How do I Choose the Best Bodybuilding Workout Routine?

T. E. Snow

For many people interested in beginning a fit and healthy lifestyle, bodybuilding is often a good way to find workout routines, learn to use equipment, and become familiar with fitness and weight training. There are four major types of bodybuilding: amateur, professional, extreme, and natural — all of which involve different methods and training. Before choosing the best bodybuilding workout routine, you typically should first consult with a health or fitness professional in order to determine your fitness level and physical suitability for bodybuilding. These professionals usually can help you decide on the best bodybuilding workout routine, the correct supplements to take, and the best way to go about getting involved with bodybuilding.

Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein powder for bodybuilding.
Milk and eggs, which are both used to make protein powder for bodybuilding.

Amateur bodybuilders generally participate in bodybuilding either as a hobby or to compete in amateur-specific competitions. Choosing the best amateur bodybuilding workout routine usually involves finding the right gym with the right equipment. Many gyms do not offer sufficient weights or machines for individuals interested in beginning bodybuilding.

A bodybuilding workout routine might include the use of a creatine supplement.
A bodybuilding workout routine might include the use of a creatine supplement.

The best routines usually involve significant variation because the act of weightlifting can place serious strain on the muscles. A good bodybuilding workout routine will typically work different parts of the body on different days, usually on a three-day split — only working out three days a week. For example, a person would do chest, back, and leg workouts during one week and biceps, triceps, and shoulders the next. This maintains muscle integrity and allows sufficient time for the muscles to recover from the strain of working out.

A person must lift heavy weights in low repetitions in order to build muscle mass.
A person must lift heavy weights in low repetitions in order to build muscle mass.

Professional and, to some extent, extreme bodybuilders perform the same routines as amateur bodybuilders but with more weight, more repetitions, and more days per week. Generally, professional bodybuilders work out on a four-day split where the routine involves working out Monday and Tuesday, recovering Wednesday, working out Thursday and Friday and resting during the weekend. This bodybuilding workout routine can be ideal for lifters who want to maximize their workout while allowing muscles to recover and gain mass. The exercises involved in any bodybuilding workout routine typically should involve working contradicting muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps, to encourage symmetrical muscle growth.

Bodybuilding can help a person burn calories, gain strength and improve cardiovascular health.
Bodybuilding can help a person burn calories, gain strength and improve cardiovascular health.

Natural bodybuilding involves the same routines as amateur or professional bodybuilding, but without the use of chemical stimulants or steroids. Due to the lack of unnatural stimulants, natural bodybuilders may not be able to gain the same amount of muscle mass as professional bodybuilders. Their routines, however, are generally the same and involve the same number of workout days and exercises.

Some bodybuilding guides describe alternative ways to improve workouts, including an all-natural diet.
Some bodybuilding guides describe alternative ways to improve workouts, including an all-natural diet.

Key to any bodybuilding workout routine usually is the use of supplements to support muscle recovery and growth. Amateur and professional bodybuilders will usually use some kind of protein supplement in order to have sufficient protein in their diet for muscle growth. These may include protein shakes, bars, or powders. Both natural and professional bodybuilders may use energy enhancers, such as caffeine or creatine, in order to encourage efficiency during workouts. Before taking any kind of supplement, it generally is recommended that a person consult a health professional to determine its suitability.

Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.
Curls help strengthen the biceps and other muscles of the arms.

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