If your goal is to put on muscle mass with good symmetry, and the “ripped” defined look where you can notice the separations from the muscles then it is important to train accordingly. Bodybuilding is not as popular today as it was 30 years ago. I think the reason for this is that building a classic physique naturally is very difficult to do. Most men end up giving up and resort to subscribing to “warrior” and “strongman” type training instead, where the emphasis isn’t so much on the physical appearance of the body but rather the functionality of the body. Not everyone can bodybuild or have a physique that is well defined with proper symmetry. However, if you are interested toward building a bodybuilders physique then here are my recommendations to help you achieve your goal.
1. You must be disciplined. Bodybuilding demands a lot of time and commitment. It can take years to develop the muscle to look the way you want. You must stay disciplined to your objectives. Never skip workouts unless of course you are sick or have important matters to attend to.
2. You must go heavy with the weights. Many folks are afraid of lifting heavy weights. In order to get the muscle to grow there must be enough tensile force generated to elicit activation of a greater amount of muscle fibers and to stimulate the release of testosterone and GH (growth hormone). Using a resistance that is to low will slow down your progress. It is important to overcome the fear of lifting heavy. I recommend that bodybuilders use a weight of 85% max 1RM. There have been many research studies that have shown that 85% intensity releases the anabolic hormone sequence in the body.
3. Stick with the basic lifts. So many guys attempting to bodybuilding make a huge mistake when training for size, they add too many exercises to the program. Adding to many exercises will halt all gains. Too much neural stimulation releases stress chemicals inhibiting the anabolic drive. When putting on size incorporate the basic big lifts.
4. Work up the intensity. It is important to warm the tissue up and to direct blood flow into the area. Improper warm-ups will promote injury and reduced gains. Working up to the 85% intensity is better than just jumping into the 85% intensity without proper warm-ups. Use about 65% intensity to start things off, and then move into a 75% intensity, and finally into the work sets of 85%. Remember that it takes patience and perserverance to build all natural dense muscle. Sometimes a small increase in resistance is a huge gain for the natural bodybuilder.
5. Change your program every month. Staying on the same program month after month will produce a plateau and boredom. There is nothing worse than going to the gym unmotivated and dreading it. In order to keep gaining it is important to create new stimulation (shocking) to the muscle every few weeks. Not only does this provide a great pump to the muscle it also boosts your motivation and psychological state for training.
6. Use supplements and eat right to achieve maximum restoration to the muscle tissue. One of the great pitfalls of bodybuilders is not eating correctly or taking in the correct amount of supplements. When muscle tissue is broken down from intense training it must be resynthesized to continue to take on the stress of future workouts. Failure to establish a sound nutrition and supplementation plan will hindere your dreams of putting on muscle mass.
7. Get plenty of sleep. Muscle can only grow while the body is asleep. That is when growth factors are released and protein synthesis is at its peak. Disruptive sleep patterns reduces muscle size.
8. Don’t overtrain. Training duration should be short and fast. Training too long will cause an increase in the stress chemical cortisol destroying growth hormone and testosterone production, resulting in loss of gains.
Building muscle, for the most part, is easy. Building muscle and maintaining great symmetry, size, and definition is not so easy. It takes a different type of person to stick with true natural bodybuilding– simply put: it’s hard. Most people don’t have the perserverance to successfully make it in bodybuilding, that is why they opt for other training methods. If you stick with it and train in accordance to my suggestions you can make great gains and develop a great looking muscular physique. Long live TRUE NATURAL BODYBUILDING!
Daryl Conant, M.Ed.