The term ” Natural bodybuilding ” has its own meaning through its definition varies from individual to individual. So, who are natural bodybuilders!
Natural bodybuilding is considered as a drug-free ( PED’s) and abstaining from any kind of medicines that are considered illegal by WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) and NADA ( National Anti-doping Agency) and those who practice it are natural bodybuilders.
The difference between a steroid induced bodybuilder and a natural bodybuilder is that the former has a totally different approach and different body kinematics than the letter. This is due to these points:
1. A steroid-induced bodybuilder has a 24 hours protein synthesis in muscles which means their body can efficiently use the consumed protein to a higher extent than a natural guy.
2. The steroids (any kind of) increases the nutrients absorbing capacity which results in a higher demand for food. I know what you guys are thinking ” They can eat more and still have low body fat”. Isn’t it good?
3. Enhanced ( steroid-induced) bodybuilders can build muscles even on a shit training program. Thanks to the 24 hour Muscle Protein Synthesis that is a bonus from steroids.
4. They recover faster than a natural guy and actually need fewer rest periods (4-6 hrs) between their workouts due to a decrease in cortisol level, which slows down recovery. AAS (Anabolic- Androgenic Steroids) don’t let cortisol bind with the Androgen receptor resulting in less active cortisol in muscle cells.
A natural bodybuilder trying to imitate an enhanced guy is a mere waste of effort and time. I am not saying you can’t build muscle. Obviously, you can but the muscle growth will be slow and sometimes even leads to a halt in the growing capacity.
A natural individual trying to build muscle requires a more precise training catalog and a well-dialed diet schedule. They have to be so careful in their approach that one bad shot can even lead to muscles not growing and even in some cases can affect negatively.
That being said I bring you an approach to a training program that I also practice and even prescribe to my clients. Remember you have to be ” cent percent ” correct in your nutrition chapter.
A drug abstained bodybuilder has to focus more on frequency rather than going too much volume (sets× reps). This is due to the fact that the more frequently you hit a muscle group with less volume the more there will be an elevation of MPS ( Muscle Protein Synthesis) in muscle cells.
More MPS means more growth of cells. Take a note that VOLUME and FREQUENCY are inverse to each other.
When I followed this training program for 4-8 weeks I noticed an increase in muscle size and stamina. Consistency does matter. To see a slight result you have to be consistent in your training and nutrition
The training program follows a Push/Pull/Legs split which contains drop-sets /rest-sets/ paused reps/negatives. I am not discussing what all those terms are as many of reading these are on an elite level of training. I don’t recommend beginners to follow this protocol of training as it is more of an advanced technique.
Those who are beginners should focus more on form and correct movements and should have an 80 : 20 ratio of compound to isolation movements in their program. Anyways, here it is
The Push movement includes three muscle groups:
● CHEST (UPPER/MID/LOWER)
● TRICEPS (LONG/MEDIAL/ SHORT)
The Pull movement includes two muscle groups :
● BACK (LATS/RHOMBOIDS/TERES MAJOR/MINOR/ERECTOR SPINAE)
● BICEPS (ALL HEADS)
The Legs include Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves
The workout program will follow a six-day split having less volume and more frequency as you are hitting each muscle group twice a week.
The Workout Program
Workout 1 : Push Day
● Flat bench press : 2 sets (80-85% RM) with 1 drop set (50% RM)
● Tricep Dips : 2 sets with added weight for at least 12 reps and 2 drops set without rest
● Shoulder Presses : 3 sets starting from inverse pyramid order (Heavy to light) and rep ranges including ( 8-10-12)
● Cable incline fly : 2 sets of 8-12 rep ranges and a final set of iso – hold following a 5 partial reps.
● Rope Overhead Extension : 3 sets with no rest in between. Use weights with which you can do 15-20 reps each set.
● Lateral raise superset with bent-over raise : 2 sets of 15-20 for each exercise and a triple drop set of 8-12 reps. Use light to moderate weights for these two exercises
Workout 2: Pull Day
● Bent over rows (barbell/dumbell) : 3 sets with light to moderate weights with slow negatives at the end of each set. Do with weights which you can lift easily for 8-12 rep ranges.
● Barbell Curls : 3 sets of pyramid order following 7 reps of eccentric phase then again 7 reps of concentric phase and 7 reps of static phase. Do with a weight which you can lift for the following reps.
● V -bar pulldown : 2 sets of moderate to heavyweights following a 2 drop sets of half of the previous weights.
● Incline curls on the bench : 3 sets with increasing bench angle from 30° then to 45° then to 60° and a final set with a 90°.Use light to moderate weights focusing on the contraction of biceps.
● Seated cable rows : 2 sets for 12 reps and then 1 min rest and with the same weight go to failure.
● Overhead cable curls : 1 set with as many reps as possible and then take 30-sec rest and with the same
Workout 3 : Leg/Calves (Quads focused)
● Front Squats : 3 sets of 6-8 reps and one drop set to failure. The initial set will be 60-75% RM gradually increase RM to the final set of 80-90% RM.
● Stiff leg deadlift : 3 sets of 8-12 rep ranges and last one set will be paused of paused reps which means you will do 1 set of 8 reps in 10-second rest and again 1 set of 6 reps.
● Leg extension : 2 sets of 15-20 rep ranges then increase the weight such that you can do 10 -12 reps and again drop down to 50% and again do 2 sets of 12-15 reps.
● Seated calf raises : 3 variations of calf raises (toe-in, tie-out, and standard) with each of 20 reps. Increase weight initially and do drop sets with that 3 variations
Workout 4 : Abs/Forearms
● Standard plank : 3 sets of complete hold for 45-60 secs.
● Hanging leg raises : 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps. Add weight if possible.
● Side bends or Russian twists : 3 sets of 20-25 reps with any weight plate is preferred.
● Reverse curls with cables : 3 sets of 12-15 reps with maximum negatives.
● Dumbbell wrist twists: Take a pair of dumbbells and rotate keeping elbow at 90° and twist Inside-out. Do as many reps as possible.
Workout 5 : Push Day
The exercises will change but the procedure you followed on Workout 1 will be the same as the reps and sets. So here I am just mentioning the names of the exercises.
● Incline bench press /dumbbell press
● Close grip bench press /push-ups
● Barbell overhead press
● Cable high to low fly
● Plate /dumbbell overhead extension
● Rear delt fly superset with front raises
Workout 6 : Pull Day
The procedure will be the same for Pull Day also unlike the exercises.
● Wide Grip Pull-Ups ( weighted)
● EZ bar narrow curls
● Lat Pulldown ( behind the neck)
● Concentration Curls
● One arm cable/dumbbell rows
● Hammer Curls
Workout 7 : Leg/Calves (Hammies/Glutes)
The same procedure and intensity as previous Leg Day.
● Back squats with a wide stance
● Hack squats with mid-stance
● Hamstring curls
● Good mornings
● Standing Calf raises
The Bottom Line
If u want to see maximum results, the only way is to focus on training as well as nutrition. But the most important factor is to be consistent and have patience. Unlike enhanced bodybuilders, you are not going to see results within 1 week. According to body composition and genetics, some may have outstanding gains in muscle growth and some may have relative gains. This all depends on how you execute the following program. At least follow this program for 6-8 weeks to see a relative growth in muscle hypertrophy.