Ever since the fitness craze in the 1980’s, we have become a nation increasingly aware of our health and physique. Millions of dollars are spent every year in the quest for a perfect body. Gyms are big business, personal trainers are making a tidy living helping people stay fit, and body building supplements are at an all-time level of performance.
In actuality, the sport of body building has been around for quite some time. In the late 19th century, the man known as the “father of bodybuilding”, Eugen Sandow was credited with inventing the sport by inviting people to view his body in muscle display performances.
Sandow built a stage performance around displays of strength and agility as well as showing off a “Grecian” physique which was considered the ultimate body. He became so successful, he created several businesses around his fame and was among the first people to market body building products bearing his name. As he became more popular, he was credited with the invention of the first exercise equipment marketed to the masses.Sandow was also credited with beginning the first body building contest called “The Great Competition” held in London. This competition was the basis for many others to follow including the Mr. Olympia competition that remains the most popular body building contest to date.
When World War II broke out, men in the country were inspired to become bigger in their physique, stronger, and more aggressive in their behavior. Training techniques were improved, nutrition was focused on more than ever, and body building equipment evolved into effective means for working muscles in ways never thought of before.
It was also around this time that many body building organizations came into being including the Amateur Athletic Union and the International Federation of Body Building. In 1970, body building was taken to a new level when the film “Pumping Iron” was released starring Austrian newcomer Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Through the years, body building has just grown in popularity becoming almost an obsession for many people. Women have started to take an interest in honing their bodies, and the sport has evolved into a real competitive arena.
If you’ve always wanted to learn about how to build your body to that “Grecian Ideal” envisioned by Eugen Sandow, there can be a lot to learn. This app will guide you through some of the basics to get you started. Of course, nothing will compare to actually getting to the gym and lifting those weights, but you’ll need some information first. That’s why we’re here. We want to reveal body building secrets to YOU.
Body building is the process of developing muscle fibers through various techniques. It is achieved through muscle conditioning, weight training, increased caloric intake, and rest. Workouts are designed to focus on certain muscle categories, and foods are consumed with the intention to build the body’s metabolism and increase mass.
This section will focus on weight training for body builders. Weight training develops both strength as well as the size of skeletal muscles. It uses the force of gravity to oppose the force generated by muscles through contraction. Weight training uses a variety of specialized equipment designed to target specific muscle groups and movements. Some people refer to weight training as strength training. While they are not exactly the same, they are both similar to each other. Strength training focuses on increasing muscular strength and size. Weight training is one type of strength training using weights as the primary force to build muscle mass.
The basic principles of weight training are pretty much the same as those of strength training. It involves a manipulation of the numbers of reps, sets, tempo, exercise types, and weight moved to cause desired increases in strength, endurance, size, or shape. The specific combination of reps, sets, exercises, and weight depends upon the desires of the body builder. Sets with fewer reps can be performed with heavier weights but have a reduced impact on endurance.
Equipment used in weight training include barbells, dumbbells, pulleys, and stacks in the form of weight machines or the body’s own weight as in push-ups and chin-ups. Different weights will give different types of resistance.
Weight training also focuses on form performing the movements with the appropriate muscle groups and not transferring the weight to different body parts in order to move great weight. If you don’t use good form in weight training, you risk muscle injury which could hinder your progress.
Another form of weight training is resistance training. Resistance training involves the use of elastic or hydraulic resistance to contraction rather than gravity. When your muscles are resisting a weight, the overall tone of that muscle will grow over time. If you are a beginner at weight training, you should not just “jump right in”. You need to build up your strength and over-working your muscles can cause more harm than good. Some of your muscles might be naturally stronger than others. Building up slowly allows muscles to develop appropriate strengths relative to each other.
Most gyms offer the services of a personal trainer that comes with the membership fee. These trainers can suggest specific workouts for you to begin with. If you want to undertake it yourself, we can make a few suggestions on routines that can help you build muscle and get on the way to a great body.
First, we’ll define some common exercise for clarification.
You may not be familiar with some of the terminology used in body building. Along the same line, you should know what certain exercises are and how to safely perform them. There are all sorts of exercises you can perform – so many, in fact, space prevents us from listing all of them. However, learning the basics can be a great help.
Sit on the edge of a flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your knees. In one smooth motion, roll onto your back and bring the dumbbells up to a position slightly outside and above your shoulders. Your palms should be facing forwards.
