In case you’ve been working out for a while now but noticed that you stopped gaining size, there’s a chance that it is the right time for you to change up your bodybuilding workout routine. A change is very likely to lead to other changes in terms of gaining muscle and burning fat. That’s why switching things up every once in a while could be helpful.
The human body is actually amazing and a true wonder. It almost doesn’t matter what you throw at it, it’s going to adapt and will do it fast. Adaptation is a big reason why a lot of bodybuilders and athletes are experiencing “plateaus”.
A plateau refers to the period when you stop from gaining strength or getting bigger, regardless of how hard you’re working on it. This is the moment when a lot of bodybuilders and athletes choose to add anabolic steroids to their regime. And they notice a huge boost. Anabolic steroids are undoubtedly the best and most effective way to break through plateaus. When done correctly, they can be safe and will guarantee you continue gaining size.
But even so, you should know that the process of building muscle is all down to your body adapting to the increasing loads and stress. In order to keep it as simple as possible, remember the following:
- Lifting X amount of weight and your body will grow more muscle to cope with it.
- Increase the amount of weight and your body is going to increase the muscle even more in order to be able to deal with the extra strain. Of course, this continues on.
However, if it would be only that, we would all be bodybuilders in no time.
Other Important Information
Those individuals who are into bodybuilding already know very well that you just cannot get continuous growth when you are constantly following the exact same program. That’s why you just can’t have the exact same 2-3 exercises for a muscle group that you should do weekly simply increasing the weight so you get bigger. Your body is going to adapt to that stress very quickly (too quickly!) which will result in your current routine not causing any changes and yielding no results. So, the saying “You need to shock your muscles for them to grow” is actually true.
Regularly changing your workout is actually extremely important for long-term growth. This is the main reason why professional bodybuilders are switching up their workouts all the time. They are changing the exercises they do. Moreover, also add in some advanced training techniques. Because of their overall experience and training, bodybuilders know exactly what they need to do in order to burn fat and build muscle.
Again, anabolic steroids will be the most effective way to break through plateaus. But anabolic steroids in combination with proper training techniques will yield out-of-this-world results.
Overall, there are a lot of techniques that pro bodybuilders use. You could make good use of those techniques too. This way it will stimulate muscle growth and/or will keep you growing.
Therefore, adding steroids or not, you should follow some different ways and methods that I am going to share here. You can switch up your routine in order to avoid plateaus and/or see even better results when adding anabolic steroids to your regimen.
Increase The Intensity
So, one of the very first things that I believe is the most important is to make it all more intense. That’s why it is the first one here. As you may already know – the intensity is building muscle. In fact, you should be aware that many of the tips that I am going to share here with you are going to involve an increase in the intensity of your workout regimen, in one way or another.
Some of the most obvious examples of these are slow reps, negatives, drop sets, and supersets. These are classics in bodybuilding and you should learn about each one of them separately. These are the “foundation” of muscle growth.
You could also increase the intensity of your routines by having shorter rest periods, having forced reps, doing circuits, and others. The point is that it is actually pretty easy to get stuck in your gains if you’ve been following the exact same routine for a good while now. You might think that you’re training very hard. Nonetheless, in reality, your intensity level could be dropping without you even realizing it. This will definitely hinder your gains.
Again, you may not change anything and add anabolic steroids – that would assist a huge change. Nevertheless, if you have already done anabolic steroids for a while now and still experience a plateau or if you plan to add them and yield the best results out of doing so – follow these tips.
Change Up Your Exercises
Remember I said that you need to shock your muscles to assist their growth? Remember I said that you just can’t have 2 to 3 exercises for a muscle group in order to see the muscles grow? That all leads to the fact that you should change up your exercises if you want to see muscle gains.
All muscle groups have different exercises that you can use in order to train and pack on size. A lot of weight trainers will end up stuck in pretty much the same routines of moves, week in and week out. Moreover, a lot of people simply leave out those exercises that they do not love for whatever reason. It’s important to understand – it is hard, but it’s supposed to be hard.
So, in order to continue building muscle, you need to work your muscles with a very wide array of workouts. While there are a few basic exercises that are very important and that you can use more often than others (such as deadlifts, squats, bench presses, and a few others), you will need to switch exercises regularly. You are also going to see the benefits of switching regularly because you use different muscles for different moves and different types of exercises. An additional bonus: you will not get bored.
