Bodybuilding is considered the king of sports. The ancient statues of Greek gods stand testimony to motivate one to follow this royal sport. Bodybuilding as a hobby helps appreciate the god given body and also keeps one away from harmful distractions like drugs. The human body is a marvel of engineering and bodybuilding compliments its overall enhancement intrinsically and aesthetically. Bodybuilding maximizes muscle growth and muscle strength through a combination of exercises, diet, and rest. Bodybuilding is one of the most popular sports in North America and several competitions are held to determine the most beautiful male and female body in several categories. Bodybuilding is also a hobby that can prove to be quite a rewarding vocation if followed diligently. The first large-scale bodybuilding competition in the US was held at Madison Square Garden in the year 1904. Al Treloar the winner of the title “The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World” won a cash prize of $1000, a handsome amount in those days.
The perfect age to seriously start bodybuilding is between 13 – 15 years. Before that age, kids should be encouraged to do push ups, sit ups, and run, to be in good physical condition. At the age of thirteen individuals should have a routine that includes pull ups and dips and a lot of cycling or mountain biking to work the legs. Fifteen is the right age when weight training can be started, though some advocate thirteen is the best age to begin weight training. Early initiation helps kids gain strength and size and if interested can follow other sports to suit them. Till the age of fifteen it is recommended that kids do a full body workout with sufficient rest. Main power exercises can begin once the kid has crossed the age of fifteen.
Ideally teenagers should workout three days a week. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday being the first day of the week it should be reserved for a heavy workout. On Mondays bench press, squats and power cleans - 5 sets of 3 repetitions. Heavy workouts increases the strength and makes the major muscles stronger. Initially it will be difficult to complete 3 repetitions, however once you are able to do that increase the weight. After the main exercise you may train your arms, calves and abs. Do not over train other muscles.
Wednesdays light workout of squats, incline and pull ups - 3 sets of 8 repetitions. If you can do more repetitions do so in the third set with increase in weight. After this main exercise you may work on the other body parts lightly. Take care not to over train and leave the gym in one hour.
On Fridays workout should be of medium intensity - 5 sets of 5 reps of clean and press, barbell rows and squats. Once you are able to do 5 reps in the 5th set increase the weight. You may do barbell curls for your biceps and crunches before leaving the gym.
This type of training is ideal for teenagers to begin building lean muscle mass, strength and speed; the form on every repetition should be maintained. Nutrition also is very important teenagers diet should include peanut butter, milk, eggs, meat, chicken, whole wheat breads, fruits and vegetables. It is important to watch your weight in case you notice you are gaining fat cut down on part of your meals.
Now lets see how someone who has never lifted weights before the age of 30 should train.
In case you decide on bodybuilding relatively late in life it is recommended that you first consult your physician. Once the doctor gives you a green signal you need to list out what you want to achieve and what are your expectations from weight training. Set up your own realistic goals. Remember it takes time to see change in size or strength, so give yourself at least two months before looking for results. Persistence and dedication is needed to achieve your goals.
Your training program will depend on a few things like your motivation, and genetic potential. It is advisable to take guidance from a trained professional in putting together a training program.
If you have never lifted any weights in your life and are absolutely new to bodybuilding then you should start with exercises that don`t involve weight lifting. Follow the simple routine as below and as you increase your strength and muscle mass, you may consider training with weights under the supervision of a trainer.
Shoulder width grip chin ups. Your goal should be 50 chin ups. No matter how many repetitions you can manage per set try and complete 50 chin ups. There is a chance that you wont be able to do even one but keep trying and complete 50 repetitions. After the first few weeks increase the number of repetitions per set. If chin ups are proving difficult you may do front pull downs. Chin ups is the best exercise for beginners to get broad, strong shoulders.
Parallel bar dips. An excellent exercise for the chest, deltoids, and triceps. Use a grip that is slightly wider than your shoulders. Do 5 sets of 15 repetitions each, this exercise is very good to develop strength in your chest and triceps. If you lean forward and do dips, you train your chest and if you keep yourself straight and do dips you workout your triceps and deltoids.
Crunches. Crunches exercise your abdomen muscles and tones them up. Lie flat on your back and place your feet against the wall or on the seat of a chair in such a way that your lower legs form a right angle with your upper legs and your upper legs form a right angle with your torso. Place your hands behind your head or across your chest throughout the exercise. Now using your abdomen muscles lift the upper body. Concentrate on the effort and don`t care to go too high. Do 3 or 4 sets of maximum repetitions you can manage.
A note of caution: you will feel very sore and your muscles will feel tight after your first workout. Rest for four to five days after your first workout and from there on train four days a week. After you have followed this routine for three months you will be sufficiently strong to work with light weights. Start with barbell squats, 3 sets of 15 repetitions before you do shoulder width chin ups. After this you can do 3 sets of 12 repetitions each of bench press before the parallel bar dips. So your ideal routine should be 3 sets of squats, 50 chin ups, 3 sets of bench press, and 5 sets of 15 reps of parallel bar dips. This routine has to be followed for two months and then you can add barbell curls for biceps after bench press, military press, shrugs for shoulders, calf raises. You can then split your training over two days. Day one should include 2 sets of squats of 15 reps each, bench press 2 sets 15 reps each, chin ups 2 sets of maximum reps you can manage, and 3 sets of crunches. Day two should include 2 sets of military press of 12 reps each, parallel bar dips 2 sets of 12 reps each, shrugs 1 set of 15 repetitions, calf raises 2 sets of 25 reps each and 3 sets of reverse crunches.
It is recommended you buy a chin and dip station costing about $250 to $350 from a reputed fitness equipment supplier or if you are technically inclined you may fabricate the same less than $100 in your garage itself. You may do your crunches without a sit up board; an adjustable sit up board costs about $150. A barbell with around 300 pounds of free weight and a pair of spring collars is sufficient for beginners and costs around $250. Apart form this you will require a flat bench for bench press. This is all the equipment you need to get you started.
You will need to do two workouts per week for strength and muscle gain, by the end of 4 months you will begin to see increase in size and strength. Just take care not to over train in your enthusiasm. Each work out should be less than one hour. Eat a balanced meal containing green vegetables, fruits, milk, whole wheat bread, chicken, fish, and red meat. Spread your daily diet over 5 to 6 small meals a day. Give your body sufficient rest between workouts it is also important for muscle growth. Sleep for at least eight hours a night.
Six months of bodybuilding training is enough to take you to the next level.