Strength and Conditioning – The Basics Of Bodybuilding


Bodybuilding is an activity which is all about building muscle. Bigger and stronger is the name of the game. One of the great things about bodybuilding is that you can achieve amazing results with very basic equipment and a few hours of training two to three times per week.

The key to building bigger and stronger muscles is to keep progressively adding more and more weight over time and/or utilizing different techniques such as supersets, drop sets, forced reps, extreme stretching, giant sets and more. Building bigger muscles is about consistent regular training, eating properly, getting plenty of rest, and using varied weight with low, medium and high repetitions.

I think of bodybuilding as the foundation of all sports.  Nothing will put you in touch with your body, your mind and your overall health like a solid bodybuilding program.  In fact, the Egyptian weightlifter El Sayed  Mohammed Nosseir, who was a well-known figure worldwide and a national hero in his own country, was asked about his strategy for developing an Olympic weightlifting team that won 5 Medals in the 1936 Olympics and again at the 1948 Olympics. His response was that the number one rule that he implemented was to train his athletes as bodybuilders first!

Amazing!  And most people today still think of bodybuilding as a useless activity other than getting “pumped up”.

Nossier would train all of his weightlifting Olympic hopefuls as bodybuilders and then narrow their focus on the appropriate Olympic lift based upon their capabilities.  Nossier explained that balanced, all around muscular development was the most solid foundation on which to build championship technique and power.  (1)

As with any new exercise program, is important to first check with your physician before starting a bodybuilding program. In the beginning it is important that you start slow and learn proper technique. Time and time again professional body builders have said that technique is one of the most important aspects of getting the best results. It might be helpful to schedule a session with a professional trainer in the beginning so that you start on the right track. If this is not an option for you there are various instructional books on the subject of bodybuilding. Above all take the time to learn proper technique.

Lifting heavy weight damages muscle fibers – but in a good way. It is only when the muscles repair themselves that they grow larger and stronger. For this reason it is very important that each muscle group is given plenty of rest following each workout. This is why most body builders alternate muscle groups. For example, you might work on your back on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, your chest on Wednesday, and your arms on Friday. Most successful body builders will recommend that you not work a particular muscle group more than twice per week.

The question may come up of whether it is best to use weight machines or free weights. The general consensus is that free weights are your best option for increasing muscle mass. Machines are typically used for isolating muscles.  If I had to choose, I would pick free weights every time.

The following are some basic exercises for the major muscle groups.


1. Flat Bench Press
2. Dips
3. Incline Bench Press


1. Squats
2. Straight Leg Dead Lifts
3. Leg Press


1. Pull ups
2. Barbell Rows
3. Deadlifts * see the accompanying YouTube video that I recently shot with my client, Ed Brown, Jr.  Ed is an Austinite and is preparing for the Mr Universe in New Jersey later this year.


1. Curls
2. Incline curls


1. Lying Tricep Extensions
2. Close Grip Bench Press


1. Military Press.

Remember –  to increase muscle size you will need to progressively increase poundage. Be patient. Overworking your muscles can actually have adverse effects. If you maintain a consistent regular workout routine coupled with proper nutrition and rest you will begin to see results in no time. Keep in mind it is common to see more obvious results initially and in overtime your gains will seem less apparent. This is because your body becomes used to your work out routine and in a sense knows what to expect. It is helpful to keep your body guessing by changing your workout routine on a regular basis.

Middle school and high school athletes would be smart to begin a basic bodybuilding routine.  Bigger muscles supply more power.  Bodybuilding will make you bigger, faster, stronger, more coordinated, more flexible and a better athlete.  Bodybuilding also develops the mind, giving it’s practitioner a strong, never say die attitude.  Unless you’ve used bodybuilding, you can never understand the multiple benefits that it gives.

One of the most important lifts that you should use regularly in your own training, is the deadlift. The deadlift is the Grandaddy lift of free weights with barbell squats a close second.  The Deadlift involves the entire body – the legs, back, arms, core.  Your goal should be to get strong on this lift as the payback in increased muscle mass and strength will serve you well whether it be on the football field, baseball field or the field of life.





(1) Brothers Of Iron by Joe and Ben Weider, pages 78-79


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