Best Bodybuilding Programs

If you want to get a Herculean physique, you’re going to have to train correctly. Packing on inches of muscle is not an easy task — it takes a targeted workout routine and hard work to achieve it. Specifically, the proper workout routine will not be the same for everyone, as it will vary based on each trainee’s goals, preferences, current fitness level, and individual response to training. [1]

For trainees who are seeking the best bodybuilding programs, we’ve picked out a few of our favorite templates from our arsenal. These are the Hypertrophy I Template for new lifters (note: we strongly suggest you follow our Beginner Template before starting this) and our Hypertrophy II, Bodybuilding I, and Bodybuilding II Templates for experienced lifters.

For a more detailed look at each program, take a look at the comparison chart below.

Bodybuilding Programs Comparison Chart

Trusting the Barbell Medicine Approach

Here at Barbell Medicine, we take our work very seriously. We aim to provide our clients with only the most effective programs, and we make sure that all our recommendations are scientifically accountable. We offer a holistic service that doesn’t just claim — but guarantees results. And how do we do this?

  • We’ve put together a team of licensed professionals from different health-related fields, ranging from physicians and dietitians to personal trainers and physical therapists. So, you know we’ve got you covered in every aspect of your training.
  • We provide programs backed by evidence and the latest developments in sports science.
  • We also offer completely personalized coaching and nutritional plans that are based on your personal goals, needs, and available resources.
  • We’re with you throughout your fitness journey. Our team is always ready to answer questions and offer help when needed.
  • We continually measure your progress and make adjustments to your plan as needed.

We also believe in the importance of community, and we have a growing family of fitness enthusiasts training with us. We invite all to join our community, regardless of age, sex, or fitness background. We’ve also trained with many professional athletes competing in various fields, such as CrossFit, Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.

But don’t take it from us. Log onto our forum or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to see what others have to say (For those who enjoy gaining new information about fitness and sports science, we’ve also got  YouTube and podcast channels, which are definitely worth checking out).

Best Bodybuilding Programs

So, here’s the part you’ve been waiting for — our picks for the best bodybuilding programs. Keep in mind that the program you choose should depend on your current fitness level, as not all of these programs are suitable for lifters of varying levels.

In the following sections, we’ll go into more detail on the requirements and goals of each program, so we advise giving them a read before you make your final decision.

In this section, we’ll cover the following programs:

  • Hypertrophy I Template
  • Hypertrophy II Template
  • Bodybuilding I Template
  • Bodybuilding II Template

Hypertrophy I Template

The Hypertrophy I Template is a 10-week program designed for newer lifters who want to focus on hypertrophy after completing our beginner program. It’s also a good option for more advanced lifters who’d like to spend less time in the gym or who haven’t undergone hypertrophy training in a while (or ever).

It features three lifting sessions with hypertrophy-focused movements and repetition schemes. In addition to these, it includes two days of general physical preparation (GPP) workouts focused on arm, upper back and core work, as well as conditioning exercises. The GPP workouts may be done after a lifting workout or on their own.

While the emphasis of this program is on hypertrophy, it will also probably improve strength in the executed exercises.

Hypertrophy II Template

Hypertrophy II Template

The Hypertrophy II program is designed for intermediate and advanced lifters with a minimum of six months of barbell lifting experience. We do not suggest this template for lifters who don’t have a considerable lifting background due to its increased volume and training load, as driving results with a more suitably dosed program would be a better idea.

This program, like Hypertrophy I, goes on for 10 weeks and focuses on growing muscle rather than improving strength. Nonetheless, we anticipate that users will build up strength in the exercises they choose.

It features four lifting sessions with hypertrophy-focused movements and repetition schemes, as well as two general physical preparation (GPP) workouts with arm, upper back, core, and conditioning training. The GPP workouts can be done independently or following a hypertrophy workout for some extra pump.

Bodybuilding I Template

Bodybuilding I Template

Our Bodybuilding I Template comes with three 6-week templates, referred to as blocks. These blocks can be implemented in succession to each other or done individually as one-off training programs. Our recommendation is to go through the whole of the Bodybuilding I Template before moving on to the Bodybuilding II Template, followed by the Bodybuilding III Template. Following these templates in succession will allow trainees to maximize their gains through methodological training.

