Are you a natural lifter?
If you are a natural lifter, it is likely that you are training in the wrong manner.
Most exercise routines produced today are not suited for those who are not genetically enhanced.
As training media have evolved throughout time, workout routines have become more volume-intensive than is necessary for the natural bodybuilder to make significant gains in strength and size.
Even I have been guilty of creating some of these needlessly high volume training regimens in the past. But there is a time and a place for this type of instruction, which I am not afraid to confess. It does not matter if you are not using steroids (more on that in a minute).
However, if you actually want to optimize your muscle-building potential, you need to be certain that you are undertaking exercises that will get you closer to your objectives rather than further away.
Check to see if you are doing all of the appropriate things that you should be doing in order to gain lean muscle.
Learn how your body produces muscle, how to use exercise routines to increase your muscle growth, what you should be eating and drinking in order to gain muscle, what supplements you should be taking in order to build muscle, and how to track your progress.
Creating workout routines for natural bodybuilders
Attempting to strengthen our bodies via weight and resistance training is something that most of us undertake for personal reasons rather than to prepare to compete.
In such a case, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Aiming for body recomposition as a goal in and of itself may make coming to the gym a very motivating experience.
Nonetheless, it leads me back to my previous position. Training can take place at any time and in any location. It is the most effective long-term technique for building muscle growth and accomplishing recomp objectives to be extremely motivated by the routine you are now engaged in.
When scientists are experimenting to determine the optimal training frequency for unenhanced lifters, they do not actually measure how well people adhere to their individualized routine. This is why someone who enjoys body part splits and performs them for years will be more successful than someone who despises full body splits and only performs them for a short period of time in the hopes of maximizing muscle growth.
When it comes to personalized training, the majority of those available online are not tailored to your unique requirements. There is no consideration for your injury history, the amount of time you have available to spend at the gym, your strengths, and limitations, or the volume and intensity balance required to help YOU progress.
Prior to continuing, you should be aware that there are several methods to customize the routine to meet your specific requirements and objectives. If you want to tailor this routine to your own needs, you may do it in a variety of ways, including changing the exercises, reps and sets, and actual training days.
Natural bodybuilding training is based on a few fundamental principles.
Bodybuilders who have improved their genetics can put in lengthy, intensive workouts and still grow. This is due to the fact that anabolic steroids boost protein synthesis, which is a fancy way of stating that they aid in muscle repair by speeding up the process. The sooner this occurs, the sooner you will be able to return to the gym and begin the process all over again. When you are on steroids, two-hour chest exercises are no issue at all!
Natural bodybuilders recover at a considerably slower rate than their steroid-enhanced counterparts, which necessitates a different training regimen than the latter. Listed below are
the five guidelines that every natural bodybuilder must follow in order to achieve success.
- Do not go overboard with the volume.
The amount of sets and exercises you execute in a single session is referred to as volume. While you must do enough exercise volume to break down your muscles in order for them to come back larger and stronger, doing too much will just cause your recovery to be delayed.
It is extremely individual how much volume you require to grow because some individuals are able to endure more than others. However, as a natural lifter, you should aim to determine how little volume you require rather than how much volume you are capable of taking. The majority of lifters will benefit from keeping their sessions to 6-8 sets per major muscle group and 2-4 sets per smaller muscle group on most days.
- Train each muscle group twice a week
The majority of exercises for enhanced bodybuilders consist of training each muscle group once every week for a total of four weeks. These exercises are often long and hard, which is why you will need to take a full week off to recover after each session.
Workouts that last for an hour or more are not recommended for natural lifters; instead, you should work for each muscle group twice a week. Because your exercises are shorter, you will recover more quickly, allowing you to increase the frequency of your training.
The ability to exercise each muscle group three times a week may be possible if you are naturally well-recovering, which may be the result of being young, having a sedentary profession, or simply being an exceptionally lucky, naturally muscular mesomorph. But if you find yourself exhausted all the time or unable to recuperate, you should reduce your workout to twice a week before you begin to suffer from overtraining.
- Concentrate on compound lifts.
For a variety of reasons, compound lifts are the most effective for natural lifters. For starters, they allow you to exercise a large number of muscles in a short period of time. Exercises that are shorter provide you with greater recuperation time. Furthermore, compound workouts have been shown to enhance levels of muscle-building serum testosterone and growth hormone more significantly than isolation exercises (1). That is not crucial if you are injecting or eating synthetic hormones, but it is extremely important if you are using natural hormones.
- Workouts should be brief
The majority of naturals should limit their exercises to 60 minutes or fewer per session. It is difficult to recuperate from intense exercises if you do not use artificial stimulants. Exercises that last for an extended period of time raise cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been shown to interfere with muscle growth. Reduced cortisol levels, faster recovery, and improved development are all benefits of shorter exercises.
- Pay attention to your nutrition.
Muscles will grow even if you consume nothing but fast food if you are using performance-enhancing medications. Steroids are extremely powerful medications. Natural lifters, on the other hand, should be far more cautious with their nutrition.
