This workout routines for beginners article will teach you how pro bodybuilders set up their yearly plan.
Indeed, a pro fitness plan contains 5 workout routines:
- Power workout routine
- Strength workout routine
- Mass / Volume workout routine
- Muscle maintenance workout routine
- Cutting workout routine
Bear in mind that you need to go through all those routines to ultimately get the lean mass, 10% body fat shredded body you dream of.
Before diving into the 5 workout routines bodybuilders use to reach their fitness goals, you must understand how planning those bodybuilding routines works.
How workout routines are implemented in a fitness plan
There are three types of cycles in a fitness plan:
- The micro-cycle which contains your weekly workouts.
- The meso-cycle which lasts for one month to one quarter and encompasses your micro-cycles.
- The macro-cycle which lasts a year and gathers your mesocycles.
Here’s how it goes theoretically:
Below a concrete example:
So, to sum up, your mesocycles are vague workout routines that relate to what you want to achieve across the board in the mid-term. For instance, during the month of January, I’ll go for a power routine to be more explosive.
On the contrary, microcycles are short-term practical workout routines that clearly state what you want to do. For example, in the frame of this power routine, during week 1, I’ll opt for the Bulgarian method. And then, the next three weeks, I’ll set up a plyometric-centered workout routine.
Now, that we have a good grasp of what macro, meso, and micro cycles are and how they relate to workout routines, let’s go a bit more in depth regarding those workout routines you must implement in your plan to improve your performance at the gym and achieve your objectives.
Power workout routines
What is Power workout?
Power workout, also referred to as power training or high-speed strength workout, can take many forms depending on the goals of the individual and the demands of the sport. The goal is to move a load at high velocity (speed).
Power workouts are often associated with the Olympic lifts. However, a power workout encompasses many other forms such as running, jumping, throwing, and exercises that focus on speed of the weight being lifted rather than the heaviness of the load.
Doing so, a power workout is a performance-based protocol focusing on low to moderate loads and speed of the movement.
This method is a complement to pure strength workout, in that strength workout will provide stability and whole-body strength, while power will increase the rate of muscle fiber recruitment.
How does Power Workout work?
Even though strength can secondly develop power, the main way to do so is to use a rather low percentage of the 1RM, such as 30% to 65%, and perform a higher number of reps using a more restrictive exercise such as bench press.
Power training, much like strength training, calls for longer rest periods (2-5 minutes), a low rep range on Olympic lifts (1-5), moderate reps on other lifts such as bench presses, jumps, and throws (5-10), and low-to-moderate numbers of total sets (3-5).
In a nustshell
Set range: 5-10
Rep range: 1-10
Time window (min): 3-5
1RM %: 30%-90%
Strength workout routines
Also referred to as low-speed strength, the goal here is to lift maximal or submaximal loads from point A to point B. Moving weight at a moderate speed is recommended, since the goal is to develop a high level of overall body strength with heavy loads.
Usually, mostly pure strength athletes like powerlifters, or those in need of more strength for their sport, are interested in strength workout. But strength is a game breaker when it comes to build more muscle, since being stronger automatically leads to build more lean mass. Methods for increasing strength overlap somewhat with hypertrophy training, specifically regarding progression, but the goal here is purely performance based.
How does strength workout work?
Strength enthusiasts will commonly refer to percentages of max efforts or Percentages of Reps Max (%RM). This is the maximum amount of weight lifted for a specified number of reps (XRM – X being the number of reps). Once that number is identified, a percentage of that maximum amount of weight lifted is used for training purposes. For instance, if a lifter has a bench press one-rep max of 500lb (No Pain, No Gain 💪) and wants to train with 90% of his max weight, he will train with a load of 450lb (.90 x 500).
Here’s what Brzycki table looks like:
If your goal is strength-centric, then you will train in the 1-5 reps range with loads of 85% and higher of your 1RM and relatively longer rest periods of 3-5 minutes. When lifting heavy, you will want to give your muscles plenty of time to recuperate to lift maximally for the next set.
