This will be a brief rundown of what is generally required when putting together a training session, plan or a full periodised model for a bodybuilder.
What do we need to consider? Volume, intensity and variety. All 3 are important.
We need enough volume to stimulate the differing types of muscle fibre, the different attachments of the various muscles themselves and, as research now backs up, great pump!
Intensity as referring to bodybuilding will just mean how hard we work in the gym. The scientific definition refers to percentage of 1 rep max (e.g.: 90% of 1 rep max = high intensity) but bodybuilding training needs little of this type of effort. We need to be working extremely hard in the gym but we don’t need to go all out on every set. Again, research has shown that keeping 1 rep in the tank leads to greater progress. This is not an excuse to slack off – no way! It just means that we don’t need to go to TOTAL failure on every set of every exercise every session. Don’t forget that my definition of 1 rep short of failure may be someone else’s all out, never trained that hard before in my life type of effort! Hard work is still a must!
Variety is needed to keep the muscles from becoming accustomed to what is expected. How many people do you see in the gym performing the same routine every week and not changing. If you use the same exercises all the time your body will become more efficient at those movements and the stress on the working muscles will be less. The solution? Change movements, angles, grip, equipment, order etc.etc. on a regular basis. Personally, if I were to do exactly the same routine each time I trained even for a few weeks I would go nuts! I enjoy the challenge of stressing the muscles in new ways every time I train.
So what do we do? Well, the basics are:
2 – 3 Exercises.
3 – 5 Sets.
Generally 6 – 12 reps. Sometimes higher and sometimes lower but mostly in this range.
Vary the tempo. Slow, medium paced and explosive reps in good form all work.
By using these general guidelines there are numerous possibilities to keep our training sessions challenging, stimulating and exciting.
Sometimes, it’s good to do something totally different and off the wall to really make your workouts challenging. I’ll give you some examples of what I do when I really fancy a challenge in future blogs. The point is although there may some general rules you should follow in your training it’s good to break rules now and again!!