Bend your elbows at a ninety-degree angle with your upper arms parallel to the ground. Press the weights up over your chest in a triangular motion until they meet above the center line of your body. As you lift, concentrate on keeping the weights balanced and under control. Follow the same path downward.
Standing Military Press
For this exercise, you will use a barbell. Stand with your legs about shoulder width apart and lift the barbell to your chest. Lock your legs and hips and keep your elbows in slightly under the bar. Press the bar to arm’s length over your head.
Lower the bell to your upper chest or your chin depending on which is more comfortable for you. This exercise can also be performed with dumbbells or seated on a weight bench.
Lying Tricep Push
Sit on a flat bench holding a curl bar with an overhand grip. Lie back so that the top of your head is even with the end of the weight bench. As you are lying back, extend your arms over your head so that the bar is directly over your eyes. Keep your elbows tight and your upper arms stationary throughout the exercise.
The biggest key to this exercise is keeping your upper arms in a fixed position. Slowly lower the bar until it almost touches your forehead. Press the bar back up in a slow, sweeping arc-like motion. At the finish, lock your elbows completely.
Side Lateral Dumbbell Raise
Stand upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms at your side. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms turned toward your body. Keep your arms straight and lift the weights out and up to the sides until they are slightly higher than shoulder level. Then slowly lower them back down to your side again.
Keep your palms turned downward as you lift the dumbbells so that your shoulders rather than your biceps do the work. Make sure you are lifting the dumbbells up rather than swinging them up. Don’t lean forward while doing this either or you risk injury to your back.
This exercise is best done with a special preacher curl bench, but you can do this without it with a little modification. Sit at the end of the weight bench, and place something such as a firm pillow or a few pillows under your armpits on your lap. Hold the curl bar in your hands with palms facing upward. Don’t hunch over the pillow, sit as straight as you can.
Using a shoulder width grip, grasp the bar in both hands. Curl the bar upward in an arc. Be careful not to swing or rock to get the bar moving. You need to be using your muscles to lift the weight, not momentum. The goal of this exercise is to work the biceps. Bring the bar up to your chin keeping in mind that the resistance is greatest during the beginning of the lift. Lower the bar slowly working the muscle on the way down as well. You can also do this with dumbbells or work one arm at a time.
Seated Dumbbell Curl
Sit at the end of a bench with your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your back straight and your head up. Start with the dumbbells at arm’s length with your palms facing in. Curl the weight up and twist your wrist once they pass your thighs. Squeeze your biceps at the top and then slowly lower the weight.
Do not swing the dumbbells down; lower them as you are working those muscles! You can do this standing, but the seated position prevents bad form.
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
Start with your right foot flat on the floor and your left knee resting on a flat bench. Lean forward so that you’re supporting the weight of your upper body with your left arm on the bench. Your back should be flat and almost parallel with the floor.
Reach down and pick up a dumbbell with your right hand. Your left arm should be locked at the elbow so it will support the weight of your upper body.
Before starting, look straight ahead instead of at the floor so you can keep your back straight. Tighten your abs to keep your body from turning to the side as you lift the dumbbell. Concentrate on pulling your elbow back as far as it can go. The dumbbell should end up roughly parallel with your torso.
After you’ve rowed the dumbbell up as far as you can slowly lower it back to the starting position. Switch arms after one set.
Stand straight up with your feet at shoulder width. Hold two dumbbells with your arms hanging at your sides. Droop your shoulders down as far as possible. Raise your shoulders up as far as you can go then slowly return to the starting position. You can also rotate your shoulders by going up in a circular motion from front to back and then back down again. This can also be done holding a barbell.
Standing Calf Raises
This can be done with a specific machine found in a gym, or adapted for use without the machine. Stand up against a wall with your body facing the wall and your palms down on the wall and your feet flat on the floor.
Keep your body straight and slowly lift up your heels until you are standing on the tips of your toes. Hold the contraction briefly then slowly return to the starting position with your feet flat on the floor.
Lie flat on your back with your feet flat on the ground, or resting on a bench with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you are resting your feet on a bench, place them three to four inches apart and point your toes inward so they touch.
Place your hands lightly on either side of your head keeping your elbows in. Don’t lock your fingers behind your head! Push the small of your back down in the floor to isolate your abdominal muscles. Begin to roll your shoulders off the floor.
