FREE Natural Bodybuilding eBook
Learn The Drug Free Secrets To
Building Muscle and Losing Fat Fast!

Enter your first name and a valid email address
for free instant access to the natural bodybuilding report.

 
First Name:
Email Address:

Bodybuilding: A Realistic Approach
By Frank Melfa of bodybuildingbyfrank.com

An excerpt from the book:

How to Build Mucle Using Basic Exercise & through Nutrition

"As soon as I had pushed against pieces of iron, the world made sense. I only had to squeeze to find it. Every time the pain came, I washed it away with cold iron and surging blood. Doing that day after day made me stronger, harder, more immune."       Bob Paris, Gorilla Suit, St. Martin's Press

Next time you ask how long it will take to build muscle, remember this quote by Bob Paris. Building muscle is very difficult to accomplish. It takes a lot of planning, discipline, hard work, proper nutrition, and the right exercises. This book provides the right plan and exercises; the rest is up to you (see Eat to Build in the Nutrition chapter). Below are the most commonly asked questions specific to building muscle. I already answered the results and time oriented question. (Also in this chapter are several examples of training programs.)

What exercises should I perform?

To build muscle, using basic exercises such as presses, rows, squats, and deadlifts are extremely important. As I mentioned in Chapter 1, basic exercises target the major muscle groups and help you establish a foundation to build on. These exercises will put muscle on your frame. They will allow you to use maximum weight for each body part because they require maximum effort from other major muscle groups as well. For example, exercises such as bench presses and dips require a tremendous amount of work from the shoulders. Cable crossovers on the other hand will not do much for building muscle. Let others waste their time performing cable crossovers while you add mass to your chest by performing weighted dips. I have used cable crossovers, not to build muscle, but to define and shape my chest. This is what I mean by building a strong foundation. Use "defining" exercises once you have added some muscle to your frame. You can't define what's not there! Don't get me wrong; it's not like I never perform cable-cross overs. I do occasionally to add some variety to my chest workouts. But you want to build muscle

If you plan to compete in a bodybuilding contest, then save these defining exercises for the remaining few months before a contest. The Precontest section of this book discusses cutting up or defining exercises.

Using proper form when performing your exercises can make a big difference when trying to build muscle. Lifting heavy weights does not guarantee the best physique. You want to use a full range of motion when performing all of your exercises. A full range of motion means using lighter weights assuring the use of more muscle fibers. For example, I see too many people use too much weight when performing a bench press. As a result, they bounce the bar off their chest using momentum to lift the weight. Lifting this way limits range of motion and greatly increases risk of injury.

How many sets and reps per body part?

When building size is your goal, perform multiple sets and lower reps, and take longer rests between sets. As a rule of thumb, perform a realistic range of 10 to 12 sets for large body parts, (chest, back, shoulders, legs) and six to eight sets for smaller body parts, (biceps, triceps, calves, forearms). You should gradually pyramid your weights allowing a range of four to ten reps. Pyramiding your weights simply means gradually increasing your weights every set. This means as you increase your weights, you will naturally perform fewer reps.

Performing three to four sets of three to four different exercises for each large body part and two to three sets of three different exercises for each small body part is ideal. For example, perform four sets of pullups for your back, three sets of one-arm rows, and three sets of seated rows. For triceps, you can perform three sets of close-grip bench, three sets of french-curls and three sets of pushdowns.

Your current level of muscle development, size, and endurance, will also determine the range of sets and reps to use. I sometimes perform 15 to 18 sets of chest, back, and legs and 12 sets of biceps and triceps without overtraining. This is not realistic or recommended for a beginner. The example above included, a total of nine sets for triceps. This contradicts my recommendation of performing six to eight sets for small bodyparts such as triceps. But my recommendations are just that, recommendations. For the most part, my recommendations include ranges of sets. If I say a range of six to eight sets, that could also mean five sets or nine sets. Nothing is set in stone! The important thing to remember is that you don't want to overtrain a muscle group. Your arms are easy to overtrain because they are an attractive muscle group and you want them to get big by training them harder than the rest of your body.

If you train large body parts hard and intensely, using a full range of motion, then 10 to 12 sets is all you really need. Same goes with small bodyparts. Six to eight hard and intense sets will do the job. You can consider performing more that 12 sets for large body parts and more than eight sets for small body parts once you have reached an advanced level of bodybuilding, where you have competed at least once or have been lifting weights for a long time.

