BySteve Howard

Polyarticular Exercise: List and Tips

There is so much bodybuilding exercise that you get a bit lost in it, so this article is only dedicated to polyarticular exercises (or basic). To save you time in your research, I have prepared a very complete exercise list , for each muscle group, to do indoors or at home !

exercice musculation squat lourd

If you are just starting out, no problem. You will know what it is, what are the advantages and disadvantages and how to integrate it all into your bodybuilding program, here is the summary:

What is a polyarticular exercise?

By definition, a polyarticular exercise is a movement that will mobilize several joints, and therefore, several muscles, unlike isolation exercises. This then explains why you will always be stronger on a polyarticular exercise.

In general, there are two schools in bodybuilding. Those who only practice the so-called basic exercises to build “functional muscle” and gain mass more quickly, on the other hand, those who favor isolation exercises to gain weight. muscle where they want it .

As I often say, in bodybuilding we have a lot of tools and methods of work. That said, the goal is to find what suits us and not what works for your neighbor, because there is a very high chance of not having the same results.

Let’s take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages

Overall, it is true that polyarticular exercises are more effective for building strength and building muscle mass. In fact, the muscles are used more on a basic movement than on isolation, and who says better muscle solicitation means more results.

As far as strength is concerned, again the polyarticular exercises score a big point. It is obvious that you will be able to handle larger loads and therefore have better muscle hypertrophy . The force being essentially nervous, the nervous system will be exploited much more if several muscles interact. Consequently, the muscles then learn to work in synergy, hence the famous terms of “functional muscle”, in reality there are no “false muscles”, only muscles which manage to work together for a given movement. .

In terms of intensity, it’s obvious that it’s day and night with an isolation exercise. The more muscles that interact with the movement (in addition to a heavy load!), The more strenuous and tiring the exercise will be, therefore more calories will be burned . For example, the exercise of choice: the deadlift. It is an extremely intense exercise which mobilizes a lot of muscle group, from the calves to the forearms, as much to say to you that if you are an “ectomorph” like me and that you have difficulty to gain weight , such intense exercises like this replace a cardio session.

To summarize, here are the advantages of polyarticular exercises in outline:

  • Better muscle recruitment
  • Strength development (nervous system)
  • Intensity of exercise (consumes a lot of calories)

The disadvantages

After seeing the benefits, it is clear that you may be tempted to ban isolation movements and only do polyarticular exercises. Even though poly should be the mainstay of your weight training program, over time, it’s obvious that it will handicap you if you go for it with your head down.

If you practice bodybuilding for an “aesthetic” purpose (which is probably the case), you should know that an aesthetic physique is above all a harmonious physique . I can tell you, for example, that having really big arms without shoulders is much less impressive than a medium arm with medium shoulders.

As we have seen previously, a polyarticular exercise engages several muscles , take the bench press for example. Normally, as you know, this is a basic exercise that primarily recruits the pectorals and secondarily the shoulders and triceps . On paper, it’s great! it is enough to do the bench press to have pecs, but in practice, it is something else … I did not take this example at random, because it was my case.

For a long time I believed that if I stepped up, I was going to get big pecs, and if I didn’t, I was doing it wrong. The reality is simply that my body type is not suitable for this polyarticular movement and that I did not know how to use my pecs on this exercise. The more I picked up the load, the bigger my shoulders.

Result, more than a year without working the shoulders which took all the work of the pecs, and more than a year of motor training on isolation movements to know how to properly contract my pecs .

Consequently, your genetics, your morphology and your sporting background will have an influence on polyarticular exercises, in your favor or against you. Usually if you have trouble feeling the target muscle, that’s a bad sign.

To summarize, here are the disadvantages of a polyarticular exercise :

  • Muscle imbalance at term
  • Risk of movement unsuited to its morphology

Structure your bodybuilding program intelligently

The message is always the same, bodybuilding is above all knowing yourself to build your program from exercises, methods and tools adapted to your situation. Polyarticular exercises are clearly a priority, only when they are useful.

Once again, if you’re doing strength training to achieve a great and harmonious physique, you’ll need to go through a fair amount of isolation exercises. Indeed, not only is the isolation used to “learn” to use a particular muscle, but also to recruit portions that are difficult to develop in polyarticular exercises.

For example, this is often the case with deltoids , the posterior deltoid is generally less developed than the lateral deltoid and even less than the anterior deltoid, so no need to strive for an exercise polyarticular to have a “full” shoulder.

musculation entrainement intelligent

When to use a polyarticular exercise?