Continue to push down as hard as you can with your lower back. Your shoulders should come up off the floor only about four inches, and your lower back should remain on the floor. Focus on slow, controlled movement – don’t cheat yourself by using momentum!
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
With a dumbbell in each hand, stand with your arms hanging at your sides, and palms are facing each other. Keep your elbows locked into your sides. Your upper body and elbows should remain in the same place during the whole lift.
Keep your palms facing each other, curl the weight in your right hand up in a semi-circle toward your right shoulder. Squeeze the biceps hard at the top of the lift and then slowly lower. Do not turn your wrists during this lift! You can also do one arm at a time and/or alternate.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Sit on the edge of an incline bench set at about a 45-degree angle. Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and place them on your thighs. Then, one at a time, raise them up to your shoulder level while you press your back and shoulders firmly against the bench.
Press the weights back up to a point over your upper chest, with your palms facing forward. Lower the weights slowly. Inhale as you lower the weights and exhale as you lift.
Rest a barbell on the upper portion of your back, not your neck. Firmly grip the bar with your hands almost twice your shoulder width apart. Position your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes should be pointing just a little outward with your knees in the same direction.
Keep your back as straight as possible and your chin up, bend your knees and slowly lower your hips straight down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Once you reach the bottom position, press the weight up back to the starting position.
Don’t lean over or curve your back forward! You can use a belt to help reduce the chance of lower back injury. You can put your heels on a 1 inch block to further work the quads.
You can also use a wider stance to work the inner quads even more.
Upright Barbell Row
Stand upright and grasp a barbell with your hands about shoulder width apart. Let the bar hang straight down in front of you. Keep your body and wrists straight. Pull the bar straight up towards your chin, keeping it close to your body.
Concentrate on either pulling with your traps or the front of your shoulders, depending on what you want to work most. Lower slowly to the starting position. Don’t cheat by leaning forward or backward. Don’t swing!
Front Dumbbell Raise
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing backward. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise so that your arms are straight, but not quite locked.
Lift the weight in your left hand in front of you in a wide arc until it is slightly higher than shoulder height. With a smooth, controlled motion, lower the weight while simultaneously lifting the weight in your right hand, so that both arms are in motion at the same time.
Do not cheat by swinging or leaning backwards! This lift can also be done with two dumbbells at the same time or a barbell.
Stiff Leg Barbell
Place a barbell on your shoulders. Keep your head up and your back completely straight. Bend at your waist with your legs locked, until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Return slowly to the upper position. This can also be done with your knees slightly bent.
One Leg Barbell Squat
Use a 12 to 18 inch box or bench for this exercise – the higher the box, the more difficult the exercise. Place a barbell behind your head at the base of your neck. Grasp the barbell with both hands with a wider than shoulder width grip.
Stand approximately 2 to 3 feet from the box and turn so that the box is directly behind you. Reach one foot back and place your toe on the box. Keep your opposite foot flat on the floor and point your toes forward. Stand up straight. Keep your back tight and your chest out throughout the entire exercise.
Keep your head and neck in line with your torso so that you are looking forward. Your shoulders should be directly over your front foot. Keeping your front foot flat on the floor, sit your hips back (like you are going to sit in a chair), bend your knee (of your front leg), and lean forward slightly at the waist.
Lower your body in a controlled fashion until your thigh (of your front leg) is parallel to the ground. If you have difficulty lowering yourself down this far, lower yourself until the knee of your front leg is bent 90 degrees. At this point, your knee should be directly over your toe, your hips should be sitting back, and your chest should be directly over the middle of your thigh.
Now, leading with your head and chest, raise yourself by pushing your hips slightly forward and up toward the ceiling, and straightening your leg. Return to the starting position. At this point, your shoulders should be directly over front foot.
Place a barbell on your upper back. Lift your chest up and look straight ahead. Position your right leg forward in a long stride. Your foot should be far enough in front of you so that when you bend your right knee, your thigh and lower leg form a right angle.
Slowly bend your knees, lowering your hips so your rear knee just clears the floor. Pause briefly in this position, then slowly straighten your legs and raise your body back up to a standing position. Complete a full set, then switch legs and repeat, or alternate legs for each rep.
Make sure your knee does not travel past your toes in the down position! This can also be done with dumbbells in each hand instead of using a barbell.