In a nutshell
Set range : 5-10
Rep range : 1-5
Time window (min) : 3-5
1RM % : 85%+
Mass / volume workout routines
Mass / volume increasing muscle size, also referred to as hypertrophy, is arguably the goal of most bodybuilders. Hypertrophy training calls for fatiguing muscle fibers to increase their cross-sectional area, which, after proper rest and recovery, causes the muscle to grow larger.
Now you have two types of hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophies.
Here’s a reminder of how the muscle is built:
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is an increase in the volume of the non-contractile muscle cell fluid, sarcoplasm. This type of workout mainly focuses on the Type IIA fibers – aka red fibers – and causes an increase in the non-contractile components of the muscle (sarcoplasmic volume, capillary density, and mitochondria proliferation).
Myofibrillar hypertrophy, on the other hand, is an enlargement of the muscle fiber as it gains more myofibrils, which contract and generate tension in the muscle. With this type of hypertrophy, the area density of myofibrils increases and there is a significantly greater ability to exert muscular strength.
To keep it short, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy will give more volume to your muscle while myofibrillar hypertrophy will increase your lean mass. Now, both are important to look bulk and sculpted.
How does mass / volume workout work?
Two things must be taken into account:
- A rest period of 30-90 seconds is recommended to prevent the muscles from fully recovering between sets. This recruits more muscle fibers to become stimulated.
- A rep range of around 6-10 for a mass workout and 10-12 for a volume training, which results in a longer time under tension (around 20-45 seconds), a more moderate tempo for each rep, and a high volume of sets.
Progression can either be achieved through a higher exercise density (more volume of training in the same amount of time or the same volume of training in less time), increased reps with the same loads (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy or volume), or higher loads with the same number of reps (myofibrillar hypertrophy or mass).
In a nutshell
Set range: 13-18
Rep range: 6-10
Rest Time window: 2-3 min
1RM %: 75%-85%
Set range: 8-12
Rep range: 8-12
Rest Time window: 1-2 min
1RM %: 56%-75%
Muscle Maintenance workout routine
The goal is to mature, to fix the newly created muscle fibers. So, during the period you want to give your muscles a good pump without outdoing yourself.
You’re basically taking back the weights you use when performing a mass or volume workout but without trying to progress as for the load or the number of reps.
Set range: 8-18
Rep range: 6-12
Rest Time window: 1-2 min
1RM %: 65%-85%
Cutting workout routines
To focus on fat loss and preserve muscle mass you have to be careful not to be high in intensity and go for a long training.
What is a cutting workout?
This type of workout is used to get shredded, in other words, it is designed to increase muscle definition and burn bodyfat. So, the training sessions are longer than usual since most workout will be broken down in two parts: at first lifting, and then cardio.
You must always go to the weight room first and then do some cardio since the organism needs some time to trigger the fat burning pathways.
How does a cutting workout work?
Regarding lifting, you want to handle the movement from scratch and all the way up. They aim is to work full range of motion in order to get better muscle density and shape.
You also want to lose fat to have the skin stuck to the muscle and get this so looked-for muscle definition. So, you must exert slow, concentric and long-lasting movements with short rest-time. You want to do more isolate motions to work every single muscle more accurately.
On the second part of the training, you will want to go hit the cardio. So, here you have to respect some rules of thumb as well, notably the BPM which stands for Beat Per Minute. This BPM must be between 120 and 140, then a quite slow pace.
In a nutshell
Set range: 10-15
Rep range: 12-20
Rest Time window: 1-2 min
1RM %: 30%-65%
Follow up with 30-45min of cardio at 120-140BPM.
one last thing, proper workout routines without the diets that go with them is pointless. So, if you have no understanding of how to calculate your daily protein, fat and carbs requirements, read this article on how to calculate your macros.
Alright fit fam! This is it! If you made it so far congrats. Hope you learnt some valuable information. If you think this workout routines for beginners article was useful, and you feel it will help your fitmates outperform themselves, don’t be selfish, spread the word! 😉