In reality, this is a difficult question to answer, as it will be unique to everyone. As seen previously, it is mainly a question of morphology for basic movements. If you are not too experienced, a few precautions can help you know whether or not you should continue to focus on a particular polyarticular exercise, namely that the earlier you do it, the better. is.

Should you continue?

The list is not exhaustive, but the main one is there. If on these points you validate all four, a priori there is a good chance that this polyarticular exercise will be done for you:

  • Burning sensation on the targeted muscle
  • Muscle congestion
  • Increase in workloads (over 3 to 6 months)
  • Evolution of the physique (measurements, photos …)

Should we stop?

Unfortunately, not all exercises are right for you. The signs that can alert you to a polyarticular exercise to avoid are the following:

  • Abnormal pain
  • Stagnation or regression of charges
  • Difficulty feeling the target muscle
  • Difficulty congesting
  • secondary muscles that grow more than the target muscle

For all the polyarticular exercises that suit you, knowing that they are energy-intensive exercises, place them preferably at the start of the session.

What to do if polyarticular exercise isn’t right for you

Don’t worry, all is not lost. With time and a little work, it is possible to do the polyarticular exercises that were not suitable for you before. However, it can be quite frustrating at first to focus solely on motor learning, but it’s a job that pays off in the long run.

Once you have determined which muscles are reluctant on polyarticular exercises in particular, you will have to use methods, tools and exercises to overcome this problem, we find:

  • Isolation exercises
  • Methods of intensification
  • Bodybuilding accessories

Let’s take a quick look at the subject, I will devote specific articles to it.

Isolation exercise

The isolation exercise is the first solution for motor learning , especially if you are just starting out.

machine musculation isolation jambes quadriceps ischios

The way of training will be different. You should neither seek to gain strength or mass, only focus on muscle contraction and maintain it for a long time. Also, do not be afraid to do a lot of repetitions, 20, 30 even going as far as doing the famous series of 100 . Normally, congestion is not the only factor that stimulates muscle growth, but should always be sought after.

Isolation exercises are not traumatic for the joints, they allow you to recover quickly and increase your training frequency during the week. Due to lack of time, this can sometimes be used as a warm-up.

Methods of intensification

There are many method of intensifying bodybuilding . As a beginner, they are not to be prioritized at first.

If you have some experience, you can start using these two techniques:

  • Pre-fatigue : Begin with an isolation exercise to tire the targeted muscle and follow with a polyarticular exercise without resting time.
  • Post-fatigue : Conversely, you can start with a basic exercise, and when your secondary muscles take over, you follow up with an isolation exercise.

In order to know which technique to use, it is best to test. Indeed, it is possible to have the opposite effect to what you are looking for, that is to say, to increase the work on the secondary muscles.

In general, pre-fatigue works well on small muscles: biceps, triceps, shoulders and calves , while post-fatigue will be more suitable for large muscles: pectorals , back, thighs and buttocks .

There are of course other more advanced methods. They remain, in my opinion, the most interesting for learning to contract a muscle on a polyarticular exercise in particular.

Bodybuilding accessories

Sometimes, using a weight training accessory can be enough, to help recruit the target muscle in a polyarticular exercise .

elastique développé couché machine exercice polyarticulaire musculation

For example, it can also be the case on pulling movements, such as chin-ups . In this case, pull straps (or straps) limit the intervention of the forearms. The work then becomes more efficient for the back muscles , in addition to gaining strength. I particularly like the 8-shaped pull straps.

Here is a list of strength training accessories, which can help you with polyarticular movements:

  • Elastic
  • Fat grip
  • Straps
  • Weightlifting shoes
  • Occlusion band
  • Bowtie…

Polyarticular exercise list for each muscle group

Finally, I will give you a list of polyarticular exercises, to be performed in the gym or at home with little equipment .

On some exercises, there are a number of variations. However, these are negligible details when you start, it is mainly about comfort.


  • Lumberjack draw
  • Rowing Yates
  • Horizontal pulley pull
  • High-Row
  • Low-Row
  • Pronation pull-ups
  • Pulley chest pull
  • Deadlift


  • Bench press
  • Dips
  • Inclined press
  • Pumps
  • Developed declined


  • Supine pull-ups
  • Vertical pulley supine pull


  • Tight grip bench press
  • Dips
  • Diamond pumps


  • Military development
  • Standing rowing


  • Squat
  • Front squat
  • Hack squat
  • Slip slots
  • Bulgarian squat
  • Squat cup
  • Deadlift semi-straight legs
  • Leg press
  • Leg raises


Of course, most exercises can be done with dumbbells , barbell or directly on a machine . In short, you just need to understand the movement and use your imagination to adapt it to the material you have available.