- PS: This is the main reason why you would find a lot of professional bodybuilders out there claiming that they have never done the exact same workout twice in their life. And there are no reasons why we wouldn’t believe them.
Introduce Drop Sets to Your Bodybuilding Routine
Again, when talking about “shocking” the muscle, one great “shock technique” is introducing drop sets. If you do it correctly, it can definitely help you blast through a hard plateau. Drop sets, as you may already know, mean that you gradually drop the weights. It works by getting more reps out of you by gradually dropping the weight off until your muscles can’t take it anymore.
Doing it will force more blood into the target muscle group depending on the exercise. This will lead to more muscle tearing. I guess you already know that you should tear your muscle tissues. That’s what produces growth. You’re tearing them in the gym and then, when the muscle tissue repairs, it creates growth.
In fact, drop sets are really very simple and highly efficient. You just keep on going with your set until you can do another rep, drop the weight, do another set, again until you can only do another rep, again reduce the weight, and so on. Often, you have someone near you to help you reduce the weight quickly. In order to achieve great results with it, you should be doing anywhere from 3 to 6 sets in total. One of the most common types of drop sets is popular as “down the rack”. They are dumbbell bicep curls where you start with a normal curl weight and then move down the rack.
Drop sets are effective because they may help you tear some muscle tissues that you couldn’t tear previously. This leads to muscle tissue repairs of muscles that were barely “repaired” in the past. Of course, it leads to “new muscles” and bigger muscles.
Work Different Muscles Each Day
While it may sound strange, switching up the days that you are working out can actually have a big impact on your results. Remember I said that the body can adjust to almost everything and does it fast? Well, it adjusts to the days you’re working out. Therefore, your body “knows” that it’s due to work out soon.
This means that if you’re working on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can change to Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, for example. Also, make some changes if you work more often.
For example, it is a sensible idea to work your weakest muscles at the beginning of the week. That’s because that’s the time when you have the most energy. Nonetheless, pretty much like everything else in your routine, you are going to reap the benefits of making a change. Therefore, it will allow your muscle groups to rest at the time that you’re working with other muscle groups.
What I’m trying to say is that it is just not a good idea to work your biceps on Monday, for example, and then to work your back on a Tuesday. The reason is very simple: You are going to need your biceps for all of those pulling exercises when you’re doing back and are helpful in strengthening and growing your back muscles.
Lastly, you may change up your workout days too. For example, if Monday is your leg day, make it your chest day from now on. The point is – focus on different muscle groups on different days.
When talking about stubborn muscle groups, one of the best ways for you to assist muscle growth is a combination of big compound exercises and an isolation movement. A good example of that, for your chest muscles, is the bench press in combination with the flat bench flys.
In order to do it correctly, you would need to complete your bench press as you normally would. However, after that, you would immediately smash out a set of dumbbell flies. You do not need big weights for this. So do not go for your PR, of course. Instead, you just need to focus on muscle contraction. By saying “muscle contraction” I mean you should have great technique and do it slowly. Slow down the exercise and squeeze at the top of the moment!
There are a lot of great compound isolation supersets for various types of muscle groups. Here are some popular ones that you could give a try:
- Bench press then dumbbell flys
- Chin up then barbell curl
- Close bench grips then skullcrushers
- Wide grip pull up then straight arm pulldown
- Squats then leg extensions
- Military press then front raises
Change Reps Weekly
It is not fully clear as to how many reps we need in order to achieve the best (or at least optimal) muscle growth. Nonetheless, most medical studies and fitness professionals agree that it is anywhere between 5 and 15 reps. For this reason, in case you are going to start with 12 reps and end with 6 reps per set, you just can’t go wrong. That’s why, you could start with lighter weights and more reps, then more weight and fewer reps. An example of a weekly rep cycle is going to look something like this:
First week 12 reps per set a week, then reduce by 2 reps each week until 6 reps per set. Then repeat. It looks like: week 1 = 12 reps; week 2 = 10 reps; week 3 = 8 reps; week 4 = 6 reps; week 5 = 12 reps and so on.
