Tips for Bodybuilding Workout Programs

If you have been lifting weights at least three times a week for six months, you will have a solid foundation for more advanced training programs that include doing “ladders” of sets and “supersets.” Always exercise different muscles groups on alternate days so your body can rest and repair muscle tears–which is how muscle mass is built. For example, work arms, chest, back and abs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and on legs on Tuesday and Thursdays. Record your workouts to track your progress.

Split Workouts to Exercise Upper and Lower Body

A common error for people new to bodybuilding is to do only the exercises that are easy to do–for example, doing biceps curls or chest press and ignoring legs, abs or deltoids (shoulders) and stretching. To create a symmetrical build, work all the major muscle groups every week. Work opposing muscle groups to prevent creating muscle imbalances. For example, work biceps and triceps, chest and back, anterior and posterior deltoids (shoulders), and do not skip leg workouts. By working all the muscle groups, you will develop a more balanced body, rather than being top-heavy with thin legs.

Ladder Up or Down to Build Mass

Work intelligently by doing ladders to challenge yourself in a workout that will create mass over time. For example, on chest-workout days, do three sets of chest press at 50 pounds for three sets at 10, 15 and 20 reps. You could “ladder up” or “ladder down” by working from lower to higher number of reps or the opposite. By doing this, you develop muscle mass over time, and you will see strength gains if you train at least three or four times a week.

Supersets for Advanced Training

“Superset” your workouts after you have been lifting consistently for at least six months without interruption. You should have a baseline of fitness so you do not injure joints or strain muscles. A superset is combining two or more different exercises that work the main muscle group you are targeting. For example, to work the quadriceps (front of the thigh), do a set of leg extensions, then move to lunges on the floor, holding 5- to 10-pound dumbbells in each hand, and finish by doing walking lunges down a hallway. Always drink plenty of water throughout your workouts.

About this Author

Sava Tang Alcantara has been a writer and editor since 1988, working as a writer and editor for health publications such as Let’s Live Magazine and Whole Life Times. Alcantara specializes in health and fitness and is a certified yoga teacher and personal trainer. She does volunteer work regularly and has taught free public yoga classes in Santa Monica, Calif., since 2002.