As a natural lifter, you must make certain that your muscles receive a proper supply of protein, carbohydrates, and lipids, as well as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, each day. It is recommended that you consume a diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, high-quality proteins, and other naturally occurring foods for the majority of the time.
If you eat a diet high in processed foods, your muscles will not receive the nutrients they require to thrive. Natural lifters must be specialists in both diet and training in order to be successful.
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Best workout routine for natural lifters
You should be able to construct an excellent natural bodybuilding regimen now that you have this knowledge. Are you unsure about where to begin? No issue; here’s an illustration!
Using a push/pull split, you may exercise your muscles twice (or even three times) every week while still having plenty of time for rest and recuperation between sessions. It also guarantees that all of your muscles are exercised in an equal amount of time. Each workout should take between 40 and 50 minutes to finish completely. If it takes you longer, it is likely that you are taking too long between sets or between exercises.
Remember to warm up before you begin to ensure that all of your muscles and joints are ready to perform their functions. A few minutes of easy cardio followed by 1-3 mild sets of each exercise should be sufficient to complete the task.
|Deadlift||4||6-8||Rest 60-90 seconds between exercises|
|Seated leg curl||3||8-12|
|45-degree back extensions||2||12-15|
|EZ biceps curls||2||8-12|
|Front squat||4||6-8||Rest 60-90 seconds between exercises|
|Barbell bench press||4||6-8|
|Barbell shoulder press||3||8-12|
|Hanging leg raises||2||12-15|
|Romanian deadlifts||4||6-8||Rest 60-90 seconds between exercises|
|Lying leg curls||3||8-12|
|Single-arm dumbbell rows||3||8-12|
|Stability ball back extensions||2||12-15|
|Incline dumbbell curls||2||8-12|
|Leg press||4||8-12||Rest 60-90 seconds between exercises|
|Incline bench press||4||8-12|
|Seated dumbbell shoulder press||3||6-8|
|Cable lateral raise||2||12-15|
The importance of warming up before lifting
If you are a strength athlete, you should warm-up before you lift weights to avoid injury. However, as is true with almost everything fitness-related, there is a lot of contradicting information available on the internet concerning warming up. While there is seldom a single “best” method to do something, most coaches and athletes would agree that the most effective warm-ups share a number of important characteristics.
Moving ahead, you will learn about the most prevalent warm-up methods and, more importantly, you will discover how to identify which type of warm-up is most effective for boosting your performance throughout your exercise session.
What exactly is a warm-up?
A great pre-lifting warm-up is all about getting your muscles, nervous system, and mind ready for the workout ahead of time. For the majority of athletes, performing a few reps — or even a large number of reps — with an empty bar does not effectively prepare your body for a heavy bench press workout. Empty bar reps, on the other hand, may be an important element of your warmup. However, in order to do a thorough warm-up, you must take into consideration many aspects of your workout regiment.
The objectives of any warm-up are as follows:
To lessen the risk of damage when lifting “cold,” engage your muscles as much as possible.
Get your mind in the game so that you can concentrate only on the lifting process.
Raise your core body temperature in order to prepare yourself — and your cardiovascular system — for weightlifting and exercise.
The concept is straightforward. Prioritizing your training and making it more pleasant and less scary both psychologically and physically will help you to concentrate on achieving the improvements in strength, size, and performance that you are looking for throughout your session.
You should avoid being overly picky about how you warm up. While a jog is beneficial, it may not be sufficient to prepare your muscles for a proper leg day. While a few swinging kicks might be beneficial, they will not prepare your heart and lungs for the strain of pulling a large weight. Furthermore, if your thoughts are focused on dinner while you are warming up, they will most likely remain focused on dinner after you go under the bar.
Consequently, even if it is a fast workout, you should schedule a time to warm up your body before you begin your session. In order to reap the greatest possible benefits, you may need to integrate various components.
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The advantages of a proper warm-up
A thorough warm-up may aid in improving performance and reducing injury risks, many of which are completely avoidable if the warm-up is done properly. A quick review of the advantages of a proper warm-up is provided here. Do not skip them if you want to avoid injury and lift higher weights in the future.
Increase the temperature of your body.
When it comes to warming up, it literally means becoming heated – a successful warm-up should result in a rise in your core temperature. Keeping that internal fire burning will aid in the improvement of physiological function and circulation (more on that below). It will also make your muscles considerably more flexible as a result of the exercise. Before sinking into the bottom of a squat, you should lubricate your joints to ensure that they remain lubricated as you descend into the position.
Increase the amount of blood flowing through the body and the amount of oxygen delivered
Muscle blood flow and total body blood circulation will both be increased with a thorough dynamic warm-up. In order to provide oxygen-rich blood to the muscle tissue and flush away metabolic waste from prior training sessions, this is essential.
Additionally, a sufficient active warm-up will begin to divert blood flow to the stomach from the rest of the body. You will see greater distributions of total body blood flow to active muscle regions as a result of this technique. You may increase your workout output and performance even more if your blood is already flowing where it needs to before you begin your lifts.