Regarding forearms, calves or abdominals, there is no grassroots movement. Therefore, the specific exercises to do for these muscle groups will be covered in an article dedicated to isolation exercises. However, these muscles will still be used in most basic movements.

If you want me to dwell on a particular exercise, you can let me know in the comments, I will also devote a whole article to it.

BySteve Howard

How to Do a Home Pre Workout?

Successful training is not just a question of willpower, you have to prepare beforehand! Slack, laziness and fatigue … Even the most assiduous have already been confronted with this problem.

It is clear that recovery and a healthy lifestyle play an essential role in the quality of a weight training session. Sometimes the problem comes from elsewhere. This is where the Pre Workout booster appears, a dietary supplement aimed at increasing our athletic performance during training.

Let’s see together what a booster is, why is it more interesting to do your home Pre Workout and when to take it. We will end with the most interesting, the ingredients and the recipes to make your own booster.


What is a pre-workout booster in bodybuilding?

The rule of thumb when taking dietary supplements is knowing what you are consuming, especially for a booster.

It is a drink to take before training . It aims to increase your concentration , your energy to improve your performance . We can also note the presence of ingredients to achieve better muscle congestion during training.

Therefore, the Pre Workout can be summed up in 3 words:

  • Stimulant
  • Energy
  • Pump (congestion)

In view of the diversity of ingredients, it is essential to know how to read the labels in order to select or do a Pre Workout adapted to you.

Do your homemade Pre Workout or buy it in a food supplement store?

Boosters abound in the food supplement market. You can quickly be tempted by a pretty packaging, filled with promising messages: strength gain, fat burn, improved focus … But what is it really?

complément alimentaire poudre musculation

The more ingredients there are in a dietary supplement , the greater the risk of buying a product that is far too expensive for its content. Some ingredients are less expensive than others, so the dosages are mostly out of balance. Not to mention the presence of unnecessary ingredients in a Pre Workout, such as creatine.

Generally, bodybuilders look for the “boost” in a booster. Synthetic caffeine being inexpensive and very effective is enough to fulfill this need. However, when it comes to a more expensive ingredient, like citrulline, you find that the dosages are far from optimal.

So manufacturers have no interest in making a well-dosed but more expensive product. A pretty name and high caffeine dosages are enough to sell.

To be honest, the best booster on the market is yours. Do a Pre Workout at home with two advantages:

  • A much lower price
  • Controlling dosages

All the more so as the dosages will be specific to each person (body weight, optimal threshold, etc.).

When to take your pre-workout at home to optimize your workouts?

Mistake number 1: taking the SAME booster every day (hence the importance of dosages).

Indeed, wanting to take a booster rich in caffeine for low intensity workouts is not necessarily useful. By dint of overdoing it, you will be forced to increase the doses to feel the same effects as before.

To know when to take your home Pre Workout, it is necessary to determine:

  • His form of the day
  • The planned weight training session

From there, you will be able to determine when to take your booster and at what dosage.

If I take my example, I favor the ingredients:

  • Stimulant: for my intensive sessions or when the form is not there
  • To congest: in order to work on my weak points

Choosing a NO booster for muscle congestion

The lack of muscle congestion during training is frustrating for some practitioners. Although congestion does not indicate a good workout, it should still be remembered that it is one of the factors of muscle growth .

So, it can be interesting to look for muscle congestion when working on your weak points. This is when pre-workouts including NO booster ingredients (nitrogen monoxide or nitric oxide) can add a little extra to your sessions. Beyond a better “pump”, NO booster makes it possible to:

  • Maintain a good hypertrophic response
  • Accelerate muscle recovery
  • Facilitate blood circulation
  • Improve oxygenation of muscle tissue

There are many dietary supplements or foods to increase your NO levels, here is a list to compose your homemade Pre Workout.

Arginine, the amino acid of choice for a good pump

Arginine is an amino acid that plays a fundamental role in the secretion of NO. It is even more important to supplement arginine if physical activity is important.

acide aminé arginine booster pre workout

In addition to better muscle congestion, this amino acid helps fight fatigue during exercise (elimination of rapid metabolic waste such as ammonia).

