Bodybuilding has changed my life – for the better.
After I transformed from a 149-pound, lanky, cross country runner to a 190-pound National Fitness Model Champion, I discovered the multitude of positive benefits bodybuilding has to offer.
Whether you want to build intimidating muscles, tighten up your midsection or slim down, it’s all possible with a bodybuilding lifestyle and a strength training routine with weights.
Whatever your reasons for wanting an attractive and muscular body, you need to start with a clearly defined program to ensure you get started on the right path. If you’ve a beginner bodybuilder (less than one year of weight training experience) then start following the beginner’s muscle building workout below.
Good News: The best muscular gains typically come in the first 6-12 months so be prepared to see your body, and your life, change in the very near future.
Bad News: There are no magical short-cuts to muscle growth. Stick to the program below and you’ll be 3-months closer to your goal instead of 3-months further from your goal.
“Skinny Vinny” in 1996 at the World Junior Triathlon Championships in Cleveland, Ohio – Proud of my Country, not so proud of my body!
Here are a few pointers to consider before starting:
- Be realistic but think big. Being realistic does not mean you can’t have big goals. In fact, I recommend you strive for big goals or else what’s the point? Be honest with where you are today and where you can be in three months from now, one year from now and three years from now. Keep focused on your short terms goals and remind yourself that they are moving you closer to your long term goals.
- Commit yourself to three months before assessing your progress. Let’s fact it, you want results fast and yesterday. So do I. Although it is possible to see over night results, don’t become frustrated during your transformation. Be happy with every gain you make and appreciate that sculpting your body takes time. Change occurs in spurts over a period of time.
- Training in the gym is only half the battle. Training your muscles in the gym in only half the equation and simply sets your muscles up for the potential to grow. What, how much and when you eat plays another critical factor. When you go to sleep plays another and what supplements you take can influence the rate your physique develops too.
Now that we have that out of the way, you’re ready to get started.
The Beginner’s Muscle Building Program
The muscle building for beginners consists of 15 exercises, using basic movements, a pyramid rep/set scheme, change in exercise order, training three times per week and followed for three months.
Each workout should start with at least 10 minutes of aerobic exercise like running, skipping, rowing or walking on an incline. Light stretches with some arm circles in both directions are excellent to warm up the shoulder joint and loosen up the connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. Be sure that you’re sweating before you head onto the gym floor.
|Day 1 Exercises (Monday)||Day 2 Exercises (Wednesday)||Day 3 Exercises(Friday)|
|1) DB Bench Press||1) Lying Leg Raises||1) 1-Leg Extension|
|2) Pec-Deck Fly||2) Barbell Shrugs||2) 1-Leg Leg Curl|
|3) DB Shoulder Press||3) Standing Calf Raise||3) 1-leg Leg Press|
|4) Rear Delt Fly||4) Chin Up||4) 1-Leg Back Extension|
|5) Seated Row||5) 1-Arm DB Row||5) Standing DB Shoulder Press|
|6) Lat Pulldown||6) Incline DB Chest Press||6) Standing Side Lateral Raise|
|7) Leg Extension||7) Push Up||7) EZ Bar Curl|
|8) Leg Curl||8) Leg Press||8) Lying Tricep Extension|
|9) Back Extension||9) Leg Curl||9) Bench Press|
|10) Leg Press||10) Reverse Lunge||10) Incline Barbell Press|
|11) DB Bicep Curl||11) Back Extension||11) Close Grip Lat Pulldown|
|12) Tricep Rope Pressdown||12) Upright Row||12) Wide Grip Seated Row|
|13) Seated Calf Raise||13) DB Lateral Raise||13) Back Extension|
|14) DB Shrug||14) Overhead DB Extension||14) 1-Leg Calf Raise|
|15) Crunches||15) Incline Bicep Curl||15) Lying Leg Raises|
The Sets and Reps and Rest
Month 1: Perform 1-2 sets of 15-20 reps increasing the weight each set. Start each workout a little heavier than last workout. Rest for 30-60 seconds max between sets.
Month 2: Perform 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps increasing the weight each set. Start each workout a little heavier than last workout. Rest for 60 seconds between each set.
Month 3: Perform 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps increasing the weight each set. Start each workout a little heavier than last workout. Rest 60-90 seconds between each set.
Enjoying the pool bar in Nice, France a few weeks ago while on my Honeymoon!
Altering The Routine
If you’re finding the routine a little aggressive break the workout into two different days and do exercises 1-7 on Monday and Thursday. And do exercises 8-15 on Tuesday and Friday. This would give you a total of four muscle building workouts a week instead of two.
- The most important aspect is learning the exercises. Either pick up my own muscle building program and you’ll see how each of these exercises are performed. Or else hire a trainer or train with a friend who can safely coach you through each one. A couple of sessions with a professional trainer is a great investment at this stage of the game.
- Consider stretching in between exercises. This can help improve flexibility, muscle growth and muscle recovery. It will also help you get more “in tune” with the feel of your muscles.
- Notice that you are changing the order of muscle groups being trained which will prevent muscle imbalances from being performed. The variety of exercise order will give different muscle groups opportunity to train earlier in the workout when they are fresh and can go harder.
- Really focus on familiarizing yourself with the exercises before lifting any serious weights. The name of the game in bodybuilding is building muscle size and strength, not seeing who can lift the heaviest weights. Lifting heavy weights with bad form is a guaranteed way to injury yourself.
- If the weights feel extremely heavy one day, don’t panic. Having low energy days and high energy days is normal. As you become more familiar with your body, diet and recovery you’ll be able to control your performance more accurately.
- Don’t train to failure in the first month. Hit your goal reps every time and do extra reps to make the workout tougher. Each month will progress you to heavier weights to be patient and trust the program. It’s very critical to get each movement fixed in your mind and to be a master at it before bumping up the weights and “pushing it.”
- Sometimes changes to your physique don’t become noticeable until the second or third month. This is when your motivation will skyrocket so trust the program and be confident that a new surge of motivation is just around the corner. This mindset will help you stay positive if your gains are initially slow.
- Finish each workout with at least another 10 minutes of cardio plus some light stretching on your tighter muscle groups.
At the end of your third month you’ll have laid the foundation of a strong, shapely physique and your mental and physical state should be improving dramatically. At this point in the game it’s time to consider a new program and bigger-picture goals.
It’s critical that you commit to this first three months and not switch your program. The easiest and worst habit you can develop as a beginner is not finishing your first program and turning into a classic “program hopper.”
Understand, there is no perfect product as you learn more about bodybuilding and your own body you’ll be able to develop an instinctive sense as to how to manipulate the training variables and when it’s time to make a change.
Of course, the best place to go for fresh and new muscle building information on fine-tuning your workout routine is always this blog 🙂
Until next time,
Vince Del Monte
P.S. If you’re a beginner bodybuilder I would love to meet you and hear your story. What’s your name, where are you from and what has motivated you to start a bodybuilding workout? Leave your comments below.
If you’re not a beginner, please leave your number one piece of advice for our beginner bodybuilder friends. Your knowledge and experience would be very appreciated. Leave your input below. Thanks.
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