Each block includes weekly programs that focus on both resistance training and aerobic conditioning. The setup of these programs allows trainees to increase muscle mass as well as meet current physical activity guidelines. [2] Each training week consists of four days of resistance training, each day entailing three to six exercises per day. Each week, you can expect to train all major muscles with the appropriate doses of volume, frequency, and intensity to encourage muscle hypertrophy.

Additionally, two GPP days involving conditioning exercises, as well as arm, upper back, and core work are included in every weekly plan. These can be done following the bodybuilding exercises, or on their own, depending on the trainee’s preferences.

Much like the hypertrophy templates, this program is for those who’re aiming to grow muscle, but some improvements in strength are to be expected in the executed movements. Did we mention that you’re completely free to choose the lifts you’d like to do for this program? Yes, this template is fully customizable.

For those who’d like a bit more information on how bodybuilding works, the template includes a 25-page eBook that explores the science behind hypertrophy, nutrition, and programming.

Bodybuilding II Template

Bodybuilding II Template

If you’re an advanced lifter who’s really out to feel the burn, this may be the right template for you.

We recommend this template to lifters with up to a year or two of experience in lifting weights. If you’re planning on following this program, expect to do a lot of isolation work, with higher training volume, partially lengthened repetitions, and advanced techniques. This program may also be a good pick for those who have been following a strength-focused program for the same amount of time but would like to either take a break or add some variation to their training by following a 4 to 6-week hypertrophy program.

The Bodybuilding II Template comes with four 8-week Templates. These templates, such as Block I 3-day, Block I 4-day, Block II 4-day, and Block III 4-day, can be repeated sequentially as a single hypertrophy-focused training cycle or as individual training blocks.

Each block is made up of three to four days of weight training with five to six exercises each day. Throughout the training week, all of the major muscle groups are targeted with our recommended amounts of volume, intensity, and frequency to promote muscular hypertrophy. Each template also contains three to four days of conditioning. The Bodybuilding II template slowly introduces the trainee to aerobic and anaerobic conditioning elements to develop work capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness, and body composition while following current physical activity guidelines.

While not particularly strength-focused, this template too, will promote some improvements in strength. In fact, the added elements of double progression and the multitude of compound exercises included in this program do a great job of increasing strength in the selected exercises.

This template is fully customizable, meaning that the trainee is free to incorporate their favorite lifts into the program. 

A Few Words on Hypertrophy vs. Bodybuilding

So, you may be wondering what the difference between the hypertrophy and bodybuilding templates is. Don’t they both have the same aim of promoting muscle hypertrophy? Yes, both types of templates aim to encourage muscle growth. But there are a few key differences.

To find the biggest difference between these programs, we would have to look into their splits. The hypertrophy templates are full-body splits, while the bodybuilding templates are body-part splits. This means that the ways these templates will train each muscle are different. A full-body split will aim to target the major muscle groups in each workout, while a body-part split will focus the day’s training on a specific muscle group. Both types of splits are likely to work equally as well and the decision should be based on the individual’s personal preferences. [3,4,5][3] [4] 

If you’re looking for additional strength benefits, assuming that you pick the right program for your current fitness level, both the hypertrophy and bodybuilding templates are likely to produce similar results. While none of these templates are particularly focused on strength-building, both are resistance-training programs because of the significant overlap between strength and size training. Loading the musculoskeletal system across a reasonably extensive range of motion, utilizing a variety of rep ranges, and adopting a comparable closeness to failure are required for both goals to induce adaptations in the muscle, neurological system, bone skeleton, and more, so, your strength results are likely to be similar across both types of programs. [6,7]

What Is Bodybuilding?

In essence, bodybuilding is a type of competitive sport where the athlete’s physique is judged based on muscularity, symmetry, and other subjective features. Does that mean that you’d have to be a professional bodybuilder to bulk up? Absolutely not! In fact, bodybuilding is one of the more common types of resistance training programs that anyone who’s out to grow their muscle mass could follow.

When we talk about bodybuilding programs, we typically refer to a hypertrophy-focused program that is designed specifically to increase your muscle size. However, there will be added benefits to following a bodybuilding program, which we will explore in depth later. For now, let’s focus a bit more on how a bodybuilding program works.

