Bodybuilding Tips: Definitive List (Tips For Real Results)
If you’re reading this, you’re the kind of person who wants to sculpt the best, most powerful physique your body is capable of. Regardless of what point you’re at in your bodybuilding progress, you are all about self-improvement.
You’re probably also a busy person, someone who wants each gym session to pack the maximum punch possible. If you want the best advice on how to maximize the gains in every workout, look no further.
We’ve put together a list of over 100 of the absolute best bodybuilding tips, ones that will save you from wasting time on ineffective methods. Get on the fast-track to the results you want by reading through these tips.
Best bodybuilding tips
- Focus on lifting more weight over time. That should be the number one priority of any bodybuilding workout program. If you get ‘stuck’, try strategies such as drop sets or supersets to help increase the body’s potential to lift more weight.
- Go one rep short of failure. This will still get you pushing your body hard and working at the intensity level needed to build muscle, but it won’t completely destroy you so that you have to end that workout prematurely and take a day or two off just to recoup.
- Follow the rule that for 80% of your workout, you’ll only perform exercises that work at least two muscle groups. You only have a limited amount of time you can spend in the gym each day due to time and recovery restraints, so focus on compound exercises.
- Fuel your body right before and after your workouts. Failing to get in the amino acids your body will use to synthesize new muscle mass with or the carbohydrates that provide the energy to formulate the new muscle tissue is a critical error that will garner a lack of results.
- Never go more than two weeks without a change. You’ll hit a plateau and won’t gain any more muscle. Make sure something in your program is always changing, so that you continue to get results.
- Remember! Rest is required. Ideally, you should take one day off between each weight lifting workout, but if you prefer to do an upper/lower split, then just be sure you have at least two full days off a week.
- Focus on more food. When it comes to building mass, you have to eat to grow. You simply can’t be shy about ingesting adequate calories.
- Master your basic form and technique. Use full range of motion. When you get more advanced you can begin to bend those rules to increase intensity.
- Try to improve EVERY workout, whether it’s an extra set, more reps, more weight, or better technique. Over time, you’ll accumulate massive improvements.
- Master the Olympic lifts. If you can master a clean and press, clean and split, and the snatch, then every other movement will be easy because you’ve already mastered squatting, deadlifting, and pressing.
Bodybuilding tips for beginners
- New to bodybuilding? Remember to control your lift. Your efforts need to be focused and controlled, so as to isolate muscle groups and strategically work them through various exercises, angles, and techniques.
- To get the best results for muscle growth and fat loss, start your bodybuilding journey with compound lifts like the squat, bench press, shoulder press and deadlift.
- If you’ve just started bodybuilding, make sure you are setting your spine right during lifts. Keep your lower back slightly arched, your chest up, and your head and neck in a neutral position.
- A proper diet is an important part of bodybuilding. A clean diet is key for both your mental and physical well-being. Make sure your caloric intake is enough to build mass and you protein intake is high enough to build muscle.
- Form and technique are crucial in bodybuilding. Take the time to learn the movements and you’ll set yourself up for a long career of continued success. Begin with bodyweight, then a stick, and then work your way up to a bar. Only then should you starting adding weight.
- Build a good strength base. In order to do this, keep your weight heavy and use low reps for a high number of sets. Squatting your bodyweight is a bare-minimum requirement for a beginner.
- When doing the basic movements, always use a full range of motion. Hypertrophy is much greater when you use a full range of motion as opposed to partial-range movements.
- Stay flexible! Not only will you be more functional in your day-to-day life, but your workouts will be much more explosive. Do 5-10 minutes of dynamic stretching pre-workout, and 5-10 minutes static-stretching post-workout.
- If you plan on training a long time, you’ll want to change up the way you’re doing. The key is to stimulate your body in different ways instead of doing the same thing over and over. You’ll always need to do the basics in some form, but the way that you execute them needs to include variations.
- Remember! It takes time. Be realistic about the improvements you can make in a specific time frame. Try to improve even 1% every workout, as any progression is good. Consistent improvement equals long-term gains.
Bodybuilding tips for men
- Don’t think of supplements only in terms of performance enhancement, but also in terms of helping you meet your calorie intake. .If you are trying to build muscle, and find it hard to reach your daily calorie requirements, a quality weight gainer is a great way to hit those numbers.
- Eat big, but clean. You have to take in lots of food, but that doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want. Think eggs, chicken, tuna, whey protein, turkey etc. You get the idea!
