Cardio has a very specific role to play in a bodybuilding development plan that will result in a muscular and well sculpted body. Before you accelerate a program of bulking up, it is important to trim down your body fat to under 10% so your muscle building program will begin with a lean base of muscle.
For a bodybuilder, weight loss is a goal and there is a lot of science behind us that we will bring to bear in developing a program for getting the body fat ratio down. Part of that regime of diet and exercise is an expanded role of cardio training to help eliminate fat quickly but in a healthy way.
There are a variety of ways to go about getting your cardio workout. It isn’t required that all cardio exercise happens on a treadmill. In fact, some experts have observed that while a treadmill workout will get your heart up, it may not be as intensive as other ways to achieve the same results. Plus treadmills can become tedious and boring which wears down your resolve to hit your cardio workout several times a week to get that workout.
The goal of any cardio is to get your heart rate up. To know what a good goal heart rate is, you need to know your resting heart rate. That is not the heart rate you sustain while you are asleep. It is your heart rate when going about the affairs of your day without working up a sweat. A good way to get a feel for your resting heart rate is to take a measurement several times a day for a few days in a row and then averaging the results. While you can take your own heart rate by simply counting your pulse and doing the math, it is much easier and more accurate to use a monitor both for taking your resting heart rate and to wear during exercise so you know if what you are doing is hitting your cardio goals.
The level of intensity you achieve during your cardio may vary and you may wish to diversify your exercises to keep things interesting and to keep your body guessing about what to expect. A slow cardio workout is one where you may use the same pace and then slowly increase it over a workout that may go for 20 minutes to an hour. Walking and jogging are good slow pace cardio exercises. These are also good options if you do other kinds of workouts that stress your legs and you need an exercise plan to go to on a “rest” day but still keeps your heart rate up.
The interval approach to cardio training is a different type of program but it is an excellent way to reach your cardio goals quickly. With interval training, you would exercise vigorously for shorter spurt and then do a reduced stress “resting” exercise to recover. A typical interval approach might mean you will sprint at peak demand for no more than two minutes and then power walk for ten minutes. This is an outstanding heart healthy style of training because it escalates your heart rate quickly and then brings it down only to repeat the cycle numerous times in one workout.
Also, keep in mind that running is not the only way you can get a good cardio workout. Sports such as racquetball, basketball or volleyball can give you and outstanding cardio exercise session while you have fun at the same time. If you like to use the weight room, you can develop an excellent circuit training routine in which high intensity weight training exercises provide that side benefit of a fine cardio exercise as well.
By learning what a large variety of cardio exercises there are, you can design different cardio plans each week to keep the variety fresh and to keep you interested in your long range cardio goals. Then when the weight begins to fall off, you will be inspired to keep hitting the gym and using your cardio programs to keep pushing yourself until you are at the weight and the shape that you want to be.
Need more ideas? Here are some successful Body Building Techniques
The most successful body building techniques incorporate proven weight routines. A weight routine is a set of exercises, done in repetition, that develops specific parts of the body. For example, to build chest muscles, a body builder may use a weight routine that incorporates flat bench press (3 repetitions), bench dumbbell (2 repetitions) and inclined bench press (3 repetitions). The other important function a weight routine serves is to split a training program so different muscle groups are used.
Dumbbells are a common piece of equipment used to build bigger biceps. The most popular technique to get the desired result is to hold the dumbbell closer to the inside of the plates. Routines for building biceps include dumbbell curls either inclined or standing, or both.
Building Chest Muscle
Good chest muscle building exercises are routines that incorporate bench presses and flyes. An even more effective way to build chest muscle is to split the chest into 3 zones – upper, middle and lower. By working each separately, using exercises that specifically target that area, you can build up some impressive chest muscle fairly quickly.
For instance, do your upper chest exercises on a 30-45% incline bench. Incline barbell and incline dumbbell flyes are excellent for working upper chest muscles. On the other hand, the lower chest muscles are best exercised using a 30-45% decline bench. You would use decline barbell and decline dumbbell flyes to build these muscles. A flat bench works best for the middle chest muscles. So you’d do flat barbell and flat dumbbell flyes on a flat bench.
Moving Onto Shoulder Training
The shoulders are made up of 3 main muscles – the lateral, anterior and posterior deltoids. Effective shoulder training to get big shoulders requires working all 3. The anterior deltoid usually gets some work in chest workouts. To build up the lateral and posterior deltoids requires additional exercises targeting these two muscles. Generally the best way to do this is with heavy barbell and dumbbell pressing in short reps as opposed to a lot of rep work with lighter weights. You should also focus on shoulder exercises that work effectively with progressive overload, a technique used to progressively add more weight to what is being lifted.
Matching Up The Back With Back Exercises
The back is one area many body builders overlook. But if you want your back to match up with those impressive chest, shoulder and bicep muscles, you will need to include back exercises in your bodybuilding routine.
Good workouts for the Lower Trapezius or lower back muscles include stiff-legged good mornings and hyper-extensions. For the middle back muscles or Rhomboids, you can do a seated cable row and bent-over barbell rows. Your Latissimus Dorsi will benefit from wide-grip lat pull-downs and pull-ups. And last but not least, try upright rows and barbell shrugs for your Trapezius.
But before starting any body-building workout, be sure to warm up properly. This will reduce the risk of damaging muscles and tendons. Stretch the muscles you’re going to be working. Also avoid lifting more weight than your body can capably handle to avoid serious injury.