If you are ready to make a change and start working on your body, then there are a few bodybuilding basics that you need to consider before you step foot in the gym.
Getting these basics right can be the difference between building a solid foundation and crashing and burning.
Have a plan
Before you set foot on the gym floor, you should have a plan. Know exactly what exercises, what weights and how many reps. If you go to the gym with no plan, then you will just end up floating about feeling lost. You’ll most likely spend more time on your phone than on your muscles.
The best ways to come up with your plan is to talk to the trainers in your gym. These guys are a great resource, and they will be able to give you some top tips and a solid workout routine to get you started. What’s more, they will be able to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible.
Take time to get your form right
Possibly the most important of all the bodybuilding basics is form. You should take the time to learn how to lift properly. If you just lift without considering your movements, you are going to be setting yourself up for failure. At best you won’t get the results you’re hoping for; at worst you pick up an injury that will leave you in a worse state than when you started.
The mirrors in the weights area of the gym aren’t just there for taking selfies and admiring your glistening muscles. They are there so you can check that your form is spot on, every time. If you’re not sure about a movement, either check with a trainer or find some tutorials online.
If you are looking to master the bodybuilding basics, then you need to start by mastering the core exercises: squats, lunges, deadlifts, bicep curls, clean and presses and military presses. These exercises are going to give you the foundation you need to really start sculpting your body to be everything you want.
Work every muscle group at least once a week
Even if your main aim is bulk on one specific area of your body, you still need to make sure that you work the rest of your body on a regular basis. If you neglect an area of your body, you’ll be cheating yourself of the opportunity to maximise the muscles you care about.
While you’re learning the bodybuilding basics, it can be easy to underestimate how many muscle groups are used in each exercise. For instance, a weak core can limit how many squats you can do, and lazy shoulders can limit your bicep curls.
To make sure that none of your muscles are left lagging behind, you should really aim to work each major muscle group at least once a week. To help make sure you hit every main area you want to try and work your back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, core, legs and glutes. If you can tick each of these areas off at least once per week, then you are well on the way to mastering the bodybuilding basics.
Recovery is important
It might sound counter-intuitive, but you don’t actually build muscle in the gym. You damage the muscles when you work out. It’s when you rest that the muscles repair and grow stronger. In order to make the most of this process and to encourage the most efficient building of muscles, you should aim to work out 3 – 4 times a week and really give your body time to recover.
Once you have more experience in the gym, you can start planning your workouts so you can workout more often, but in the beginning, don’t overdo it.
Another facet of this is that you should be making sure that you are getting enough sleep. Anything less than 8-9 hours a night and you are robbing your body of the time it needs to build that muscle up. It might sound odd, but one big bodybuilding basic is, get more sleep!
Start thinking about if you want to build size or strength
The start of any bodybuilding regimen will be the same; you will build both strength and size. You’ll find that you can do more, and your muscles will look more defined. However, once you have mastered the bodybuilding basics, you should start thinking about exactly what it is that you want to achieve.
If you want to build your muscle size and really sculpt your muscles so that they grow as large as possible, you’ll shift your routines towards larger number of reps at slightly lower weight. You’ll be aiming to keep your muscles under tension for as long as possible
If your focus is on building your strength as much as possible, then you’ll be looking to drive your max weight as high as possible. Your workouts will focus on lifting higher weights and hunting to push your one rep max as high as possible.