Pre Contest Training

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Training Before a Contest

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This tip will focus on a subject of much controversy. How soon should you stop training with weights before a bodybuilding contest.

I have always asked question this of competitors since the beginning of my bodybuilding career. This has lead me to discover surprising similarities between beginning bodybuilders, advanced bodybuilders, bodybuilders who win, and bodybuilders who don't win.

Typically, bodybuilders at the beginning level will continue to lift weights right up to the night before the event. I actually caught a couple of novices lifting the night before the show at a local contest last year. When I asked why, the response was, "I felt so small looking in the mirror, I wanted to come in and get a pump." Well, that's an answer. :-)

I have always stopped lifting on Wednesday before a Saturday show. ALWAYS - Even when I did my first contest. The reason was to give my body a chance to recuperate and fill out as much as possible. My last two weeks workouts weren't to failure either. I trained approximately 95% to failure. At this point, your body is so low in bodyfat and your energy is so low that it is very easy to overtrain. You must be very careful not lose muscle.

I've heard every crazy reason why people continue to lift right up to the show. I'm just going in to "force the carbs into the muscle." What?!?! I heard if you do your calves every hour the day before the show, they will be huge. What?!?! Will you be able to walk the next day?

I've also heard of people who don't lift for an entire week before the show. I think this is a little too long to stay out of the gym when preparing for a contest.

The one thing I've noticed when talking to competitors is the following. Competitors who don't win and who are entering their first contests train right up to the show. Competitors who win and are on the national level typically train up to Tuesday or Wednesday before a Saturday show. Take your pick which crowd you want to hang with.

Good luck!

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