How to Begin Bodybuilding: 9 Steps to Building a Solid Foundation

Table of Contents

If you don’t know how to begin bodybuilding, follow these guidelines, and you’ll be able to build muscles faster than ever before.

Key Takeaways

How to Begin Bodybuilding

The type of bodybuilding you choose to participate in depends on your goals. Bodybuilders aim to build up their muscles by lifting weights or using other forms of resistance training. A four-day split might work best for you if you’re looking to build muscle mass and increase strength.

Bodybuilding is an intense workout routine that requires dedication and hard work. Bodybuilding is a sport that has been around since the early 1900s. It was originally used to build strength and endurance in men. Today, bodybuilders compete in shows and competitions where they showcase their physique in front of judges.

There are many different types of bodybuilding. Some people focus on building muscle mass, while others focus on building muscle definition. The type of bodybuilding you choose to participate in depends on your goals.

If you want to get started in bodybuilding, here are some tips to help you get started.

What is bodybuilding?

Bodybuilding is a sport that involves the development and maintenance of muscular strength and endurance through exercise. It also includes dieting and nutrition for optimal performance.

Bodybuilders aim to build up their muscles by lifting weights or using other forms of resistance training. They do this to look better at competitions like figure shows, bikini contests, etc. Who participates in bodybuilding?

Anyone who wants to improve their physical appearance may consider starting bodybuilding. This means anyone, from children to adults, can participate. However, most professional athletes participated in bodybuilding before becoming famous.

Man and woman lifting dumbells - Best Strength Training Workout

Types of bodybuilding:

1) Mass gainers: These exercises target increasing lean muscle mass without adding fat. If you have more muscle than fat, it will be easier to lose weight later.

2) Fat loss: This focuses on losing as much fat as possible from specific areas such as arms, legs, stomach, chest, back, shoulders, hips, thighs, calves, abs, neck, face, jawline, etc.

3) Muscle gain – This targets gaining size and shape with minimal fat. You may not see any visible changes until after several months of consistent workouts.

4) Strength gains: This helps improve overall physical fitness and health. If you’re looking to increase your stamina, flexibility, balance, coordination, agility, speed, power, and endurance, these exercises will help you achieve those results.

5) Cardio – This is an aerobic workout that improves cardiovascular function. It increases blood flow throughout the entire body. This makes it easy to burn calories even when resting.

6) Powerlifting: This is done under strict supervision and requires special equipment. It uses heavy loads. It has been used to develop Olympic lifters. 

Why Strength Training?

Reach failure more easily

Strength training builds strong bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, joints, and muscles. Stronger muscles make us stronger. The benefits include increased bone density, improved posture, reduced risk of injury, greater energy levels, faster recovery time, and enhanced athletic ability.

Benefits of strength training:

• Increased Bone Density – When we age, our bones become weaker because there aren’t enough minerals. By doing resistance exercise, we build up a lot of calcium in our bones. Calcium strengthens them, so they don’t break easily.

• Improved Posture – We all know how bad poor posture looks! But did you know that having good posture also gives you better self-confidence? Good posture allows for proper breathing and reduces stress.

• Reduced Risk Of Injury – A study published by Harvard University found that people who do regular strength training reduce their chances of getting injured by 50%. That’s pretty impressive!

• Faster Recovery Time – Most people feel sore or tired after working out. However, this feeling goes away within 24 hours. In contrast, injuries can take weeks to heal. So, if you’re prone to injury, strength training could prevent future problems.

• Enhanced Athletic Ability – Athletes use strength training to enhance performance during competition. For example, tennis players need powerful upper bodies to hit hard serves. Soccer players need fast reflexes and quick reactions to stop opponents’ shots. And gymnasts must have great core stability to perform difficult moves.

How to begin bodybuilding? 9 Steps to Building a Solid Foundation

1. Choose a Workout Split

Once you’ve decided to start bodybuilding, the next step is to choose a workout split that suits your goals, schedule, body type, and energy levels.

A four-day split might work best for you if you’re looking to build muscle mass and increase strength. This would allow you time to recover between workouts and give your muscles enough time to grow. For example,

  • Day 1: Chest/Back Combo Exercise; Triceps Exercise; Biceps Exercise
  • Day 2: Legs/Abs Combo Exercise; Shoulders/Traps Combo Exercise; Calves/Abs Combo Exercise
  • Day 3: Rest or Cardio?

