Most bodybuilders train like Powerlifters.
Benchpress 1st set – 12 reps, 2nd set – 10 reps, 3rd set – 8 reps, 4th set – 6 reps. Incline bench same routine. Deadlift same routine. Squat, Legpress, Curls, Skullcrushers….same. Does this resemble your workouts? What would you like to have more: A muscular ripped physique or a big frame and strong as a bull? There is no right or wrong answer, everyone has different goals. If your main goal is strength, keep training the way you are….heavy weights and progressive low reps. This type of training is great for developing the neuromuscular connection which is the basis for strength. However, if you want to be a bodybuilder….not necessarily a 300lb freak (they see this as a compliment) but you choose your physique over your strength….then you are training WRONG. I’m sure you know alot of people who have developed great physiques training with a pyramidding scheme, where heavy weight and low reps is the basis of the workout philosophy. But what no one knows is how great their physiques would be and how much MORE muscle they would build if they would just train in a way that builds the most muscle.
High reps – I’m not talking about “burnouts” done with just the 45lb bar, I’m talking about rep ranges of 15-25 reps per set done with the correct weight so that those 15-25 reps usually represent the point of “failure” for that set. By doing so you recruit more muscle fibers, deeper fibers, and your overal poundage for your exercise [weight x reps x sets] is higher in the end which equals more overall muscle growth, instead of just the superficial (surface) fibers that are well adapted to your 4 x 12,10,8,6 workouts. Rep after rep that you do, muscle fibers get exhausted, their ATP depleted, and deeper ones recruited to handle the ensuring weight. If you never go past 12 reps, then you have never stimulated the fibers deeper than those recruited on rep #12. Take a moment to think about this.
Long rest periods – I hear people preach all the time that rest periods should be 60-90 seconds long, mostly this information started with newbie personal trainers who just got their weekend certification. Forget you ever heard this information….seriously. If you are training for an endurance sport, doing Cross-Fit, or want to just be lean and like doing circuit training, thats fine…this does not apply to you. But if you are a bodybuilder at heart and your goal is to pack on as muscle muscle in as short of time you should be resting 3-5 minutes in between sets…..every set. While the majority of your ATP is regenerated in 60-90 seconds, a decent percentage takes alot longer to reload. Once you start taking longer rest periods between sets notice your strength goes up for each set….you can lift more weight and/or more reps which = more total weight lifted for that exercise [weight x reps x sets] which = more muscle growth.
There’s more to it than just this but these two aspects of training are paramount to your results. Every workout needs to be switched up once in a while to avoid a plateau, so I’m not saying there is absolutely no place in a bodybuilders workout for STRENGTH TRAINING….but for the most part, dont think strength training, think GROWTH TRAINING!