Discipline, dedication, consistency and motivation are the cornerstones of professional bodybuilding. Take a look at a few Mr. Olympia title holders like Larry Scott, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates to comprehend bodybuilding success.
A mere glance at these maestros is enough to have any aspiring bodybuilder spur up his workout regime. So, what is it about these legends that compels everyone to train harder, faster and more rigorously?
The answer is a no-brainer: the sheer magnitude of what they’ve achieved embodies perfection that reflects their relentless effort. Their life stories convince you that even you can have that amazing physique if you too religiously follow a disciplined routine at the gym and boost your health with a power-packed diet.
Every bodybuilder has a different training style and a unique set of ideologies but there are a few things that they all have in common. They all know that the trick to making any workout effective is to first understand and respect a body’s individuality. If you too aspire for the perfect build; here are 5 things you can learn from professional bodybuilders:
- Create a bodybuilding plan
If you want an increased muscle mass accompanied with a strong build, you need to target every area of your body via cardio and muscle training. This means you also need to focus on the weak parts of your body that you probably never paid attention to.
A great technique to do so is to divide your weekly routine into distinct phases, each focusing on one of these key areas. Make the most of your time by spending dedicated hours in the gym 4to 5 days every week. You will need to concentrate on these crucial areas:
- Strength training:
Bodybuilding requires symmetry and aesthetics that help to bring about muscle growth. Hence, you need to alternate between high reps and heavy weights so that your muscles have no choice but to grow.
While training for strength, it is important to abide by the age-old maxim of shocking muscles into growth. You can do this by training in heavy weights in the first month and then lifting lightened weights and increasing reps and ups in the following month.
Increasing the amount of weight lifted also adds to the intensity of the session subjecting muscles to stress which in turn yields results. Here is a quick overview of a recommended strength training routine:
- Do 3 sets for each exercise.
- Repeat them 5 to 7 times.
- Continue the routine for 4 to 6 weeks.
- You can choose to increase the weights you are using in the 3rd or 4th week.
- Cardiovascular conditioning:
Many people are of the opinion that cardio training will lead to a reduction in muscle mass. However, the truth is that cardiovascular training goes a long way in helping you burn fat efficiently and making your muscles more prominent.
So, it’s best if these exercises are a part of your routine and you do them throughout the year for at least 30 to 40 minutes, 3 times a week. You can run or use a step mill to get some cardio training on an empty stomach i.e. as soon as you wake up or after you’ve had your post-workout protein shake. Here is a quick account of an effective cardio workout:
The most rewarding exercise for anyone looking to put on some serious muscle mass is growth workouts. This is due to the fact that these workouts are aimed at stimulating a huge number of muscles throughout your body and bring visible results. You can use the following tips to get the best out of your growth workout:
- Do 3-4 work sets for each exercise.
- Repeat them 8 to 12 times.
- Continue your regime for 4 weeks.
- Apply tension to your weights
Applying tension to weights is recommended as it allows you to work through various muscle fibers, leading to greater pump. It consequently boosts the quality of your workout. You can apply tension only on the last five reps of each working set, or to each rep in small amounts, depending on your preference.
However, ideally you should do the initial 5 to 6 reps using your normal tempo and then try to hold the last few reps for at least 2 seconds when the contraction is at its peak. This will increase the amount of time your muscles spend under tension thus giving them a more rigorous workout.
- Optimize muscle growth with drop sets
Drop sets is a bodybuilding technique wherein you are required to perform a set of exercise followed immediately by dropping weights and continuing with repetitions until you hit failure. They are essential in muscle gain as they overload the muscle with shorter resting periods enabling muscles to grow faster.
Furthermore, they also optimize your bodily functions to support muscle gain by causing it to utilize the human growth hormone, nutrients and natural testosterone in the areas that you are stimulating in your workout. This in turn catapults the efficacy of any dietary supplements that you consume to complement your workout.
- Eat right
All professional bodybuilders have meal plans suited to their unique needs and preferences. The key thing to remember here is that there is no one right meal plan; rather you have to analyze your eating habits, devise weight gain/ loss targets and then incorporate foods that will help you attain them.
You can start by jotting down your daily food consumption and count your calorie intake. Then, you can decide on a macronutrient ratio (for example 40% carbs, 40% proteins and 20% fat) and then use it to give your body the right proportion of nutrients.
Once you’ve identified the amount of food you need to consume in a day; divide it into 6 meals so that your body is trained to process food faster.
- Capitalize on protein powder
Protein powder complements your workout regime by providing you with a healthy dose of nourishment. However, it is important to use these supplements in moderation. Therefore, try to consume about 1.25 to 2 gm of protein powder per pound of body weight and as a rule don’t exceed a 1:1 meal to shake ratio.
Bodybuilding is all about self-restraint, hard work and channeling your efforts in the right direction. So, use these tips and you should be able make the most of all your workouts and attain the goals that you have your heart set on.