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What Is a Bulking Cycle?

A bulking cycle may involve weights.
Multivitamins are often taken during a bulking cycle.
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  • Written By: Matthew F.
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2014
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A bulking cycle can refer to one of two different things in a fitness and bodybuilding routine. To some, a bulking cycle can suggest a bulking regimen with weights that is adjusted for gaining muscle. The other type of bulking refers to anabolic steroid cycles, which can also be used to supplement and encourage muscle growth. While the two different types of cycles are entirely different, they incorporate some of the same steps and require the same kind of training discipline.

With anabolic steroids, a bulking cycle means using the right steroids to add size and bulk to the muscles. There are a variety of substances used for this purpose, and differ from other supplements that are meant to cut muscles, increase inner strength and recover muscles after they tear. A bulking cycle with steroids is followed for a certain period of time, often a certain number of weeks, and is complemented with a lifting cycle that also encourages the bulking process. Anabolic steroids have a significant number of negative side effects and are illegal for use without a prescription in many countries.

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The other type of bulking cycle done in the gym, without anabolic steroids, and is followed by many weightlifters, fitness experts, and training programs. This type of cycle is far different than a cardio cycle, a leaning cycle, or a maintaining cycle. Some exercisers can use a bulking cycle for a few weeks before switching to regular workout routines, leaning routines or routines to help maintain their muscle. While not using steroids, these bulking cycles can often include different protein supplements, shakes, multivitamins and a variety of other caffeine-based products.

Bulking cycles in the gym are generally geared toward bulking up the upper body, and include most notable the back, the shoulders, the biceps, the triceps, and the pectoral and chest muscles. They can also include abdominal muscles and the various leg muscles. The bulking comes into play with the type or workouts and the type of lifts, and these cycles often require working out at least five days per week and spending over an hour in the gym at a time.

As opposed to leaning the body and the muscles, the body is bulked by using heavier weights and doing fewer repetitions. While each exercise should be done to failure, whether bulking or leaning; heavy enough weights should be used during a bulking cycle to fail after 6-8 reps. This will allow a person to lift heavier and maintain the same kind of building of muscles that is necessary during a fitness program.

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