How much rest between sets?

The muscles require longer rests to recover from previous sets to allow you to lift heavy weights repeatedly. However, that does not mean talking to your buddy for three minutes or taking five minute water breaks either. Rests between sets should be no longer than a minute and a half. Try performing abs or calves between your sets rather than standing around doing nothing (see Staggered Sets).

How many days?

Your fitness level, goal, and the number of days you can devote to training will determine the number of days to train. If building muscle is your goal, and you are just getting started, try to train three days per week consistently. The key word here is consistently. That means train three days, week in and week out. Narrowing your training to two days per week obviously won't be as beneficial as three consistent days. I currently try to train at the very least three days, but usually get a fourth day during the weekend. I'm not looking to get any bigger, but want to maintain my size and shape. When I was competing, I would always get four to five days of heavy training during my building stage of contest preparation. When I was a few months away from contest, I was in the gym almost every day. If your goal doesn't include competing, then three to four days is more than enough to build size.

I will be discussing different split routines, but the important thing to remember is try to train on the same days every week. This will ensure consistency because training on the same days means a less chance of interruptions during the week. On the other hand, if you don't plan your days and just decide to wing it, there will be less consistency in your training. That means missed workouts.

If you decide on three days, you can split it up in different ways. You can train every other day. For example: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, training chest, bies, and abs on Monday, Back and Tries on Wednesday, and Shoulders and Legs on Friday.

If you are just starting out, I would suggest at least one day rest between workouts. More than likely, you will be very sore and will need to recuperate between workouts even if you train different muscle groups. For example suppose you train chest and biceps and Monday. On Tuesday, not only will your chest and biceps be sore, but there's a good chance that your shoulders and triceps will also be sore. Also, trying to train any muscle group with sore shoulders is difficult and not recommended.

Three days per week, one day rest between workouts:

Monday Wednesday Friday
Chest Back Shoulder
Bies Tries Legs
Abs    

You can also use a two day split where you train two days in a row take the third day off and resume on the next day. For example, train chest and biceps on Monday and back and triceps on Tuesday. Take Wednesday off and train shoulders and legs on Thursday.

Three days per week, two days on, one day off:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Chest Back off Shoulders
Bies Tries   Legs

If you had to, you can train three days in a row, making sure you break up your body parts as I have shown throughout these examples.

Three days in a row:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Chest Back Shoulders
Bies Tries Legs

If you decide to train four days per week, you use a can train three days in a row; rest one day and start again on day five. As a rule of thumb, never train the same body parts two days in a row; your muscles need a chance to recover. I usually wait one full week before training the same body part again. If you use this spit routine, you can train one body part twice in one week. For example, if you train chest and biceps on Monday, you can train it again on Friday, if you are not still sore from Monday's workout. From here, you can start the next week with back and triceps on Monday and repeat that workout on Friday. This way you rotate training different body parts twice per week rather than just training chest and biceps twice per week. Besides, if you train chest and biceps on Monday and then again on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will probably not be enough time to train them again the following Monday. Here's a good, three week example of rotating your body parts.

Four Days per week, Split Routine, Three Day On One Off (3 week rotation)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Chest Back Shoulders off Chest
Biceps Triceps Legs   Biceps
         
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Back shoulders chest off Back
Tries legs biceps   Tries
         
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Frid
Shoulders Chest Back off Shoulders
Legs Biceps Triceps   Legs

The great thing about using the examples above is that you don't get stuck having to train chest every Monday. I know you probably like to start the week off with a good chest workout, but it's so difficult finding an open bench to get started. That's because everyone else is training chest on Mondays. Try to be different! Train back and triceps on Monday instead, or shoulder and legs.

You can split your four day routine however you want it to fit your schedule. You can train two days in a row, take the third day off and train two more days in a row. It really doesn't matter. Be sure not to overtrain by training sore muscle groups. Try to be consistent and plan. Use your calendar as a tool (see Planning Is Everything). Be prepared for changes in your schedule.

Grouping Bodyparts

The grouping of bodyparts shown above is my personal preference that I discuss fully in Chapter 2. But I do change it around once in a while for variety. Here are other examples:

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Friday
Chest aerobics Shoulders aerobics Biceps
Back   Legs Abs Triceps

In this example, I train chest and back on the same day. I know I suggested earlier not to train two large body parts in the same workout. If you are just starting out and want to build muscle, I wouldn't suggest it. But I have been doing this for a long time. I have the muscle endurance to sustain an intense workout that includes two large muscle groups. I usually use staggered sets for chest and back (see Staggered Sets).