It all starts with the muscle — or rather, the physiological changes that occur in it due to various internal and external factors. And yes, much like everything else in our bodies, our muscles can either grow (which we’d call muscular hypertrophy) or shrink in size (which we commonly refer to as muscular atrophy). [8] When we implement a bodybuilding program, the obvious aim is to get bigger, and this can only be done through the promotion of muscular hypertrophy. So, before we go any deeper into the factors that drive hypertrophy, let’s look into the mechanics of it.

Our muscles are made up of thousands of individual fibers. A common misconception about hypertrophy is that it causes us to increase our number of muscle fibers. However, this is not true as it is widely accepted that the number of muscle fibers in our body is pretty much set by the time we’re a year old. [9] Whether or not we can increase the number of muscle fibers in our bodies, which is a phenomenon referred to as hyperplasia, is still a subject of research. However, current findings suggest that hypertrophy occurs due to an increase in muscle fiber size, rather than muscle fiber number. [10,11]

Two mechanisms drive the changes in our muscle size in opposing fashion. The first is muscle protein synthesis, which occurs when our bodies produce new muscle proteins. The second one is muscle protein breakdown, which occurs when our pre-existing muscles are broken down into peptides and amino acids. For muscular hypertrophy to take place, muscle protein synthesis must outpace muscle protein breakdown. [12,13]

One way to achieve hypertrophy is through appropriately dosed resistance training and high protein intake. Our bodies have an extraordinary way of adapting to the demands placed on it, and when we lift a challenging load, our muscles will increase in size and strength to accommodate it. When we lift weights, our muscles are creating mechanical tension, which is the main, direct driver of hypertrophy, ultimately driving muscle protein synthesis. Metabolic stress often co-occurs with resistance training, though it doesn’t appear to play a large role in driving muscle hypertrophy.

Though these mechanisms work similarly in everyone, the results of hypertrophy training vary greatly. Trainees following the same program will all have their own unique responses to it. This can be observed in a 2016 study that revealed changes in the muscle size of 278 adults who followed the same hypertrophy program for six months. The changes in their muscle size ranged from -11% to +30%, regardless of sex or age, which shows us that there really is no uniform reaction to a singular hypertrophy program. [14] However, some key programming variables drive muscular hypertrophy, which we will outline in the following sections.

Mechanical Loading

In a nutshell, our muscles receive certain electrical signals when required to perform a movement. This is converted into a chemical signal at the level of the muscle, allowing the fibers to produce force or mechanical tension. This mechanism is crucial for muscle growth, and without the appropriate load or resistance, a muscle is unlikely to develop. [15]

Lifting is an excellent way to produce mechanical tension, as it allows the muscle to overcome resistance. However, it’s not the only way to produce mechanical tension. A recent study has shown that individuals doing static stretching for 6 weeks were able to grow their calf muscles. [16] However, the hypertrophy results of stretching alone tend to be much smaller and are unlikely to continue for a long time without additional resistance training.

Metabolic Stress

Resistance training mainly relies on anaerobic (oxygen-free) pathways to generate energy (ATP) for the muscles. This leads to the buildup of metabolic byproducts such as hydrogen ions, inorganic phosphate, creatine, lactate, etc. which have been linked to muscle hypertrophy, though how they are involved is not exactly clear. [17,18]

While resistance training, whenever our muscles contract, they produce these metabolic byproducts. However, we still do not know if these byproducts contribute to hypertrophy or whether it’s just the mechanical force from muscle contractions. Our current knowledge reveals that they may have an indirect contribution, although hypertrophy is mostly caused by mechanical tension. [19]

Range of Motion

Range of motion (ROM) is a term we use to describe the degree of movement occurring at a specific joint during exercise. [20] Typically, exercises that use the muscles over a larger range of motion will promote more hypertrophy than a shorter one. This doesn’t mean a partial range of motion exercise produces no muscle growth, rather it just tends to be a smaller amount. [21,22]

We should also be clear that relatively small changes in ROM, such as an extra inch of squat depth, are unlikely to make a significant difference in muscle mass gain. On the other hand, there’s evidence showing that lengthened partials, e.g. exercises performed in the range of motion where the muscles are elongated but are not completed through a full range of movement, may produce similar or even greater hypertrophy increases compared to traditional, full ROM exercises. An example of lengthened partials would be completing the bottom half of the biceps curl. [23]

In general, the results are good for partial range of motion exercises performed at moderate or long muscle lengths. There are less than a dozen studies looking at this and the biggest signal for their benefit is in isolation exercises that only move a single joint, e.g. biceps curls. Still, the data here isn’t a slam dunk in support of lengthened partials, as the research methods used to measure muscle size increases from training have a sizable amount of error.