2. Set Your Calories and Macros

Once you have calculated your calorie needs, it is time to calculate your macronutrient needs. This is where things get a little confusing. Macros are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The percentages of these macros are based on the total calories consumed daily. Carbohydrates should be around 4-5% of total calories consumed, proteins should be 20%, and fats should be 25-30%. It is important that these percentages remain the same to build muscle mass without gaining any fat mass. For this to happen, though, you must be tracking what goes into your body each day through food tracking apps like My Fitness Pal, which allows users to log their daily food intake so that they can see how much they’re eating as well as how many calories are being burned throughout the day through exercise activities such as walking or jogging on treadmills at local gyms like Planet Fitness or Gold’s Gym locations nationwide (or whatever gym happens to be closest).

3. Do your homework and learn about the bodybuilding staples: squats, deadlifts, presses, rows, pull-ups, and chin-ups.

The next step to building your body is learning and mastering the basic staples of bodybuilding. You will most often do these exercises as they are the foundation for building muscle mass. They also develop overall strength and fitness, which helps to prevent injury when you’re lifting heavier loads in future workouts.

Now, let’s get into some detail about these exercises:

  • Squats are the king of all exercises! They build more muscle than any other exercise by far…and they’re also one of the best full-body workouts. When done correctly, they will dramatically improve your overall strength and fitness and make your legs huge! If this isn’t enough reason to include squats as part of your routine, then I don’t know what is!

4. Stick to free weights; save machine work later in your bodybuilding career (if ever).

In general, free weights will be better for building muscles than machines. The reason is that they allow you to use your body’s full range of motion, which is more natural and effective than a machine. Free weights are also more versatile in terms of exercises that can be performed with them since they aren’t limited to just one specific movement or exercise (such as pressing).

Finally, free weight training is safer than machine training because it doesn’t restrict your range of motion or put undue stress on certain body parts—you’re not going to get injured doing bench presses with bad form!

5. Include one or two isolation exercises for each major muscle group if desired, but don’t go overboard.

If you don’t have any experience with weightlifting, I recommend starting with four basic compound exercises for each muscle group. However, if you’re a more advanced lifter looking to try something new, give isolation exercises a shot!

Isolation exercises allow you to target specific muscle groups without using as much weight. You’ll be able to do more reps and get much better results when working in this manner. Isolation work should be done after your main lifts or at the end of your workout, depending on how many sets of each exercise you plan on doing.

6. “Go Heavy Or Go Home”

As a beginner, you may think lifting light is better. But the weight doesn’t matter—how much you can lift counts. If you can lift 70% of your max weight, then that’s what you need to be lifting to build muscle and burn fat.

If you’re new to lifting weights, start with a low amount of weight at first and work your way up as quickly as possible while still completing all sets with good form.

7. Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Sleep is essential for building muscles and recovering from workouts. The body doesn’t repair itself while you’re awake, so it’s important to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Your body releases human growth hormone (HGH), which is essential for muscle growth during the deep stages of sleep, so try to go to bed earlier than usual when trying to gain weight and bulk up.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between 18 and 64 get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night; older adults need as much as 8–9 hours per night. If you feel groggy or irritable throughout the day, consider adding an afternoon nap or going to bed earlier.

8. Do Cardio On Non-Lifting Days

Cardio, more commonly known as aerobic or cardiovascular exercise, is a great way to burn calories and lose weight. There are lots of different types of cardio: running, cycling, swimming, elliptical machines, and treadmills are just some examples. Cardio can help you recover from the muscle aches and pains caused by lifting weights (or doing any other form of resistance training) by helping your body flush out lactic acid buildup in your muscles.

For example, suppose you run for an hour at moderate intensity on Monday morning after lifting weights on Saturday afternoon. In that case, you’ll likely feel less soreness in your legs following this routine than if you had done no cardio. Therefore, it makes sense not to do any cardio on days when you lift but rather use those days as rest days to coincide with non-lifting days where there is usually more time available!