Preparation of the mind
A dynamic warm-up provides you with the opportunity to psychologically prepare for a training session or competition before you begin. Performing the same active warm-up exercise before each workout might become a ritual if you do it on a regular basis. Lifting rituals may be immensely peaceful and calming, especially when you are getting ready for a focused session. Keeping a consistent routine on competition day will also assist your body and mind recall that they are capable of lifting the weight they have set for themselves.
Sustaining one’s resilience after an injury
The better you warm up before your training session, the more probable it is that you will prevent injury throughout your session. With blood flowing to the muscles you are going to exercise, you will be less prone to muscular strains than you would otherwise be. Your connective tissues will be warmer as a result of the increased supply of nutrients and energy provided by the blood.
Furthermore, your heart and lungs will be prepared to provide you with the necessary assistance during heavy lifting. That will reduce the likelihood of you straining needlessly hard – the more in tune you are with your breathing, the more effective your form can potentially be. All of this implies that you will be able to work out more intensely and regularly as a result of this.
If you have spent any time in strength circles, you are probably aware that there are a lot of differing opinions on the best warm-up procedures to use. In fact, there are very few things that are either completely excellent or completely horrible. It is important to remember that the finest warm-up routines — just like the best programs — are created with your individual body, goals, and forthcoming session in mind. It is beneficial to be aware of six of the most frequent warm-up tactics in order to ensure that you can select the most appropriate warm-up for you.
Before a strength workout, it is contentious whether or not static stretching should be performed. Instead of completely eliminating static stretching from your routine, you may include it into your regimen in a smart way. Stretching statically will allow you to take a mental inventory of any tightness or stiffness you may be experiencing. You will be able to address it with the remainder of your warm-up regimen in this manner.
Myofascial release/foam rolling
Light foam rolling and other active release manual treatments are frequently incorporated into a thorough warm-up routine. When it comes to working out specific aches and pains, methods such as foam rolling, soft tissue massage, and lacrosse ball myofascial release are all viable possibilities. Foam rolling may be particularly beneficial before sprinting or other activities that need increased flexibility.
Cardiovascular exercise at a moderate intensity
Performing light exercise can help to raise your core body temperature and improve circulation throughout your body. Think of activities such as rowing, riding, skipping rope, and running – keep it light. In the case of rowing, for example, you will need to warm up for it as well as the rest of your exercise before you begin. While these exercises may be used to get your heart rate up, they should be done slowly and deliberately.
During your cardio warm-up, you are not aiming to break any new personal records in terms of speed. Instead, think of this step as a warm-up for the warm-up that will follow. As a result, your body will be more prepared to transition into faster-paced activity sequences following the workout.
Warming up in a dynamic environment
The dynamic warm-up is a critical component of any training program’s success. This section will have you sweating, breathing harder, and psychologically prepared for the rigors that will follow. Make certain that you are going with purpose. Consider being particular about the moves you choose (see below for additional information), and do not be anxious if your dynamic warm-up seems challenging. In order to be effective, it should be just a little bit strenuous — not so taxing that it becomes exhausting but just rigorous enough to truly charge your body up.
Exercises for activation
It is necessary to execute a few activation exercises after completing a brief dynamic warm-up session. These motions should be tailored to the particular session you are participating in that day. They will improve muscular activation and coordination between muscle groups as a result of their use. You will get all of your muscle groups functioning together in the appropriate ways for whatever lifts you have planned for the day ahead of time. Your muscles will be able to fire at full capacity the more “turned on” they are when you load up the barbell on a heavy lifting day.
Technique/skill movements with a light load
Before starting the work sets, warm up with an empty barbell and mild loaded motions to get yourself ready for the training session ahead. Even if you start with merely the bar, you will be training your mind and muscles to prepare for the job at hand, which is not considered “weak.” by using ramp up sets, you can ensure that your muscles are at their optimum preparedness by the time the barbell is heavy on the ground.
As with the rest of your warm-up, “ramp up” sets may take some trial and error, just as with the rest of your workout. Take note of how varied adjustments to your warm-up affect your performance, and keep in mind that not all lifters will require the same amount of time to ramp up.
How much time do you need to warm up?
Getting pumped up for a solid lifting session is natural when you have got something special planned. However, if you want to have the most productive session possible, plan your schedule so that you have enough time to warm up before you begin. If you do this, you may have to cut a few accessory exercises from the end of your program, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
- Exercise your entire body for three to five minutes with a light total-body cardiovascular exercise (biking, rowing, jogging, etc).
- It should take three to five minutes to do static stretching (optional) and/or a foam roll.
- A five-minute dynamic warm-up will get you ready for your workout
- Activity exercises (session-specific) — three to five minutes in duration
- It should not take you more than 10 minutes if you do not do any static stretching or foam rolling before you start. If you choose every option available, it might take you closer to 20 minutes to complete the task. If you have the time to dedicate to it, that is fantastic. However, bear in mind that you do not have to do every exercise on the warm-up smorgasbord in order to be well prepared for your workout.