Barbell Tricep Extension
Hold a barbell with hands a little closer together than shoulder width. Lie on an incline bench and position your head at the top. Press bar overhead to arm’s length. Lower the bar in a semicircular motion behind your head until your forearms touch your biceps.
Keep your upper arms close to your head. Return to the starting position. This can also be done with straight bar, 2 dumbbells, seated or standing or with 2 dumbbells and your palms facing in.
The exercises listed above can be done either in a gym or in your home. If you are going to join a gym, they will have many specialty machines that will work specific parts of your body. Employees at the gym can help you with proper use of the machines.
Now that you know what exercises to do, let’s look at a couple of sample workouts.
Beginning a body building workout plan requires a level of commitment. As a beginner, you can work out more frequently than more advanced body builders. The reason is simple: as you get more experienced, you learn to push your muscles harder and inflict more damage that takes longer to recover from. Beginners, on the other hand, get sore but bounce back quicker since the muscular damage isn’t as severe.
If the word “damage” makes you flinch, don’t worry. It’s a good thing for a bodybuilder to incur limited muscle damage, because it nudges the body to recover and overcompensate (grow) slightly to prepare for future workouts. This is what bodybuilding is all about – a continuous cycle of one-step-back, two-steps-forward, repeated over and over on a weekly basis.
The following workout plan is designed to focus on one part of your body each day of your workout with mid week and the weekend as your rest days. This plan is just a suggestion. You can adapt it as needed to suit your workout goals.
With any workout, you need to start out with some warm up exercises. This can be simple stretching as you get your body ready to work. A warm-up session prior to working out can not only help get your body ready for exercise, but your mind will get prepared as well. You should also have an appropriate cool down period after you are done working out. This will reduce the possibility of delayed muscle soreness and will help quell the adrenaline that has been building in your system as a result of the workout. This can also be simple stretching exercises and deep breathing.
Again, it’s important to start out slow and not push yourself beyond your limits.
Use weights that are not too heavy for you but that will give you enough resistance to build your muscles. You can progressively increase the amount of weight you lift as you get stronger.
Day 1 – Upper Body
For the following exercises, begin with two sets of 10-12 reps each.
• Dumbbell press
• Standing barbell military press
• Lying tricep press
• Side lateral raise
• Preacher curls
• Seated dumbbell curl
• Dumbbell rows
• Dumbbell shrugs
If you have access to weight machines, add the following to your plan:
• Pec deck butterflys
• V-bar pushdowns
• Lat pulls with pulley machine
Day 2 – Lower Body and Abs
Again, begin doing each exercise with two sets of 10-12 reps each except for the crunches which you can do as many of them as you want.
• Barbell squat
• One leg barbell squat
• Standing calf press
• Stiff leg barbell
Machines can be especially helpful when working your lower body. Here are some you should consider on this day:
• Leg presses on a plate loaded machine
• Leg extension machine
• Seated hamstring curls
• Standing hamstring curls
• Ab machine Day 3 – Rest
Day 4 – Upper Body
Increase your sets to 3 doing 10 – 12 reps each
• Chin ups (get assistance if necessary)
• Seated dumbbell hammer curls
• Dumbbell presses on an inclined bench
• Standing barbell military press
• Standing bicep curls
• Barbell tricep extension
• Upright barbell row
• Front dumbbell raise
The machines you can use on this day include:
• Seated cable rows
• Upright cable rows
• Cable crossover flies
￼￼￼• Tricep rope pushdowns
Day 5 – Lower Body and Abs
Go back to doing just two sets of 10-12 reps each except for the crunches which you can do unlimited amounts of.
• Standing calf press
• Barbell squat
• Stiff leg barbell
• Standing calf raises
Machine exercises include:
• Leg presses on a plate loaded machine
• Seated hamstring curls
• Kneeling hamstring curls
Weekend – Rest
If a four day workout plan is too much for you, consider starting out with a two or three day plan. Keep in mind that you won’t get results as quickly with a fewer day workout, but if you need to start out slowly, it can still be effective.
Here is a sample three day workout.
Day 1 – Back, Chest, and Abs
Do three sets of 12-15 reps each.
