This post first deserves a disclaimer as to what I mean by bodybuilding training. When I say bodybuilding I am not talking specifically about the physiques most people would associate with bodybuilding. Those such as Arnold and others who seem to possess muscle mass that most don’t think is possible. Because it usually isn’t possible without the aid of performance enhancing substances.
Instead, what I am talking about when I use the term “bodybuilding” is a style of training which puts focus on gaining muscle mass and losing body fat.
If you polled most people as to what they would like an exercise program to change about their body they would say something along the lines of getting more “defined” or more “toned.” Meaning, more muscle and less body fat.
The disconnection comes when people think the best way to achieve this goal of becoming more defined is by doing more cardio. More running, more treadmill work, more minutes spent on the elliptical, etc, etc. There is nothing against these forms of exercise, but they are not the best option to increase muscle mass and decrease body fat. I will argue that bodybuilding style training is the best option for that.
Bodybuilding style training consists mostly of free weight, barbell, and cable/machine training. That is because these tools allow an individual to best stimulate the muscle in a way to promote an increase in size. That is because you can use a heavy enough load and stimulate specific muscles directly. This would be the different between choosing a leg press over a front squat for instance. The leg press specifically targets the legs and someone can use way more load on a leg press than a front squat. Allowing them to promote more hypertrophy of the legs. The front squat also has a steep learning curve that the leg press doesn’t.
Bodybuilding style training has gotten a little bit of a bad rep over the years because people have claimed it isn’t “functional.” Using machines or barbell and dumbbells only will prevent moving in a semi-unathletic way. Arguing these claims would take another article, but I will just say that this type of training won’t if you balance it with other athletic activities, and most people really don’t want to be super athletic at the end of the day. They want to look good.
If you are a normal person and by normal I mean someone not trying to train to the absolute extremes in the gym it may to help get a different perception of bodybuilding in your mind. Don’t think of the extremely muscle bound people that are taking steroids, eating only chicken and broccoli, and getting up on stage with a spray tan. Simply think, weight training. And, if you do want to remain a little more athletic with age, you can add some medicine ball plyometric circuits at the end of your bodybuilding workout.