How to Become a Bodybuilder – Bodybuilding Workout Routines & Tips

Beginning a body building workout plan requires a level of commitment. As a beginner, you can work out more frequently than more advanced body builders. The reason is simple: as you get more experienced, you learn to push your muscles harder and inflict more damage that takes longer to recover from. Beginners, on the other hand, get sore but bounce back quicker since the muscular damage isn’t as severe.

If the word “damage” makes you flinch, don’t worry. It’s a good thing for a bodybuilder to incur limited muscle damage, because it nudges the body to recover and overcompensate (grow) slightly to prepare for future workouts. This is what bodybuilding is all about – a continuous cycle of one-step-back, two-steps-forward, repeated over and over on a weekly basis.

The following workout plan is designed to focus on one part of your body each day of your workout with mid week and the weekend as your rest days. This plan is just a suggestion. You can adapt it as needed to suit your workout goals.

With any workout, you need to start out with some warm up exercises. This can be simple stretching as you get your body ready to work. A warm-up session prior to working out can not only help get your body ready for exercise, but your mind will get prepared as well.

You should also have an appropriate cool down period after you are done working out. This will reduce the possibility of delayed muscle soreness and will help quell the adrenaline that has been building in your system as a result of the workout. This can also be simple stretching exercises and deep breathing.

Again, it’s important to start out slow and not push yourself beyond your limits.

Use weights that are not too heavy for you but that will give you enough resistance to build your muscles. You can progressively increase the amount of weight you lift as you get stronger.


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Day 1 – Upper Body

For the following exercises, begin with two sets of 10-12 reps each.

  • Dumbbell press
  • Standing barbell military press
  • Lying tricep press
  • Side lateral raise
  • Preacher curls
  • Seated dumbbell curl
  • Dumbbell rows
  • Dumbbell shrugs

If you have access to weight machines, add the following to your plan:

  • Pec deck butterflys
  • V-bar pushdowns
  • Lat pulls with pulley machine

Day 2 – Lower Body and Abs

Again, begin doing each exercise with two sets of 10-12 reps each except for the crunches which you can do as many of them as you want.

  • Barbell squat
  • One leg barbell squat
  • Lunges
  • Standing calf press
  • Stiff leg barbell
  • Crunches

Machines can be especially helpful when working your lower body. Here are some you should consider on this day:

  • Leg presses on a plate loaded machine
  • Leg extension machine
  • Seated hamstring curls
  • Standing hamstring curls
  • Ab machine

Day 3 – Rest

Day 4 – Upper Body

Increase your sets to 3 doing 10 – 12 reps each

  • Chin ups (get assistance if necessary)
  • Seated dumbbell hammer curls
  • Dumbbell presses on an inclined bench
  • Standing barbell military press
  • Standing bicep curls
  • Barbell tricep extension
  • Upright barbell row
  • Front dumbbell raise

The machines you can use on this day include:

  • Seated cable rows
  • Upright cable rows
  • Cable crossover flies
  • Tricep rope pushdowns

Day 5 – Lower Body and Abs

Go back to doing just two sets of 10-12 reps each except for the crunches which you can do unlimited amounts of.

  • Standing calf press
  • Lunges
  • Barbell squat
  • Stiff leg barbell
  • Standing calf raises
  • Crunches Machine exercises include: • Leg presses on a plate loaded machine • Seated hamstring curls • Kneeling hamstring curls

Machine exercises include:

  • Leg presses on a plate loaded machine
  • Seated hamstring curls
  • Kneeling hamstring curls

Weekend – Rest


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If a four day workout plan is too much for you, consider starting out with a two or three day plan. Keep in mind that you won’t get results as quickly with a fewer day workout, but if you need to start out slowly, it can still be effective.

If You Would Prefer a Fewer Day Workout Read: 3 Day Bodybuilding Program

About an hour before your workout, you should eat some protein and carbohydrates. This is to make sure that you have enough energy to make it through your entire workout. By doing this, you are putting your body into an anabolic state that will provide the necessary energy and power to effectively work your muscles.

During training, there is increased blood flow to the muscles. When you consume protein and carbohydrates prior to a workout, your body can take advantage of that extra blood flow and work the muscles more efficiently.

Many people opt for a protein shake and a bowl of rice, but you can choose whatever foods you want to get what you need.

It’s a good idea to keep track of your workouts and how many sets and reps you are doing. Write it down in a small notebook and when you are able to increase the number of sets and/or reps, be sure to take note of how long it took you to get to that point. Also keep track of the amount of weight you are able to lift and when you are able to increase that weight.

It’s also a good idea to do your first set with very little weight. This is to get the blood flowing through the muscles. On the second set, add a little weight and do the exercise again. If you find that it’s just a bit too easy, try more weight. The goal is to add weight until it’s difficult to complete 8-12 reps. Remember, you want to build your body, not lift weights.

Also Check Out 19 Types of Excercises: Bodybuilding Workout Plans & Exercises

Be sure and rest between sets to allow your body to adjust and recover. Usually that’s around a minute or two. DO NOT rest more than a minute or so or else your muscles will get cold and all your previous work will be for naught.

It’s a good idea to sprinkle your workouts with some cardio exercises to help get your blood pumping. This could be a little time on a treadmill or walking. The cardio is good for your body and you’ll be focusing on that most important muscle of all – your heart!

Good nutrition is an integral part of an effective workout program for any body builder. See Bodybuilding Diet Plans / Meal Plan


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