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Moving From Beginner To Intermediate Level Bodybuilding
By: Rick Mitchell

By now you've made significant progress in your bodybuilding career. For the past three to six months you've learnt how to perform the core lifting exercises in a technically correct manner. You've also conditioned the body and developed sufficient core strength to prepare yourself for a whole new level of intensity. Hopefully you've also built some rock solid muscle! But that's only the beginning.

In recent weeks your workouts have probably lost some of their effect so, even though you're lifting bigger weights, your muscles now need even greater stimulation to generate maximal growth. Don't expect miracles though - from this point onwards, every little bit of improvement will take even greater and more intensive work than before.

Because you'll be working your muscles more intensively, they'll also need more recovery time to adapt and grow and that's why you'll be reducing your workouts to three a week. Each primary muscle group trained will now need one full week to recover. After being used to whole body sessions and more workouts per week it may seem as if you're not doing enough but the point is, you'll be working your muscles very, very intensively and making better use of your time.

As you gain more experience you'll be able to tweak or re-design your basic muscle building program to suit your own individual needs, but the program described here should provide a useful starting point. What I'm proposing is basically a 3-split of the body on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

MONDAY (Chest, Triceps, Shoulders)

1. Chest Exercises

Incline dumbbell press - this is a compound exercise that targets the chest but also works the triceps and shoulders to a lesser extent.

Pec-deck flye - this is an isolation exercise that works the pectorals.

2. Triceps

Dips - this compound exercise targets the triceps but also works the chest and shoulders.

3. Shoulders

Front military press - this compound exercise targets shoulders but also works the triceps.

Dumbbell lateral raises - this isolation exercise works the shoulders only.

Bentover dumbbell laterals - this isolation exercise works the rear delts.

WEDNESDAY (Back, Biceps, Forearms)

1. Back

Front lat pulls - compound exercise that targets lats but also works the biceps and mid-back.

Deadlifts - compound exercise that targets the back and quads but also works hamstrings, calves and glutes.

Dumbbell rows - compound exercise that targets mid-back but also works biceps and lats.

Dumbbell shrugs - isolation exercise that works traps.

2. Biceps

Dumbbell biceps curl - isolation exercise that works the biceps.

Dumbbell hammer curls - isolation exercise that works the biceps.

3. Forearms

Barbell wrist curl - isolation exercise that works the forearms.

FRIDAY (Lower Body)

1. Legs

Squats or leg press - compound exercise that targets the quads but also works the hamstrings, calves and glutes.

Leg extension - isolation exercise that works the quads.

Leg curls - isolation exercise that works the hamstrings.

Standing calf raise - isolation exercise that works the gastrocnemius calf muscle.

Seated calf raise - isolation exercise that works the soleus calf muscle.

You could start this program by aiming for two sets of 8-10 reps per exercise but as your strength and size increase you should really introduce techniques that boost the intensity even further. This can be achieved in a number of ways including the use of pre-exhaustion, super sets, partial reps, isometric contractions and forced reps. These techniques are covered in detail elsewhere in this series of articles.

About the Author

Rick Mitchell is the creator of the bodybuildingadvisor.com website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.


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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape

 

Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.


Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
shocks.

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
speaking.

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
time.

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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