Bodybuilding is a fantastic way to improve your health, get in shape, and obtain the physique you’ve always wanted. However, it’s not just a means to an end. For most bodybuilders, it’s a passion that helps them feel fulfilled in their daily lives.
If you’re about to embark on this journey, there are a few things you should know about the world of health and fitness. For example, simply showing up to the gym and tossing a few weights around won’t get you the results you desire. One of the most important bodybuilding tips for beginners is understanding that there is science and art to building your dream physique.
We’re here to guide you through the process. Keep reading for the top bodybuilding tips and tricks to maximize your progress.
1. Understand Your Body Type
First, you need to accept that your overall physique will be somewhat limited by your body type. There are three primary body types or somatotypes – endomorphs, ectomorphs, and mesomorphs.
The body type you are will greatly impact your ability to build muscle, lose fat, and create a symmetrical physique. Learning what type of body type you have will help you maximize your results based on your diet and style of exercise.
Outside of the bodybuilding world, ectomorphs are believed to have won the somatotype lottery. The people who fall under this category are naturally lean and thin. However, these people struggle to put on muscle, which can be difficult for ectomorphs pursuing bodybuilding.
The most valuable bodybuilding tip for ectomorphs is to consume as many calories as possible. To gain legitimate muscle mass, they must eat like it’s a full-time job. That being said, any muscle they put on will make them looked ripped, as they generally have very little body fat.
Endomorphs can struggle in the world of bodybuilding. While they can put on massive amounts of muscle with relative ease, endomorphs have a difficult time losing fat. Often referred to as “big-boned,” endomorphs are naturally larger and heavier, with a higher body fat percentage.
Endomorphs are also incredibly strong, due to their propensity to put on muscle. They make fantastic Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters.
In terms of bodybuilding, mesomorphs have it made. People with this body type are naturally athletic and symmetrically built. They can build muscle and burn fat easily. While they’ll never be as big and strong as endomorphs, mesomorphs can cut down and burn fat to look more ripped.
As such, mesomorphs have much more freedom with their diets. They can eat almost anything they want with few repercussions.
2. Learn How Your Muscle Groups Function
Another one of the most important bodybuilding tips for beginners is learning about the various muscle groups of the body and how they function. If you want great results, you must understand how to obtain them.
Muscle groups are generally divided into pushing and pulling muscles. Technically, all muscles contract through pulling, but for our purposes, well look at things more generically.
Pulling muscle groups include your back, biceps, hamstrings, and abdominals. Pushing muscle groups include your triceps, chest, shoulders, and quads.
Therefore, when you’re pulling a weight up with your arms, you’re using your biceps. When doing pullups, you’re working your back and biceps.
When you’re doing bench press, you’re pushing with your chest muscles. When pushing weights overhead, your pushing with your shoulders.
The more you understand which motions work what muscle groups, the easier it will be to program your workouts for big results.
3. Work With a Lifting Coach to Learn Proper Lifting Techniques
Before getting started in the weight room, it’s essential to get bodybuilding help from a lifting coach or personal trainer. Bodybuilding workouts entail lifting heavy weights, which can be dangerous.
If you don’t know what you’re doing or how to implement the proper technique, you can easily injure yourself. Common weightlifting injuries include everything from stiff muscles and tender joints to torn muscles and tendons. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can give yourself live-altering issues.
However, we understand that coaches and trainers can be expensive. Therefore, work with a trainer for a month or two to learn the ropes and then move out on your own.
4. Center Your Workouts Around Compound Movements
Making compound bodybuilding exercises the staple of your workout is one of the most effective bodybuilding tips and tricks. Compound exercises are those that use more than one muscle group and more than one set of joints.
For example, when you perform barbell squats, you’re using your quads, hamstrings, glutes, core, and shoulders. By contrast, doing seated quad extensions only works one muscle group – your quads.
Because compound exercises use so many muscle fibers, they allow you to lift more weight and increase your gains exponentially. They require more effort, which yields better results.
The most common and effective compound exercises include:
- Back squats
- Front squats
- Bent-over rows
- Bench press (flat, incline, and decline)
- Shoulder press (seated or standing)
There are several more compound movements for each muscle group, but you get the point. If it’s using multiple muscle groups through multiple joints, it’s going to produce better results.
5. Implement Progressive Overload Theory
Next, let’s talk about your programming. As a beginner, you probably won’t be able to design or create your own bodybuilding workouts. In the future, as you come to understand your muscle groups and various bodybuilding exercises, this will change.
For now, however, there is one important thing to focus on, even if you aren’t writing your own workouts. And that is progressive overload theory.
Progressive overload is where the art and science of bodybuilding come into play. It is the practice of progressive increases in load or volume over time.
For example, if you start bench pressing 100lbs for 10 reps, the next week, you could:
- Bench press 100lbs for 12 reps
- Or bench press 110lbs for 8-10 reps
- Or do an additional set of bench press
There is a wide variety of ways in which you can implement progressive overload theory. The most important bodybuilding tip regarding progressive overload, however, is to stay consistent.