- Water, water, water. It makes up as much as 70% of your muscle. Doesn’t it make sense that if you want bigger and stronger muscles, you need more water? Drink about a gallon of water a day.
- Try accentuated eccentric sets to trigger greater strength and muscle-building gains. Focus on the lowering phase of heavy lifts like the deadlift, squat and bench press.
- When you only lift heavy, you only hit your fast-twitch muscle fibers, not your slow-twitch ones. Train with lighter weights and higher reps, one day every week, to increase the size of your slow-twitch muscle fibers, thanks to more time under tension.
- Incorporate paired sets into your workout. Work opposing muscles within the same group to maximize the amount of work your muscles can do.
- Try Work-Stretch sets. After performing a set of an exercise, use the weight to lightly stretch the targeted muscle in its extended state. This incites hyperplasia, which increases the actual number of fibers you have in your muscles.
- Try eating the biggest meals of your day about thirty or 60 minutes immediately after lifting weights.
- Do not lift until failure for each set. Doing so will lead to overtraining, fatigue, and possible injury.
- Make sure that you have rest and recovery periods so that muscles recover and repair themselves. You need to rest your muscles if you want to be successful in gaining muscle mass and body building.
Bodybuilding tips for women
- Focus on form, not weight, to begin with. Align your body correctly and move smoothly through each exercise. Poor form can prompt injuries and slow gains. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group.
- Many women tend to get stuck in the 12-15 rep range. Make sure you work in multiple rep ranges, including sets in the 5-8 rep range, to see maximum results.
- Plan your workouts 4-6 weeks in advance, so you’re never entering a stale zone and are constantly getting stronger. You don’t always have to train harder; sometimes, you need to train smarter.
- Commit to the weight room. 3-4 days a week you need to hit the weights room at the gym. Focus on the powerlifts – the deadlift, squat and bench – to build muscle and in the process, burn fat.
- Your muscles require 72 hours of rest after high-volume workouts, but you can lift four days per week by splitting your workouts into separate sessions.
- Each bodybuilding workout must be of high volume. In the beginning, perform three sets of each exercise, with each set featuring 6-12 reps. Rest periods between sets should be between 30-60 seconds.
- During each bodybuilding workout, focus on larger muscle groups first, then move onto smaller muscles. For example, on the day you work your chest, shoulders and triceps, complete your entire chest exercises first. Follow those with shoulder then triceps exercises.
- Starting your bodybuilding journey? Make sure you mentally prepare yourself! Preparing yourself to build muscle is as simple as understanding how to do so, having the proper equipment and mindset, and having the right body to build muscle onto.
- If you feel there’s still fat to lose, you should lose it before you start lifting heavier weights and eating more, or else you’ll just get bigger. So concentrate on cardio and your weight-lifting form until the excess fat is gone.
- Stuck on how to start your bodybuilding program? Find a trainer! A trainer will be able to show you exercise to target certain muscles, the proper form for each exercise, explain the right eating patterns, and much more.
Bodybuilding tips and tricks
- In order to track your bodybuilding progress, try a DEXA scan once a year. It measures both body fat and your lean muscle mass, so you can truly tell what kind of progress you’ve been making.
- Push harder! When you get to that point in your leg work out where you’re completely dead but have to finish an insane drop set, find your drive and make sure you finish the set!
- Find a coach or a training partner. Healthy competition is good, so surround yourself with successful people in your sport and it’ll force you to excel. There’s always something new to learn and some new way to improve.
- Plan your workouts very carefully. Make sure you aren’t training the same muscle group two days in a row, so that they can have adequate time to recover and grow.
- Prioritize your workouts according to your specific goals. If you’re really trying to build big arms or carve killer abs, train those muscle groups twice per week. For example, you might train biceps with back on Monday, triceps with chest on Tuesday, and then train both biceps and triceps together on Friday.
- Deadlifts on one of the best muscle-building movements you can do. They are great for overall muscle development and will help you build a big back, round glutes, strong legs, and big forearms, while furthering shoulder and trap development.
- Choose calorie-dense foods that will help you get thick. Keep your protein levels constant year-round, and adjust carbs and fats depending on your bodybuilding goals.
- If you’re always lifting in the same rep range from workout to workout, it’s time for a change. This will allow you to experience both gains in size and strength, producing optimal results.
- Prep your meals in advance. That way you won’t have any excuses to stray from your diet. Never miss meals or you’ll see slow to no progress.
