by Sally Boon
(Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
At this time, you should already have mastered the basic exercises and strict and proper form for consistent period of 16 to 24 weeks. There are several definitions for the intermediate body builder, but the most important thing is that you should already be prepared to take on bigger challenges and levels of stress that starters cannot tolerate. Routines will incorporate new movements that reveal more muscles.
What It Means to Be an Intermediate
Time is the first factor to consider if you have successfully moved on from beginner to intermediate level. Some experts believe that an individual should at least have worked out consistently for a minimum of 6 to 12 months before being categorized an intermediate body builder.
Others may consider an individual graduating from starter class after a period of 2 to 3 years or after 100 to 200 workout sessions. Others use particular strength levels such as being able to bench press your actual weight, curl 50% of actual weight, shoulder press 75% of actual weight, etc.
Other experts are more concerned about quality than the period of time or strength. They believe that an individual should only move on to the intermediate class after he or she has successfully improved the mind-muscle connection.
You should be able to control muscle movement accordingly by hitting the fibers specifically. You will be more prepared to do isolation movements by getting to know the feel when lifting instead of basic repetitions.
An individual’s capacity to recover should improve before taking an intermediate routine. Beginners can risk overtraining if they train muscles too often.
You will know how quickly you recover by assessing your strength level when working out the same body part again.
The intermediate phase should be a time for body builders to incorporate a number of isolation movements to better stimulate the available muscle fibers. Workouts will now consist of both compound and isolation movements.
However, intermediates should remember not to neglect the basic movements that build quality muscle mass. The compound exercises are the most ideal for gaining strength and mass since these stimulate your body to produce vast amounts of testosterone that leads to growth and development.
This is the period when you can add more weight, more sets, more exercises and incorporate machines and angular movements that hit deep-lying muscle fibers more effectively. You may even add 1 to 2 days per week depending on your activity tolerance and rate of recovery.
It is vital that you continue to prevent overtraining by limiting your workouts to no more than 45 minutes per session and no more than 4 days per week. You may now divide body parts among workout days to conserve energy and enhance recuperation. This method is called split-training.
What to Do
Start by identifying the muscle groups you’re going to target namely chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads or thighs, hamstrings, abs and calves. Next, divide these according to the number of days per week you plan to work out.
For example, for a three day a week schedule, you can assign chest and back on Monday, shoulders, biceps and triceps on Wednesday and legs and abs on Friday.
If you can recover between workouts faster, you can add more days such as working out 3 consecutive days, taking 1 to 2 days off, and then repeating the cycle again.
Always listen to your body through signs like muscle fatigue, willingness to return to the gym for another workout and food cravings.
Most intermediates find it most effective to split the muscle groups over 3 days then using the 4th day to work out problem muscles a 2nd time.
Some muscles tend to respond poorly except if you frequently stimulate it to new growth. You may also use the 4th day to work out minor muscles such as forearms, calves, traps, lower back and abs.
When choosing exercises, it is advised to select 1 to 2 compound movements, plus 1 isolation movement. An example for the chest would be bench press, incline dumbbell press and dumbbell flye.
The compound movement will let blood flow through the entire area and related muscles, while the isolation exercise will hit the entire body part specifically, adding more definition and form.
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