9. Stay Consistent

  • Consistency is the most important element of bodybuilding; it will help you achieve your goals more than anything else.
  • The most obvious way to stay consistent is by working out three times a week, but there are other ways as well:
  • Remember that consistency doesn’t mean going every day; it means making sure you’re hitting your workouts regularly—even if that means missing a day or two here and there, don’t let yourself get off track for too long or else you’ll lose motivation.
  • If you miss a day and feel like giving up on your routine entirely, just take it one step at a time until you’re back on track! It doesn’t have to be all or nothing; just keep at it slowly until everything feels natural again.

What Types of Exercises Should I Do to Build Muscles?

Lose Fat & Gain Muscle

There are two types of strength-building exercises: compound movements (multi-joint movement patterns like squats, lunges, pushups, pull-ups, dips, bench presses, deadlifts, rows, curls, leg lifts, shoulder presses, overhead pressing, chin-ups, triceps extensions, etc.) and isolation movements. Both types work for multiple muscle groups at once. They both require different amounts of effort and intensity. You should choose one type over another depending on what kind of goals you want to accomplish with your program.

Compound Movements

These multi-joint movements target more than one major group of muscles simultaneously. These include squatting, pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, lifting, jumping, running, climbing stairs, cycling, swimming, rowing, throwing, punching, kicking, and swinging. Compound movements help increase muscular size and improve balance, coordination, flexibility, speed, power, endurance, agility, and reaction times.

Isolation Movement

An isolation movement targets only one muscle group without other opposing muscle groups being involved. This is the best way to isolate individual muscle groups such as bicep curls, chest flies, latissimus dorsi, pec deck, deltoid, quadriceps, glutes, calves, abs, obliques, back, shoulders, neck, arms, wrists, hands, feet, ankles, toes, hips, knees, thighs, shins, quads, forearms, elbows, fingers, palms, and wrist flexors. Isolation movements allow us to focus our energy on a single area while allowing the rest of the body to remain relaxed and ready to go when we return to it. It helps build lean mass, tone up, burn fat, strengthen weak areas, and develop new ones.

Which type of exercise should I perform first?

The answer depends upon which goal you wish to achieve first. If you want to gain weight, then start with compound movements. On the contrary, if you want to lose weight, then do some isolation exercises. Also, remember that doing too much exercise will not make you stronger; rather, it will just tire you out faster. Therefore, try to keep your workouts short but intense.

When Should I Work Out?

The ideal time for an effective workout is between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. However, this varies from person to person based on their lifestyle. Some people prefer working out early in the morning or late in the evening because they find these hours convenient. Others may feel better after eating breakfast before exercising. The important thing is to get started right away to reap all the benefits of regular training sessions.

Should I Train In A Gym Or Outside My Home?

You don’t necessarily need a gym membership to train effectively. Many free resources are available online to learn how to perform various strength-building exercises. For example, plenty of videos show the proper form for each exercise. Another option would be to join a local fitness club. Most gyms offer yoga, Pilates, spinning, kickboxing, Zumba, CrossFit, kettlebells, TRX suspension training, boot camp, HIIT cardio, circuit training, etc. All these options provide great opportunities to work out at home.

What Kind of Food Can Help Me Build Muscle Mass?

A healthy diet should consist mainly of protein-rich foods, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Protein provides essential amino acids the human body needs to grow and repair tissues. These nutrients also help maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. They also promote growth hormone production, increase testosterone levels, improve mood, boost immunity, reduce stress, and enhance athletic performance.

Can You Get Fat From Eating Too Much Protein?

Protein does contain calories. However, most proteins have less than 4% of the total daily calorie intake. This means that consuming more than 20 grams per day won’t cause any significant changes in your overall caloric balance. Moreover, high-protein diets tend to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Is Weight Training Safe During Pregnancy?

Weight lifting during pregnancy poses no risk to either the mother or baby. It has been shown that women who lift weights while pregnant experience fewer complications such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia, premature labor, low birthweight babies, cesarean sections, postpartum depression, and back pain. Women who engage in resistance training throughout pregnancy report feeling happier and having higher self-esteem.

Which Is Better: Cardio And Strength Training Together Or Separately?

Both types of exercise are beneficial when performed separately. However, combining them into one workout session will give you greater results. When performing aerobic and anaerobic workouts together, it’s best to alternate between them every two weeks. If you’re new to weightlifting, start with light weights first until you build up endurance. Once you’ve reached this point, gradually add heavier weights.