- An important muscle-building tip is to focus on your lifting tempo. Time under tension for all movements is key. When in doubt, slow down the movement and be strict on the form, especially during the negative portion of an exercise.
Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding tips
- Drop sets—also called descending set or strip sets—were a favorite of Arnold’s to build bulk. The method involves performing a set of any exercises to momentary failure, and then dropping some pounds and banging out more reps. Give it a try!
- Lifting requires brain work, too. Arnold concentrated with 100% focus, which allowed him to reach even greater intensity levels. You have to mentally coax your muscles to grow larger and stronger.
- Train harder than everybody else. Arnold’s goal was to be better than everyone, so he knew he had to train harder than everyone. If you want to be the best, you have to push yourself, and concentrate on the basic movements.
- Choose the right exercises. Arnold favored multi-joint exercises. Choose compound movements which require several muscle groups to work in coordination. While more difficult to master, they offer the added benefit of allowing you to train very heavy to overload the working muscle.
- Use heavy weights for low reps. But, according to Arnold Schwarzenegger, you should never do less than 6 reps per set. You want to make sure the load corresponds to muscle failure at a particular range.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger was always sure to vary his training. Do the same workout for too long without making significant changes and its value falls over time. Within a basic framework, change your exercises constantly, so as to shock your muscles and not let them get complacent.
- Arnold would say, “If there is no muscle pump, there is no muscle growth.” So train for the pump and take your sets past muscle failure, and tense your muscles between sets and after workouts.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger was always sure to prioritize his weaknesses, and you should do the same. Although it’s natural to want to show off your strongest muscles in the gym, you should focus on training your weaker muscles in order to encourage more muscle growth.
- Gain knowledge and use your instinct. Arnold’s view was that in order to succeed in bodybuilding, you had to know and understand everything about the sport and exercises. That way, you can build the perfect program for you.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger was a big fan of overhead presses. They are multi-joint movements that are the best mass builders for shoulders, since they engage the greatest degree of deltoid musculature. Do presses both behind and in front of your head for complete development.
Bodybuilding tips for chest
- To build an overall strong and well developed chest you need to do more than just a flat bench press. You need to hit the chest from different angles and stimulate and break down those fibers to see some growth.
- For complete development of the chest, you must fully develop all sections of the pectoralis major, the pectoralis minor, as well as the serratus muscles, and the ribcage should be deep and full.
- Use a multi-joint press as your initial exercise on chest day. These movements recruit a larger degree of muscle mass and result in a greater anabolic stimulus.
- Want to hit all parts of your pecs? Close-grip bench presses better target the inner chest fibers, whereas a wider grip hits the outer pecs more effectively.
- Only after you finish your multi-joint presses should you move to single-joint isolation chest exercises, such as a single-joint fly to stretch and open up your chest. This helps elongate the muscles and gets more oxygen and blood back in.
- Rotate which bench (flat, incline, decline) you start your chest workout with every few weeks. This will allow you to develop better overall size, and reduce the chances you’ll develop a weak area in your pecs.
- Whether you’re doing presses or flys, retract your shoulder blades and billow your chest like a big rooster. This over exaggerates the curve in your thoracic spine, giving you a better foundation to generate force through your pecs while stabilizing and protecting your shoulders.
- Train your chest smart with dumbbells. Dumbbell bench presses are the most valuable because there are so many different ways you can utilize them. They allow for a longer range of motion, meaning more muscle recruitment and they demand more core stability.
- To make almost every chest muscle fiber contract as hard as possible, bench with loads greater than 80% of your 1RM.
- Don’t have weights, or a bench? Using elastic band resistance in push-ups can produce similar levels of muscle activity as in bench presses.
Bodybuilding tips for biceps
- Knowing that additional arm muscles exist besides the biceps and accounting for them during your training will produce the greatest overall size and strength gains. You can’t just hammer your biceps and ignore everything else.
- You can arrange your split so that you train biceps after back on the same day, but don’t do a biceps day immediately after back day since your biceps would already be fatigued.
- What’s the best exercise to start your bicep workout with? Do the movement in which you can move the most weight. This is most likely the standing barbell curl.
- After warming up, do relatively heavy sets as low as 6 reps to really stimulate your arms. Your biceps grow larger only when you make demands on them above and beyond what they’re accustomed to. So push yourself—especially on those first sets before fatigue starts to set in!
- Remember! The biceps tend to feel fatigue fairly quickly. Do not overwork your muscles because that may actually be counterproductive to your bodybuilding goals, as you trigger a catabolic response that can actually damage muscle tissue.
