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As if chiseled from stone. Everything you need to know about bodybuilding

Wie aus dem Stein gemeißelt. Alles, was du übers Bodybuilding wissen musst

We all know it and many of us are living it: the dream of a toned body. Hard, defined, strong. That's what the guys and girls in our sport want to look like. Bodybuilding. The targeted shaping of the body towards maximum aesthetics

The goal

First of all, we have to define what we actually want to achieve with this sport, regardless of whether you want to be Mr. Olympia, look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or simply want to improve yourself. You have to understand the basic meaning of the sport: It's not about strength, it's about mass. The look. The symmetry. The uniformity. Priority #1 for a bodybuilder is to sculpt their body as aesthetically as possible, gaining strength is a nice bonus. Other strength athletes train movements, bodybuilders train muscle (groups). This is why not only the number of repetitions and weight are a variable, but also the time under tension (TuT), i.e. the time the muscle is under mechanical tension.

In a nutshell: the strongman or powerlifter wants to be the strongest, the bodybuilder wants to be the broadest.

The execution

The bottom line is that it doesn't matter how much weight you manage to lift, it's all about contracting the muscle as completely and in as controlled a manner as possible (concentric movement) and stretching it as completely as possible (eccentric movement).

In training, this means for you: After a good warm-up with a light weight, you start each of your sets with the cleanest, most controlled repetitions possible. You lead the weight, not the other way around. Otherwise, the risk of injury increases and the target muscle is not hit sufficiently. Because as soon as one muscle is no longer sufficient, its auxiliary muscles (synergists) have to intervene. And that's exactly what you want to prevent! When you train chest, you want to load the chest. Not the shoulder, not the triceps. The magic word here is mind-muscle connection. Actively focus your thoughts on the muscle you want to work and consciously imagine the movement in your head. Before and during the movement. This will allow you to stimulate the target muscle optimally.

Train hard, eat good

ALL great bodybuilders preach it: the right diet is the cornerstone of any impressive physique. Make sure you get enough calories, enough protein and a balanced mixed diet consisting of unprocessed foods wherever possible. In practice, this means for you:

  1. If you are dieting, take in fewer calories than you consume, this is called a calorie deficit.
  2. If you are building up, eat more calories than you consume, this is called a calorie surplus.
  3. Regardless of whether you are building up or losing weight, protein is the key to success for a bodybuilder. Eat at least 2g/kg bodyweight a day for maximum gains!
  4. You are what you eat! If you have a second home in McDrive, don't be surprised if your training progresses slowly or not at all. If possible, cook for yourself and make sure you eat a wide variety of foods.
  5. It can make sense to time your meals. Although it is a long-disproved myth that you can only consume 30g of protein per meal, around 30g is perfectly sufficient to maximize protein biosynthesis. This means that a meal with 30g of protein every few hours can be slightly more effective than covering half the daily requirement in one meal. However, the following applies: protein quantity > protein timing in terms of importance.

If you follow these 5 tips carefully, nothing will stand in the way of your gains.

The beginner

For a young, inexperienced athlete who is completely new to the sport, all these facts and guidelines can seem overwhelming. We all know this from our own early days. But that's no reason to despair! It is important to consider the basic things in sport: Getting a grip on your diet, optimizing your sleep and, above all, going to training regularly. It's not important whether you do 7 or 8 repetitions, it's important that you make it to the gym more than twice in 3 weeks. Pay attention to the basics, the fine-tuning will come later.

It is also helpful to look for a motive. Because once you know why, the how is just a formality. Some people want to prove something to themselves, some want to prove something to the whole world. Some want to do something for their health, some want to get the best out of themselves, some just want to really let off steam and indulge in the discipline of sport. Find out why you torture yourself every time you go to the gym and when you realize your reason, you will be much more motivated and ambitious on the training floor.

Once this is done, you can focus on getting the most out of your training sessions. Some people initially suffer from a fear of going to the gym at all. Colloquially, this is often called gymtimidation (a mixture of gym and the English word intimidation). This occurs most frequently in relatively slim or overweight people, but can in principle affect any of us. Now to the question: what to do about gymtimidation?

  1. You're less alone in pairs! Grab some friends or like-minded people and go training with them, so you have more fun and can motivate each other.
  2. Headphones! Headphones on, world off. That should be the motto. The loud, motivating music will help you to tune out your surroundings and concentrate on your training.
  3. Clothes. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident.
  4. Never forget: You are doing this for you! You only have to please yourself, no one else. Besides, very rarely will anyone stare at you on purpose or with disparaging thoughts; most glances cross by chance in the heat of the sport.

The advanced athlete

Once you have developed a solid routine in training and made it an irreplaceable part of your life, you can concentrate on the detail work: What splits you follow, for example. It is advisable to make your training as varied as possible in all areas, because Variatio delectat, variety pleases!

This can mean:

  1. Change your splits regularly. Sure, it can also work to cycle through a push/pull/legs split for 5 years, but in most cases it brings better results to try an upper body/lower body split or similar variations. The important thing is that they fit into your daily routine and are fun.
  2. Train in all rep ranges. A bodybuilder will mainly build muscle in the range of 5 - 20 repetitions, but the ranges above and below this are also useful in some cases! Here it is advisable to train the heavy basic exercises with a lot of weight and repetitions in order to challenge the overall strength of the body and to train the isolation exercises with little weight but many repetitions performed with concentration.
  3. Vary the exercises! Of course, there are classic exercises such as bench presses or squats that are included in almost every plan, but it is also advisable to diversify your exercise selection. For the chest alone, for example, all dumbbell and barbell variations of the bench press are available as heavy basic exercises, inclined, flat or negative. In addition, there are exercises such as dips or, to a certain extent, even shoulder press variations. The same applies to other muscle groups: the back not only pulls from top to bottom, but also from front to back. Wide, narrow, neutral. Overhand grip, underhand grip. Here, too, it is advisable to stimulate ALL the functions of your muscles.
  4. If all these components are right, you can get to a rather unpopular point of the workout: Weak points. No one wants them, everyone has them. One person has a thin chest, one has skinny calves, another has narrow shoulders. To eradicate this, you can prioritize these muscle groups. This means that you train them first in each session while you are still completely fresh and not exhausted. You can also increase the volume and work your shoulders a little more on leg day, for example. As a result, your weak points will soon no longer be recognizable as such.

In addition to all these tips, one factor is particularly important for your success: fun! Fun is not only allowed, it is necessary to be able to survive in the long term in a tough sport like bodybuilding.

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