Overall, training muscles at longer lengths seems to be the hot ticket for muscle size and we recommend doing most exercises through a relatively large ROM in order to accomplish this. Lengthened partials are also an option for isolation exercises in more advanced trainees.

Motor Unit Recruitment

To fully understand what motor unit recruitment is, we’d first have to define a motor unit. A  motor unit is composed of a singular neuron and all the muscle fibers it activates. Motor unit recruitment refers to the activation of motor units to achieve improvements in a muscle’s contractile strength. [24]

A motor neuron is connected to one muscle and the nerve ends supply many different muscle fibers within that muscle. When a motor neuron is activated, it will send an electrical signal to produce a contraction in all the muscle fibers connected to it. In isolation, a single motor neuron being activated will only contract a relatively small part of the muscle. To engage the whole muscle, more motor neurons supplying the other muscle fibers in that muscle must be activated. So, when we talk about motor unit recruitment, we’re talking about multiple motor neurons working together to produce a muscle contraction. The more neurons activated, the more force the muscle contraction will tend to produce.

Additionally, motor units are recruited in order of size, meaning that smaller units will be activated before larger ones. This phenomenon is referred to as Henneman’s size principle. [25] Henneman’s size principle categorizes muscles according to the size of their connected motor unit. Another popular way to categorize them is according to reaction speed. These two variables show a correlation in the way that smaller motor units would be connected to slow twitch muscle fibers, while bigger motor units would be connected to fast twitch muscle fibers.

So, how does this all play into muscle hypertrophy? Put simply, lifting weights that are heavy enough to get you somewhere near failure (within 4 to 5 reps) in the ~ 3 to 20 rep range are recruiting pretty much all of the motor units available to produce force.

As an individual becomes more trained, they improve their ability to recruit motor units, relax antagonistic muscles, and the sequence of motor unit recruitment, ultimately improving their efficiency. Additional adaptations occur at the level of the muscle fiber based on how it’s trained in order to better suit the challenges it’s being tasked with. [26]

Progressive Overload

Bodybuilding and exercise in general requires that we continually challenge our muscles through progressive overload. The Principle of “Progressive Overload” holds that in order to generate fitness adaptations over time, the body must be challenged by progressively greater training stimuli. As aspects of fitness improve, the workout must be adjusted to match the individual’s new level of fitness. In the case of a resistance training program, as someone gets stronger, they’ll need to add weight to the bar to prevent a plateau.

To be clear, training should be challenging to a certain degree, but it should NOT get harder over time. Rather, adding load (or reps, sets, etc.) should keep the workouts at the same level of difficulty, not increase it. To repurpose a quote from cyclist Greg Lemond, “It doesn’t get easier, you just get stronger.” This is why we feel that “overload” is a misleading term and instead prefer use progressive loading.

A program that is well-suited for an individual combined with progressive loading is likely to produce great results for a considerable amount of time, perhaps 10- to 12-weeks or more. At some point though, even the best programs stop working. This is why our programs include multiple blocks that are periodized, e.g. we’ve carefully  manipulated training variables over time to set the user up for success. In practice, adjusting things like rep schemes, average intensity, number of sets, and exercise selection as needed over time is recommended as needed. At the end of the day, it’s all about adjusting your training based on your response to it.

Training Volume

Training volume refers to the set and rep schemes of a workout or the total amount of sets and reps done. One of the key drivers of muscular hypertrophy is in fact training volume — the higher the training volume, the more muscle growth. [27,28]

However, it’s important to keep your training volume at a level you can actually handle. If your training volume is too high for your current fitness level, it could actually lead to increased levels of muscle protein breakdown, resulting in muscle loss. To decrease muscle protein breakdown and increase muscle protein synthesis, training must always be dosed appropriately.

