Bodybuilding – Back to Basics

November 30, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug


As I mentioned last week, I will be introducing some new things here at (To benefit you of course). So keep your eyes pealed… small changes will be happening. But before begin to get into any of that, I’m going to take you back to the bodybuilding basics.

Re-training your body and mind is important, because as you learn new things, the basic body building knowledge or  ‘do’s and don’ts’ may get distorted and you might just forget. So here’s a reminder for you –

Warm Up!!

Here’s a typical scenario for you.

A Guy

  • Signs up at the gym.
  • Takes the introductory course.
  • Begins his workout with a warm up and stretches.
  • This lasts for about 2 weeks and then he stops, and starts to begin his workouts without any warm ups and instantly hits the weights as he enters the gym.

For some reason, some guys in the gym think it’s cool to not warm up. The fact is… ‘They is stupid!’. Do not follow those ‘supposed’ leaders. They will be the ones who will face injury and lose muscle mass from having to take time off from the gym. Do not let that be you.

1. Warm up with a low intensity aerobic exercise such as walking or slow cycling for 5 -10 minutes.

2. Then get ready to do some stretches on the muscles that you will be working. 5 minutes each is good.

3. Your stretches should last for 15-20 seconds each in a static position and should isolate the muscles that will be worked.

4. Then you must make sure you stretch in between each exercise that you do.

Choose Barbells and not Dumbbells

I personally like to use dumbbells rather than the bar, in general and for certain exercise. But you need to be using the barbell more. This is because using dumbbells just makes for extra work. You have to put more focus on stabilizing and balancing the weight when you lift. This will only decrease your levels of performance and how much you can lift… on you best or worst gym days!  Whether you are a beginner or an advanced bodybuilder, you need to be lifting that barbell more.

Don’t lock your joints on heavy lifts

I have always been told… ‘Shaun… bend your knees, bend this, bend that’ during my workouts and it is something that you need to do aswell.  The reason for this is that when you lock your joints, you are allowing them to be relaxed. When your muscles are relaxed, it means that they are not supporting the weight that you lift.  When this happens, the weight then gets supported by ligaments or bones in your joints. Do not let this happen to you! That is what can cause some of the most annoying injuries, which I too have experienced first hand. So do your body justice when you lift and bend, bend, bend those joints!

Use Straps

If you don’t already have a set of these, you better go and get yourself some right after reading this article.



  • You are trying to build muscle mass on your large muscle groups.
  • To do that you must use your hands, wrist and forearms.
  • Those muscles are much weaker than larger muscle groups.
  • Therefore they become weaker much earlier than your larger muscle groups during your weightlifting workout.
  • Using straps will help support those weaker muscles and you will focus less on trying to hold the weight.

Knowing that you have the strength to lift, but cannot lift because of your weaker muscles really is a shit feeling. So do yourself a favour and get some straps.

Keep Good Body Form

Now! I am definitely one to break the rules and sacrifice good form to push a heavy weight. Bench press is a prime example. But if you do, then make sure you have a spotter near by and still control the weight properly when you do so. If not, then you are setting your self up for injury and decreasing your chances for long term growth. So when you are not breaking the rules… always keep good form and use a mirror too.

The key word here is ‘focus’. Keeping good form will allow your mind and muscle to work as one unit. That connection will allow you to concentrate more and to visually watch that muscle grow. Just like nurturing a new born baby. Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow!

Hurry Up and Eat (After you workout)

I’ll keep it real simple for you.

  • When you workout, your body loses carbs and proteins.
  • These carbs and proteins need to be refilled (essential for muscle growth)
  • Your muscles are the hungriest right after you workout.
  • This is when you must feed them. That is 30-45 minutes right after you workout.

I’ve talked about supplements quite a lot in previous articles such as,

10 Great Protein Shake Recipes For Your Weightlifting Workouts

And those are the perfect beverages to take.

These are what I consider to be the basic bodybuilding rules to keep present in the back of your mind. Whenever you feel like you are over doing it or are suffering from information overload, bring these rules to the front, refresh, and start again.

What basic actions do you turn to when you no longer feel that you are ‘in the zone’ during your weightlifting workouts?

See you in the comments.

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