Plyometrics for Figure
Although many of you will choose a figure competition without a routine you can still benefit with lower body building and toning by using plyometrics in your training. Choices such as tuck leaps, squat leaps, box jumps, burpees and bounding can really harden your butt and thin the thighs of fat while building lean, tight and shaped muscle gains. Use weight with lower reps and less attention to speed when working to muscle up otherwise no weight and go for speed and height once you have mastered the form.
I believe stretching should be a part of any training for anyone and goes hand it hand. Make sure at minimum you stretch the muscles you “worked out” and do this at the end of your session. Hold the stretch for no less than 10 seconds and don’t bounce. I also firmly believe this will aid in muscle gains and fat loss by allowing free-flowing of oxygen rich blood to the areas which may otherwise be restricted due to lactic acid build up and the pump. Lastly, I think stretching is a way of injury prevention!
Off-Season Figure Training Sample
A 5 day plan with 20-40 minutes of cardio (mild to moderate) for 3-5 days per week. I like to hit my muscles twice per week for optimal growth but you could also do a 5 day plan like so which hits each muscle once per week.
Day 1 – Legs, Back and Arms / Squats, Lat Pulls, Stiff Deadlifts, Bar Curls, Calve Press, Triceps Dips, Inner Thigh, And Outer Thigh.
Day 2 – Chest, Butt and Core / Chest Press, Obl. Crunches, Peck Dec, Butt Machine, Knee Raises, Heal Press, Serratus Push (higher reps, low weight, done for conditioning.)
Day 3 – Back, Hams, and Bis / Pull ups, Chins, Hamstring Curls, Mid Back Row, Good Mornings, Ham Curls on Body Ball, Reverse Peck DEC, Concentration Curls.
Day 4 – Quads, Tris, Calves / Leg Extensions, Walking Lunges, Triceps Kickbacks, Seated Calves, Triceps Pushdown, Standing Dumbbell Calve Raises on step.
Day 5 – Chest, Core, Butt / Decline Pushups, Dips, Butt Machine, V Sits, Back Extension on Body Ball, Pec Fly on Ball, Crunches on Body Ball.
On Season Figure Training Sample
Superset these exercises meaning you do a set of one then immediately do a set of the other, then stretch, rest and repeat up to desired sets.
Day 1 and 4 – Pullups / Chins, Deadlift /Bar Curls, Lat Pull / Knee Raises, Mid Back Row / Crunches, Preacher Curls / Hyper extensions, Concentration Curls and Rope Cable Crunch.
Day 2 and 5 – Chest Dips / Decline Obliques, Chest Press /Lying Tricep Extension, Pec DEC / Rope Pushdowns, Oblique Crunch, Tricep Dips / Oblique Knee Raises.
Day 3 and 6 – Squat / Shoulder Press, Leg Curl / Side Delt Raise, Calve Press / Front Delt Raise, Inner / Outer Thigh, Internal / External Rotator Cuff, Butt Machine / Butt Blasters.
Here are 12 solid exercises you want to include into your training regardless of your body type or season. These are like a general meat and potatoes program that you would add to with other self specific exercises. Of course, you can vary the below info by alternating with other exercise choices but this can help you with a quick start if you need it!
- Walking Lunges
- Side Shoulder Raises
- Pull ups
- Push Ups
- Calve Raises
- Horizontal Chins
- Triceps Dips
- V Sits
- Oblique Crunches
- Bridge Hip Thrust
- Squat Rack or Smith Squat
- Overhead Press
- Lat Pull Down
- Peck DEC
- Leg Curl
- Good Mornings or Hyper Extensions
- Toe Press
- Triceps Pushdown
- Bar Curls
- Knee Raises
- Butt Machine or Hip Extension on Cables
I would suggest working up toward a regular training regimen of 5-6 days per week. Depending on your goals you will work with reps between 8-12 per set for muscle mass with sets from 2-4 and 12-20 rep range for leaning and lengthening. Vary your training weekly with small changes and take every 4th week to train 2-3 days only and doing only things you normally don’t, which is a break from the regular workout. This is a great time to take classes or do some sports you don’t do often. Cardio intensity and time would be higher for fat loss and moderate during muscle building and bulking phases. HIIT training is a great choice all around. Rest is also crucial so you want to balance this all out.
For lower body shaping and leaning you would want to consider incorporating these exercises in your training cycles:
Single Leg Squats, Single leg Hip Thrusts, Heal Prints, Round the Clock Lunges, Step ups, ATG squat, squats below 90, and Butt Blaster (which is essentially a prone position on the bench with your legs hanging off at hip area and lifting the legs).
High incline Elliptical, Cross and ARC trainers are also great for lower body shaping combined with the Stair Master. Running is good to make thighs smaller but if you need quad bulk to shape you then minimize this activity or go with sprints and HIIT cardio workouts.
Postural exercises would include:
Reverse Peck DEC, Rhomboid Squeezes, Prone Thumb Raises, Chickens, Internal and external Rotation for rotator cuff and Serratus Pushes. See the complete Fitness Figure Competitions Guide.