First of all, if you have lived an “inactive” type of lifestyle for any length of time it would be smart to visit your doctor first before you jump right into exercise. Nobody wants to overtax their heart at the very beginning of a new regimen. Learning how to pace yourself is in itself an important lesson to learn.
So, to start with, go for 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
• Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
• Go for a bike ride.
• Walk the dog.
• Go for a swim at the local pool.
• Sign up for an exercise class.
Work up to 45 minutes – 60 minutes per day, a minimum of four to five times a week. The important point is that you get your body moving.
Exercise is good for every part of your body. Exercising on a regular basis will prepare your body for what is to come … the bodybuilding training.
10 Sets of 10 Reps
What is this 10 sets of 10 reps stuff all about? It is a technique used to break through new plateaus and build lean muscle mass. This method has been around since the start of the 1960s.
It is also very popular, having been used by plenty of well known bodybuilders including Vince Gironda, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper.
The 10 sets of 10 reps are used by plenty of athletes and coaches alike. For example, Coach Charles Poliquin puts it to use on his Olympic athletes.
If building lean muscle mass as quickly as possible is what you wish to do then the 10 sets of 10 reps is for you.
How the 10 x 10 Method Works
This method works wonders at increasing muscle mass because it wears down and tires the muscles that are being put to work.
To get started on the 10 sets of 10 reps routine, a mass building exercise must first be decided upon. Next you need to choose a weight that will allow you to do 15 or more repetitions.
Do 10 repetitions and then stop and take a break. Rest for one minute, but no more, between sets. As you begin to fatigue more and more, do not increase your resting period. This will defeat the purpose of systematically fatiguing the given muscle groups.
What you are aiming for is to use the exact same weight for 10 sets of 10. You want to be able to do all 10 reps in as good a form as possible.
As you build up the number of sets you do, the challenge will become greater and greater, due to the fatigue level increasing.
If it becomes too difficult you may not be able to perform 10 sets for 10 reps. That is okay. Do not be too hard on yourself as you will build up to it.
What you can do is to lower the weight if you are unable to complete all 10 at once. Do this for awhile and then try the 10 sets for 10 reps again.
Once you can do 10 for 10 then increase the weight to what you started with originally.
Exercises Included in the 10 x 10 Program
It is always wise to add in another form of exercise that targets the larger muscle groups of the body. The purpose of this is to work from a new and different angle. Perform the new exercise for 3 sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.
How do you do the 10 sets of 10 reps bodybuilding program? Read on to find out.
Workout # 1- Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves
Squats 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest required)
Leg Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
Leg Extension 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (no rest is required)
Stiff Legged Dead-lifts 3 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
Calf Raises 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest but no more)
Workout # 2- Chest/Back/Abs
Incline Bench Press 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest is required)
Wide Grip Pull-up to Front 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
Flat Bench Flyes 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (no rest is needed)
Low Pulley Rows 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (one minute of rest is required)
Leg Raise and Crunch Combination 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest required)
Workout # 3- Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps
Upright Rows 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
Bent Over Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
Incline Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest is required)
Triceps Dips 10 sets of 10 reps (one minute of rest is needed)
How Often Should You Work Out?
How often you need to work out is something that you will have to figure out for yourself. The frequency is not the same for everyone.
In general, you need to consider your body type- whether it be endomorph, mesomorph or ectomorph- and formulate a routine based on that.
General Guidelines Based on Body Type
People with this body type have a slower rate of metabolism but an ability to recuperate faster. Aim to work each body part twice a week.
For example do workout # 1 on Monday and Thursday, workout # 2 on Tuesday and Friday and workout # 3 on Wednesday and Saturday. Take Sunday off and relax.
These individuals are blessed with natural muscle and leanness. The schedule they need for their workouts is different than that for the endomorphs.
An ideal schedule for a mesomorph would be on day one do workout # 1, on day two rest, on day three do workout # 2, rest on day four, on day five do workout # 3 and on day six start the cycle all over again, beginning with workout # 1.
This unique schedule ensures that no body part gets neglected. Every body part gets its fair share of a workout once every five days of the cycle.
This type of workout schedule affords good recuperation for the individuals who have good intentions but find it difficult to be training at the gym six days a week, because of their busy work schedules.
Sometimes called “hardgainers”, ectomorphs comprise the body type that is skinny by nature and does not gain weight easily. These individuals also have a very fast metabolism, sort of like Jughead of the Archie Comic Books.
