In many aspects of life, there is always a magic number. Two’s company, three’s a crowd. A dozen of anything seems to feel a family with no problem. In bodybuilding, 75 is the magic number when it comes to the amount of minutes you should be spending in the gym in order to deliver a maximum effort workout. Not 70. not 80. Your goal is to train seventy-five minutes, every time. Nothing more, nothing less. Less than that can result in your muscles not receiving adequate stimulation, and more than that can lead to overtraining. Let’s look at how that works out in real life.
The first 45 minutes of every workout should be for the major body part being trained that day. Divide this up into about four movements or 12 sets. The first two movements should be compound movements, using very heavy weights and low repetitions ranges, in the 7 to 10 range. After that, move on to a moderate movement using 10 to 12 repetitions, then a final pumping movement that lets you flirt with 12 to 20 repetitions per set. Start heavy, and move your way to light as the reps increase. Use the clock, and when you’ve given 45 minutes to that body part, call it a day and move onto the second portion of your workout.
The second half of the workout, or 30 minutes, should be devoted to scorching a second body part. This will be a smaller body part. Divide this up into about three movements, and 12 sets. You’ll notice you have to squeeze the same 12 sets into a lot less minutes. Since you’re doing a smaller body part, however, your body should recover fast enough to handle this. Just one minute of rest between sets is fine for a smaller body part such as triceps or biceps.
For the smaller body part, you should start with a compound free weight movement, and then move on to another compound heavy movement of the free weight or the machine variety. Your final exercise can be a pumping movement of the isolation variety, using cables and very high repetitions. On the final set, just stop counting and train until the muscle group fails!
Your traditional body part splits will apply in the usual manner. Chest and triceps are usually paired together. Back and biceps are usually linked up. Quadriceps and hamstrings work well together. Shoulders and traps usually find their way together. Calves, forearms, and abs – they usually just fall into place in one spot or another.
It’s perfectly acceptable to use nontraditional mixes for your body parts. Back and triceps work well together, especially two days after a chest and triceps day. Shoulders can be grouped with either biceps or triceps, and just about anything can be added to abs and forearms. The important thing isn’t to follow what some other bodybuilder does in the gym. The important thing is to find the workout mix that will allow you to train for 75 straight minutes and stick with it. Good luck, and keep on aiming for 75 minutes… or bust!