Bodybuilding FAQ

Six Questions That Every Bodybuilder has Considered — and Six Science-Based Answers.

Whether you are aiming to achieve some seriously impressive max lift amounts or simply striving for an attractively defined physique, the following bodybuilding FAQs should help you to take a smarter and healthier approach to pumping iron.

Q: What is the Difference Between Compound and Isolation Workouts?

ANSWER: Compound workouts challenge many muscles at the same time, thus enabling faster and more well-rounded results. Isolation exercises (which, as you probably guessed, work one muscle at a time), do offer certain benefits for the extremely dedicated. However, beginners and even intermediate-level fitness enthusiasts should always start with compound exercises as the foundation of their training, and consider adding a few isolation exercises later.

Q: What are the Main Muscle Groups Every Bodybuilder Should Be Hitting?

A: The six major muscle groups are generally considered to be the chest, back, arms, shoulders, upper legs, and lower legs. Six compound exercises that effectively work all the important muscles in each respective group are: incline bench press (chest), bent over row (back), close-grip chin ups (arms), military press (shoulders), squats (upper legs), and lunges (both upper and lower legs).

Q: Is Cardio Counterproductive for those Looking to “Bulk Up?”

A: There are no simple answers to this question. On the positive side, cardio helps stimulate healthy muscle recovery while improving the body’s metabolic response to nutrients, stimulating the appetite, and making transitions between bulking and cutting smoother. At the same time, cardio also has negative effects, such as burning fuel (calories) and contributing to overtraining. The bottom line? Adding cardio is probably the healthiest choice, though it may cause muscle gain to happen a bit slower.

Q: Which is More Productive: Less Weight/More Reps or More Weight/Less Reps?

A: Both lifting methods offer their own distinct set of benefits. Less weight and more reps leads to better endurance and faster lean muscle growth. More weight and less reps causes larger muscles and overall higher strength. A combination of both techniques may be the most productive strategy.

Q: What Are Bulk/Cut Cycles and Are They Effective?

A: Though this has long been accepted as the best way for professional bodybuilders to look “huge” during the contest season, the best way to look, feel and be healthy and attractive year round is simply living a healthy lifestyle, hitting the gym hard, and eating a consistently proportioned and nutrition-rich diet.

Q: How Long Before I Start Seeing Results?

A: This depends on your definition of “seeing.” You are likely to begin decreasing running times, increasing weight lifts, and maybe even shedding pounds all within the first month of beginning a fitness routine. However, if you are hoping to instantly attain a “beach bod,” you are only setting yourself up for disappointment. Physical changes in your body take many months to manifest themselves, so be patient and enjoy your healthy lifestyle day by day — the results will follow!

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