Unfortunately, arginine is difficult for the body to absorb because it is largely broken down in the liver. We are therefore not equal when it comes to its effectiveness. You have to test to determine if the purchase is superfluous or not.

If you want to buy some, arginine comes in different forms. The preferred shapes are:

  • L-Arginine
  • Arginine AKG (more easily absorbed, but more expensive)

Regarding its dosage, it is best to consume between 8 to 10 grams, about 1 hour before training.

Citrulline, a more effective alternative


The best alternative to increase your arginine levels is citrulline . Although more expensive, it will be much better assimilated by the body.

You can find citrulline in some foods like watermelon, but food supplements are more effective. Indeed, it would be necessary to consume astronomical quantities to obtain the expected effects.

On the market, you can find citrulline in two forms:

  • L-Citrulline
  • Citrulline malate (malic acid + L-Citrulline)

If you want to do a home Pre Workout, your best bet is to go for citrulline malate , which is more effective for recovery between two sets. The optimal dose is around 7 grams, to be taken about 1 hour before your workout.

If you don’t want to take a dietary supplement, you can still increase your NO levels through food. For this, the food of choice remains beet, thanks to its high nitrate content.

The ingredients of a Pre Workout to increase performance

In order to progress in bodybuilding, it is essential to surpass yourself, to want to do better than last month. In other words, you have to be more and more efficient.

Fatigue, lack of energy, motivation and difficulty holding an intensive session are limiting factors for performance. Fortunately, means do exist to partially overcome these problems.

Here are some effective ingredients to include in your homemade Pre Workout, to refuel, to be more enduring and to improve your focus in training.

Caffeine, a powerful stimulant

Coffee, tea, Cola… Caffeine is easily accessible and widely consumed, even by sedentary people.

Once thought to be a doping agent, caffeine is one of the most powerful molecules to perform better, whether at the gym or at work. There is no doubt about its effectiveness.

caféine grain de café

It would take too long to go into all the benefits of caffeine … Therefore, we are only going to talk about its benefits during a weight training session. Caffeine helps:

  • to increase the force of contraction
  • to improve concentration during exercise (stimulation of the nervous system)
  • to delay fatigue
  • to fight against hypoglycaemia by maintaining blood sugar levels
  • burn more fat for energy

In view of all its benefits, the desire to enrich your homemade Pre Workout with caffeine at each session is tempting, but not recommended for two reasons:

  1. the habit and the need to constantly increase the doses for similar effects
  2. the risk of caffeine intoxication (palpitations, anxiety …) due to increased doses

Indeed, its overconsumption is dangerous if it is abusedly consumed in excessive doses. In order not to fall into the trap of always more, you have to be careful to limit your consumption, even outside of sport. This allows you to keep your optimal threshold to enjoy its beneficial effects, even with low doses.

Choosing a good source of caffeine

This is an almost essential ingredient for an effective Home Pre Workout . You still have to know how to choose the right source of caffeine.

The advantage of caffeine (capsule or powder) is that it doesn’t cost too much. So do not hesitate to pay the price to have a quality product.

Synthetic caffeine, without chlorogenic acid (antioxidant) should be avoided. It is preferable to opt for natural caffeine in order to conserve the polyphenols, if possible from green coffee or guarana .

To determine your tolerance threshold, you have to go little by little, in increments of 50mg. Usually, the required dose is around 4 mg / kg of body weight, to be taken 1 hour before training.

Prolong your endurance thanks to Beta-alanine

With growing success, this amino acid is found in most pre workout booster. beta-alanine helps to synthesize more carnosine (with the help of L-hystidine).

This concentration of carnosine is useful to be more enduring during short efforts and intense, neutralizing the burning sensation at the end of the series, a factor limiting its performance.

For information, the tingling sensations after taking beta alanine, usually in the face, are quite normal and not dangerous. It is stimulating for some and unpleasant for others.

The recommended dose is around 4 grams per day. Note that its effects on performance are not immediate. It takes about 2 to 3 weeks, taken regularly, to notice any real change.

Add a source of carbohydrate to fill up with energy

It would be a shame to do a homemade Pre Workout without carbohydrate , the number 1 fuel for our muscles.

