Beginning Bodybuilding: A Comprehensive Guide (Part 2)!

This series of articles is written for the beginning bodybuilder, someone who either has been training a very short time or just starting out. In part 2 we go from the basic full body routine to a split routine. Get the workout & tips right here!

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Having covered a lot of ground in Part 1, Part 2 will dive right into the next routine.

With month 2 we'll go from the basic full body routine, which really teaches you the basics of form, and gets you used to lifting weights, to a split routine.

The inherent disadvantage of a full body routine is that, in doing everything in one session, there are only so many sets you can do and only so much intensity you can generate before you get tired. Yet, as you gain experience and begin to train harder, you'll need to add more sets, soon you've added so much that you wind up pacing yourself to make it through the workout, instead of training hard enough to stimulate growth.

The split routine solves this problem by allowing you to divide your body up logically, such as pulling muscles one day (back, biceps); pushing muscles one day (chest, deltoids and triceps) and legs on their own.

This way, you can do more sets and train each area harder for greater results. Having said that, month #2 is still pretty easy in terms of set totals, in the months to come that will change.

Which Type Of Routine Do You Prefer?

Full Body Routine.
Split Routine.
No Preference.

The split we'll be using is a 3 day split, as in the example above. This is my one of my favorite splits (ideally I would use a 4 day with deltoids on their own day, but I just don't have that kind of time) because it works well in the context of my life and that of most busy people's lives. You train any 3 days out of the week that work best for you. Your results will be better if you allow 1-2 days in between for recovery.

Remember, you grow when you recover, so make sure you allow a few days in between. One important point here: if you have a scheduled training day and you are still sore from the last one, and you feel drained and lethargic, take another day or two off, you're overtraining.

Over training stalls progress, saps motivation and leads to burn out. The fact that so many newcomers use these outrageous 6 day routines, 2 hours at a time, no time for recovery ("recovery? what's that?") is one of the big reasons I'm writing this.

Here's the routine:

Month #2 Routine
Split, 3 Days A Week

arrow Day 1: Back, Biceps, Forearms, Abs:

    This month we'll use the pyramid technique I talked about in the first article.



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WMV (2.7 MB)
[ Intensity Building Techniques ]

  • Deadlifts:

      Set #1, 15 easy reps, add weight
      Set #2, 12 easy reps, add weight
      Set #3, 12 easy reps.
      Working Sets: 2, 8-10 reps each set, push yourself a little harder this month, the last 2-3 reps should be tough.

      With the deadlift, be 100% sure your form is correct, if you have any doubts, back off on the weight and do an easier set of 8 - 10 and work on form! Since this is an exercise from the first routine, you should have been and should continue to add weight as the final reps become easier.

+ Click To Enlarge.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

  • Barbell Bent Rows - new exercise!

      This is a great exercise to thicken up the back. Review the performance of this exercise on the exercise video page to insure correct form. The key to this, and any back exercise is to think of your arms as hooks and always start the pull in your lats. Do 2 warm-up sets of 15 reps and 12 reps, then perform 2 working sets of 8-10 reps each. At first, keep the sets easy, as you feel comfortable with the exercise, add weight and get those last tough 2-3 reps.

+ Click To Enlarge.
Bent Over Barbell Row.
Video: Windows Media - Real Player

arrow Day 2: Chest, Deltoids, Triceps, Abs:

  • Bench press
      Use the same pyramiding technique as you did for deadlifts, perform 2 working sets of 8 -10 reps.
  • Incline press - new exercise!

      One of the many mistakes bodybuilders commonly make is to not train the upper chest, so we'll begin work on that right now. Do 2 sets of 8 - 10 reps.

      On the above two exercises, make sure you either have a spotter or safety catches. Only if your safety is 100% guaranteed, do sets that allow for a tough 2-3 reps at the end of each working set.

+ Click To Enlarge.
Incline Bench Press.
Video: Windows Media - Video iPod

  • Overhead press - 1 warm-up set of 15 easy reps, 2 working sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell side laterals - new exercise!

      This works the side head of the deltoids directly, and is great for developing shoulder width. As with all new exercises, review on the exercise page if you have any concerns on proper form.

+ Click To Enlarge.
Dumbbell Side Laterals.
Video: Windows Media - MPEG - Video iPod

arrow Day 3: Legs, Abs:

Performance Tips

Remember, even though we're working harder and doing quite a few more sets in month #2, you still are getting a feel for the exercises, still fine tuning your form, still learning how each exercise affects the muscles worked.

You want to work hard, add weight as the sets become easier, this could be every 2-3 workouts, but the take home lesson here is that you are still learning.

As your sets of squats and deadlift get heavier, you may want to use a lifting belt, but only on the heavier sets and only on back, overhead pressing exercises and squats.

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I don't use knee wraps and don't usually advise them, you can use them for a little extra knee support but keep them loose enough to allow movement. To tight, and they become more of a hindrance than a help.

Use the same rep performance as presented in the first article, next month we'll make a change with that. Remember to concentrate on the muscles that are being worked.

arrow Home Gym Ideas:

    It seems like more and more people train at home these days, it does have it's advantages from a convenience standpoint.

    Related Training At Home Articles:

    If you feel home training will work for you, take the time to buy a decent set-up right at the beginning. Don't run to the nearest discount chain store and buy a cheap-o bench set-up, instead, make an investment in your future and get a power rack, a good adjustable bench with a leg attachment, an Olympic set - a 310 lb. set is great, and some dumbbell handles.

    Better still, get a lat machine attachment for the power rack. This is a somewhat expensive set-up but it'll last a very long time and serve you well for years. Anything less, and you'll outgrow it and just have to spend more money to upgrade.

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That's it for now, stay tuned for the month #3 routine.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3