Everything a beginner bodybuilder should know

Nothing matters more to bodybuilders than their lean muscle mass, and who can blame them? That’s what they work so hard for.

If you’re a beginner bodybuilder, you’re probably already aware of the excess calories you would need to eat each day to see the results you’re working so hard for, but what about the exercises? Are they the right ones? What exercises do bodybuilders do that’re so different from a regular regime?

Turns out, it’s not just volume. There are certain exercises that help build muscle in various parts of the body, making them bodybuilders’ top choices.

Best exercises for beginner bodybuilders

So we know that with bodybuilders, it’s mostly the aesthetics, so they focus on the muscles of the body that are most visible to the public eye, including the shoulders, arms, chest and legs.

1) Bench press

This exercise is most effective for developing the pectoral muscles, ie the chest. It’s a bodybuilder’s go-to chest exercise. You’ll need a flat bench and a barbell set up.

• Lay yourself down on the bench in the power rack.

• Grip the barbell above you with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell off the rack.

• Hold it above you with your arms straight out. Lower it down to the center of your chest.

• Push the barbell up away from your chest by straightening your arms again, raising it up to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


2) Overhead press

This is an exercise meant to sculpt and strengthen the shoulders. Also known as military press, it is effective in developing push strength as well.

• Stand straight and grip, the barbell in both hands, shoulder-distance apart. Hold it up in over your collarbones.

• Push the barbell up above your head. Straighten your arms out, and squeeze your shoulders.

• Lower it back down to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


3) Barbell row

Barbell rows are effective for developing the back muscles. It is usually performed with dumbbells, but barbells are more effective for bodybuilders.

• Stand straight with your feet hip-distance apart, and hold the barbell in front of you.

• Bend forward at your hip. Hinge your knees to bend slightly to maintain stability. Let your arms fall straight down so the barbell is suspended below you, directly in line with the shoulders.

• Lift the barbell up towards your diaphragm. Draw your elbows close to the body as they bend and point upward.

• Lower the barbell back down to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


4) Cable curls

This exercise is an absolute killer for the arms. Cable curls mimic the movement of a traditional barbell bicep curl, with more tension on the muscles owing to the resistance. Use the straight bar attachment of the cable machine with the pulley all the way down.

• Grip the bar with straight arms and palms facing forward (supinated grip). Keep your hands shoulder-width apart.

• Curl the bar up toward your chin by bending your arms at your elbow.

• Release the tension and bring the bar back down to starting position, straightening your arms out.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


5) Barbell squats

Who doesn’t love squats? Performing them with a barbell is a great way to add some extra weight and strengthen the muscles of your legs further.

• Stand in front of the barbell, and dip below it to rest it on your shoulders behind your neck. Grip it at equal gaps from your neck.

• Unrack the barbell and step back. Stand straight with your feet hip-distance apart.

• Push your hips back and lower them down by bending at your knees. Lower yourself till your thighs are parallel to the ground.

• Push yourself back up by straightening your legs to return to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


6) Bulgarian split squats

These are an absolute killer for your quads. They are fabulous for muscular hypertrophy and strength. You would need a bench that’s about knee-high.

• Stand straight in front of the bench, with it behind you. Take a step forward, and place your right foot up on the bench behind you.

• Lower yourself into a lunge position till your knee is just a few inches above the ground.

• Straighten your left leg and push yourself up from the ground to return to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


7) Standing calf raises

Never neglect the calves. Most bodybuilders tend to overlook this small yet powerful muscle group in the legs. Training them is easy and requires little to no equipment. You may hold dumbbells to add weight.

• Stand straight with your feet hip-distance apart. To intensify this movement, stand with the top half of your feet on the edge of a step.

• Raise your heels so your weight is shifted to your toes.

• Lower your heels to the ground, to return to the starting position.

• Repeat this move for 15 to 20 reps.


Bodybuilding is a tough sport, but it’s a true test of grit. If you’re aspiring to be a bodybuilder, it’s a long road ahead, but the journey is rewarding. Be sure to find yourself a coach who will guide you through the regime and diet. There’s no stopping now.

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