Conventional Bodybuilding Routines

Most of us follow a conventional bodybuilding routine. We work out 1 to 3 muscles per training session, do 2 or 3 exercises per muscle group and 3 sets with 8 to 12 repetitions. An alternative to conventional routines is HIT (High Intensity Training). HIT advocates only do one set per muscle and only 1 or 2 workouts per week. Learn more about weight training and find exercises at weight training and bodybuilding.


  • Workouts per week:
    Most people do 3 to 5 workouts per week.
    The average workout demands 90 minutes.
  • Body parts per workout:
    1 to 3 muscle groups are worked in in every training session.
    Example: A typical 3-day-split.
    • Monday: Chest + Back
    • Wednesday: Biceps + Triceps + Shoulders
    • Friday: Legs + Abs
  • Exercises per muscle group:
    Most people do 3 exercises per muscle group.
    Example: Chest
    • Exercise 1 - Bench Press
    • Exercise 2 - Dumbbell Flies
    • Exercise 3 - Cable Cross
  • Sets per exercise:
    Do 3 sets heavy sets to muscle failure per exercise. Warm-up sets don't count.
    So when you do the 3 chest exercises from the last point, you have a total of 9 sets for the chest muscles.
  • Repetitions
    Do an average of 8 to 12 repetitions. Always use a lower weight in the first set, but do more repetitions. Do less repetitions and more weight in the last set.
    For example - when you bench press:
    • 1st set: 12x60kg
    • 2nd set: 10x70kg
    • 3rd set: 8x80kg
  • Intensity:
    The intensity is high to moderate. You go to muscle failure in every set except the warm-up, but don't do negatives in every set.
  • Rest:
    Rest about 2 minutes between sets. Your pulse should be down to 130 bps by the time you start your next set. The rest between workouts depends on your recovery ability. At least one or to days before you do your next chest workout, your chest muscles should not be sore from your last chest training. However, you can train your leg muscles when your upper body is still sore.
  • Overtraining:
    The risk of overtraining is higher than when you follow a HIT routine. That's because you do more training sessions and more sets to muscle failure. Some people take a week off every two month are change to a HIT routine when their conventional routine stops giving results.


  • Stretch and relax between sets and exercise.
  • Don't just copy the routine of a professional bodybuilder.
  • When your routine stops giving the desired results, try something different. Some people use HIT (just for a few weeks) to break a plateau when their conventional bodybuilding routine stops giving results.


  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Kevin Levrone
  • Shawn Ray
  • Frank Zane