Yay! You've come a long way, and is heading for greatness, right? Hopefully, yes, but CAUTION!
Beware Of Demon
There's a demon named: "Comfort Zone" (middle name: "Habit") that is lurking in the shadows. It won't pounce on you like a cat, but stealthily sneak up behind your back and make your progress come to a screeching halt without you even noticing. Oh, well, of course you'll notice that you stop gaining and the weights stay the same for months on end, but you will probably shrug it off.
I covered this in an article "Jumpstart!" in the beginning of January so I won't go too deep into detail, but keep in mind: When things are getting a little too comfy, it's time to yank your ear and start doing something truly challenging. You're not in the gym because you love the smell of old socks in the locker room, right? You're there to train and get results. That won't happen unless you keep yourself in line.
So, overall, your priority here is to shock the muscles, trigger a growth response and to avoid injury. Wow, no that was a no-brainer. Am I assuming that you were actively trying to get injured before, or what? Nope, I think you're smarter than that. However, if you're doing things right, the weights should keep going up, up, up, right?
Well, Newsflash! - Even if you could get away with a little bit of cheating on the military presses when you had one 45s on each side, you don't have that luxury when you have two on each side! And to make it worse, once you DO get injured, you have a lot of weight yanking at your joints and ligaments! Ouch!
If you have not made sure to perfect your form, do yourself a favor and have a professional check you out to correct any possible mistakes you've either developed or learned wrong from the start. Keep your training partner around, and make sure that he/she memorizes the critical points of where to look. Also, it's a good habit to have a professional do these "tune-ups" once in a while, since you will most certainly develop one or two bad habits through the months in between.
Do not neglect cardiovascular training. This is of course important at all times, regardless of what stage you're in, but here it becomes a crucial factor when you do heavy compound movements. For example, when you're doing squats or deadlifts, what if you found out that you could do 2-3 more reps on each set, simply by making your lungs more efficient in absorbing and utilizing the oxygen you breathe?
If your cardiovascular system is out of whack, you'll run out of oxygen before actual muscle failure, short-changing not only your overall health but also your bodybuilding progress. Not exactly what you had in mind, I'm sure!
Ok, so much for the important key issues in optimizing your progress at this point. How about some sample workouts? Well, check out Bodybuilding.com's huge Workout Database, dedicated to this exact purpose!
Also, make sure that your form and techniques are tuned up right! Study straight from the professionals at Bodybuilding.com with their Exercise Database. For the rest of you - let's rock!
Weekly schedule - 5 days of training, 2 rest days.
- Chest, Front Deltoids, Triceps
Print Day 1's Workout Log HERE!
- Back, Neck
Print Day 2's Workout Log HERE!
- Biceps, Forearms
Print Day 3's Workout Log HERE!
- Side/Rear Deltoids, Abs, Calves
Print Day 4's Workout Log HERE!
- Hamstrings, Quads
Print Day 5's Workout Log HERE!
This is the workout I use myself, so it's tried and true. Keep in mind that most exercises are interchangeable, and that you should always switch things around from workout to workout. This is just a sample, a basic structure, to make sure that all muscle groups are being hit properly.
As usual, the sets are kept to a minimum, so you should be out of the gym in 30-45 minutes. Remember to keep the intensity up if you expect to make progress - just rest long enough to catch your breath, and then hit the weights again.
And hey! Don't forget to take your fast carbs (sugar!) immediately after your workout. Read all about carbohydrates in the Carbohydrate Manifesto!