Skip to main content

Bodybuilding Workout Routines: How to Train Better

US Army medic, mental and behavioral health enthusiast, active health and wellness coach, professional bodybuilder for 23+ years.

Learn about bodybuilding exercise routines, and get advice about making your workout as effective as possible.

Learn about bodybuilding exercise routines, and get advice about making your workout as effective as possible.

How Do Bodybuilders Exercise?

Bodybuilding is a sport that focuses on making the practitioner's muscles larger and stronger. Bodybuilders use muscle workout routines to enhance the strengthening process, and they may incorporate workout techniques like uni-set, multi-set, pyramid routines, supersets, and breathing sets.

Building muscles is an art; it's not something you can force. Just like with any other art, patience is the name of the game. It is extremely important to exercise, eat, and rest in the correct proportions to get the right result.

Choosing a Workout Routine for Building Muscle

Choosing the correct method for building muscle is key. However, keep in mind that there is no fixed method of working out. There are numerous techniques to choose from, and this is the part where you have to be really careful. You'll need to base your decision on your body structure, current condition, height, weight, mental composure, and your desired result.

The routine sets described below are from my arsenal of years of personal training and my 23+ years of building muscle as a professional bodybuilder.

1. Uni-Set Routine

This routine is generally intended for starters. However, it is also effective for experienced bodybuilders. This routine aims to concentrate on one muscle at a time, and it involves doing a single set for every exercise. It is fast and extremely effective for many people.

2. Multi-Set Routine

This routine is normally meant for experienced bodybuilders. As the name suggests, a multi-set routine involves doing several sets for every exercise. This routine is normally accompanied by lifting light and medium weights.

The main idea of this routine is to keep your muscles guessing. By forcing your muscles to "multitask" and working them until they're fatigued, you're helping to improve their strength and growth. Note that a multi-set routine is not the same as cross-training.

3. Pyramid Routine

In this routine, you're expected to start with lighter weights and easier exercises, then slowly but steadily increase the intensity. This technique is widely used by professional bodybuilders around the world, and it's easy to adapt to your personal goals; for example, you can also do a reverse pyramid routine, where you start with the more intense exercises and slowly taper off.

A pyramid routine trains your body at different levels in one workout, maximizing a compact training schedule. Proper utilization of this technique can yield great results. But remember to keep things slow and steady—don't push it!

4. Superset

This bodybuilding workout technique involves doing two exercises with no time gap between them. It exhausts the targeted muscles in a much shorter time frame. This is a good fundamental technique for professionals and can be used as a filler technique as well.

5. Breathing Set

This technique sandwiches a breathing set between two exercises. It recognizes the importance of breathing in exercising and trains both together to get the best result. By incorporating a breathing set, you can energize your body, ensure that you maintain safe oxygen intake, and prevent yourself from getting tired too easily.

Tips for Making Your Bodybuilding Workout Effective

Are you tired of trying all sorts of workouts that are "guaranteed" to help you gain muscle mass, only to find yourself making no progress? If that's you and you're tired of wasting your money, time, and energy on empty promises, then read on for some simple tips that should help you get results.

For your workout to give you the desired results, you need to understand the basics. This may sound obvious, but there are many people who do not grasp the basic concepts of creating a good workout routine, which means their routines fail.

Scroll to Continue

Tip 1: Make a Nutritional Plan

The first basic principle you need to consider is the nutritional plan that goes along with your workouts. You've probably heard the common saying that fitness is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. This means that you can lift weights for hours, but if your diet is not planned out correctly, you won't see the corresponding muscle gain. Be sure to carefully plan out a healthy diet for bodybuilding.

Tip 2: Don't Follow Professional Workouts

Another basic fact to keep in mind is that following professional workouts will not get you the same results. This is because most of us are not gifted with the pros' muscle-building genetics (or, in some cases, their limitless quantities of muscle-enhancing drugs).

Quite simply put, it is nearly impossible for the average person to get even close to the same results as a professional bodybuilder with their workouts. Instead, you need to listen to your own body and do what it needs. Try some of the routines I mentioned above instead of that flashy pro workout.

Tip 3: Exercise for 45–60 Minutes

Lastly, when you're choosing a routine or creating your own, keep it in the range of 45–60 minutes. Testosterone levels, which help increase muscle mass, start to decrease after an hour, meaning the benefits of longer bodybuilding workouts are minimal. So, aim to work out for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then stop and take a long break.