• Bent over barbell row
• Stiff legged barbell dead lift
• Barbell bench press
• Incline dumbbell press
• Dumbbell flies
Day 2 – Legs and Shoulders
Do three sets of 12-15 reps each.￼￼￼￼
• Barbell squat
• Seated calf raise
• Front dumbbell raise
• Side lateral raise
• Upright barbell row
• Barbell squats
Day 3 – Biceps, Triceps, and Abs
Do three sets of 12-15 reps each
• Barbell curl
• Incline dumbbell curl
• Lying triceps press
• Barbell tricep extension
• Front dumbbell raise
• Dumbbell hammer curls
About an hour before your workout, you should eat some protein and carbohydrates. This is to make sure that you have enough energy to make it through your entire workout. By doing this, you are putting your body into an anabolic state that will provide the necessary energy and power to effectively work your muscles.
During training, there is increased blood flow to the muscles. When you consume protein and carbohydrates prior to a workout, your body can take advantage of that extra blood flow and work the muscles more efficiently.
Many people opt for a protein shake and a bowl of rice, but you can choose whatever foods you want to get what you need.
It’s a good idea to keep track of your workouts and how many sets and reps you are doing. Write it down in a small notebook and when you are able to increase the number of sets and/or reps, be sure to take note of how long it took you to get to that point. Also keep track of the amount of weight you are able to lift and when you are able to increase that weight.
It’s also a good idea to do your first set with very little weight. This is to get the blood flowing through the muscles. On the second set, add a little weight and do the exercise again. If you find that it’s just a bit too easy, try more weight. The goal is to add weight until it’s difficult to complete 8-12 reps. Remember, you want to build your body, not lift weights.
Be sure and rest between sets to allow your body to adjust and recover. Usually that’s around a minute or two. DO NOT rest more than a minute or so or else your muscles will get cold and all your previous work will be for naught.
It’s a good idea to sprinkle your workouts with some cardio exercises to help get your blood pumping. This could be a little time on a treadmill or walking. The cardio is good for your body and you’ll be focusing on that most important muscle of all – your heart!
BODY BUILDING FOR HER
Many women are concerned with how their bodies look. Dieting and weight obsession are very real parts of life for many women. Body building and women really fit together well when you think about it. Focusing on healthy weight gain and muscle fitness makes a woman look and feel a lot better.
Body building is a lot more than just dieting and lifting weights. Much of the advice given in previous chapters can apply to both men and women. But women do need to change a few things when it comes to a workout plan that will work.
Some women have never considered body building as a sport because they are afraid that they will get big, bulky, and become masculine looking. Nothing could be further from the truth. A trim, solid body on a woman is extremely sexy and very healthy.
Women cannot naturally produce the amount of testosterone that men do, so it is impossible for women to increase their muscle size in the same ways that men do just by picking up a weight or two. Without artificial substances, women won’t be able to get the same bulk as men do.
However, many of the same workout advice that we give to men apply to women as well: eat 5-6 small meals per day, drink plenty of water, and get lots of rest. The workouts are the same as well although some women may want to limit their reps initially until their strength is built up.
Many women struggle with excess fat and flabby muscle tone on their thighs and in their buttocks. Because women are naturally curvier than men, working these areas makes for a very flattering figure.
To work these areas, you will want to do a lot of dumbbell squats, leg curls, standing calf raises, and leg presses. Add some lunges as well as dumbbell squat dead lifts as well for maximum effectiveness. You may want to invest in an exercise ball so that you can work your abs and make them tight and defined.
Change your workout every time you perform it and focus on one or two body parts each day you train. By doing this, you are not over-exerting muscles without giving them time to heal. Recovery is very important to the body’s muscles, so give them the time they need to heal and grow.
Many women live their lives by the numbers that they read on a scale. When you are body building for fitness, this is a mistake. Don’t concentrate on what the scale says you weigh, focus on your size and tone.
This can be calculated in the form of inches or body fat percentage. You will probably not see a huge weight loss on the scale, but you should see an improvement in your overall body’s look after a period of time.
Here are some areas that women should really focus on in their body building routine:
• Upper Back – Use pull-ups to build the muscles in your upper back which will accentuate your shoulders and make your waist look smaller.
• Side Deltoids – Side laterals and overhead laterals will help tone these muscles making your shoulders more defined and, again, your waist look smaller.
• Hips and Waist – These areas are mostly chiseled through diet by teaching the body to re-distribute body fat. It is the finishing signature to the rest of your body and will make your overall appearance look much more pleasant.
