Body ShapingBody Shaping
* Shaping your body means building mass, which requires being patient while results accrue over weeks and months. It also means spending more time in the gym. Have you got what it takes?
* Being able to lift the same large amount of weight with each set isn't your goal: Continually stressing, or pumping, your muscles is.
* You pump up by doing multiple exercises for each major muscle group, doing 12 to 15 repetitions per set, performing at least three sets of each exercise and allowing only about 45 seconds of recovery between sets.
It happens to a lot of us. We try out a sport, we invest a moderate amount of dedication, we get a modicum of results—and we want more. We work harder and begin to see real changes in ourselves, and suddenly the Significant Other begins complaining that we're spending too much time with our new passion.
With resistance training, this only happens to some of us. That's understandable, since on the face of things, lifting weights doesn't seem nearly as much fun as sports like biking, running or in-line skating. It takes a special kind of dedication to move beyond the resistance training that's required for fitness and into the realm of training that will really sculpt, shape and transform your body into something wholly new. This is the dedication of the man who can see beyond the pain or pleasure of the moment and project into the future.
This is also the dedication of the man who has at least a little time to spare. Any activity you're enthusiastic about takes time, but adding size and definition to your muscles demands both a high degree of consistency and a large volume of effort. In this beginner program, you don't necessarily have to exercise more days than we are recommending for most everyone (three days a week), but you will have to do more in the gym when you're there.
The Principles of Pump
Most of what we know about building muscle mass comes from observation: Researchers, athletes and coaches have noticed that lifting weights in certain ways tends to produce certain types of results. Beyond that, physiologists don't really understand what makes muscles get bigger, which may be fine, since most of us don't really care.
What we do know boils down to this: To get big, you have to get pumped. All the principles of bodybuilding feed into this one idea: It's important to keep nearly continuous stress on muscles, congesting them with blood and between-tissue (interstitial) fluid.
You know this feeling. It's the one you have after a weight workout, when your muscles feel firmer and actually look bigger. It's the feeling that makes you think we ain't kidding when we say you'll get results fast. These results are temporary, unfortunately, but they give you a preview of coming attractions. Over time, the pumped feeling becomes permanent; the pump itself seems to play a major role in this. "Whether it's increased delivery of protein or direct stimulation of muscle cells or something else, we don't know," says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., strength-training consultant to the national YMCA and senior fitness director for the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. "But it appears that for some people, the pump itself actually promotes muscle growth."
Said another way, "A really good body-shaping program requires a certain amount of burn," says Barney Groves, Ph.D., associate professor of physical education at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Each of the following principles forms a cornerstone for any body-shaping program.
Hit muscles with multiple exercises. Ever notice how guys who are really built, who really spend a lot of time in the gym—how their each and every muscle seems to stand at attention, sharply defined like an illustration from an anatomy text? You won't get that look from doing just one exercise for a given area of the body. Rather, you need to do a number of different exercises for each muscle group. That way, you'll call more muscles into play, exact effort from areas that otherwise get off easy and keep up the pump for major muscles that are used repeatedly.
Do lots of repetitions. If you want strength, defined as the ability to lift something one time, train in a way that prepares you for just that kind of movement—by exerting force against a heavy resistance only three to five times. For shape and size, however, all you're really after is the pump. And to get that, you need to lift the weight more times. Bodybuilders occasionally do as many as 20 reps per each set of an exercise. But most bodybuilding routines run more in the 12- to 15-rep range. Start with 12 reps of each exercise and progress to 15, Dr. Groves suggests. When you can do more than 15, add enough weight to reduce you to 12 reps again.
Do lots of sets. For fitness, we've shown how it's possible to get most of what you need with just one set. But to promote muscle growth, you'll need to do more. Multiple sets stimulate muscles repeatedly, keep blood flowing and pump muscles up. The number of sets you do is something you can increase gradually. If you're currently doing only one set, a beginning bodybuilding program requires at least two to three sets. From there, you can build up to three to five. (Competitive bodybuilders might do as many as 15 sets of a given exercise.) One reason multiple sets may be important, research suggests, is that greater training volume increases the amount of testosterone the body produces—and testosterone fuels muscle growth. "It's generally agreed that testosterone flow starts to kick in at around six or seven sets," Dr. Groves says.