Employ a variety of techniques when you exercise, like weightlifting.

Employ a variety of techniques when you exercise, like weightlifting.

How to Increase Your Training Results

There are a lot of concepts you have to know if you want your training to be successful, and if you make the mistake of ignoring even one concept, you're unlikely to see the gains you want. Here's my advice for really getting results.

Understand Your Body

The first and most vital factor you have to consider is the sort of body you have. You need to understand your body chemistry and structure in order to select a coaching regimen and identify the training program that will help you the most. For example, if your body structure is ectomorphic, then you're going to have trouble gaining weight due to your fast metabolism, and you'll need to take that into account in your training.

Get a Private Trainer

A personal trainer will help you select a proper coaching program that helps you pursue your goals in a productive and healthy way. You do not need to hire a trainer for an entire year; you can simply use the information you gathered from the trainer in your initial consult and your first 3–4 paid sessions, then continue on with that plan.

Getting an individual trainer is useful for two additional reasons: They will help you prevent injuries, and they'll also help you drop any unpleasant habits that would impede your bodybuilding.

Use a Variety of Techniques

Ensure you incorporate a variety of techniques into your routine, such as compound movements and weightlifting.

Eat a Balanced Diet

I mentioned this above, but the importance of nutrition can't be overstated. Make sure you eat balanced meals. Any exercise that increases your heart rate helps you burn calories and lose weight, and you'll need to replace those calories by eating healthy food. A balanced diet will both help you change your body and also ensure that you maintain sound health.

Rest

Rest, rest, rest! You're going to be laser-focused on working out, but resting is just as important. Rest is crucial because it's the only way your body can recover. When you undertake intense resistance training, your muscles get damaged (but in a good way), and they have to recover so that they can grow. If you don't rest correctly between workouts and at night when sleeping, then you will impede the recovery process.

Remember to Listen to Your Body

It is extremely important for you to size up your capability and choose the routine that suits you the best. Your training may not be the same as your friend's. Don't worry about that, and don't try to copy anyone else. Follow your own body's needs. We are each unique, and each one of us may achieve results in a unique way.

Therefore, learn to be patient and do your research before you start to train your muscles. If you're looking for a book to help guide you, I recommend Myatt Murphy's The Body You Want in the Time You Have.

Remember, muscle building is art and must be treated as such. Our metabolic rate, respiratory rate, and body balances should be taken into serious consideration before we pick the routine we want to follow. After that conscious decision is taken, you can get results if you make a dedicated effort. Good luck, and stay strong!

References

Waehner, P. (2021, October 11). Single Set Training: Pros, Cons, and How-To. VerywellFit. https://www.verywellfit.com/one-set-training-1229823

Laskowski, E.R. (2020, August 25). What's better for strength training—one set or multiple sets?. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/strength-training/faq-20058232

Thieme, T. (2021, May 3). Pyramid Sets Can Make You Stronger from Bottom to Top. Men'sHealth. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a36317637/pyramid-sets/

Read, T. (2021, October 29). What Is a Weightlifting Superset?. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/what-is-a-superset

Harriman, D. (n.d.). Why Do I Feel Lightheaded When Bodybuilding? Livestrong. Retrieved April 7, 2022, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/391937-why-do-i-feel-lightheaded-when-bodybuilding/

Van De Walle, G. (2018, November 19). Bodybuilding Meal Plan: What to Eat, What to Avoid. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bodybuilding-meal-plan

Pietrangelo, A. (2018, September 17). How Testosterone Benefits Your Body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-testosterone

Metcalf, E. (2015, May 6). Does Working Out Affect Testosterone Levels?. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/men/features/exercise-and-testosterone

Payne, A. (n.d.). Body Types: How to Train & Diet for Your Body Type. National Academy of Sports Medicine. Retrieved April 7, 2022, from https://blog.nasm.org/fitness/body-types-how-to-train-diet-for-your-body-type

Chertoff, J. (2019, November 12). How to Add Compound Exercises to Your Workout Routine. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/compound-exercises

Leonard, J. (2020, January 8). How to build muscle with exercise. MedicalNewsToday. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319151

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2017 Onaolapo Adeyemi

Comments

Robert Burroughs on March 15, 2018:

I added your hub to my Facebook business page. It has been too long since my last workout but I'm changing that. I've opened a shopify store dedicated to fitness, and I'm going to make a change.

Related Articles