Ready to increase your passion for fitness and start training like a competitor? Today we are going to go over a physique competition training program.
So you’ve been going to the gym for a few years now, you no longer think of yourself to be a total newbie in the gym, but you start seeing the old “beast mode” workout just isn’t cutting it anymore. Let’s talk.
So what can you do to start that fire you once had when you first stepped in the gym?
Lots of guys like to look up new workouts that their favorite bodybuilder does and usually, the focus is on a certain body part instead of a full body workout. It’s a problem. Take a look at any fitness magazine, website, social media page… I’m pretty sure that more times than not, there is always a workout that targets your arms or chest or some other specific body part.
While going from a total gym newbie myself to a NPC Men’s Physique Competitor, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve changed my own workouts to get arms like Phil Heath or shoulders like Dennis Wolf. We’ve all been there.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved those articles and they are 2 of my favorite bodybuilders. Still, I fell into the same trap that I see others go down. Today let’s change it up.
Spot Workouts Not The Answer For Pinpointing Progress?
“Spot workouts” as I like to say, is when you target a specific body part during a workout. You know, when you try to get that shredded 6 pack, sleeve busting biceps, or thick oak-like chest. I never really got it into my head that I needed a full body workout to tie my all of my muscles together.
I would work on a certain body part like my biceps or triceps until they were big enough and then would move onto another body part thinking this was the best way to build muscle.
So how do you get that symmetrical rockin’ bod?
It wasn’t until I looked at the workouts of my favorite competitors that I soon realized I had been going about this all wrong. My workouts were more or less full body workouts mixed in with a body part and their workouts were split up by body parts. My mind was blown yet at the same time it all started to make more sense as to why I never could get that complete package look.
The next step was putting it all together.
Reading about this from the NPC and IFBB, I wanted to learn as much as I could about the sport so that I could step on stage one day. So I want to share with you (what took me 15 years to understand) the workout below. It is a typical workout I personally use and think you should try if you are at a low point in your workouts.
This is what works for me…
BOSU Workout: Wanting Symmetry
You will see at the end of each workout, I added a BOSU ball workout to help to balance your body. I can honestly say I’ve never once read an article that talked about adding balance into your workout unless it was talking about muscle symmetry. After each of my competitions, I saw that my legs were pretty much all used up and it seemed to happen more on my left side than my right side. I thought this was just an imbalance in my workouts so I tried to add different workouts in order to help my weaker muscles.
Retraining After Injury With BOSU Workouts
I eventually went to the doctor to see if I tore a muscle or maybe sprained a hamstring. The doctor found out that I had bicep femoris tendinopathy. For those of you who do not know what this is, it is when one of your hamstring muscle tendons gets injured. I could feel the pain on the back of my knee.
The pain went all the way up to my hamstrings so I thought I had injured the long head. Thankfully I had health insurance so I chose to take some physical therapy to help me learn why this happened and how to keep this from ever happening again.
My physical therapist ran a few test on me and it didn’t take long to see that my body was not balanced. One of the tests I had to do was to stand on a BOSU ball with one leg. If you have ever played a pinball machine you could think of it as my leg playing the game and winning.
For the next few weeks, I was able to heal myself from the injury while learning about the importance of having a balanced body. Not only that, but having muscular symmetry helps with your body’s natural balance which also reduces the risk of injury.
Physique Competition Training Program
The following workout was created by me and my coach, Tim Frost from IFBB Men’s Physique Pro.
This is a “sample workout” for a full detailed plan please click here.
Physique Competition Training Program – Back:
Warm-up – 1 set of wide grip lat pulldowns, 15 reps with light weight.
- Weighted Wide Grip Pull-Ups
- Neutral grip pull-ups
- Reverse grip pull-ups
(Super Set: Do all 3 grips to total 1 set, 4 sets x 10 reps)
- Meadows Row (each hand): 4 sets x 10 reps
- High Hammer Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Cable Pullovers: 2 sets x 15 reps
- Deadlifts: 4 sets x 10 reps
Physique Competition Training Program – Biceps:
- Cambered Barbell Curls (close grip) : 4 sets x 10 reps
- Straight Bar barbell curls (wide grip): 4 sets x 10 reps
- Concentration dumbbell curls: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Reverse straight bar cable curls: 4 sets x 10 reps
Physique Competition Training Program – Bosu Ball: Step Ups – 1 set x 25 reps per leg.