It is all the more important to add a source of carbohydrate to your booster if it was several hours since the last meal. For this, the banana is more than sufficient. You can consume 2 to 3 bananas, preferably very ripe, 1 hour before training, in addition to an intra-training carbohydrate drink or a homemade gainer after training.

banane glucide pre workout

Ensure muscle mass gains and improve recovery thanks to the booster

It would be a shame to do productive sessions for less muscle mass gains.

Of course, you can do without it and progress anyway. But the effort required to optimize your sessions is low, why deprive yourself? The cumulative effect applies to bodybuilding: it’s the little things that will make a noticeable difference over time.

On the other hand, it is all the more important not to neglect this part if your diet is random or if you are in full force (calorie restriction), because the cause of stagnation is not only linked to training.

Avoid catabolism: Amino acids or whey?

Catabolism, the obsession of bodybuilding practitioners.

To limit breakage, it is necessary to replenish the stocks of amino acids before the session, especially if the last meal is several hours ago. A simple whey is not suitable (speed of absorption).

You can opt for BCAAs (also a source of energy), but the best is still peptopro (I invite you to read the article on BCAAs to find out why).

acides aminés protéine

In the case of peptopro, it is advisable to consume approximately 15 to 25 grams before, spread over the entire session or post-training.

Taurine to recover faster between two sessions

While having no direct effect on training, adding taurine to your homemade pre-workout can be beneficial for recovery.

No! taurine is neither dangerous nor stimulating and does not come from the c ***** of bulls. It is simply an amino acid, NOT ESSENTIAL.

His interest in bodybuilding? Limit cramps and improve muscle recovery. I have never personally tested this type of dietary supplement, so I have no feedback on it.

We can sometimes read that it would be more judicious to consume taurine before going to bed, in part because of its drowsy effect… Once again, the best is to test, even if the investment remains low interesting in my opinion.

The recommended dose for this food supplement is around 4 grams.

Recipe to make your homemade Pre Workout

As you can see, there is a multitude of ingredients to make your own booster. The idea is not to buy everything to make THE best booster of all time, but to select the ones that you find useful, effective and suitable for your session.

Here is an idea recipe for a homemade pre workout , The quantities vary according to the practitioners:

  • 200mg of caffeine
  • 8gr of citrulline malate
  • 3gr of Beta-alanine
  • 1gr of taurine
  • 15gr of Peptopro
  • 2 bananas

Feel free to add other ingredients to add flavor (red fruits, syrup, etc.), ice cubes and a straw, for an explosive cocktail!

I keep it simple when I do my own homemade pre-workouts, the most effective ingredients for me are citrulline malate, caffeine and bananas. And that’s it … You are free to test and judge whether the investment is worth it.

Of course, the list is not complete. I preferred to focus on the most interesting and beneficial for a bodybuilding practitioner, quickly discussing the performance effects of each ingredient. Fortunately, there are other ways to improve the quality of your weight training sessions. Interested in an article on this topic?

BySteve Howard

What is the Optimal Duration of a Strength Training Session?

Will too short a workout limit your results? On the contrary, is too long a weight training session counterproductive? It’s hard to find the ideal duration , the balance between too much and too little.

The answer to this question will differ from practitioner to practitioner. That’s why we’re going to see what factors will determine the length of your sessions and how to improve the quality of your workouts.


From 45 minutes to 1h30: Should we trust this average duration for a bodybuilding session?

In bodybuilding, we always look for the little detail that will make a huge difference later on. It is therefore legitimate to ask the question about the duration of training .

If you do some research on this subject, you can quickly come across values, time ranges: 45 minutes, 1 hour 15 to 30 maximum, not to be exceeded on pain of catabolizing , seeing your testosterone drop and screwing up a weight training session. Fortunately, this is more of a myth than a reality.

The duration of a workout is not a critical factor in anabolism / catabolism. For example, in the golden age of bodybuilding, some bodybuilders could train for more than 3 hours!

séance musculation épaules arnold schwarzenegger

In any case, when we talk about physiology, it is always difficult to give precise values. Instead, let’s take a look at other, much more important factors to consider.

The duration of the training varies depending on the volume and intensity of the physical effort

Most importantly, the intensity and volume of your workouts. Not all sessions require the same effort.

For example, workouts dedicated to large muscle groups such as the pecs or thighs will generally be much more intensive and energy intensive than those dedicated to the arms or deltoids. As a result, it is this consistent effort that limits your sessions due to a lack of energy in addition to nervous fatigue. It can also be a matter of choice in relation to your bodybuilding program. Which way does the scale tip, intensity or volume?

durée séance musculation comparaison volume intensité

Usually, a lack of intensity is filled with a higher volume of training, but be careful to favor quality over quantity. There is little point in doing lots of exercises and sets (long workout) without really putting in your work, at least if you don’t want to stagnate in your performance and results.

