The Best Bodybuilding Tips and Workouts for Beginners

How often should I work out? How long should each workout be? What exercises are best for beginners? These are all questions you’re probably asking if you’re just starting out bodybuilding. It can all get a bit overwhelming, but don’t worry because if you read on, you’ll find out what you need to know to get started with your workouts.

First and foremost, before beginning any new exercise program be sure to consult your physician to be certain there are no unknown factors that may prevent you from exercising or limit your success. Anyone who is returning from a long layoff or has never weight trained is considered a beginner. With beginners, the general trend is to push too hard and workout too often. Enthusiasm is a necessary ingredient in a successful workout program but it’s important to avoid over-training your unconditioned body. Three or four 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week are optimal for the average individual.

Don’t be tempted to mimic other lifters that you see working out one body part per day. As a beginner, your muscles will respond much better to moderate amounts of stress. One advantage a beginner bodybuilder has is the rate at which their body will respond to weight training. You will see as much results in strength and muscle quality in a couple of months, as most experienced lifters see in years!

A beginner’s bodybuilding workout should look something like this:

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps
Day 2: Rest or Cardio (25 – 45 min)
Day 3: Legs, Lower Back, & Abs
Day 4: Rest or Cardio (25 – 45 min)
Day 5: Back, Traps, & Biceps
Day 6: Rest or Cardio (25 – 45 min)
Day 7: Rest

Note the optional cardio days in between workouts. Cardio, short for cardiovascular activity can consist of any kind of sustained physical activity. Treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, rowing machines and stationary bikes are all good cardio choices and are available at most gyms. Sports and outdoor activities can also be incorporated as cardio. Cardio is used to stimulate greater health and promote fat loss. Individuals who feel they are already in good cardiovascular shape and do not desire to lose any fat can forgo cardio training.

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Sample Workout
Workout 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps
Pushups – 3 sets of 10 reps
Incline Bench Press (barbell or dumbbell) – 3 sets of 10 reps
Dumbell Flyes or comparable machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Military Press (barbell or dumbbell) or comparable machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Tricep Pushdowns – 3 sets of 10 reps

Workout 2: Legs, Lower Back, & Abs
Leg Press – 3 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions – 3 sets of 10 reps

Workout 3: Back, Traps, & Biceps
Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 10 reps
Chip-ups (weight assisted if needed) – 3 sets of 10 reps
Seated Cable Row – 3 sets of 10 reps
Hyperextensions or comparable machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Bicep Curl (barbell or cambered bar) – 3 sets of 10 reps

Your workout should begin with a 5-10 minute cardio warm-up followed by light stretching. Lightly stretch in between sets. Stretching prevents injury and results in better workouts due to quicker recovery and increased strength. You should be going for a moderate stretch with no bouncing! At the beginning of each exercise perform a warm-up set of 15 reps with a light weight. Rest periods between sets should be 45-90 seconds long. Good form is absolutely necessary to get results. Check your ego at the door and use a moderate weight that allows you to feel your muscles working. This mind-muscle connection is the key to results. For your first two weeks, limit the sets performed to two sets and take it easy on the weight or you’ll be sore for a VERY long time! Listen to your body. If you need more rest in between sets or in between training days, go ahead and rest.

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Recap
* For your first two weeks limit the sets performed to two sets, with moderate weight.
* Three or four 45-60 minute weight training sessions per week is optimal.
* Begin your workout with a 5-10 minute cardio warm-up followed by light stretching.
* Perform a warm-up set of 15 reps with a light weight before each new exercise.
* Rest periods should be approx. 45-90 seconds.
* Feel free to take as long as needed to recover in between sets. 3 sets of 10 reps with 45-90 seconds of rest is a goal that needs to be worked up to.

If you only remember one thing from this article it should be that good form is directly related to good results. Use weight that allows you to get a deep pump; go for feel.

If you think that you are already in good cardiovascular shape and do not desire to lose any fat, you can eliminate the cardio training.

Alternate Approach
When you develop your muscles for the first time, you want to rest them for at least two days before you build them again.  As a alternate method for workout 1, you should work on your chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs. The next day build your legs, back, and biceps. Then rest the next day and repeat. This way, your cycle becomes two days on and one day off. Make sure you only do two exercises per body part and alternate your exercises every other month. For example, if you’re doing a free bar bench press switch to dumbbells the second month.

Wondering about sets and reps? The thing to remember is that however many you do, your body is going to adapt to the amounts. As a result, a plateau or a peak can occur. A friend of mine is an accomplished bodybuilder and he claims the best way to avoid this is by cycling.  Cycling simply means to vary the amount of sets and reps as you get deeper into your routine.  For example:

Week 1: 2 sets of 10 – 15 reps
Week 2: 3 sets of 10 – 15 reps
Week 3: 4 sets of 4 – 8 reps
Week 4: 5 sets of 4 – 8 reps
Week 5: 5 sets of 4 – 8 reps

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Then you start again at week one. Try it for a few cycles and I’m sure you’ll agree that it works. Like the in the first routine, don’t forget to rest. Finally, each of your workouts should be roughly 50 minutes long. With this routine, you’re not going to get burned out and your muscle mass and strength will continue to grow.

If you’re new to the world of bodybuilding, these beginner workout tips should get you started out on the right foot. Last but not least, it is important to remember that successful bodybuilding involves eating the right diet and taking the proper muscle building supplements for maximum results.  Keep this in mind as you embark on your muscular development.

For other helpful workout, nutrition, and supplement tips, visit the Stacklabs.com blog to learn more.  What was your beginner experience like?

 

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