I never train chest and shoulders in the same workout because the shoulders work hard during bench presses, especially during incline bench presses. Training shoulders with heavy weights would be difficult after a chest workout. My shoulders would be totally fatigued from my chest workout, resulting in a nonproductive workout. Working chest and shoulders together can also increase your risk of a serious shoulder injury because of all the stress put on them.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Chest Quads Back Shoulders Off Hamstrings
Bies   Tries Abs   Calves
          Abs

In this example, if you decide that you want to concentrate on building your thighs, you can train them alone. You can train hamstrings and calves on a separate day. If you train your thighs with great intensity, you want to save all your energy to train them alone.

If you decide to train five days, you can train four days in a row with one or two days to rest before resuming your workouts. If you train four days on and one off, try to train legs on the fourth day to give your upper body a two day rest. Taking at least a one day rest when trying to build muscle is very important. Two days per week is even better. This results to a five-day training week. Remember, your muscles grow when they rest, not while you work them. They need ample time to rest and rebuild in order to grow.

Building a Huge Chest

If you want to build a huge chest, forget cable crossovers, forget using machines to substitute benchpresses. When adding mass to your chest is a goal, the basic bench press on a flat bench is a key exercise. When not over used, the bench press will prove to be a major component to building a huge chest. It can be performed using a barbell or with dumbbells. You will be able to use more weight with a barbell versus using dumbbells. I usually start my chest workout with barbell flat bench press and then go incline dumbbell presses.

Performing bench presses on different angles will target different areas of the chest and will add more shape to it. When performing bench presses on an incline, be sure that the incline does not surpass a 45 to 50 degree angle. Anything higher than 45 to 50 degrees will take stress away from the chest and put it to the shoulders. Think about it, if you continued to raise the incline, you would eventually be performing a shoulder press. At a proper incline, you will be stressing more of the upper chest.

Like the incline, don't exaggerate the angle on the decline. You only need a slight decline for this exercise to be effective. I prefer to perform this exercise with dumbbells because I get a fuller range of motion versus using a barbell. Also, it's safer and you really don't need a spotter. I definitely feel the upper part of my chest when performing incline presses, but I'm not totally convinced that decline presses target the lower part of the chest. However, I do like the variety and the different feel of using different angles.

Another effective exercise for adding mass to the chest is the weighted dip. I have performed dips with over 200 pounds hanging from my waist. Remember to keep your elbows out and get a good stretch when performing dips.

The standard fly adds both mass and shape to the chest. I usually finish my chest workouts with flyes. You can perform flyes on a flat, incline, or decline bench. I prefer and incline position because I get a better range of motion. See the previous chapter on how I perform flyes off the end of a bench. I also call them pullover flyes.

My favorite finishing chest exercise has always been the pullover with a heavy weight. Pullovers are great for the muscles surrounding the rib cage and for the inside part of the chest. If done properly, you should feel a stretch throughout the entire abdominal wall.

Chest Building Example Workout 1

Bench press             sets 4     reps		
                        warm up     10
                        set 1       10
                        set 2        8
                        set 3        6
                        set 4        4

DB incline press        sets 3
                        set 1       10
                        set 2        8
                        set 3        6

DB flyes                sets 3		
                        set 1       10
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10

                        10 total sets


Chest Building Example Workout 2

Weighted Dips                Sets      Reps

No Weight                    set 1		12
25 pound plate or dumbbell   set 2      10
45 pound plate or dumbbell   set 3       8
45 plus 25 pounds            set 4       6

Barbell Incline Press        Sets      Reps

                             set 1      10
                             set 2       8
                             set 3       6
                             set 4       4


Pullovers                    Sets      Reps
                             set 1       10
                             set 2       10
                             set 3       10

                            11 total Sets
Biceps

The biceps are very small compared to your chest, back, and shoulders and don't require as many sets. Six to eight sets is more than enough to build your biceps. Use the basic exercises such as barbell curls, preacher curls, and dumbbell curls described in the previous chapter to build your biceps. Barbell curls target the entire biceps. You will be able to use more weight with the standing barbell curl than with any other exercise.

