If you’re relatively new to bodybuilding, you may have a lot of questions about how to best build your strength and muscle mass. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your workout and achieve the results you want.
Work out each muscle group at least once a week. While you don’t necessarily need to work out every single day (if you’re looking to build muscle, you need a few rest days for your muscles to recover), you should aim to work out each muscle group every week to build endurance. For instance, you can rotate between upper body, lower body, and abs for each workout day. It also helps to combine muscle groups, which we talk about more below.
Make sure you get a full range of motion. If you want to work your muscles to their greatest potential, you need to give attention to each phase in their range of motion. The three phases a muscle can be in are positive (curling a dumbbell up), static (holding the weight in place), and negative (lowering the dumbbell). If you release all tension once you raise a dumbbell and then quickly drop the weight back down, you lose that phase AND half the workout. You can also injure yourself this way. Lower the weights slowly and mindfully to fully work your muscles.
Incorporate compound movements. Compound movements are those that utilize several muscles or joints at once. This shortens your workout but doesn’t lessen its efficacy. You can get more done in 45 minutes of quality lifting than in 75 minutes of easier movements. Try lunges with your bicep curls, squats with overhead presses, or barbell squats. You can find tons of great compound exercises online to try out. Don’t just aim for a quicker workout – aim for shorter, but more intense workouts.
Push your limits. It’s good to master the level you’re at, but once a workout becomes effortless to you, it’s time to challenge yourself again. Depending on how often you’re lifting and how the amount of weight feels, you can gradually increase the weight every couple of weeks. However, if you’re not keeping proper form when lifting heavier weights, you’re probably not ready for those yet. Move back down to your previous level until you’ve got the muscle control/strength to increase the weight.
Get adequate sleep. Your muscles grow and recover as you sleep, so make sure to get plenty of it (most people need between 7 and 9 hours). If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep, don’t immediately resort to sleeping pills without consulting with a doctor. You may be able to benefit from natural sleep aids that won’t leave you groggy in the morning.
Don’t expect to gain 15 pounds of muscle mass overnight. Bodybuilding takes patience, consistency, and dedication. Follow our tips, keep pushing yourself, and pretty soon you’ll see a huge difference.