Are High-Intensity Interval Workouts Effective for Burning More Calories?

High-intensity interval training is effective because it increases metabolism and improves cardiovascular health. The key to success lies in choosing the right type of interval. A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that participants who did 30 seconds on/30 seconds off sprinting burned about 200 extra calories compared to those doing continuous running. In addition, they experienced better fat-burning effects.

Does Drinking Water Make Your Muscles Grow Faster?

Yes! According to a recent study conducted by researchers from University College London, drinking water can make muscles grow faster. Researchers divided 40 men into four groups; each group was given different amounts of water for three months. Afterward, all subjects were put through strength tests. Those who drank 2 liters of water gained significantly stronger biceps muscle mass than their counterparts who didn’t drink anything.

Do I Need to Eat Before Working Out?

Yes, but not necessarily before working out. Some people feel hungry after exercising, so they eat something immediately afterward. Others don’t want to interrupt their workout routine by eating too soon. Instead, try waiting for at least a half hour after finishing your last meal.

Some people feel hungry after exercising, which makes them eat even though they don’t need food. Others find themselves full after working out, so they skip eating altogether. Either way, if you want to lose weight, then try to avoid skipping meals. Instead, plan and prepare healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, yogurt, etc., just in case you get hungry.

What Are The Best Exercises For Men Over 50 Years Old?

The following exercises should be included in anyone over 50 years old’s fitness program:

1) Squats – This helps legs, thighs, buttocks, calves, hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, adductors, hip flexors, core abdominal muscles, lower back, shoulders, upper arms, chest, neck, and triceps. They also improve balance and posture.

2) Lunges – This helps develop leg muscles, especially quads, gluteus maximus, hamstring, calf, inner thigh, outer thigh, knee cap, shin bone, foot, ankle, heel, toes, and Achilles tendon.

3) Deadlifts – These work the entire body, including hips, knees, ankles, feet, spine, abs, oblique, shoulder girdle, deltoids, trapezius, rhomboids, pectorals, latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, serratus anterior, clavicle, sternocostal joints, cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae, lumbar vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, and pelvic floor. It is one of the best total-body workouts available.

4) Pull-ups are excellent exercises for building arm, forearm, wrist, hand, elbow, shoulder, and chest muscles. You will see results quickly with this simple yet effective exercise.

5) Pushups build up the chest, shoulders, triceps, forearms, wrists, hands, elbows, and abs.

6) Rowing Machine: This works with every major muscle group in the body, such as the heart, lungs, abdomen, back, shoulders, arms, legs, and buttocks.

7) Calf-raising exercise strengthens the calf muscles and improves circulation.

8) Jumping Jacks – This builds up the whole body while improving coordination and agility.

9) Plank – This develops the abdominals, back, shoulders, and grip strength.

10) Burpees – This is another great exercise for developing overall health and stamina.

Make Your Workout Your Habit.

You should always make sure that you are doing something every day. Even though some people think that working out once a week is enough, it isn’t. We must work out daily because our bodies don’t know what’s coming next. We never stop growing, no matter how old we become. So, to keep yourself fit and healthy, you must start exercising regularly.

If you do a particular exercise for 10 or 20 minutes, stick to this routine consistently. For example, follow through if you plan to go jogging every day at 5 pm. Don’t skip days or weeks. Make sure you get up early so you won’t miss your scheduled time. Also, ensure you eat well for the rest of the day. Try to avoid eating junk food like fast food and snacks.

Consistency In Your Workout

When you first started training, you might have been able to lift weights without any problem. But now, after months of consistent training, you may find that you can barely move anymore. If this happens, there could be two reasons: either you’ve gotten too weak from not lifting properly or you haven’t trained hard enough. You’ll need to train harder to prevent getting weaker over time.

The key here is consistency.

Build the basic principles into your workout program. When you practice these exercises regularly, they will eventually become second nature to you.

For instance, when you learned to play the guitar, you had to learn all the chords by ear. Once you learned them, however, you didn’t use those skills again until much later. You automatically recognize which chord goes where whenever you hear a song.

The same thing applies to weightlifting. You shouldn’t expect to see results right away. It takes several months of consistent workouts to develop good habits. However, if you continue practicing, you’ll soon notice improvements in your performance.

