Starting with this post and continuing with the next several, you’re going to learn everything you need to know about using weight training to get the results you want. Let’s start by looking at at a couple bodybuilding routines…
Your bodybuilding routine defines the following:
- What you do on a weekly basis (also referred to as a split). Do you do a full body routine? Do you alternate between upper and lower body workouts? Or do you do one body part per session?
- What you do during each training session. That is, what exercises do you perform? How many exercises do you do for each body part? How many sets of exercises? And how much rest do you take between sets and between exercises?
As mentioned before, as a beginner you should start with a simple bodybuilding routine. Some people prefer to do a full body routine three times per week. Others prefer to alternate upper and lower body work outs (which is what I suggest you do). Advanced lifters may want to focus on one body part per session.
Here are some tips to get the best results out of your bodybuilding routine:
- Start training three to four times per week. If you need to shed some fat, then I suggest you do cardio three times per week and alternate upper and lower body routines three times per week.
TIP: Whenever possible, do your cardio and your weight training on different days. If you must do them on the same day, then do weight training first and then cardio.
- Don’t work the same muscle two days in a row. This means you should alternate upper and lower body workouts. Even as you start an advanced routine (one body part per session), you’ll want to separate similar body parts by at least one day. For example, don’t do shoulders one day and biceps the next. Instead, do something like shoulders one day and quads the next.
- Be sure to have at least one full day of rest each week. Your muscles grow when you’re at rest, not when you’re in the gym. That’s because weight training creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. As your body repairs these tears, your muscles will grow and become stronger. But your body needs rest (and good nutrition) to work its magic. That means you should take a full day off each week, get enough sleep each night, and every few months take a full week off.
TIP: Don’t even do cardio on your day off.
Here is a suggestion for an alternating upper/lower body routine. Note: Do two to three exercises per body part, three sets per exercise, and use a weight that you can only lift 8-12 times before fatiguing. Allow for one minute of rest between sets and one or two minutes of rest between exercises:
Monday: Shoulders, arms, chest, back.
Wednesday: Legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves) and abdominals.
Thursday: Shoulders, arms, chest, back.
Monday: Legs and abdominals.
Wednesday: Shoulders, arms, chest, back.
Thursday: Legs and abdominals.
Monday: Back and Shoulders
Tuesday: Biceps, Triceps and Forearms
Thursday: Chest and Abs
If you’re doing weight training three times per week, then one week you’ll do two upper body routines, and the following week you’ll do two lower body routines. This cycle repeats.
The above is just an example of a routine that has been heavily utilized by myself and my athletes. You can create your own routine that best fits your schedule. For example, maybe you’ll take Wednesdays and Saturdays off. However you want to do it is fine, as long as you don’t schedule two similar routines back to back.
Now that you have your routine, you’re probably wondering what types of exercises to do each time. Over the next several lessons you’ll discover all sorts of exercises, from your triceps to your calves, so stay tuned!