You may have heard that isolation exercises are particularly useful for driving muscle hypertrophy. This isn’t because they are necessarily better than compound exercises, however, they provide a very important advantage. [29] You see, training a smaller part of the body allows us to increase the training volume without creating a ton of fatigue.

Isolation exercises employ less muscle mass and less absolute weight than compound lifts, reducing the amount of fatigue produced by a given set and rep scheme done at a specific rate of perceived exertion (RPE). Because isolation exercises produce less fatigue, a trainee can execute more sets, more repetitions, and equivalent or higher RPEs than compound lifts.

Thus, a successful hypertrophy program will generally consist of a high training volume, and a combination of compound and isolation exercises, which will all be autoregulated based on the individual. 


We all know the importance of nutrition when it comes to fitness. When planned properly, nutrition can be a great instrument in driving quicker and better results. However, a nutritional plan must be tailored to fit personal goals and needs. So, while we can’t write out a diet plan that would work for everyone, we can give you the information and tools to help you craft the perfect plan for yourself.

Let’s start with the basics. While we don’t think that everyone needs to track calories, they do play a crucial role in helping you achieve the results you want. For example, if you’re looking to maintain your current weight, you should be aiming to consume the amount of calories that you typically burn in a day. If you’re looking to lose weight, you should aim for a daily caloric deficit. A surplus of caloric intake will cause you to put on weight, and so on. If tracking calories, you may benefit from calculating your daily caloric intake based on your goals.

That said, we acknowledge that for the most part, an individual’s intake is not under their conscious control, thereby signifying the importance of eating behavior determinants such as the food environment. This refers to the foods available in a person’s home, at work, and in their community. In general, the more access someone has to foods that are high in calories and not very filling, the higher their calorie intake is. This seems to be true even when there are a lot of healthy options available in the same place, because the tasty, ultra-processed foods tend to win out despite our best efforts and intentions.

Rather than focusing on calories in isolation, we recommend consuming food in a dietary pattern that supports both health and performance by prioritizing mostly unprocessed or minimally processed foods should result in the appropriate energy intake. We recommend modifying the food environment to increase access to these types of foods and reduce access to ultra-processed ones that are high in calories, added sodium, and added sugar.

Within this framework and in the context of performance and health, we think that two macronutrients bear further discussion. Macronutrients are the food-based compounds that humans eat in the biggest quantities, which include protein, carbohydrates, fat, and alcohol. [30,31] When adjusting the dietary pattern for performance and health, protein and carbohydrate intake appear to be pretty important, as we’ll discuss below.

Protein and Carb Recommendations

We recommend that individuals try to consume at least 1.4 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of total body weight per day to maximize strength, endurance, and hypertrophy outcomes. [54] While lower intakes will work, it does seem like the results will be a little less than if someone consumed this amount.

In terms of carbohydrates, the ideal daily intake would be somewhere a minimum of 2 to 3 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight per day. Consuming less on a low carbohydrate or ketogenic diet may hinder your strength and hypertrophy in trained individuals. [53,54] We recommend consuming the majority of carbohydrates from fiber-rich sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, though most minimally processed and unprocessed carbohydrate sources can be fit into a healthy dietary pattern.

As for fat, we recommend keeping your daily intake consistent with your total daily caloric intake and dietary preferences. Aim to consume primarily unsaturated fats, e.g., those from marine and plant sources. These tend to be more health-promoting than those rich in saturated fat, particularly those from red meat consumed at relatively high levels. For more on this, check out our articles on red meat and cholesterol. With respect to saturated fat, we recommend limiting your daily saturated fat intake to less than 10% of your total caloric intake.

The Benefits of Following a Bodybuilding Program

Most trainees who follow a bodybuilding program do so because of competitive or aesthetic goals. This isn’t to say that there are no additional benefits to following a bodybuilding program. All in all, bodybuilding is achieved through resistance training, and as such, its benefits will be similar to those of any other resistance training program. And what might these benefits be? Let’s check out a few.

