It is often said that bodybuilding is a marathon and not a sprint. After you have been in the game for awhile you know that is the full truth. I feel that many start off sprinting, soon to realize that they are only wearing themselves out. One of the great things about bodybuilding is the intense weight training sessions. I think when we all start out with in the initial sprint, that we want to lift big weights. After awhile those big weight can start to cause small problems. If our ego gets in the way, those small problems can quickly exacerbate into issues not allowing us train the way once did.
Over the past few years I have had my share of ailments. The last thing I wanted to do is to stop training, so I had to figure a way to train around the issues. After I recovered from these pains, I vowed I wouldn’t let myself go back and experience them again. Below are a few of the things I now use in my training arsenal that will help anyone afford some extra longevity in the sport.
1. Warm-Up – I think that thoroughly warming up is extremely underutilized. Not only does a warm-up benefit us from a health perspective, but has also been shown to increase performance in multiple ways. The goal here is to take our bodies from a state of rest and gradually introduce stimulus. The stimulus then excites multiple pathways in the system including the circulatory and the nervous system. Both of these systems are crucial for optimal performance.
The simplistic way to achieve the desired effects is to start with the movement you would normally begin with, but at a much lighter weight. Initially start with a weight that is extremely light and take it through a mid range of motion. With that weight, do controlled reps until it is comfortable to take it through the entire range of motion. Perform a number repetitions similar to that of your first working set. Perform multiple sets gradually working your way up to your initial working set. Do not count the initial sets into your workout regimen.
2. Exercise Order – The sequence in which exercises are placed within your regimen can make a tremendous difference. The placement of exercises affords you variables that would otherwise not be created. These variables allow you to pre-exhaust specific muscles, allowing for strenuous performance, at a lower weight threshold. For specific exercises, such as squats, you may have a limiting ailment such as your lower back. By placing the squat later in the program, you will decrease the needed weight, creating a scenario in which the legs will then reach exhaustion prior to the lower back.
3. Exercise Modification – There is not a specific way any movement needs to be done. There is not a right or wrong way of doing an exercise. The great thing about weight lifting is that each workout we can learn something. If you connect with your body in the gym you will quickly understand what feels right and what doesn’t. Modifying an exercise simply means adjusting it so that it works efficiently for you. Each exercise has a handful of variables such as grip placement, range of motion, path of motion, and others. Your goal when performing a movement is to find out the optimal positions of these variables that feel best to your muscles as well as your joints. Small modifications will allow you to not only train around ailments, but also prevent inessential wear and tear on the body.
4. Exercise Selection – Similar to exercise modification, there is not any specific lifts that have to be completed in bodybuilding. We do not have to squat. We do not have to bench press. If we were a power lifter that’s a different story, but for us it’s about generating the optimal physique. When designing your programs you simply utilize movements that fit your goals without exacerbating or creating ailments.
5. Recovery – Your muscle can only grow as fast as they can recover. Your muscle can only grow if your ailments are recovered enough to allow you to train with intensity. For most of us that have been in the weight room for some time, it becomes less about muscle recovery, and more about ailment recovery. Slight strains and sprains take a lot longer to recover than muscle from a hard workout. For maximal recovery modalities please check out my previous article on the Labrada articles page.
As you continue through this game of inches, you soon realize that continuous slow progress is better than no progress at all. Training beyond the scope of what your body can handle may initially lead to great progress, but it will soon catch up. When it does, your progress will be brought to a quick halt. You will then be scurrying to find a way to get back in to the gym. I have found the best solution to this is to use everything in your tool box to not allow it to happen in the first place. When doing this you will find yourself in that bad situation a lot less and you will make dramatically better progress over the long term.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.