Not only do barbell bicep curls tie in the entire biceps, but they also require a lot of work from the shoulders. I found that when I have excluded standing barbell curls from my workouts, my shoulder/biceps tie-in wasn't as shaped as it once was. For a long time I excluded this exercise from my biceps workout because I had hurt my back and minimized any standing exercises. So I relied mainly on preacher curls and dumbbell curls to build my biceps. The preacher curl is my favorite biceps exercise, but it doesn't tie-in the shoulders. That's the whole idea with preacher curls; isolate the biceps. I noticed after almost two years of not performing standing barbell curls, that the part of my arm where my shoulder ties in with the biceps was lacking in shape. So once I was able to perform heavy standing barbell curls again, initially, my shoulders felt incredibly sore. Once I consistently included them back to my biceps regime, I noticed the shoulder/biceps tie-in reshape again and that my shoulders didn't feel sore anymore.

As I mentioned above, the preacher curl tries to isolate the biceps. More specifically it works more of the bottom part of the biceps. With this exercise, there is no doubt that I feel more stress on the bottom part of the biceps. That's because of the position of the arms on the preacher bench. Dumbbell biceps curls on the other hand work the biceps through an entire range of motion tying-in the entire biceps, especially when gradually turning the wrists during the exercise.

Building Biceps Example 1

Barbell Curls           Sets        Reps	
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8
                        set 3         6	 	

						

Preacher Curls          Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8		
                        set 3         6

Standing DB Curls       Sets        Reps

                        set 1       10
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10

                        Total Sets 9


Building Biceps Example 2

Preacher Curls          Sets        Reps
                        set 1       10
                        set 2        8
                        set 3        6


Seated Dumbbell Curls   Sets        Reps
                        set 1       10 each side
                        set 2        8 each side
                        set 3        6 each side

Standing E-Z bar curls  Sets        Reps
                        set 1       12
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10

                        Total Sets 9

Summary

In example 2, I start my biceps workout with preacher curls. This will allow me to use heavier weight during this exercise by performing them first. I like to alternate standing barbell curls and preacher curls as my first exercise because they are my primary power biceps building exercises. I sometimes like to finish off my biceps with a light set of standing E-Z bar curls. Notice the reps remain high from 10 to 12. Sometimes after performing heavy sets of the first two exercises, I like to finish a little lighter than usual. I get a great pump by ending my biceps workout by repping out lighter sets standing curls with either a straight bar or curl bar.

Back

The first thing about adding size and width to your back is to stop waiting for the lat-machine and perform pullups instead. Notice the before and after photos. The before photo shows my lack of back development before I started performing pullups. The after photo shows the increased with and thickness of my back after performing a pullups for one year.

Once you are able to perform about 10 pullups on your own with good form, increase the intensity by adding weight. You can either use a special weight belt to tie weight around your waist or position a dumbbell between your regular weightlifting belt. If you have trouble maintaining a good grip on the bar, use wrist straps. (See back cover of this book to order wrist straps.) Try training back with a partner so he or she can spot you. When you have a spot available, perform negatives with weight around your waist. Have your partner push you up. Once your chest is up to the bar, squeeze your back, then come down as slowly as possible. (See chapter 12 for Negatives.)

Back Building Workout 1

Weighted Pullups    Sets                Reps
                    warm-up (no weight) 10
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6
                    set 4                6



T-bar Rows          Sets                Reps
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6

Seated Rows         Sets                Reps
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6

                    Total sets 10


Back Building Workout  2

Weighted  Pullups   Sets                Reps

                    warm-up (no weight) 12
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6

Deadlifts           Sets                Reps
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6
                    set 4                4

DB One-Arm Row      Sets                Reps
                    set 1               10
                    set 2                8
                    set 3                6

Shoulders

Overhead presses, upright rows, and lateral raises are key, basic exercises for building the shoulders. Also, include reverse flyes to your shoulder workouts. It's probably one of the most under utilized shoulder exercises. It will help build the rear part of your shoulders. You don't have to perform them every shoulder workout, but try to rotate them in with other finishing shoulder exercises, such as lateral raises or front raises. Reverse flyes are responsible for building and shaping the rear part of the shoulders, an area that most people lack in development.

