose, although some opinions may vary on that one. What matters is that you push yourself every day without fail. Right now you’re on the bottom, and it will take serious effort to change that! As you will see below, both of these workouts are meant to be full-body workouts. This kind of workout is meant to prevent any muscle/strength imbalances that might otherwise arise.
- Squats (2-3 sets of 10-20 reps, no weight)
- Bench Presses (1-3 sets of 5-10 reps at near-maximum weight)
- Barbell Curls (1-2 sets of 10-20 reps each)
- Burpees (1-2 sets of 10-20 reps)
- Barbell Deadlift (2-5 sets of 1-3 reps)
- Overhead Press (1-4 sets of 10 reps each, moderate weight)
- Chin-ups (3 sets of 10-15 reps each)
- Planking (hold position for 1-5 minutes)
Why two workouts instead of one? The answer is simple; to decrease your risk of injury. Right now, you’re still an enthusiastic beginner, and that’s exactly the kind of person who is more likely to injure themselves. Variating your workout will help to keep you from overworking any one muscle group, and will also help to reduce post-workout soreness.
As you can see, this workout isn’t really that hard, but it is hard enough to push your limits and make you stronger. That’s the idea, anyway…the proper execution will depend on you! It will also be up to you to determine when it’s time to move on to the next phase. It won’t be hard to make this call, however. When this workout becomes easy, and you stop seeing gains, it’s time to move up to the next level.
Step 4: The Intermediate Workout
Now it’s time to turn up the difficulty a little bit. This time, you will be doing more sets and more reps (for the most part). Not only that, but your daily workout will now include a few more exercises than before. As before, we will be using a mix of compounded and focused exercises in order to achieve a full-body workout. However, we are going to use a different kind of schedule now that you (hopefully) have the discipline to handle a more regimented routine.
For this stage of the process, you will have a different workout for each day of the week. Each day, you will concentrate on a different region of the body. Instead of trying to work all the major muscles on a daily basis, you will concentrate on working them one at a time. We have also introduced variable sets to your workout. Here is the schedule:
- Monday:Chest and triceps
- Tuesday: Back and biceps
- Wednesday: Shoulders and traps
- Thursday: Abs, thighs, and calves
- Friday: Chest and triceps
- Saturday: Back and biceps
- Sunday: Shoulders and traps
Chest And Triceps Routine:
- Bench Presses (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Dumbbell Chest Flies (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Incline Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 10, 8, and 8)
- Weighted Dips (2 sets of 10 and 8)
- Skullcrushers (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Overhead Tricep Extensions (2 sets of 10 and 8)
Back And Biceps Routine:
- Lateral Pull-Downs (3 sets of 12, 8, and 7)
- Low Rowing (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- High Rowing (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Barbell Pull-Overs (2 sets of 8 and 6)
- Deadlifts (3 sets of 12. 8, and 6)
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls (2 sets of 10)
Shoulders And Traps Routine:
- Barbell Military Presses (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Dumbbell Front Raises (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Posterior Flies (3 sets of 12,8, and 8)
- Dumbbell Arnold Presses (2 sets of 10 and 8)
- Dumbbell Shrugs (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Behind The Back Dumbbell Shrugs (2 sets of 12 and 8)
Ab, Thigh, And Calf Routine:
- Full Barbell Squats (3 sets of 12, 10, and 8)
- Hamstring Curls (3 sets of 15, 12, and 8)
- Calf Raises (3 sets of 12, 8, and 8)
- Machine Squats (2 sets of 8)
- Leg Extensions (2 sets of 12 and 8)
- Crunches or Standard Leg Raises (2 sets of 20-50)
- Hanging Leg Raises (2 sets of 20-50)
As before, continue this routine until it becomes relatively easy and you stop seeing gains.
Step 5: The Advanced Workout
Now that you have proven yourself worthy, it’s time to move on to the final stage. This is an exciting time (or at least it should be!) as you are now ready to create the routine that will become your standard from now on. As such, you will have a little bit more room for creativity on this one.
The advanced workout will be a 3-day-per-week routine, as this will be more than sufficient to preserve the gains that you have already made. The schedule is very simple. On day one, you train your legs. On day two, you train your chest, shoulders, and triceps. On day three, you train your back and your biceps. In many ways, this is just a simplified version of the intermediate workout.
It should be noted that you can choose to modify this workout and train for 4 or even 5 days per week. At this point, you should have enough experience to make that call. You will also be in charge of coming up with your workout routine, but we have provided these examples so that you can use them as a starting point:
Day 1: Quads, Hamstrings, And Calves
- Squats (3 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Leg Presses (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
- Romanian Deadlifts (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
- Leg Curls (2 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Calf Raises (4 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Seated Calf Raises (4 sets of 10-12 raises)
Day 2 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
- Bench Presses (3 sets of 5-7 reps)
- Incline Dumbbell Presses (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Cable Crossovers (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Presses (3 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
- Tricep Press-downs (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Overhead Dumbbell Extensions (3 sets of 10-12 reps)
Day 3 – Back, Biceps
- Deadlifts (2 sets of 5-7 reps)
- Pull-Ups (3 sets of 6-8 reps)
- 1-Arm Dumbbell Rowing (3 sets of 6-8 reps)
- Close-Grip Pull-Downs (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
- Face Pulls (2 sets of 10-12 reps)
- Barbell Curls (3 sets of 8-10 reps)
Here are a few more little pointers that might be helpful to you:
- You can reduce your meat costs by keeping 2-4 hens in your backyard. Not everyone can do this, but it’s actually quite easy for those who have enough space.
- Make yourself a “workout mix” CD (or playlist) to save time.
- Always stretch well, both before and after a workout.
- Never cheat in any way. You are only hurting yourself.
- Don’t focus on what you want to avoid…focus on what you want to achieve.
With a little motivation and a lot of work, you can achieve the bodybuilding results that you have always wanted. If nothing else, we hope that this article has given you a better idea of how you can achieve your goals, and shown you that it’s not so hard as you probably thought. Just remember that you are the master of your own destiny, and no one can stop you except yourself. If you have found this article to be helpful, we hope that you will follow us on Facebook so that we can teach you even more useful knowledge.