Don’t Overdo Things

It doesn’t take long before you realize you aren’t feeling powerful. At times, you feel tired even after only one set of exercises. Or maybe you feel sore afterward. That means that you probably did more reps than necessary.

Fundamental Exercises

Master at least one exercise from each group.

  1. Squats: front and back squats, box squats, and cup squats.
  2. Hip hinge: trap-bar deadlift, traditional deadlift, sumo deadlift, and Romanian deadlift.
  3. Single-leg exercises: Reverse lunges, forward lunges, side lunges, Bulgarian split crouches, single-leg RDL, single-leg hip thrust, and step-ups.
  4. Pushing exercises: bench press variants, pinhead press variants, military press, push press, landmine press, and push-ups.
  5. Pulling exercises: seated row variations, chest-supported rows, weighted rows, single-arm pinhead rows, single-arm standing cable rows, chin-ups, and pull-ups.
  6. Bilateral – farmer’s carry; Unilateral – bag carries; cross-body; and waiter carries.
  7. Core lifts: Pallof press, chops, half-kneeling lifts, tall-kneeling lifts, overhead lifts, split-stance exercises, plank variants, and roll-outs.

Take control & release your inner athlete.

Introducing the body’s most powerful muscle. The muscle you have never heard of is the hip flexors, Unlock them and breathe new life, energy, and strength into your body.

Define Your Goals.

If you comply with a full-body program developed around these 7 groups, you’ll be astonished at exactly how well your body reacts:

Add muscle mass: use heavyweights and offer the training stimulation the body will need to grow. 

Weight loss: These movements will permit you to melt the most calories and proceed to function harder in the gym.

Build Power: These workouts are the perfect tools.

man posing while lifting dumbells - Best Strength Training Workout

Do the following workouts to look 10 years younger.

These workouts expose what you must avoid if you want to regenerate your body, restore your health, delay aging, and achieve your ideal body.

For 8 weeks, do 3 workouts per week.

This program applies 3 days per week. Each week you have to complete all 3 workouts (1,2,3).

Alternate between workouts 1, 2, and 3 for 8 weeks and don’t deviate from the plan. If you feel likely to include a 4th training day, do it, yet keep the same order: 1-2-3-1/2-3-1-2/3-1-2-3/1-2-3-1.

Be consistent for the next two months.

Workout 1

1.Back Squat: 3 sets, 5 reps

2. Dumbbell Press: 3 sets, 8 reps

Super-set with One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3. One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets, 10 reps (per arm)

4. Dumbbell Front & Rear Lunge: 3 sets, 10 reps (per leg) Superset with Pallof Press

5. Pallof Press: 3 sets, 10 reps (per side)

6. Suitcase Dumbbell Carry: 3 sets, 30-40 yards (per arm).

Workout 2

1. Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets, 5 reps (3 to 4 sets max).

2. Pull-Ups: 3 sets, 5 reps 

3. Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets, 8 reps

4. One-Arm Kettlebell Push Press: 3 sets, 8 reps (per arm).

5. Cable rows – seated: 3 sets, 10 reps

6. Ab Roll-out: 3 sets, 10 reps

7. Farmer’s Walk: 3 sets, 20 reps

Workout 3

1. Deadlift: 3 sets, 5 reps 

2. Landmine 180’s: 3 sets, 8 reps (each arm)

3. Goblet Squat: 3 sets, 10 reps

4. Inverted Row: 3 sets, 8 reps

5. Wood Chop–Standing Cable: 3 sets, 10 reps (per side)

6. Waiter’s Carry: 3 sets, 20 meters (per arm).

Use these 9 steps to create a solid foundation for your bodybuilding goals.

Before making any progress in bodybuilding, you must establish a solid foundation. This is the foundation of your health, fitness, and nutrition.

  • Start with the basics and be consistent with both strength training and cardio.
  • Be patient; results take time!
  • Set realistic goals for yourself, but try to push yourself beyond that goal once it has been reached.

Finally, keep eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water throughout this process, so your body has all the nutrients needed to grow stronger muscles!


It’s important to remember that everybody is different, so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building the body you want. This is just a guideline for those new to this and looking for some direction on how to begin their journey. But ultimately, what works best for each person will depend on their unique circumstances and preferences—and we hope these nine steps will give you some ideas about how to go about finding what works best for you!