• Quads – The front muscles in your upper thighs need to be worked so that they are toned and defined. Doing lots of squats will help in this area and will complete your overall look. After all, what woman doesn’t want to have some killer legs!
Women are used to dieting and depriving themselves of food. When you are body building, however, the reality is that you need to actually eat more. The key lies in the foods that you eat. Eat the right foods, and they will work for you instead of against you!
As a woman, you need to remember that you will not be able to build your muscle like men do; however, your approach toward body building will be much the same. The results will be different, but you will still look incredible and be able to be proud of how you look.
Many teenagers are also taking an interest in body building.
BODY BUILDING FOR TEENS
Most teenagers are not yet full grown, so special considerations must be taken when a teen undertakes a body building program. However, you should know that this is a great time to start a workout program that you can carry through to your adult years. There are some things to keep in mind before you start, though.
1. DO NOT start lifting weights or undertaking an intense body building regiment before you turn 13. You can exercise before this “magical” age, but limit your exercise to low-impact workouts like push ups and sit ups.
2. Squats and dead lifts should never be performed either before you are 16. These types of exercises require some execution techniques that need to be performed properly or else you will injure yourself.
3. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you take any type of testosterone supplements before you reach adult hood. You already have plenty of testosterone in your body. Adding more could contribute to growth stunting.
After that, you should do some serious research on different workouts and start slowly. Don’t push your body beyond its limits. You could seriously injure yourself and set your progress back markedly. Everyone’s muscles grow in different ways, so try not to compare yourself to other people. Just get a well-balanced workout routine and perform it correctly with good form.
Diet is also important to teen body builders just as it is to adult body builders. Eat lots of protein and vegetables as well as grains and carbohydrates. Keep yourself well-hydrated with lots and lots of water and stay away from sugars.
Rest is also important since, like adults, this is the time when your body’s muscles will grow. At least eight hours of sleep is recommended, if not more. You will be doing your body a favor by giving it time to heal from the damage you’ve inflicted on your muscles and allow them to grow naturally while you rest and build up your energy for the next day. There are certain exercises that teens can perform that can build mass in your muscles without the risk of harming them.
Some of the adult exercises won’t be appropriate for you, but some of them will. Here are a few that you should use:
• Dumbbell Curls – These will work your biceps as you lift the dumbbell from your knee up to your shoulder in a slow, smooth motion. Alternate arms between sets and remember to breathe. Concentrate on the lift and working the muscles.
• Dumbbell Hammer Curls – Hold the dumbbells like you would a hammer. Alternate arms lifting from your side to your shoulder, again, in a slow, easy motion.
• Flat Bench Press – Lay flat on a weight bench with the barbell above you. Hold in a wide grip and slowly lower the barbell down to your chest and up again. Pay special attention to the way your muscles are responding to the weight.
• Dumbbell Flyes – Hold the dumbbells like you are doing hammer curls. Keep your arms straight up with your elbows slightly bent. In a semi-circular motion, lower the dumbbells slowly down to the sides of your chest. This will work your inner pectoral muscles.
• Dumbbell Shrugs – Hold a dumbbell in each hand lowered to your side with your palms facing your hips. Raise your toes up and then shrug your shoulder to work your trapezius muscles.
• Shoulder Press – While seated, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Sit straight and press them up. Resist when you are lowering them down. This works the deltoid muscles.
These are just a few exercises you can do, obviously. You may want to consult with your P.E. instructor at school or ask someone at a local gym to help you with other exercises that you can safely perform so that you can accomplish your goals.
Body building is an extreme sport that can yield amazingly satisfying results. But you must be sure that you stay committed to your goals. Unless you are sick or there is a very, very good reason, you should stick to your workout under all circumstances. If you want to meet your goals, you CANNOT put them off just because you want to.
If your parents are concerned about your body building efforts, have them take you to your family physician and tell him or her about what your plans are as well as the exercises you want to do. Listen to what the doctor has to say and heed any advice that is offered. If you undertake this program in a responsible way, your parents will be impressed rather than worried!
Once you start seeing results in your body, you may decide that you want to enter a body building contest. These can be great motivational tools to keep you on a workout regimen, but there are some things that you should know.
