When most people plan out a workout routine, they don’t take into consideration how each exercise impacts other areas of the body. Almost every individual exercise affects more than one group of muscles and therefore, it is more practical to design a training program that compliments those different areas.
Most bodybuilders will group different exercises with a specific body part and train one muscle group at a time. Working a single muscle group with multiple exercises ensures that you train the muscle from different angles and intensities. This is one of the most efficient and useful training methods in bodybuilding to gain muscular size and build strength.
There are going to be times when it is unavoidable and you may end up working the same muscle group over two workouts. However, as a general rule it is always better to limit training a muscle group to once per week. It is also important to consider what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to build overall muscle mass, lose fat and get ripped, or increase strength? If you’re a beginner, stick with multi-joint compound exercises (bench press, squats, deadlifts) in the 8-12 repetition range with 2-3 minutes of rest between each set for the best results.
Try to design your bodybuilding routine with a focus on building mass by targeting the largest muscle groups of your body. Every major muscle group should be developed to prevent muscle imbalance and the risk of injury along with overall symmetry. You might see some guys in the gym who have a huge chest, massive back, gigantic arms and monster traps, but they also have tiny little chicken legs. This is a clear sign of a gym rat who doesn’t care about developing an overall aesthetically pleasing and symmetrical physique. Don’t let that be you!
To maintain symmetry, make sure to choose exercises that target both sides of the body simultaneously. The best way to start is to keep it simple and split the body into two sections (upper body and lower body). For your upper body, focus on targeting your chest, back, shoulders and arms. For your lower body, this will include your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. The best mass building exercises for muscle groups are:
- Chest – Barbell bench press, barbell incline bench press.
- Back – Deadlifts, bent over barbell rows.
- Shoulders – military press, dumbbell press.
- Arms – Barbell curls (biceps), skull crushers (triceps).
- Quadriceps – Barbell squats, leg press.
- Hamstrings – Romanian deadlifts, lying leg curls
- Calves – Standing machine calf raises, seated calf raises.
Your Diet is The Key
Remember to always focus on your nutrition first when designing a bodybuilding program. Your diet is the absolute key when it comes to building quality muscle mass and getting bigger. If you don’t eat enough calories, you will simply not grow! These calories also need to come from nutrient dense whole foods that supply the proper amount of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Protein is one of the key macronutrients to repairing and building muscle after intense workouts, so make sure to include quality sources of lean protein every 2-3 hours during the day to supply your muscles with the amino acids it needs to grow. If you’re confused about how many overall calories you need to eat per day along with how many grams of protein and carbs you should be consuming to build muscle and pack on size, then make sure to check out our fitness calculators section which includes great tools to help you maximize your bodybuilding efforts!