The key here is to increase the weight as you go. This is going to increase the intensity of your workout. In case you are going to follow the right diet (which is pretty obvious regardless, so I’m sure you do champ!) then you are going to find that by week 5, you are going to be able to lift way more than you could back in the first week.
Sometimes Less is More in Bodybuilding
Of course, this is not always true. Nonetheless, there are actually sometimes when less is more. That’s why you may not even think about it, however, when talking about muscle building, there are situations in which less could actually be more.
There’s a common mistake that a lot of the new lifters are doing: working out too often. In case your goal is to get bigger and grow muscles, then it is going to be more beneficial to work less often. Don’t misinterpret this information though. If you have a lot of experience and working out for a good while now, you can work out more often too. Experienced lifters can workout more often because their body is “adapted” to the level of stress. But even experienced lifters will need to “back down” a little bit for the extra growth.
Why am I saying that less is more? Just think of it… What are we doing in the gym? Tearing our muscle tissues. If you’re working out too often, your body doesn’t have enough time to recover and repair those broken muscle tissues. Without this repair, you won’t see muscle growth. It’s the recovery that makes your muscles get bigger. So, your body is going to be grateful for the extra rest, and is going to pay you in muscle growth.
That’s why for some people it is wise to drop down to three or four workout days instead of five or six. Changing the frequency every once in a while can be helpful too.
- PS: Anabolic steroids are great at boosting the recovery period. That’s why steroid users may attempt more frequent workouts. The steroids will make sure their bodies fully recover so they are ready for the next training sooner.
In case one of your goals is to gain strength then you are really going to find this method beneficial. The negatives are extremely helpful for those who are trying to beat plateaus. Negatives are when you are focusing more on the negative part of your movement. It involves using some very heavy weights and moving them very slowly.
However, you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) do it alone. I always recommend using a spotter for almost all types of negatives. A spotter is important to avoid injuring yourself. That’s why, if you’re someone who is usually training alone, maybe it is the type for you to change things up and get yourself a gym buddy. Best – always have a professional trainer.
Do you think you know it all and you don’t need a trainer? Well, do you think that CBum doesn’t know how to train? Of course, he does! But he still has a trainer! All bodybuilding legends work out with a trainer, and so should you!
Anyway, if you want to give it a try to negatives, make sure you’ve got at least a workout buddy. So, you could try some of the exercises I’m going to share below. Each and everyone is great for negatives:
- Pull ups
- Bench press
- Close grip bench
- Barbell preacher curl
Remember these are just some examples. There are numerous others that you could try too.
Well, when talking about slow reps, we’re talking about control and contraction. That’s what slow reps are all about. For these types of reps, you are going to need a lighter weight, but you move slower and do the same number of reps. A good option that you could use is the 3-1-3 method. This method involves counting “1 one thousand” 3 times on the way down, then pausing to count “1 one thousand” and then again “1 one thousand” three times on the way up.
Whereas you may be doing the exact same number of reps, the outcome is different. That’s because the movement is much slower, and that’s why your body is going to be under strain for a longer period of time. The muscle stress, of course, is considerably bigger.
While it’s obvious that you need a proper range of motion for your muscles to grow, you can also introduce partial reps that will help pack on muscles. And this doesn’t mean that you should do only half reps.
Similar to slow reps, alternate reps work your muscles by keeping them working for longer periods. But for the partial reps, what you actually need to do is to modify the exercise by simply not finishing the entire rep. However, it’s pretty obvious that you should do it correctly.
For example, we can take alternating dumbbell curls. So, instead of allowing your left arm to hang while the right arm curls do not complete the full rep and keep your left arm slightly bent.
If you’re going to do so, that would stop the blood from escaping from the muscle. This is going to make the muscles work harder in order to hold onto the weight. Therefore, by the time you are going to complete the set, your muscles working on completing it will be under almost twice as much strain as regular alternating curls. More strain = more tears = more recovery = more gains.
You can use this technique for various other exercises as well, of course. Some examples include:
- Tricep exceptions and kickbacks
- Dumbbell shoulder press
- Dumbbell bench
Switching Up Routine
If you are going to ask a professional lifter what order their exercises usually go in, there are high chance that most of them are going to say: big compounds first and then go for isolations.