Disease Prevention

This probably won’t come as a surprise but, just like any other form of exercise, resistance training also has its disease prevention benefits. Some diseases that lifting weights can reduce the risk of type II diabetes, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular diseases. [32] But that’s not all. Resistance training can also lower resting blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

Increased Strength

If your end goal is to improve your strength, we definitely recommend following a strength training program. That isn’t to say that there are no strength benefits to bodybuilding. Because both are types of resistance training, there’s a lot of overlap between strength and hypertrophy-focused programs. So, even if you’re only training for strength, you’re sure to grow your muscles to a certain degree. The same goes for the opposite — if you follow a hypertrophy program, you’ll definitely gain some strength.

Our strength is directly correlated with the amount of force our muscles can produce, which is subsequently related to the number of cross-bridges in our myofibrils. When hypertrophy occurs in our muscles, the muscle is larger and there are more potential cross-bridges that can be formed. Therefore, we could say that bigger muscles produce more force, and this has been backed by a few different studies. [33-35] This may seem like a pretty simple formula, but in reality, things are a bit more complicated.

You see, we measure muscular strength in specific contexts. Some adaptations are necessary for improving strength in these contexts. And if you’re wondering what we mean by “context” — we could say that, in most cases, we’re referring to exercises.

Let’s say that you’ve been following a hypertrophy program to grow your upper body muscles. This program entails doing exercises such as cable crossovers, bicep curls, and dumbbell flyes. Would this improve your overall upper body strength? Yes. But would it improve your strength in a specific exercise, such as a bench press? It might to a certain degree, but to measure your maximum strength in a bench press, incorporating bench presses into your training would yield much more accurate results. So yes, hypertrophy training does improve overall strength, but it won’t allow us to reach our maximum strength in exercises that are not part of our program.

Another reason why hypertrophy gains may not result in parallel strength gains, is that strength and hypertrophy don’t develop at the same speed. For example, it’s very common to improve strength, even if one hasn’t achieved a level of hypertrophy that can be measured. Finally, strength and size may be the outcome of overlapping processes caused by adequate mechanical loading of the muscles. Using shared mechanisms to repair, rebuild, and develop the muscle results in simultaneous strength and muscle mass gains, but the mass isn’t the reason for the higher strength. [36]

So, will hypertrophy training help you hit a new 1RM? Maybe! If the program has you lifting progressively heavier loads in the exercise that you’re going to be testing your 1RM in, it’s likely the “hypertrophy program” will improve your 1RM strength. Still, a hypertrophy program is unlikely to help you maximize your strength in a specific movement because it’s not designed to do that. However, both processes go hand-in-hand and you’ll likely enjoy some strength benefits, regardless of whether you’re following a strength or hypertrophy program.

Injury Prevention

Resistance training also seems to reduce the risk of injuries. [37] It does this in a number of ways, such as improving the functional ability of the muscles and joints being trained and adapting bone tissue to higher levels of physical stress. [38] Speaking of bone tissue, resistance training has also been proven to strengthen bones and promote the growth of new bone tissue, which may be extremely useful for individuals at heightened risk of osteoporosis, such as menopausal women. [39]

Weight Management

In addition to being beneficial for overall health, lifting weights can also help with weight management by increasing muscle mass and strength, decreasing fat mass, and preventing weight regain. There’s also evidence that it makes many people more sensitive to feelings of fullness during meals, which may aid in weight loss or maintenance. [40] 

Many claim that lifting weights is great for weight loss due to increases in excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which comes from the “extra” energy needed for post-workout recovery, e.g. muscle remodeling and repair. Increases in EPOC track with exercise volume, intensity, and the amount of muscle mass being used during an activity, but EPOC is generally higher in untrained individuals as compared to the veteran lifters who are more efficient at dealing with the stress of a workout. [41]

In any case, it’s not clear whether or not EPOC genuinely raises the daily total of calories utilized. Based on available evidence, EPOC’s overall energy contribution to TDEE is relatively minor. [42]

Overall, lifting weights are likely to improve weight management in a number of different ways. If weight loss is your primary goal, however, dietary changes will be more important in order to achieve a negative energy balance required to lose weight.

