Bodybuilding tends to draw the attention of just about anyone. The talk might be about competition, nutrition, or routine…it doesn’t matter. People are always interested in this particular topic. But the aspect that people seem to express the most interest in is that of the bodybuilding workout routine.
What exactly makes a bodybuilding routine?
Well, let’s look at the goal of bodybuilding. In competition, both men and women are judged based on size, symmetry, and conditioning. So what’s the goal in the gym? It’s simple – become as big and symmetrical as possible. The conditioning aspect is accomplished primarily in the kitchen.
Although armed with an understanding of a bodybuilder’s goals, it is not always the easiest task to create a routine. It can be very difficult due to the large amount of conflicting information out there, as well as the variety of workout routines available. In an attempt to fix this major problem, a breakdown of the most common types of bodybuilding routines will follow.
The Basic Split Approach
“The split” refers to the splitting of certain muscle groups over a series of days. It is common knowledge that muscles require up to 48 hours of recovery to ensure proper growth. This split idea compliments this. While you may see any number of combinations, these are the two most commonly used three day split routines:
Day 1 – Legs/Shoulders Day 2 – Chest/Back
Day 3 – Biceps/Triceps
Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Day 2 – Legs
Day 3 – Back/Biceps
The first set emphasizes antagonist, or opposite, muscle groups, while the second emphasizes muscle groups working together. You can’t really go wrong either way.
High Intensity Training (HIT)
This method of training was popularized many decades ago, but is still around in gyms today. HIT, as the name implies, focuses on high intensity movement. Although there are multiple variations, many HIT routines allow for only a single set per exercise due to the level of intensity. However, this intensity is not an excuse for the breakdown of form and technique. This particular type of training also emphasizes training to failure, or exhaustion, and negative, or assisted, repetitions. Due to the intensity of this workout routine, it may not be the best method for the majority of lifters out there. Many of those who are successful with this training have a solid set of genetics behind them.
As with high intensity training, rest-pause focuses on intensity above all else. The method is simple – pick a difficult weight, perform a set as usual, and then prepare for the worst. Instead of a normal two to three minute rest period, the rest will be limited to 20 seconds. After 20 seconds, pick up the weight and perform another set. The intensity aspect does not only come from the amount of weight being lifted, but the lack of rest between each set. Shorter rest periods tax the body on a very high level. As with HIT, this method is very tough and not necessarily suitable for everyone.
These three methods provide just a small taste of the world of bodybuilding routines. The split method is the most basic and likely the most beneficial structure for the beginning bodybuilder. High intensity training and rest-pause are best left to those with a solid level of gym experience.