Bottom Line: Mechanical tension (intensity) and metabolic stress (volume) must be sufficient to cause muscle hypertrophy.

The exercise tolerance threshold, meanwhile, also depends on many parameters such as genetics, age and lifestyle. Therefore, the maximum duration of a session varies according to the type of effort required but also according to the practitioners.

Adapt the duration of your sessions to your bodybuilding program and the frequency of your workouts

Beware of overtraining! The risk of achieving this is magnified if you train too often, too long, and too hard. Ultimately it is counterproductive, because of the lack of nervous, hormonal, muscle, energy and joint recovery. This fatigue effect is felt from session to session and can only get worse if you do not change your habits.

Indeed, it’s difficult to last over time if you go to the gym 7 days a week without properly distributing the amount of work over the week. You must know how to limit the duration of your sessions according to the training frequency so as not to penalize the following ones.

Again, nothing beats experience to know your own limits. Then, you can refine your weight training program, to finally know a time range adapted to your training routine.

How to adapt the effort and duration of your sessions according to your training plan?

If your training frequency is low (3 or 4 sessions per week) and your sessions are too long or too intense , in this case you can build your program on a split routine . Thus, you will be able to spend less time in the gym, spreading the work over the week, while maintaining the same quality (or even better) and the same quantity of work.

Do you already train 6-7 days a week? In this case, other alternatives exist. As you know, intense weight training involves using heavy weights. Indeed, the tension of stretching and contraction (thus the weight) is essential to gain muscle mass , but it is not the only way to gain muscle!

We also find:

  • Muscle congestion
  • Muscle burn
  • Time under tension

These other factors are much less exhausting on the nervous level, it is an opportunity to test other ways of training or to try on muscles that are usually resistant to growth.

You can therefore alternate between all these different muscle growth factors, in order to extend, maintain or reduce the duration of your sessions without ending up over-training and limiting your progress.

The time available for training in the gym

It seems so obvious! Remember, it is up to bodybuilding to adapt to you and not the other way around, whether during or outside of your workout. By that I mean that there is no point in forcing yourself to stay in the room for an hour and a half in order to meet this optimal (false) “standard”.

If you have 30 minutes a day, don’t spend more time. If you only have one or two days a week that doesn’t force you to exercise high, you’re doing what you can.

Obviously, your progress will be slower, but how long will you last by forcing yourself to respect all these obligations? In the long term, you will be a winner, you will keep your determination and regularity in your training. Patience is one of the most important keys in bodybuilding to achieve your goals.

So I encourage you to determine how much time you have available to go to the gym and how many times a week.

The level and experience of the athlete determines the duration of a weight training session

For fear of not doing enough, we tend to do a little too much to be sure that we have done something useful.

As a beginner, you will never need to have the same amount of work as an advanced practitioner. The more experience you have, the more difficult it is to progress and gain muscle. Therefore, you have to do more sets, more exercises and therefore spend more time in the gym , another reason not to copy the program of an experienced athlete.

To sum up, if you are new to weight training or only have a few months of experience, the duration of a session will not necessarily be long because the amount of work is less.

Daily energy expenditure limits training

No day is alike. Wanting to determine a fixed training duration does not take into account these two essential factors, namely diet and daily activity: What did I do and what did I eat today?

You must therefore constantly adapt the duration of your session according to what you have done around your training. For example, depending on your work, physical or sports activities that you performed on the same day…

To guarantee productive work and optimal training time , you must ensure:

  • eat enough to provide your body with everything it needs
  • recovery (sleep …)

Some days the lights will be red. In this case, it is better to limit yourself. Lack of motivation to finish a session and an abnormal loss of strength over time are good signals for when to stop. This can be interesting to structure your bodybuilding program, in order to fit the biggest sessions during your days off for example.

the duration of weight training depending on the objectives: mass gain and lean

We all have different reasons for training. Generally, in bodybuilding, practitioners want:

  • gain muscle mass
  • lose fat (dry).

Therefore, you must adapt your program and your training to your goals . The exercises can be similar in both cases but the intensity, volume and the way of training will be different.

