One of the biggest problems teen bodybuilders face is getting started. For those who have a sporting background this is usually not all that much of a problem, as their sport has given them a strong base to begin with, their bodies being work hardened by their respective sports. This was how I really got started, because I was involved in strength intensive sports such as rowing and rugby, which helped my muscles develop and respond to stress.
Quite often, however, someone may decide, for any set of reasons, that they want to get huge. Now this person might not have been into any big strength sports, or perhaps they were and never really developed any real strength. This person will obviously find getting huge to be a daunting task, and only coming in painfully slow steps. Do you want to get some huge size? Well, get some strength first.
Get strong, and watch the muscles pour on later.
Get strong! How do I do that?
The ONLY way to get strong is to regularly work your muscles. You say, no kidding, so I go to the gym. Well, yes, that is one way, and it is a good way, but I don't feel it is necessarily the best method. A major part in determining the winner of a bodybuilding competition is to gauge the competitor's symmetry and proportion, and this is why Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best ever.
Arnie was in perfect proportion, and he had gained this through his specialised weights training. However, not everyone is Arnold Schwarzenegger, and in fact, only one of us can claim that title. Every building needs a foundation; it needs to be built on something strong. This exact principle applies to bodybuilding.
Go to the gym:
The gym is a great place to workout, and I love going there, it is a great outlet. But strength training can often become monotonous due to the long periods of time involved, and it becomes hard to push yourself, and more often than not your ego will get in the way and you will start loading the weight on. But if you decide you have the discipline and you feel it is what you want to do, then go ahead. For strength training, your program should be of light weight, high reps, and low sets.
- Perfect technique
- Well-rounded workout
- Train to completion
The weight you use should, in general, allow you to do fifteen reps with perfect technique. If you can not finish the set, then you need lighter weights. Strength training is all about work hardening your muscles. Your aim is to put them under stress for an extended period of time to develop them and get them used to working and growing. If you decide to use the gym as your foundation, get a well-rounded workout. At least two exercises of two sets each for each body part.
Your workout should take you about an hour, trying to get enough rest as so you can complete each set. With strength training, do not train to fail, but to completion. It is important your body gets used to the stress, without putting too much pressure on the muscles. With gym strength training, it is very difficult to gauge your progress and very tempting to overdo it. This means, though a good source of strength, there are better ways of gaining strength.
Play a strength intensive sport:
Sport. You either love it or you hate it. Personally, I have never understood why some people have such a vendetta against it. Sure, those who play to win and only to win can overdo it sometimes, but that is not what sport is all about. Sports as a means of strength, I feel, is one of the most full-filling experiences a bodybuilder can have. Don't look at sports people and go "bah, bloody jocks" because that just shows how closed minded you are.
Your aim should not be to be the best there is, but the age old clichï¿½, the best you can be. And that is the truth. If you pick a good strength sport, the edge you can gain over other bodybuilders can be unbelievable, not to mention the experiences that participating in sports provides. When looking for a suitable sport, there are some elements you should keep in mind. Firstly, you should aim to use your whole body in the sport, or as much as possible. Get your whole body working, and you will be amazed at how you start to shape up.
Athletics fall into this category, being a great sport for overall body strength. Also, you need to be able to push yourself. You need a sport that is physically demanding of your body. The option of surrender needs to arise, because this has major implications for a successful bodybuilder. That is a hurdle every sportsman, including bodybuilders, need to leap. Obviously, you also need to enjoy what you are doing. Give yourself three months, at least, then if you just can't get into your sport then move on, and try something else.
Some good strength sports that I have found to be very beneficial are rowing and judo. Rugby union and other forms of football are also pretty good, but you really have to be careful of damaging yourself. If you can find a sport that covers all these criteria, then I guarantee that the difference it will have on your bodybuilding will be phenomenal.
- Use your whole body
- Choose a sport that pushes you
- Enjoy yourself
- Be careful of damage
Body weight exercises:
- Make it work for you
- Get a buzz, an adrenaline rush
This is how I got my edge for rowing. I developed a habit of a series of push-ups, sit-ups, etc. that I did before going to bed every night. I have no doubt in saying that if I hadn't have done this, I wouldn't have the size that I have now. Of all three foundations, I think this is the most simplest and most effective. All you need to pull this off is a body and an hour or so before bed or when you wake in the morning.
My program involved reverse knuckle push-ups, one legged squats, hand stand push-ups, crunches and leg raises, and anything else I could think up. The beauty of this method is the simplicity. All you have to do is throw something together that works for you. Be creative, cut and combine. Invent your own exercises. I got such a buzz from body weight exercises that I kept it up for years, and it helped unbelievably.
How badly do you want size? Do you want it enough to put off your size training? If the answer is yes, then good for you. If you use any one of the three, any two, or all three, then when the time comes to get back into your size training, the difference will you give you an edge no amount of creatine can provide. If you have the patience and determination to develop your strength first, you will reap the benefits in the future.
Do you want to get big?
Remember, it takes strength to lift weights.
Now get back to work.