Q: Any tips on how to put together the best bodybuilding workout? Is there an ideal number of sets/exercises/reps for bodybuilding? Is there a particular order for doing things? Does it matter how exercises are paired? Am I over thinking this and twisting myself in nots unnecessarily?!
I could/should write a book on this! In fact, I am, but more on that later. If you want to keep updated with any of my bodybuilding / fat loss publications then if you haven’t already done so I would advise that you subscribe to my personal training blog.
As far as any bodybuilding or resistance training workout goes, reps dictate everything and are inversely proportional to sets and rest intervals.
Every 3 weeks you can rotate through 2sets/15reps, then 4 sets/6 reps, then 3 sets/10 reps.
Pair opposing muscle groups. E.g biceps/triceps, back/chest, hamstrings/quadriceps.
This will ALWAYS give you the most bodybuilding success – look at some of our bodybuilding personal training clients and personal training testimonials for proof!
Q: What is the effect of training parts of the body (e.g. legs one day, chest another) as opposed to full-body training? How much can this be broken down into multiple days for bodybuilding?
I would like you to still train each body part twice per week, which means that unless you are a professional bodybuilder you will need to do a combination of full body / upper and lower body split routines.
Q: How would I adjust a work out for muscle building/bodybuilding versus strength training versus losing weight? Adjusting reps?
Higher reps will mean more overall calories burned, but you should use your weight training more as a tool for muscle/strength/bodybuilding now. The lower the reps the more you work relative strength (strength without muscle mass growth), the higher the reps the more you work endurance.
In actual fact, you want to concern yourself more with time under tension in every set. Under 20 seconds is for relative strength, 20-40 strength and muscle, 40-70 seconds is the classic bodybuilding range, 90 seconds and higher is fairly useless for strength and muscle and more about endurance.
Q: What’s the best way to handle things on my own (without someone there to help lift up, say, the bench press bar when it’s too heavy)? Is there any reason not to use machines when bodybuildng?
Machines will lock you into an unnatural movement pattern and can lead to injuries via overuse of one plane of movement and limited / zero stimulation of your stabilizer muscles. The challenge of free weights also has a far better bodybuilding effect due to the extra stimulation of the Central Nervous System.
Use dumbells instead of barbells unless you are working with a good personal trainer. If you fail in a press then the dumbells will just shift down to your starting position and not crush you!