First of all, let’s have a look at the definition of the word BODYBUILDING. In Dictionary.com this is ‘the act or practice of exercising, lifting weights, etc., so as to develop the muscles of the body.’ Basically, bodybuilding encompasses all the techniques to help us building muscles.
You have to go back to the Antiquity and even 4000 years ago (Babylonian and Assyrian) to attend the first demonstrations of force. Indeed, weightlifting was part of the Olympic Games events in the Antiquity. The use of “machines” is relatively new in the bodybuilding industry however it may be noted that the Greek athletes already trained with their body weight or with the aid of weights.
If the movie 300 featuring super-muscular Spartans is a bit exaggerated, it does not diminish the real strength of the Greek warriors. To be part of this elite, a very physical and intense training was part of the young Spartans everyday life (refer to Agogée or Spartan Education). The training would go on until they become warriors without fear.
Bodybuilding what is it?
Let’s come back to nowadays. To be honest, bodybuilding is tough because it’s not really recognized as a sport by everybody:
‘You are into bodybuilding? oh yeah? you are just pumping iron!’
‘Bodybuilding is not a sport anyway!!!’
‘They are all juicing, that’s obvious!’
Bodybuilding is also hours of training to see results little bit by little bit. Bodybuilding would be comparable to a marathon, an effort on the long-term. Let me tell you right now that if patience is not one of your qualities, don’t bother starting this sport.
In my experience and various writings on the subject, it takes at least three months to see the first results and six months for a real evolution.
However, if motivation is part of your characteristics (which will be the subject of a future article), I invite you to continue this post. In fact, Bodybuilding will bring you much more than just muscle gains. This sport will bring a balance, a relaxing moment (yes, despite the effort) in your stressful life.
Starting bodybuilding is not as easy as it seems. Whether you are at home or at gym, you usually don’t know where to start. You will probably want to try every available machine or try to imitate the ‘big guys’. How many times I have seen new pals trying out an advanced training method because the bodybuilder of their gym was doing the same!
But I’m gonna be tolerant because I think that this is a natural thing. We see a big guy and we automatically believe that this guy knows a lot about fitness, we think that his program works.
To some extent, you are not wrong (even if all the beefy guys are not examples to follow). But you must keep in mind that these people probably have years of experience. They use all the tools at their disposal such as high intensity techniques, forced reps … and they know their body by heart.
So what to do first?
The first thing to do is to identify the reasons why you wanna start bodybuilding. You should know that bodybuilding is not about lifting weights only. If that was the case, I don’t think that there would be so many people having this hobby. They would rather spend their evening hanging out with some friends or girlfriend.
In fact, there are dozens of reasons to start bodybuilding. There are more or less different reasons such as improving your look, gaining strength, improving your speed (running or boxing …).
Once you have identified your goal, it is now time to look at the available tools to achieve your goal.
Whether you wanna look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, be the strongest man in the world or increase your punching power (especially boxing), the techniques won’t be the same.
Before you start, you must know the basics in order to avoid being counter-productive. Here is a good starting point allowing you to see more clearly:
– 1 to 6 repetitions: training for your FORCE
– 6 to 8/10 repetitions: training for your MASS
– 8 to 12 repetitions: training for your VOLUME
– 12 to 20 repetitions: training for your ENDURANCE (word I do not like – this kind of repetition is more for defining your muscles…).
– 50 to 100 repetitions (or long series): REHABILITATION, lose fat locally
These gross figures do not have a significant value because as many websites point out, you will be able to gain strength with longer series or define your muscles with shorter series when you have few years of experience.
However, this is a great guide to help you finding your working range when you are just starting bodybuilding.
After these few paragraphs, you should have a better idea if bodybuilding is the right sport for you. But this is just the beginning.
You currently have your goal in mind and the basics to reach it. Now you have to seriously plan your workouts.