- As you progress through your arm workout, consider adding movements that better isolate the muscle. Concentration and preacher curls, in which your arm is stabilized by pressing against your inner thigh or a bench, almost completely eliminate your ability to use momentum.
- The brachialis muscle lies beneath the biceps muscle, but traditional underhand-grip movements do little to target it. Neutral-grip movements like hammer curls, however, are effective in isolating the brachialis, which can maximize the thickness of your upper arms.
- Finishing off your biceps workout with forearm exercises makes sense because your smaller forearm muscles assist on many of your biceps curls. Wrist curls are a perfect exercise to finish with.
- To keep tension on the biceps throughout your sets, keep your elbows locked by your sides throughout. You won’t be able to raise the weight as high, but don’t measure your success by distance—often that very top position is a rest spot, not a peak contraction, and you don’t need to go beyond the toughest point.
- When doing standing alternate dumbbell curls is to supinate your grip at the upper portion of the movement. This technique further brings out the bicep peak.
Natural bodybuilding tips
- The number one mistake by natural lifters is doing too much volume. You need to trigger protein synthesis and then stop training.
- Frequency is super important for natural bodybuilders. Hitting a muscle three times per week is the optimal frequency.
- The best split for the natural bodybuilder is the push/pull split. It’s both physically and psychologically beneficial.
- The key to growth for the natural bodybuilder is to have a big disparity between protein synthesis and protein breakdown. The more volume you use, the more you break down protein.
- In a natural bodybuilding program, you want the majority of your workout targeted towards compound; heavy weight lifts in the lower rep range. This will result in a permanent growth of the muscle fibers while also helping you see great strength gains.
- Are you a natural bodybuilder? Train to failure if possible, perform various compound exercises, vary your exercises, use free weights and machines, as well as bodyweight exercises in the process, and always warm up before you begin any workout.
- Natural bodybuilding workouts are just as physically demanding as non-natural workouts, in fact, some may argue that they’re tougher because it’s harder to gain size and strength whilst natural.
- In natural bodybuilding, consistency is the key to success. By consistency, we’re talking about not only your workouts, but also your diet as well. You need to be training several times per week, eating the right foods, and using the right supplements.
- If you are looking at training naturally, to help you shock your muscles and truly pile on the muscle, you’ll need to increase the volume of your workouts, which means more sets and more reps.
- One of the best natural bodybuilding workout tips? Chug down a casein protein shake before getting into bed. Casein is ideal because it’s a slow-release slow digesting protein which provides amino acids, vitamins, and minerals for the body for hours upon hours.
Bodybuilding workout tips
- The period before, during, and after your workouts—also known as the peri-workout period—is a perfect time to take supplements designed to enhance your performance and recovery capabilities.
- Consistency really is key. Without consistent commitment to a solid nutrition plan and workout routine, you’ll be hard-pressed to see any results.
- Know your weak spots. As you progress on your mass-gain journey, watch out for lagging muscle groups. If there’s an area you really want to prioritize, it’s best to have a training plan for that specific muscle group. By doing a little more volume and working your target muscle with a variety of stressors, you can help it catch up with the rest of your body.
- Lift barefoot! Having your feet flat on the floor lessens the distance you have to pull the bar on a deadlift; increasing your leverage and helping you lift heavier weights.
- Top bodybuilding workout tip? Squeeze your glutes at all times during a set, especially on lifts like the bench press and overhead press. It stabilizes your entire torso.
- If the total number of reps you perform for an exercise adds up to 25, you’re more likely to maximize muscle and strength gains. Just keep the reps relatively low and the sets moderate. Configurations like 5×5, 6×4, and 8×3 work well.
- Go heavy, then light. Train with heavy loads one month, using sets of four to six reps. The next month, go lighter and stay in the 10-12 rep range. The heavy training allows your body to make even faster gains during the lighter weeks.
- If your sticking point on the bench press is at the bottom of the lift when the bar is on your chest, work on dumbbell bench presses with your palms facing each other. This forces you to tuck your elbows, which makes for a safer, stronger lift.
- Make your warm-up set count! Work up in weight as normal on a lift to warm up, but make your last warmup set a few pounds heavier than the load you plan to use for your first work set. Just make sure you perform fewer reps in the warmup set than in the work set.
- Do pull-ups twice a day. Do one set of as many as you can in the morning. Do another all-out set at night. Repeat this every other day. After 30 days, test your max number of reps. You can expect to see up to a 10-rep increase.