Aesthetic Improvement

Many people just get into resistance training because they want to get a bodybuilder’s figure. Whether you’re following a bodybuilding program to look good or compete professionally in a bodybuilding competition, you’re likely to achieve your goals through hypertrophy training.

Healthy Aging

Resistance training is also an efficient way to promote healthy aging, and it does this in a variety of different ways.

Firstly, it can help prevent the chronic illnesses that people tend to suffer from as they get older (which we have already mentioned in the disease prevention section). Besides that, hypertrophy training can aid with osteoarthritis, one of the most frequent debilitating disorders associated with joint pain. It most commonly affects the knee, hand, and hip joints of individuals who are middle-aged or older.

Resistance training has also been effective in improving the general musculoskeletal health of individuals with advanced osteoarthritis. Such individuals have enjoyed improvements in their muscle strength and functional ability, as well as decreases in physical pain. [43]

While we encourage people from all different age groups to take up resistance training for health reasons, we should emphasize — the earlier, the better. Starting to lift at an earlier age does not only reduce the loss of strength caused by osteoarthritis but can also slow down or even stop the progression of the disease altogether. [44,45]

Better Endurance

Technically, this will be somewhat similar to what we’ve said about improvements in strength. Yes, hypertrophy training can improve endurance to a certain degree. But will it improve it as much as following an endurance-focused program? Probably not. 

That being said, there’s actually a way to combine both resistance and endurance training to achieve parallel results on both ends. Enter concurrent training — an exercise program where both cardio and resistance training are implemented as core elements.

Concurrent training is a bit of a controversial topic, as not all types of training can produce effective results when programmed together. A classic study from the 1980’s showed that untrained men who were also doing conditioning work had impaired strength gains compared to the men only doing a resistance training program after 10 weeks. [46] Dr. Hickson subsequently termed the phenomenon “the interference effect”.

Over 35 years later, a number of studies have failed to demonstrate the interference effect, with a recent meta-analysis concluding that hypertrophy and maximal strength development were not compromised with concurrent training. [47]

In fact, resistance training actually seems to improve endurance performance. A study has shown that endurance athletes who participated in resistance training over a 7-week period were able to improve their VO2max by 12.9%, while athletes only doing endurance training were able to improve it by only 6.8%. [55]

Mental Health Benefits

If we’re going to great lengths to keep our bodies healthy, then we should do the same for our minds. Luckily, resistance training is a great way to achieve both. And the great thing is, improvements in both physical and mental health are recorded independently, meaning that even if you have not yet observed physical results, it’s very likely that you’ll be experiencing improvements in your emotions. However, the mechanisms that play a part in this are yet unknown. [48,49]

Resistance training has been proven to reduce the risks of depression and anxiety in individuals. [50,51]. Resistance training has also been shown to enhance sleep quality in trainees, which is an important advantage because getting enough sleep is essential for good mental health. [52]

Are These Programs Only for Bodybuilders?

Absolutely not! Resistance training programs may vary in difficulty, but are generally safe and can be modified to fit every trainee’s individual needs. Even if you’re not planning on formally competing in a bodybuilding competition, if you’ve always wanted to have the looks and strength of a bodybuilder, then these programs are sure to get you there. Just make sure to pick the right one for your current fitness level, and work your way up from there. And who knows, maybe one day, you’ll actually go pro!


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  14. Balabinis, Christos P et al. “Early phase changes by concurrent endurance and strength training.” Journal of strength and conditioning research vol. 17,2 (2003): 393-401. doi:10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0393:epcbce>;2  should we be creating and inserting colorful/attractive/small “widget” ads for the products here instead of generic links? I’m thinking much greater promotional effect and focus on conversion and satisfying user intent for “impulse buy” or just to facilitate their need for a program by appealing to visual dimension.

Yes but its a task for our internal team , you may need to still better clarify. I’m not inexperienced in these topics and I’m still not fully sure I understand. Does it come down to simply duration of training sessions?

For example, if I can do 3x week for 1-2 hours vs. if I can do 6x a week for 45-60 minutes? Is that what we’re trying to say and differentiate between bodybuilding and hypertrophy? 

If so, then needs to be said a little clearer perhaps.

If not, then I missed the point(s).

to the question- the frequency doesn’t appear to matter. I didn’t write this original paragraph, but will edit.

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