In today's broad horizon of bodybuilding, there are many different ideas as to which method of working out is the best. I have narrowed them down to 4 main methods. They include: The normal heavy weight/low rep work-out, the light weight/high-rep work-out, the powerlifting/football style approach, and the extremely strict form with much contraction. Whichever you choose, allow it to change in intervals of about 6 weeks.
One of the most common methods is the heavy-weight, low-rep method. This method is believed to add the most muscle mass to your frame in the quickest amount of time. The game plan is self-explanitory; put lots of weight on the bar and push/pull/curl/whatever as hard as possible for 4-6 reps. Form is to remain formidably strict and momentum should be avoided at all costs. The idea is do approximately 3-4 exercises per bodypart, with each exercise consisting of 3-or-4 sets.
I am a firm believer in this method and am sure that it has had many positive effects on my muscle-building goals.
This is also a popular approach. The idea in this method is to pick a medium-heavy weight and do sets of approximately 8-12 reps. This is the method often executed when a bodybuilder is preparing for a competition. This way is believed to "shape" the muscles better and give more definition. I am not sure if it does this, but I do believe that it helps build muscular endurance. Form is to be administered in the up-most strict fashion.
In this method of working out you tend to focus more on how much weight you are lifting rather than worrying about good form, contraction and building muscle. Generally, you split your routine up into Upper Body and Lower Body days. Use caution when if applying this method and wear a good weight-lifting belt. If you find yourself saying, "Well, it's not good technique, but at least it's heavy!" then you'd better strap on a belt and have a good spotter. This workout uses pyramid weights/reps.
- Mon: Upper Body
- Tues: Lower Body
- Wed: Rest
- Thurs: Upper Body
- Fri: Lower Body
- Sat: Rest
- Sun: Rest
As you can see, these exercises are not isolation exercises for the most part and can be taxing, especially if following the routine for long. Sure, variations can be used, but this is the exact workout our football coaches made us do, and personally, I feel it was and is a pile of crap. But then again, I'm not training to be a powerlifter.
This method is unknown to most bodybuilders. I was introduced to this method this summer when I moved to California and had a personal trainer. It took me a couple of workouts to get the hang of this weird routine. The idea is to pick the exercises that you want to do, and do them every time you work out that muscle for 6 weeks. The routine is based on a typical 4-day split and trains each muscle once a week.
The workout technique is sort-of complicated. You use less weight than you are probably used to, and you start each exercise with a set of 20, then a set of 12, then a set of 8, and then a set of 5. Sounds like a typical pyramid type of set, right? Ha! Not quite. The technique is nothing short of strange.
You start at the bottom of the exercise, you "power up" then "hold" and "squeeze" for a count of 1 second, you continue to do this and on your last rep, you "power up" and "squeeze … squeeze … squeeze … and squeeze" some more for a count of 4 seconds. OK, starting to understand why I thought this was peculiar?
Well, it gets even more ridiculous. After your 3 warm-up sets, you continue to do sets of 5 until your routine falls short of perfect. But wait, to make this even more annoying, if you can do the current weight for a set of 5 reps, you go heavier, but only by 5 pounds (on a barbell or dumbbells) and only 1 plate on a machine. My trainer wasted much of my time as he made me do this with squats and started me with the bar! I do well over 300 pounds.
For many reps and he put me through that crap, anywayz, I will write how bad of a trainer he is in another article and dedicate it just for him! Although I felt this method is a pile of crap, my trainer swore on it, and this was the only way I worked out under his supervision. But then again, I was on a restricted calorie diet when testing this method, so I guess I can't really judge it based on its muscle building effectiveness. It did, however, make me sore after almost every workout, but it took the excitement out out of lifting weights, and was as much torture as it was fun.
In conclusion, I hope you enjoyed this article and will follow my advice on my everlasting quest to tell everyone that variation is the key to building muscle!