As you get more and more into the sport of body building, you may want to consider showing off your hard work by entering into a body building competition. There are many local gyms that hold contests as well as national competitions that are held on an annual basis. Before you actually enter a body building competition, you really need to know what they’re all about in the first place. Take the time to attend a competition before entering and pay close attention to the techniques the exhibitors use and ask questions about what the judges are looking for.
Do not enter a body building contest just because you’ve lost a bunch of weight. These contests are about great physiques with toned muscles – not about people who’ve lost body fat. Your muscles must be well-defined and toned ready for display. Remember early on in the app when we talked about the “Grecian Ideal”? That’s what body building contests are really about.
Be realistic about your chances the first time out. While it is possible to realize a “Cinderella” story finish, it’s not really probable when you consider that some of the other entrants are very experienced. Tell yourself that you’ll be happy with not being cut from the lineup or taking fifth place, for example, which is a realistic goal for many beginners.
Once you’ve decided on a competition, you need to start planning well ahead of time to become fully prepared for contest day. You need to concentrate on any problem areas you have and work them hard. Keep up with your regular routine, so the muscles that are already toned don’t lose their definition.
Think about what you will wearing during the contest and what songs you will want played while you are posing. You will also want to start thinking about your posing routine.
We’ll interject a quick note about suits here since it’s not really that complicated choosing what you’re going to wear. You have worked very hard on your body, and in a contest, you will want to show off as much of it as possible. Pick a suit in a color that is complementary and one that is as skimpy as you are comfortable with. Just don’t over-do it – it’s not about who shows the most skin but who shows the best muscles.
With music, you will want to choose songs that will activate and excite the crowd. Judges will respond better to you if you have a lot of clapping and cheering going on for you. Your posing style will be dictated by the music, either elegant or aggressive depending on your selection. Your style of music is important. Your mood, the mood of the audience and the judges will be set moment by moment, heavily balance by the competitor’s choices of music.
Clearly defined space in the music for major poses is usually extremely important. Some routines flow perfectly and gracefully through music without accentuating beats, but you can be confident that only a few competitors in a hundred can successfully achieve the beauty and grace of such a performance.
If you don’t have a childhood background in dance or ballet, or you don’t have a nearly perfect body with matching symmetry, try to select music with a pronounced beat where you can clearly put your strongest poses.
We can’t stress enough that you can have a great physique, but if you don’t know how to show it off, you won’t be doing any good in a contest. Posing is so very important in competition. It gives the judges an idea of what they are looking for in a contestant which is symmetry, muscularity, aesthetics, and proportions.
A good place to start learning about posing is to look through body building magazines to see how the models are presenting themselves. Try out a few of these poses while looking at yourself in a full-length mirror. What works for one person may not work for you, but it just might!
Think about the beat of your music and then choose poses that go along with that beat. Start out with your most powerful pose and hold it for 3 to 5 full seconds. Make sure that your routine flows smoothly and there is enough time in between poses for a little fun.
What muscles should you be accentuating? The easiest answer is all of them, but you will want to show off certain parts of your body specifically. You need to know your muscles, and we hope by now you do. Here are some areas you will want to focus on:
• Front Double Bicep
Arms are out to the sides with biceps flexed and the competitor
is facing forward towards the judges and audience.
• Front Lat Spread
Hands are located somewhere near the competitor’s waistline and elbows are flared out showing the lats. The competitor is facing forward.
• Side Chest
The competitor is turned so judges can see his profile. He has one calf flexed by raising his heel from the ground. Hands are clasped or wrist is grabbed with the back arm coming across the front of the torso somewhere below the pec line. The forward arm is pulled down and back toward the competitor’s rear. The chest is raised and flexed. The rib cage is usually expanded.
• Side Tricep
The competitor is in the same basic position as the side chest except his arms are clasped behind him. The forward arm is flexed straight down showing off the triceps. The back arm is stretched across the lower back and it’s hand is clasped with the forward arm’s hand.
• Abdominal and Thigh
The competitor is now facing forward. His arms are tucked behind his head and one leg is placed farther forward than the other and flexed. The competitor is also flexing his abdominal muscles.
• Rear Double Bicep
The competitor is facing the rear of the stage away from the judges and audience. Arms are out to the sides and biceps are flexed. One leg is back and that calf is flexed. The back muscles are also flexed.
• Rear Lat Spread
The competitor is in the same basic position as the Back Double Biceps except the hands are attached at the waist and the elbows are pulled out and the lats are flared outward.