Keep rests short. With strength programs, rests are long. They need to be if you want to be able to keep lifting heavy weights: The long recovery allows blood flow to return to normal, wastes to be cleared out, energy to be replenished and fatigue to dissipate. "If I rest three to five minutes, my muscles return to 95 to 98 percent of what they were before the workout," Dr. Groves says. "If I'm bodybuilding, I don't want that. I want to keep on pumping." With bodybuilding it doesn't matter if you can't lift as much weight from one set to the next. In fact, it's assumed that you'll be lifting less as your workout progresses—exactly the opposite of some strength programs. What's important is that muscles are continually being fatigued. For body shaping, rests generally range from 30 to 60 seconds. "Allow no more than 90 seconds," Dr. Groves says, "and 45 seconds is ideal."
The Beginner's Workout
If you're already doing weight workouts regularly, stick to your schedule but replace your old routine with the one that follows. You can do this workout three times a week and get excellent body-shaping results. The main difference between this and the Core Routine on page 121 is that for every major muscle, we've listed several exercises, not just one. In many instances, the extra exercises are from the Achieving a Peak Body section of this book—or we've simply teamed both the machine and free-weight exercises already listed in the Core Routine.
This brings up a point: It's possible to design a multiple-exercise program using free weights alone, but most of the trainers, coaches and physiologists we've consulted prescribe a certain number of exercises using machines. What this means is that you'll probably want to join a gym. If you're seriously interested in bodybuilding, no doubt you're way ahead of us on that score. Gyms not only provide an important variety of equipment but they're also a source of trainers to guide your efforts and people who can spot you when doing difficult or dangerous moves.
First, let's teach you a few exercises we want you to include that aren't elsewhere in the book. Then we'll show you the entire routine.
This is a popular machine exercise. Here's how to use the machine correctly.
Sit at a lat pull-down machine. (Unless it doesn't have a seat, in which case kneel underneath it.) Reach overhead and grasp the pull-down bar with your hands positioned wider than shoulder-width apart. Hold onto the bar with your arms extended. Your palms should be facing away from your body, your upper back straight and your eyes forward.
Keeping your back straight, pull the bar down in front to touch your upper chest, then extend your arms upward again.
This exercise helps to build your triceps. Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, grasp a dumbbell with both hands and hold it carefully above your head.
Keeping your elbows pointed toward the ceiling, slowly lower the dumbbell behind your head as far as you can, or until it touches the back of your shoulders. Slowly raise the dumbbell back above your head.
Inclined Alternating Dumbbell Curls
Lie on an inclined bench with dumbbells on the floor beside you, parallel to the bench. Grasp the dumbbells, palms facing inward.
Keeping your upper arm stationary, curl the barbell in your right hand toward your shoulder, rotating it a quarter turn as you lift so your palm is facing your shoulder at the top of the lift. Then lower the weight again so your right arm is extended toward the floor. Repeat with the other arm.
Inclined Alternating Dumbbell Curls, Palm Down
Do this right after you finish your regular inclined alternating dumbbell curls. Do the same exercise with the same dumbbells (or lighter ones if those prove difficult)—only this time, rotate your hand so that your palm faces away from your shoulder at the top of the lift.
Do at least three sets of each of the following exercises. If this seems a lot more time-intensive than what you usually do, it is. But bear in mind that you're probably also cutting your minutes in recovery between sets by at least half, thereby making up for some of the time now devoted to extra exercises.
* Alternating press with dumbbells
* Lateral raises
* Upright rows
* Bench press
* Inclined bench press
* Dumbbell flies
* One-arm dumbbell rows
* Seated rows
* Lat pull-downs
* Preacher curls
* Inclined alternating dumbbell curls
* Inclined alternating dumbbell curls, palm down
* One-arm triceps pull-downs
* Overhead triceps extensions
* Standing extensions
* Leg extensions
* Leg curls
* Reverse curls
* Oblique crunches