The paradox about bodybuilding is the fact it is not considered as a functional sport.
Meaning the training bodybuilders undergo doesn’t reflect to a particular result in time, or lengths with track athletics.
Moreover the bodybuilder doesn’t care how much he lifts during workout, rather than how he lifts and trains, therefore he only cares the way he looks aesthetically.
So the iron sport unlike powerlifting or Olympic weight lifting is about training smart and a sport of demonstration, based in looks.
The training is not about reps or kilograms you lift; it’s about lifting smart and looking muscular, with proportions, symmetry, balance and leanest as possible.
In explosive sports like sprinting, or throws, execution of exercises with barbells is based on speed.
On the contrary in bodybuilding training we focus on slow eccentric contractions and squeeze during peaking.
Therefore it’s a total different perspective and approach, thus the result is much different too.
There is no other sport like bodybuilding with such extreme training under low caloric state and such ripped physiques with so big muscularity.
Bodybuilders don’t have to be necessarily strong, but to have large muscles, while strongmen are much stronger but with more body fat and less impressive muscularity.
Training of bodybuilders includes isolation exercises, not just basic multi joint ones.
It also includes a wide variety of methods such as super sets, drop sets, giant sets, etc.
Comparing an Olympic champion at 100kg of weight lifting with a professional bodybuilder of same bodyweight and height, we realize basic differences.
Olympic weight lifter has smaller quads and less ripped that the bodybuilder, but his squat is much heavier, while his gluteal muscles more prominent.
However his muscle separation in quads is way less defined that the bodybuilders.
It’s all about methodology of workouts, along with specialized nutrition and supplementation.
Strongmen on the other hand develop resistance in strength and lactate tolerance, through their training.
Bodybuilders don’t focus on maximum strength and one rep, or even more reps than the classic 8/12.
They care about sarcoplasmic hypertrophy and not myofibrillar hypertrophy. The way you train in bodybuilding reflects on the density, the detail, the size your physique has.
It’s well known that free weights with dumbbells and barbells stimulate more muscle fibers and secondary muscles that provide stability.
Neuromuscular conjunction develops more efficiently with free weights, rather than machines or cables.
Eight times Mr. Olympia Lee Haney (1984-1991) said that bodybuilding is 70% nutrition and 30% training; however that 30% of training is really important and makes the difference.
We know the brutal heavy duty workouts of high intensity that Dorian Yates followed during his Olympia dynasty (1992-1997).
Or even the kind Ronnie Coleman with the unbelievable lifts he did in basic movements during his dynasty (1998-2005).
Hard work paid off, undoubtedly.
But no training is efficient, if no fuel exists.
So you can miss a workout, but never miss a meal, as Shawn Ray said.
A bad training session is waste of time, like it’s never done.
Missing meals is like missing the building blocks (briks) to build the house.
Also overtraining is major mistake and drawback to progress.
So one has to listen his body and give it rest to grow.
We break our muscles in the gym, we feed them in the kitchen and we grow them in bed. Generally the heavier we lift, the more time we need to rest and the harder we train, the more time we need for recovery
By overtraining we mean an increase in the frequency of workouts, their intensity and the time duration.
The intensity of training is achieved either with high loads an increased training volume in exercises, sets and repetitions, a reduction in rest time between sets, plus increased time under tension.
The increase in intensity from heavy loads and low reps in particular (1/2), stresses the central nervous system.
Overtraining is associated with depression (low endorphins), insomnia (low serotonin-high cortisol), infections (low white blood cells), joint pain (high prostaglandins), and muscle wasting (high creatine kinase).
The more muscles we have, the higher the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and more food we can eat; but also the leaner we are, since muscle is the number one tissue in energy production.
When we stop train, muscles shrink and in case we don’t lower our total calories, fat will grow. However it’s not conversion of one tissue to the other, it’s pure balance of energy and muscle over fat is reversely related.
Muscles occupy less space, that’s why bodybuilders have tiny waist, while fat occupies more space but its lighter and this is why a bodybuilder is heavier, but looks different.
Training partners are necessary for some, since they boost your ego and act beneficial in terms of psychology.
We all remember how valuable Franco was for Arnold and vice versa.
Occasionally I also had training partners that had positive effect in my spirit and took me a step further.
However I was most of the time a “lonely rider” and was based in my own abilities, in other words I wasn’t relying on anyone, but myself.
Bodybuilding training builds fast twitch white muscle fibers (type II).
Those fibers anatomically consist of thicker neuraxon, in order for the stimulus to be transmitted efficiently and rapidly, while are rich in muscle glycogen.
On the other hand, slow twitch red muscle fibers (type I), are plenty in mitochondria and myoglobin.
This explains why endurance athletes get benefit of higher hemoglobin and VO2max.
In is easier to build red muscle fibers, rather than white; in other words you are born with more white muscle fibers, ideal for sprinting and bodybuilding.
This is purely genetic thing and explains why some athletes are more talented than others.
During muscle contraction we have three phases: The concentric where muscle belly shortens, the peak of contraction where muscles squeeze and the eccentric phase of contraction, when muscles elongate. Among them the negative eccentric part stimulates 30% more the fibers (against the gravity), rather the positive phase.
The tempo has to be explosive concentric (positive) and slower negative (eccentric) phase, approximately 1/3.
We inhale (breath in) during eccentric (negative part) and we exhale (breath out) during the positive part (concentric).
As a matter of fact, most of the tendon and muscle injuries (ruptures) are taking place during the eccentric negative part of the muscle contractions.
During posing we perform isometric contractions, when length of muscle bellies doesn’t change.
This kind of contractions strengthens remarkably tendons and ligaments, while muscle fibers are stimulated 15% more than concentric contractions.
Muscle performance up to half minute (30sec) purely relies on muscle glycogen stores, while ATP/CP is the exclusive energy coin up to six seconds (6”).
At 45” roughly we have the maximum lactate production and anaerobic threshold (400m running).
So when we execute >20reps we feel the burning sensation of fatigue (this is something to be avoided by specific supplementation that I describe later).