Shoulder Building Workout 1


Behind The Neck         Sets          Reps 
Military Press				
                        set 1          10
                        set 2           8
                        set 3           6


Upright Rows            Sets          Reps
                        set 1          10
                        set 2           8
                        set 3           6

DB Lateral Raise        Sets          Reps
                        set 1          10 
                        set 2          10
                        set 3          10

Shoulder Shrugs         Sets          Reps
                        set 1          12
                        set 2          10
                        set 3           8

                    Total sets 12 (including shoulder shrugs)



Shoulder Building Workout 2	


Arnold Presses          Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8
                        set 3         6
                        set 4         4

Barbell Upright Rows    Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8
                        set 3         6


DB Reverse Flye         Sets        Reps

                        set 1        10
                        set 2        10
                        set 3        10

                       Total sets 10
Shoulder Summary
  • In workout 1, I included shoulder shrugs. You can work them with either shoulders or back. Since they are not directly targeting the deltoids, you won't be overtraining your shoulders with a total of 13 to 14 sets.

  • If behind-the-neck military presses hurt your shoulders, then do them in front.

  • When performing heavy upright rows, use wrist straps to get a good grip on the bar. The same goes for shoulder shrugs.

  • Be sure to see reverse flyes in chapter 3 for proper form. Notice I left the reps consistent at 10. That means you don't need to increase the weight. The rear delt is a small section of your shoulders. It doesn't require heavy weight for development. It does require light weight and proper form to develop the right muscle balance.
Triceps

Exercises where you can use heavy weight are great for building big triceps. The close grip bench is a good example. For best results, be sure to lower the bar to the top of your chest. Most people lower the bar to their stomach, taking the stress off the triceps.

French Curls never fail to get triceps sore. They're great because you work through a full range of motion by lowering the bar far behind your head. Pressing it back up from this position is difficult, but effective. I love performing French curls with a heavy dumbbell. I sometimes grab a 100 pound dumbbell, lower it behind my head and press it back up. I really feel the triceps working hard!

I usually finish my triceps routine with pushdowns. This is one of the most basic, but improperly performed triceps exercises. When performed properly, it can prove to be a very effective mass builder. I prefer to use a short, straight bar rather than the inverted "V" bar. I feel my triceps working more with a straight bar.

Triceps Building Workout 1				

Close Grip Bench        Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8
                        set 3         6


French Curls            Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10
                        set 2         8
                        set 3         6

Pushdowns               Sets        Reps
                        set 1        10 
                        set 2        10
                        set 3        10

					Total sets 9

					
Triceps Building Workout Example 2

French Curl with a dumbbell       Sets     Reps

                                  set 1    10
                                  set 2     8
                                  set 3     6

Lying Triceps Extensions          Sets     Reps
                                  set 1    10
                                  set 2     8
                                  set 3     6

Pushdowns                         Sets     Reps
                                  set 1    10
                                  set 2    10
                                  set 3    10
Quadriceps

You want big legs? Then squat using good form! It's funny I see just about every leg machine being used in the gym. I see the squat rack used for just about every exercise except squats. When I do see people squatting, it's with improper form. It's no wonder why I rarely see well-developed legs in the gym. So, get under that squat rack and perform three or four quality sets of squats!

Leg presses are also very effective for adding mass to the thighs. Although lunges are not as effective as squats and leg presses for adding size to your thighs, they are great for shaping them. I also enjoy performing hack squats. They really isolate the thighs because of the angle of the machine and as a result, I feel an incredible burn throughout my thighs.


Quadriceps Workout  1

Squats                  Sets           Reps
                        Warm-up         15
                        set 1           12
                        set 2           10
                        set 3            8
                        set 4            6

Leg Press               Sets           Reps
                        set 1           10
                        set 2            8
                        set 3            6
                        set 4            6

Walking Lunges         Sets (3)


                      Total Sets 10



Quadriceps Workout Example 2

Squats                  Sets            Reps
                        set 1           12
                        set 2           10
                        set 3            8
                        set 4            6

Hack Squats             Sets            Reps
                        set 1           10
                        set 2            8
                        set 3            6
                        set 4            6

Stationary  Lunges      Sets            Reps
                        set 1           10 each side
                        set 2           10 each side
                        set 3           10 each side
                        set 4           10 each side

                      Total Sets 12

Summary
  • The most important about adding size to your legs is to stick with the basic exercises using good form. Performing the basic exercises is not enough. You really need to work your legs through a full range of motion. So lighten up the weight and do it right.