You must maintain the same pattern of progressive overload throughout your entire program, whether it’s four weeks or 12 weeks. Using the example from above, this is what a six-week bench series could look like:
- Week 1 – bench 3 sets of 10 at 100lbs
- Week 2 – bench 3 sets of 12 at 100lbs
- Week 3 – bench 3 sets of 14 at 100lbs
After the third week, you need a slight reset in your weight to avoid doing an exorbitant amount of reps. We’ll add weight to your bench press during week four and reset at 10 reps:
- Week 4 – bench 3 sets of 10 at 115lbs
- Week 5 – bench 3 sets of 12 at 115lbs
- Week 6 – bench 3 sets of 14 at 115lbs
As you can see, by making these small, manageable changes, you’ll naturally become much stronger over time. With increased strength comes more muscle mass, a higher metabolism, and better conditioning.
And remember, your progressive overload programming can take on many different forms. We recommend changing it up after each program to avoid plateaus.
6. Create or Adopt a Program You Can Stick To
One of the biggest mistakes new bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts make is diving into the deep end before learning how to swim. In other words, you must get comfortable crawling before you can walk, and comfortable walking before you can run.
No matter how enthusiastic you are or hardworking, don’t jump into a bodybuilding routine that’s meant for experienced lifters. Not only will it be a rough lifestyle transition, but you will also be ungodly sore for the first few weeks.
As someone new to lifting weights, you’re going to be incredibly sore anyways. Starting with too much volume as a beginner is a good way to turn yourself off of bodybuilding entirely.
Logical bodybuilding tips suggest starting with a manageable routine that’s relatively low-intensity. Then, you can ramp up as you become more experienced and your body has time to adapt to the punishment.
7. Fuel Your Progress With Proper Nutrition
No matter how grueling your bodybuilding workouts are, your progress will be limited if you don’t fuel your growth with proper nutrition. As someone striving to build muscle and keep your body fat low, you need to monitor what you eat and how much you eat.
As noted earlier, ectomorphs will want to consume a massive surplus of calories if they want to bulk up. Endomorphs, on the other hand, will want to closely monitor their caloric intake. Mesomorphs, of course, should be fine with a moderate surplus of calories.
However, you must also consider your macronutrient consumption. Macronutrients consist of fats, proteins, and carbs. The percent of your diet that each of these make-up will play a large role in your progress.
While protein is important for building muscle, so are carbohydrates. Carbs are also important for fueling your muscles and providing your body with energy. Healthy fats also play an important part, like lubricating your joints, promoting cell growth, and providing long-term energy.
Your unique macronutrient breakdown depends on your bodybuilding workouts, your body type, and your daily caloric needs based on your lifestyle. Bodybuilders looking to bulk tend to ramp up their carbs to 50-60%. Bodybuilders looking to cut reduce their carbs to 35% or lower.
8. Invest in Quality Supplements
It would be amazing if you could get everything your body needs for maximum results through your diet. However, if you want to increase your gains, you must invest in quality bodybuilding supplements.
Bodybuilding supplements can help you increase muscle growth, improve your energy and focus during workouts, aid in recovery, burn fat, and more. Here are some of the most common supplement options:
- Preworkout – provides energy and focus during workouts
- Protein powder – makes it easier to increase your protein intake for better muscle growth and recovery
- BCAAs – branch chain amino acids to help with recovery
- Creatine – helps build muscle and improve performance
- Fat burners and appetite suppressants – make it easier for people to cut down and reduce body fat
If you’re looking for the best bodybuilding help in terms of supplements, you can also look into more extreme products. For example, you can buy SARMs to significantly increase muscle growth and help keep your body fat low.
9. Stay Consistent
Staying consistent is probably one of the most valuable bodybuilding tips that can be applied throughout all aspects of life. Consistency is king, whether you’re implementing better financial habits, trying to lose weight, or bulking up.
To build muscle effectively, you must use progressive overload theory, as discussed earlier. However, if you’re not staying consistent in you’re training, you can’t expect to get stronger or improve your performance in any way. Your progress builds on top of itself, which means you must continuously build up the foundation for new growth.
That’s why it’s so important to find a routine that works with your lifestyle and work schedule. For example, if you constantly blow off your workout because you don’t have the energy after work, perhaps you should wake up early and get it done beforehand.
Conversely, if you’re not a morning person and constantly snooze your alarm, thus missing your workout, perhaps you need to find time after work. Alternatively, consider working out on your lunch break (if you have enough time).
10. Get Plenty of Sleep
Finally, understand that your body repairs itself while at rest. The trauma you cause your muscles while working out triggers a cycle of repairing and rebuilding. Your body creates stronger and bigger muscles to handle the workload you demand.
Most of this growth occurs while you’re sleeping. Therefore, you need to allow yourself at least seven or eight hours of sleep each night. Failing to get enough sleep will hinder your progress.
Just as importantly, the most successful athletes have the discipline to rest. You need to give yourself plenty of off-days to allow your muscles time to recover. If you continuously break them down without rest, they won’t be able to grow and get stronger.
Looking for More Bodybuilding Tips?
As you can see, there is a lot more to bodybuilding than you might think. Follow our bodybuilding tips and tricks listed above for the best results. And remember to continue learning online and through veteran lifters.
For more health and fitness advice, check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog was created to provide helpful information and insight for people like you.