If this is you then your best bet is to train every other day, instead of every day. If you are unable to train during the weekends because of work or family commitments then try this sequence- Monday, Wednesday and Friday do workout # 1 on Monday to start the week. On Wednesday do workout # 2 and then to end the week, on Friday do workout # 3.
Important – As a person in training to build leaner muscle mass, you will know when it is time to alter your workouts to better suit your purpose. After you have gone through all three workouts an average of six times, modify your routine.
Select heavier weights and perform five to six repetitions. Heavier weights for less sets is the way to go. A good choice at this point in time is to do a different series of exercises with 5 sets of 5 reps.
Seven Good Reasons to Increase Lean Muscle Mass
High volume bodybuilding can do so much more than give you a better physique. Read on for seven important reasons to increase your lean muscle mass.
1. Increase your metabolism– Strength training allows the body to burn more calories in the run of a day by raising the metabolic rate.
2. Less chance of coronary disease– Your heart will thank you for your efforts. You will lower your blood pressure and decrease your level of bad cholesterol (LDL) levels.
3. Improve balance and mobility– You will have better balance (and therefore coordination, flexibility and ease of mobility. This equals stronger, more resilient muscles and subsequently, fewer falls and accidents to worry about.
4. Optimal performance achieved– No matter what type of physical fitness you take part in, your performance will vastly improve thanks to the addition of strength training to your routine.
5. Improvement in bone density– Strength training helps to enhance and restore density to the bones. This is particularly important as you age. Living a sedentary lifestyle can cause bones to become brittle and more prone to breakage over time.
6. Less worries over injuries– Plenty of life-related injuries and sports-related injuries can be reduced and prevented thanks to exercises that strengthen the muscles and joints.
7. Slow the aging process– No one is in a hurry to age, are they? Slow down the process by taking excellent care of your bones. Exercise of any kind is worthwhile but adding an element of strength training to build lean muscle mass can keep the body functioning at an above average level.
The body ages more gracefully and slowly when strength training is a consistent part of a person’s schedule. Not to mention the fact that strength training adds “strength” to the body.
The stronger the body is built up to be, the better it is able to withstand pressures from the inside and out. Aerobic and athletic pursuits are easier to cope with as well which means a person can enjoy a variety of forms of physical fitness.
The Key to the Success of These Workouts
Looking at these exercises on a long term basis, what you need to do is work out with heavier weights for shorter spans of time. Aim for high intensity. It is the quality of the workouts that makes the biggest difference.
Some bodybuilders choose to take a supplement to help increase muscle growth, along with the strength training that they are involved in. One type of supplement that is commonly used is Niox.
Eat Right to Build Right
Make sure you take a look at what you are eating on a regular basis. If you are not eating right then it is time to make some positive dietary changes.
Bodybuilders need to eat a healthy combination of carbohydrates, proteins and foods low in fat. While it is standard for most people to eat three meals a day, try something different to encourage your bodybuilding regime.
Break your meals down into five or six smaller meals throughout the day. Eat lean meats, seafood, whole grains, pasta, low fat milk and lots of fruits and vegetables.
As well never forget the importance of drinking water. When your body is under the stress and strain of strength training this is incredibly important to bear in mind.
Energy drinks and fruit juices are fine to drink but do not overdo them. Plain and simple water all by itself is still the best source of liquid nourishment for your body. Water is not called “Mother Nature’s cocktail” for nothing.
The Value of Sleep
Never underestimate the value of sleep to your overall level of health- and to your bodybuilding efforts. Your muscles do not grow as you work out but rather while you are asleep.
For this reason, it is so important to get the right amount of sleep each and every night. The recommended amount is seven to eight hours. If you lose sleep on a given night, catch up on it as quickly as you can.
Sleep deprivation will serve to create a lack of energy. It will awaken hormones that you do not want awakened.
A hormone called cortisol will begin to be produced in large quantities. This hormone will sabotage your efforts to build lean muscle mass.
Cortisol is responsible for depositing fat and destroying muscle. This hormone also decreases the production of the hormone testosterone which can then sabotage your efforts even more.
Don’t let the presence of this hormone take you down and destroy months of hard work! Make sleep a priority and make sure you get your zzzz’s every night.
Volume Knob Image by David Lenker, Creative Commons 2.0 License
Pumping Iron Image by Benjamin J. DeLong, Creative Commons 2.0 License
Healthy Food Image by Butz.2013, Creative Commons 2.0 License