  • I like keeping my reps high when training legs. Legs will still grow by performing high repetitions with good form.

  • When performing walking lunges, be sure to allow enough room to travel across the gym floor. You want to take at least 12 steps across the floor and then immediately return.

  • When performing stationary lunges, be sure to alternate legs. Keep the reps high. This is not a mass builder, but will add shape and definition to your legs when performed consistently.

  • I rarely trained hamstrings and calves during my quadriceps training because quadriceps drained all my energy. If you are serious about adding mass to your thighs, and plan on training them with high intensity, then train them alone. Train hamstrings and calves on a separate day. If your days are limited, then it's OK to train hamstrings and calves with quadriceps, as I do now, since I don't compete anymore.
Hamstrings

Building the hamstrings is very important to balance leg strength and size. Leg curls are the most basic to perform. Some gyms provide a standing leg curl that allows you to use one leg at a time. This ensures for an even greater balance of strength and size for the legs. If one leg is stronger than the other, the imbalance of strength can be detected and corrected by using this piece of equipment. I used stiff-leg dead lifts religiously to build and shape my hamstrings during contest training. If you don't plan to compete, then they are really not necessary. The risk of hurting your back permanently is not worth it. If you experience lower back pain when performing these, try using light weights or don't perform this exercise at all.

Hamstring Workout Example 1


Stiff-leg Dead Lifts
                        Sets        Reps	
                        set 1       10
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10


Leg Curls               Sets        Reps	
                        set 1       10
                        set 2        8
                        set 3        8
                        set 4        8



Single Leg Curls        Sets        Reps
                        set 1       12
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10

                       Total sets 10

					   
Hamstring Workout Example 2


Leg Curls                Sets       Reps
                        set 1      12
                        set 2      10
                        set 3      10
                        set 4      10


Single Leg Curls        Sets       Reps
                        set 1      10 each side
                        set 2      10 each side
                        set 3      10 each side
                        set 4      10 each side

                     Total Sets 8

Calves

Nothing looks worse than having big thighs and small calves. Working the calves consistently with the basic exercises below will ensure a proper balance between the thighs and calves. Working both parts of the calves, the gastrocnemius and the soleus, is essential for building them. Be sure to work your calves through a full range of motion by lowering your heels as far down as possible.

Calf Workout Example 1


Donkey Calf Raise       Sets       Reps
                        set 1       15
                        set 2       12
                        set 3       10
                        set 4       10


Seated Calf Raise       Sets       Reps
                        set 1       15
                        set 2       12
                        set 3       12
                        set 4       12

                        Total sets 8


Calf Workout Example 2


Standing Calf Raise     Sets       Reps
                        set 1       12
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10
                        set 4       10


Seated Calf Raise       Sets       Reps
                        set 1       12
                        set 2       10
                        set 3       10
                        set 4       10

                        Total sets 8

Summary

To build and shape the calves, I think it's essential to keep your reps high because calves respond better to high reps. This is what I have noticed and this is what I have heard and read throughout my years of bodybuilding. Notice, in the examples, the reps are no fewer than 10. Not to say you can't occasionally perform less than 10 reps. For the most part, keep your reps high. This means that you won't be significantly increasing your weights.

Overview

oI do not count warm-up sets as full sets. I only count sets that exert energy where a good, hard, and an intense effort is made. For example, my warm-up set with weighted pullups is performed without weight, so I don't count it. Also, my warm-up set with squats is performed with only 135 pounds, so I don't count that either. Both of these warm-up sets I perform with ease, so I do not count them.

  • Notice that the last two exercises for chest and biceps (flyes and dumbbell curls) the reps remain constant at 10. Flyes and dumbbell curls should be performed with moderate weight for at least 10 repetitions. They are exercises mainly responsible for shaping and defining. Other exercises such as bench presses and standing barbell curls are the mass builders.

  • I do not train hamstrings or calves on my quadriceps day because training quadriceps drains all my energy. Add a day to train solely hamstrings, calves and maybe even abs. This was usually my easy day of training during contest time.

  • For hamstrings, you can perform single leg curls on a machine that a good bodybuilding gym provides.

  • For quadriceps, leg extensions are optional. Squats, leg presses, and lunges, are sufficient. You can vary your workouts using leg extensions with supersets. (See Training Techniques). I sometimes use leg extensions as a warm up for my quadriceps training.

