Tips for creating your first bodybuilding program

There is no clearer indication of the transition from beginner to intermediate level than the time when, for the first time, you will begin to divide your training and make or adapt your own bodybuilding program .

No more sessions for the whole body. Know that to distribute your sessions in a perfect way, it is not enough to simply choose the muscle groups that we prefer to work. The breakdown should not only be balanced and focused on your particular goals, but it should also be modified to track your priorities while honestly assessing your strengths and weaknesses.

Remember that you only have a certain amount of energy time for your weight training. If your strategy is poorly developed, these valuable resources will be wasted and you will end up with the same muscular physique that you had at the beginning.

Here is what you need to know to compose the distribution of the sessions that will suit you best.

Plan recovery

As you progress, a fairly regular pattern will emerge in terms of the overall distribution of bodybuilding sessions.

Soon after your first session, as you will be adding more sets and exercises, it will become imperative to continue splitting your workout to cope with the increased workload.

That said, a well thought-out allocation is not limited to setting up a plan to club each muscle group with a large volume of training and then letting go while other muscular groups are being attacked. following days.

Ask any experienced bodybuilder and he will immediately recommend balancing your workout with plenty of rest and recovery time. When structuring your distribution, rest days are as important as training days.

In addition, be sure to absorb enough macro and micronutrients during the day, and especially after your workout, to replenish your energy reserves.

Vary your intensity

It is obvious that rest is a fundamental component of muscle building, but training is not just about working a different muscle group every day by saying that the muscles not exercised that day are recovering.

If you routinely do high-speed workouts, it does not matter which muscle groups you work with: the accumulated fatigue will sap your energy and therefore decrease the degree of muscle development that can occur.

If you only consider the local fatigue of the muscle and you do not take into account the energy, you are going to face problems. This is a common mistake that limits the progression of athletes in all sports at all levels.

Why ? If it is true that by dividing the sessions, we alternate the muscle groups exercised, we still use the same source of glycogen. After consecutive sessions, one trains with glycogen stocks that have been emptied, which limits not only the abilities to train hard, but also the possibilities to allocate the resources needed for muscle growth during the muscle recovery .

In other words, if you turn permanently on a tank half full, your body will not be wasting fuel to develop muscle tissue whose maintenance will require even more energy!

When you take stock of your current training plan, consider both the muscle distribution and the rebuilding of energy reserves throughout the body. Vary the intensity of your sessions to stimulate each muscle group as often as possible and to ensure the reconstitution of glycogen stores.

Choose a distribution type

Generally, when one goes from generalized training to split training for the first time, it is divided into sessions for the upper body and for the lower body.

The training time being halved, more exercises and sets can be done for each muscle group that is still stimulated twice (if the plan is two days of training followed by one day of training). rest) or three times a week (alternating six-day sessions with a day off).

Either of these two strategies could be effective for conditioning large muscle groups, although training for six high-intensity days can be problematic in terms of resource management and recovery. .

When we take this distribution in the form of the program, two days of training, one day of rest, two days of training, we obtain excellent results. The ideal pattern: Most muscle groups can be worked twice a week, with a maximum recovery period to rebuild glycogen stores and repair damaged muscle tissue.

The most perfect plan would be to have a very intense session on day 1, moderately intense on day 2, then have a full day of recovery on the 3rd day. Day 4 will have a moderately intense session while the day 5 session will be very advanced.

Those who feel that they respond better to very high training volume may find this schedule inadequate given the number of sets and exercises they want to include for each muscle group.

On the other hand, if for a moment already, you work every muscle group once a week doing a big volume of training, this type of distribution should be very suitable for you.

Upper body / lower body session

Distribution over three days (push / pull / legs method)

If you are like most practitioners, you probably initially tried upper body / lower body distribution, but as you continued to add more exercises to the upper body session, It took you twice as long as your legs, so you had to use another splitting method.

The distribution over three days lends itself to various configurations. Like other distributions over several days, you could combine any muscle group to compose three separate sessions.

