I always find it a bit comical listening to people at the gym dispensing advice as some sort of doctrine that is written in stone. Oh my, don’t even get me started. In particular, advice on bodybuilder type routines. Let’s face it, most people that are interested in bodybuilder routines aren’t actually bodybuilders, they just want to look good. Trust me; there is NOTHING wrong with that. I’m right there with you! For several years now, I have focused on full body workout routines but every year, I find emptiness in my heart that can only be filled by the great pump.
In fact, Arnold himself said it best in his movie Pumping Iron “Let’s say you train your biceps, blood is rushing in to your muscles and that’s what we call the pump…..It’s as satisfying to me as cumming is, you know, as in having sex with a woman and cumming. So can you believe how much I am in heaven? I am like getting the feeling of cumming in the gym”. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t take it that far but, unlike the alternative, I can go to the gym whenever I want!
Ok, so back to my opening statement. I will hear people say things such as “you’re supposed to train back with you biceps because you use them together”, or “you have to train chest shoulders and tri’s together since they are all used together”.
Here’s what I say:
Throw shit on the wall and see what sticks!
Before I show you some example bodybuilder routines, let’s chat for a moment about what these typical routines involve and what they SHOULD involve.
There are several ways to make a muscle bigger (I have combined moderate and high for simplicity…):
- Higher repetitions with minimum rest periods (10-15 reps, 30-60 seconds rest)
- Higher repetitions with longer rest periods (10-15 reps, 120-180 seconds rest)
- Lower repetitions with longer rest periods (4-8 reps, 120-180 seconds rest)
- Lower repetitions with shorter rest periods (4-8 reps, 60-90 seconds rest)
Sadly, most routines focus on the first item…. maybe on the second usually not. The first method will make your muscle big and soft because you force it to store more energy locally. The technical term is sacroplasmic hypertrophy.
If you focus exclusively on this type of training, you will become “big”, soft and weak!
No thanks!! Like everything in life, this type of training has its place and I will use in for 1-2 months out of a training year. The second type of higher repetition training will increase the size of your muscles by growing your slow twitch and type IIA fast twitch muscle fibers. Again, there is value here if your goal is to look big, but you won’t have the lean “carved” look that turns heads.
The lower repetitions are the often neglected and most misunderstood goldmine for true muscle growth. Ironically, ladies need to spend more time in the lower rep range to get that “toned” look they so desire. Confused yet? Don’t worry, in Part II of this article, I will go more in depth on how to utilize both rep ranges and rest periods for maximum muscle growth and I promise to outline some killer bodybuilder routines!
Example 4-day Training “splits”