  • For calves, a total of six to eight sets is sufficient. You can alternate other exercises that target both parts of the calf: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. Also notice that the repetitions remain high for calves. They seem to respond with lighter weights and more repetitions.
Eat To Build

If you want to build quality muscle, then you have to eat quality food. It is very difficult to build muscle. Gaining weight and building muscle are not the same. You can gain weight and build a minimal amount of muscle, gain very little weight and build a respectable amount of muscle, or you can gain a lot of weight and build a lot of muscle. Eating everything and anything at any time results in weight gain primarily of fat. Eating the right foods at the right time in the right amounts helps build muscle.

In order to gain a lot of weight and a lot of muscle, the same formula mentioned for losing weight applies, but it changes slightly. Calories-in need to be greater than calories out. That means you need to eat more than you are eating now. It doesn't mean to exercise less! You need to eat more of the right foods. You must consume foods rich in complex carbohydrates and restrict simple carbohydrates such as simple sugars and candy. Complex carbohydrates help build muscle; they should make up at least 60% of your caloric intake. My favorite muscle building carbohydrates include, baked potatoes, pasta, and rice. These foods are great to fuel your muscles for hard work-outs and are very low in fat and sodium.

Follow my recommendation for protein intake discussed earlier to build muscle. That is to consume 20 to 30% of your calories from protein. My favorite muscle building proteins include chicken, fish, turkey, and small portions of lean, red meat. Red meat has received a bad reputation over the years because of its high fat content. Lean cuts of red meat eaten in small portions can prove to be a crucial nutritional component to building muscle.

The best way to include red meat to your diet is to first go to the supermarket or local butcher. Ask them for the leanest cuts available and to trim off any additional fat. Then have them grind it for you. Season the meat with onion powder, oregano, and other spices. Make patties from the seasoned meat; cook one on the grill and freeze the rest for easy preparation later. Try to limit red meat to once per day and no more than three days per week.

As I mentioned above, to build a lot of muscle you need to increase your calories. That means you need to keep track of your calories. You can't just decide that you are going to eat more and wing it. You need to know how many calories you are taking in now to maintain you current body weight and then need to increase your calories appropriately.

In order to keep track of your caloric intake, you must use a food diary (see Keeping A Food Diary in this chapter for sample diets to build muscle using a food diary). Start increasing your calories by 500 for the first week, and see how your body reacts. Depending on how much muscle you want to add to your frame will determine the increase in your calories.

For example, from using your food diary, you know that your average caloric food intake is 2000 calories. If you experience no weight gain after increasing your calories to 2,500, then increase to 3000. If you find that you gained one pound after a week of 3000 thousand calories, then you know you will need 10 weeks to gain 10 pounds.

We have answered the questions of what to eat, total daily calories, and the distribution of those calories. Eating them in the right portions and at the right time are also important when trying to build muscle. For example, if you consume 3000 calories per day, you want to evenly distribute those calories, preferably eating six, 500 calorie meals per day rather than three 1000 calorie meals per day. Eating smaller portions will assure efficient use of those calories. It is very difficult for your body to use 1000 calories of food. Most of it no matter what the distribution of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, will be stored as fat.

I sometimes ate six or seven times a day. I started with a good size breakfast before my workout that usually included oatmeal or cream of rice with three or four egg whites and one whole egg. After my workout, I usually ate a baked potato or a protein shake. I ate a good size lunch that always included protein and carbohydrates. I included a snack between lunch and dinner, maybe some rice cakes or a can of tuna. Dinner included broiled fish or chicken and sometimes lean red meat along with a clean carbohydrate, usually plain pasta. (Be sure to see examples at the end of this chapter.)

Most of the foods I ate were easy to prepare. I didn't like wasting a lot of time preparing food. I frequently used my microwave oven. For example, rather than boil rice and having to wait almost an hour, I used Success? Rice, which is available in microwavable bags. They cook in 10 minutes! I also drank protein shakes, usually either before or after a workout. I have to admit, the only protein shake that doesn't upset my stomach and tastes great is Met-Rx?. I still love to drink them. I usually mix them with skim milk, a banana, and ice.

Click Here For Your Free All Natural Bodybuilding Magazine







© 1999-2016 AllNaturalBodybuilding.com