Do not get me wrong, that’s actually great and it has proven scientific information that it actually works. The problem is that pretty much as with everything in your workout routine, your body is going to adapt to it too. And again, will adapt quickly. That’s why it is going to be a good idea to switch things up. Switch exercises and go for dips first on your chest day and extensions before you have the squats.
Pre-fatiguing, which is also popular as pre-exhausting, your muscles is a technique that helps break through plateaus very efficiently. In fact, this technique has been used for years by lots of bodybuilding legends. It involves pre-fatiguing the muscle group that you want to work out with an isolation exercise. After that, you are immediately following it up with a big compound move.
It basically means you’re training before training. Some examples of the “pre-fatigue” that you can follow include:
- Rear delt fly and then going for a row
- Leg extension and then going for squats
- Front raise and then going for military press
- Flys and then going for bench press
Forced reps are a very nice and simple way to boost your bodybuilding routine. Well, forced reps mean that you are doing as many strict reps as you can without any help and after that, you would use the help of a spotter in order to force you to go through another two or more reps. This is another reason why a professional trainer or at least a gym buddy is always a good idea. Unless you keep chatting with a gym buddy instead of working out.
The forced rep technique boosts your bodybuilding because it has you pushing 12 reps instead of 10. Alternatively, you could still have 10 reps, but you could increase the weight and have your spotter help you achieve those last few reps which will help you reach a new level.
Well, the pyramid set indicates what you should do from its name. It has you start from a low weight, then work your way up to a heavy weight, and then, back it down again to low weight.
When you’re still full of energy and stamina (just right after completing a proper warm up), the first set in your pyramid should have a weight that you could pump out 12 reps while maintaining proper technique. When going for the next set, aim for 8 to 10 reps. Then reduce by 2 reps. Such as 12; 10; 8; 6 and then 4.
While it’s not mandatory, if you truly want to achieve the best possible results and push yourself to the limit in your bodybuilding routine, you should work your way back up to the 12 reps in order to finish off.
It’s very important to understand that you do not aim to go for as much weight as possible. What’s most important here is your technique. You should complete those reps in good form. Therefore, you should not cheat. You would need to have all of your sets completed in a slow and controlled manner.
Have A Week Out From Bodybuilding
This is perhaps the easiest way to boost your bodybuilding routine, although it’s often the hardest. It’s hard mentally because this is the part that fitness fanatics tend to feel most guilty about… taking their time to rest.
Please understand that bodybuilding and weight training are not like training for a marathon. As I covered it earlier, sometimes less is more. Your body needs that rest to continue growing. And if you haven’t stopped working out for years, imagine the “shock” it goes through when you don’t work out anymore.
Sometimes you may feel like you can keep working out every single day. Nonetheless, that’s by far not always a good idea. And not only because your body is going to adapt to this schedule so the results will eventually stop, but you’re going to burn out in the end too.
Sometimes, taking a week off is the best thing for you. Both your body and mind will need regular breaks from intense weight training. That’s because the workout routine you’re following when you want to increase muscle and strength will not only stress the muscles that you’re working. That’s actually a stress for your central nervous system and your entire body.
This is why your body and mind will often tell you that you need a break. Usually, one week out is enough. Usually, it occurs every 12 weeks or so.
Considering that anabolic steroid cycles are around this time, you can have a rest. While it’s important to have a PCT after each cycle, you can work out a bit longer when you’re on anabolic steroids, again because your body can recover faster. Therefore, after each cycle, you’re going into PCT (or TRT/cruising) which is the “resting time”. You can take your week out after completing PCT.
The Takeaway of Bodybuilding Routine
So, those are the ways that you could follow in order to boost your bodybuilding routine. Take notes and the next time you go to the gym, you know you are ready to make some gains. Remember that making changes usually yields different results. If you plateaued, changes are good to start seeing results again.
What we understand from this is that changing things up and resting are exactly as important when it comes to gains. Many people do not understand that a big part of your gains is your mind. And your mind needs rest from stress to allow your muscles to grow.
You can combine these methods with anabolic steroids that will ensure you’re going to achieve your goals.
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