*These are done by putting the Bosu ball in front of you on a level ground. You will step up with your left leg on the Bosu ball while bringing your right knee upwards to a 90° bend. The balance yourself on one leg. You will hold this for 1 second and then go back to the starting position. Do this 25 times on your left leg then switch and do this 25 times on your right leg.
Recommended: BOSU Balance Trainer Ball
Physique Competition Training Program – Shoulders:
Warm-up – 1 set of lateral dumbbells 15 reps with light weight.
1) Lateral Dumbbell Raises: “Run the Rack”: 10 sets X 12 reps, on the first set and last set before working your way back down do 2 sets.
*Running the rack: An example would be starting with 15 lbs. at 12 reps twice to start out with, move up to 20lbs do 12 reps. Once you are at 30lbs you will do this 2 times. After this you will start to work your way back to 15 lbs. by dropping 5lbs each set. You will end with your starting weight to get a total of 10 sets.
2) Rear Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps
*Superset with 45lb plate raises after each set.
3) Wide Smith Machine Upright Rows: 4 sets x 10 reps
4) Military Press: 4 sets x 10 reps 5) Reverse Peck Deck Flyes: 4 sets x 10 reps
Physique Competition Training Program – Calves:
- Standing Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps
- Seated Calf Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps
- Donkey Raises: 4 sets x 12 reps
Physique Competition Training Program – Bosu Ball:
Side steps: 1 set x 26 reps
*Kind of like the step ups, you will now place the Bosu ball level on your left. Start by stepping sideways to your left, step up and balance yourself on your left leg while bringing your right knee up to a 90 bend. Hold this for 1 second then go back to the starting position. Do this 25 reps per leg.
Recommended: BOSU Balance Trainer Ball
Physique Competition Training Program – Quads:
Warm-up: 1 set of leg extension, 15 reps with light weight.
- Leg Extension : 4 sets x 12 reps
- Squat Rack : 4 sets x 10 reps
- Front Squats: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Hack Squat (narrow): 4 sets x 10 reps
- Leg Press: 4 sets of 10 reps
Physique Competition Training Program – Hamstrings
- Stiff Leg Dead lifts: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Lying Leg Curls: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Lunges : 3 sets across the gym
Physique Competition Training Program – Bosu Ball
Static Holds: 1 minute each leg
*To do this you will turn the Bosu ball upside down so the flat rubber bottom is facing upwards. This will take some getting used to so I suggest placing this close to a wall where you can use the wall to balance yourself so you don’t fall. Place your leg in the middle of the Bosu Ball and balance yourself on one leg with a slight bend in your knee. You will hold this for 1 minute then switch legs, the goal here is to be able to balance yourself for 1 whole minute with no help.
Recommended: BOSU Balance Trainer Ball
Physique Competition Training Program – Chest
Warm-up: 1 set of barbell press, 15 reps with light weight
- Incline Landmine Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets x 5 reps
*Start with a wide grip, medium grip, then close grip
- Decline Barbell Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Weighted Dips: 4 sets x 10 reps
*Superset with pushups to failure.
Recommended: 40lb. weighted vest by HumanX Gear®
Physique Competition Training Program – Triceps
- French Press: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Dumbbell Kickbacks: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Rope Cable Extension: 4 sets x 10 reps
- Supinated Grip Single Cable extension: 4 sets x 10 reps
Pick 1 body part per muscle group and do 1 set of 25 reps. You will do this 3 more times for a total of 4 reps, try to keep time between sets to a minimum while only resting after you’ve finished a full cycle through all body parts.
- During off season, I only do 20 minutes of cardio post workout, a medium paced walk (Speed 3, incline 3) on the treadmill. If you are trying to lean out then add 30 minutes of fasted HIIT intervals 3-4 days each morning. Fasted means with no food and is best done right after you wake up in the morning.
Minute: Speed: Incline:
1-5 (warm up) 3.5 3
6 9 1
7 3 1
8 8 1
9 3 1
10 7 1
11 3 1
12 6 1
13 3 1
14 5 1
15 3 1
16 4 1
17 3 1
18 9 1
19 -28 8-4 1
29 1 0
30 1 0
Competition Training Program
Interested in One on One Competition Training Programs?
- One on One evaluations with the accountability to get you through the tough times
- Pre-contest training and cardio plan updated as needed until day of the show
- Pre-contest nutritional plan and weekly diet program
- Carb Cycling Meal Plans for that perfect stage ready physique
- Hair and makeup and proper suit consulting
- Supplementation consulting
- Tanning consulting
- Posing lessons weekly offered in the Gym or through email videos online.
- Peak Week Info- attention to detail prep with night of and backstage help
- Weekly communication via email
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