For newbies to the sport of figure competitions, the pressure associated with attaining “the perfect physique” can be overwhelming.

Judges look at overall body symmetry and muscle definition, as opposed to just bulk. It’s all about appearance, not necessarily strength, although to build a competition-ready body, most competitors begin hitting the gym several months in advance.

The tough competition can drive inexperienced athletes to over train. They’ll work the same muscles to extremes and overdo cardio, sometimes up to seven days a week. They assume all the intense training will give them the best results.

I have friends who are currently professionals in this sport, and they have stories about going through this when it was all new to them. One actually experienced an injury from exhaustion while working out a couple weeks before show time, and it forced him to drop out.

When you exercise, your muscles actually go through a break down process. They tear as you’re working out, then “re-heal” bigger and stronger. Overtime, they become more defined. But this process can only happen when they receive proper recovery time.

Training hard is a must for these competitors, but it’s also important to train smart. Overworking the body can actually decrease performance and often lead to injury. And when your muscles aren’t productive, you wont be able to train as hard, and developing that award winning body will be difficult to accomplish.

So instead of focusing on looking “perfect,” train your muscles appropriately and safely – the great body will come naturally.

Here is a sample split routine (training different muscle groups on different days) that many of the best body builders follow:

  • Monday: Biceps, triceps, quadriceps
  • Tuesday: 45 minutes of cardio
  • Wednesday: Chest, shoulders, hamstrings
  • Thursday: Back, abs
  • Friday: 45 minutes of cardio
  • Saturday: Full body strength workout
  • Sunday: Rest




Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.