• Most Muscular – the classic “strong man” body building pose
Typically, judges will call for the competitor’s favorite most muscular pose. At this point, they have the option to hit which ever of the most muscular poses they feel make them look the best.
If you want to come up with some poses of your own, by all means do so! You know your body best of all and if there are certain muscles you really want to show off – such as your glutes – definitely do it!
When you come up with a posing routine, you should practice so that you know it like the back of your hand. If you hear your music on the radio, you should be doing your routine in your head. Every chance you get, watch yourself going through the routine and maximizing your muscle tone so that you make an impressive performance.
Have someone take pictures or video of you and be highly critical of it. You can also have someone else look at it for you and tell you where you can improve and where you are strongest. While you are posing, breathe normally and focus on flexing of the muscles. You want to appear cut and ripped as much as possible.
Quite a bit of time before the competition, you will want to start tanning. Tanned muscles look a lot better and more defined than non- tanned muscles. If you don’t want to risk going to a tanning bed, look at a spray-on tan the day before your competition, but be advised that these types of tanning can have an orange appearance and could detract from the image you are trying to project.
During the competition, there will be a variety of rounds during which you will compete for points. Each contest is different, but most will have the following rounds:
• Standing Relaxed Symmetry Round
During this time, the judges are looking for overall body symmetry in the competitors. They are looking for relationships between the muscle groups. Are they all developed evenly? Within each specific group, does it flow nicely? Does the competitor have a symmetrical bone structure? The more evenly developed the competitor is, the higher he or she will be placed.
There is no direct flexing in this round. Competitors are viewed in what is called the Standing Relaxed position. Typically, this consists of the competitor’s heels together, toes pointed out at a forty-five degree angle, and lats semi-flared.
Every competitor has their own way of standing relaxed, but in reality it is semi-flexed. Every muscle should be tight on stage. The competitors are viewed from the front, both sides, and the rear.
• Comparison or Muscularity Round
This is where the real flexing begins! Competitors are called upon to hit the Mandatory poses in this round. The judges are comparing the level of muscular development and definition each competitor has acquired in relation to the other competitors.
• Free Posing Round
The Free Posing Round is where each competitor gets to express their muscularity how they see fit. Usually, this round is accompanied by music.
If there are no restrictions on oiling, you will want to apply a thin coat of baby oil to your body. This can enhance your muscle tone and make you appear more cut. Some avid body builders also advocate using Preparation H or some other type of hemorrhoid cream. These creams pull water out from under the skin. When a body builder has excess water in the skin, he or she will look smooth and undefined.
Many bodybuilders who have used creatine supplements during their workout routine will lay off about four to six weeks before the competition. Then, three to five days before, they load up again just like when they first started which will make them look fuller.
On the day before and the day of the competition, do a carb load. Don’t overdo it or you will look smooth, but try having 200 grams the day before and 300 the day of. Know your body and know what makes it look good and what doesn’t.
You should also mentally prepare for competing. Have your mind set on your goal as to why you wanted to enter a competition in the first place. Visualize yourself up on the stage hitting your poses and imagine the audience cheering you on. Mentally preparation can be just as important as physically preparing when in comes to a successful body building competition showing.
You can find some great support and guidance in a variety of places.
Body building isn’t for everyone, but we’re willing to bet that once you start on a workout program, you’ll realize that it’s the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and your confidence will soar.
Many people start out body building in an attempt to lose weight. That’s a great way to start. But then, they start learning about what their body is doing during a workout and what is capable of when pushed. After that door is opened, there’s so much to learn and gain.
I remember in my younger years when I would read comic books, in the back of the book, there was always an advertising section. While I was always more interested in the sea monkeys, there also was one that always caught my eye: the 90 pound weakling who went on to become a 160 pound muscle bound specimen.
These results aren’t unheard of and can actually be achieved by anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to do so. You don’t have to be satisfied with a body that is less than what you want it to be.
It does take some hard work and a lot of dedication, but once you start, you’ll find yourself wanting to continue more than wanting to stop. When you are finally able to look at yourself in the mirror and like what you see, the end result will be well worth any sacrifice you have made along the way.
Get started right away. You don’t have to wait any longer. Your dream body is more than a possibility – it’s a reality. So go out and get ripped. There’s no time like right now!