Nevertheless, what is most common over three days, is to adopt the push / pull / leg (also called push pull legs) by modifying it. A variety of polyarticular exercises are often used, with a full day of rest between each session, for example:

  • Monday: pushed movement ( bench press , triceps extensions, dips ).
  • Wednesday: movement pulled ( deadlift , pull- ups , vertical draws, rowing , curl for the biceps).
  • Friday: thigh ( squat , squat bar in front, oblique press, front slit, calf standing).

Alternatively, you can rotate for three days, followed by a day off. This method solicits each muscle group almost twice a week, but if you train high intensity 5 to 6 times a week without modulating this intensity, overtraining will certainly result in stagnation. By alternating workouts with rest days, you’ll be sure to get enough rest before each high-speed session.

Once one adopts this method of modulated distribution, one discovers all sorts of logics on the effectiveness of a work combining, in the same session, the muscles that grow and those who shoot.

This is a great way to train if you basically do basic exercises; on the other hand, if one wishes to develop deficient muscular groups or to concentrate on each muscle individually, the sessions will then drag in length and it will be necessary again to split them.

You can train hard and you can train for a long time, but not both at the same time. So as you evaluate your body’s response to training and identify your strengths and weaknesses, you may decide to take a four- or five-day split.

This will allow you to focus more on certain muscles and be sure that you train each muscle group when your energy level is not falling. For example, if your arms are behind your chest and back, since you are still doing the biceps and triceps after the two big chests of the torso, it may be advantageous to devote a session to them. share.

By giving priority to certain muscles, we can work with heavier loads early in the session, when we are fresh and available and have the most energy, instead of struggling to make a series of weak intensity that you will only realize “for the form” at the end of the session. It is not advisable to group in the same session muscles that work together, such as the chest, shoulders and triceps.

Once the first muscle group is finished, the secondary muscles are too tired to be mobilized at maximum intensity. So we can not work the next muscle group with so much energy.

As for the possibilities of rehearsals on a 4-5 day program, variety is not a problem. Only one muscle group per day (chest, back, shoulders, legs and arms, for example) can be worked before small groups (such as arms) on the same day, especially not the triceps before the shoulders or the pecs, or the biceps before the back.

Some professional bodybuilders split their program even more by doing a morning session and another afternoon / evening session. This formula allows you to work each muscle group when you are fresh and rested, but most beginner and intermediate level practitioners do not have the time or recovery skills to successfully apply this method.

Unless you organize your day according to training, diet and rest, the use of double split will only precipitate overtraining and will cap you completely. Unfortunately, only a handful of pros have the chance to be paid for their efforts in the room, which facilitates this kind of training mode. So forget it if you have a professional occupation!

Choose a breakdown based on your schedule and bodybuilding level. If you are still relatively new, it is better to start with the upper body / lower body and change after a few months of training.

Note : It is not because you may be at the confirmed level that you will never have to follow a split over two or three days.

By varying the intensity and volume of your workout, you can make all these modes of distribution productive, whatever your level of experience.

By changing your session allocations frequently, your muscles will continue to grow and your strength will improve even more.

The cardio-training factor

If you increase aerobic work in your bodybuilding program, you will need to carefully evaluate the distribution of your workout to ensure you have enough time to recover after each session. If for you, doing cardio training is a “day off” since you do not push the cast iron, you may have serious problems.

It is certain that modest amounts of low-intensity cardio training may not slow the recovery of damaged muscle tissue, but it is equally certain that it will draw on the same energy stores as bodybuilding.

Even if the intensity is low, the body burns a significant amount of glycogen. So, instead of restoring your reserves for your next intense bodybuilding session, doing extra cardio for a day of rest will hinder your results in the room the next day.

Your muscles will look flat, you will feel tired and you will have wasted your time. Instead, follow this practice rule instead: If your cardio is going to be high-intensity (like a series of sprints), plan to pack it after your weight training session, then take a day off.

Instead of exhausting your energy two days in a row, you’ll have one really hard session and then you’ll have 48 hours to recover. If your cardio is weak, you could do it one day without weight training: just make sure you eat enough to replenish your glycogen and give your body enough nutrients to rebuild muscle tissue.

A very strict diet combined with an increase in cardio will result in a catabolic nightmare: what is the use of training if the muscles become smaller and weaker day by day? When fuel stocks are empty, the body is forced to take energy from the muscles.