For example, when you are in calorie restriction during a cut, your workouts will probably be shorter (varies by training method) and less intense than in mass gain. As the risk of injury or muscle catabolism is higher, you need to know how to stop at the right time.

You need to spend more time on certain muscles!

Setting a time limit for your sessions does not take into account your strengths / weaknesses and the functional characteristics of the target muscle. The amount of work and the time spent in the gym must therefore be adapted according to the muscles used.

If you have some experience in bodybuilding, you can analyze your strengths and weaknesses (lack of mass or strength) in order to better distribute the time necessary to spend in the gym.

On the other hand, if you’re a beginner, it’s hard to take a step back on this subject. Know that in general, you will need to spend more time on the following muscles:

  • Pectorals
  • Back
  • Thighs (quadriceps / hamstrings)

Food supplements to improve the quality and increase the duration of your sessions

shaker pre workout

Finally, it is not really interesting to define a duration of your sessions, it is rather what you will do there and how you will do it that is the most important.

A healthy lifestyle is essential to be strong and enduring during training . Despite our good will, it is sometimes possible to be poorly tolerant of effort, you feel a big hit and finally end your session quickly.

In the long run, it is crippling to progress in bodybuilding. You must limit this situation at all costs. Is your diet correct? Are you recovering enough? Is your program right for you? If all the answers to these questions are positive it may be that the problem is around your training.

This is where dietary supplements can be effective, whether before or during your session to improve your performance or after to better recover.

Boosters can give you a big boost if you’re not in shape. I actually wrote an article so you can do your own homemade Pre Workout.

Filling up on amino acids, consuming carbohydrates and getting some caffeine have always helped me to train longer and harder.

The conclusion and tips to get closer to an optimal training duration

A workout actually lasts between 45 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes before going flat, but this is by no means an “optimal session duration”.

You will have understood it, the duration of a training does not matter , it is especially your schedule, your level, the type of training, your objectives, the form of the day and nervous / energy exhaustion that limits you. To achieve your goals, the most important thing is to progress during your sessions by following a program adapted to your goals.

Remember, training alone is insufficient. Eating and recovering is just as important to improving the quality of your workouts and ensuring results, otherwise you may stagnate quite quickly.

For an athlete, food supplements are not essential, but can contribute to better recovery, to fill certain gaps in the diet and to improve performance during your sessions.

To recap, in order to best distribute the time spent in the gym, you must determine:

  1. The time available over a week
  2. Your strengths / weaknesses
  3. Your goals

All you have to do is write your personalized weight training program and develop it over time based on your results and your feelings.

BySteve Howard

Cinnamon and bodybuilding

What is cinnamon?

Cinnamon is an aromatic plant substance that comes from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It has been known since ancient times in its original form: small tubes. Today it is widely used in ground form in desserts and other dishes. Indeed, it is very appreciated for its fragrant flavor as well as for its unique taste. Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants which are beneficial for health. It also contains a very large amount of fiber (2g of cinnamon contains 1.3g of fiber). Cinnamon would therefore have antioxidant properties to protect the body cells against damage caused by free radicals. It could therefore have many health benefits.

Scientific studies and benefits of cinnamon

We are going to look at its benefits in the field of bodybuilding. Recently, numerous trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, arthritis and arteriosclerosis (1).

According to another study, cinnamon plays a major role in regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. In fact, cinnamon has made it possible to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels in humans thanks to the consumption of cinnamon regardless of the dosage. Cinnamon therefore controls the level of sugar and insulin in the body and could therefore help you lose weight and lose your stomach indirectly. Its use could significantly reduce body weight, BMI, and waist-to-hip ratio (2).

In summary, cinnamon improves the glycogen dose in the muscles for better use and efficiency of carbohydrates. This means that for the same amount of carbohydrates, adding cinnamon will improve their effectiveness. In addition, cinnamon could be interesting in some cases:

  • When you are dry, it is important to optimize the use of carbohydrates. Indeed, the amount of carbohydrates should be limited to better burn fat. If you add cinnamon, your body will improve the use of carbohydrates for more energy. So you won’t need a lot of carbohydrates to recover.
  • When cinnamon is consumed after intensive training, it would accelerate muscle recovery by restoring glycogen stores in the muscles more quickly and easily.
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Cinnamon in a few words

  • It improves breath
  • It promotes weight loss
  • It eliminates acne and blackheads on the skin
  • It slows down the aging of the skin
  • It helps fight insulin and cholesterol
  • It controls blood sugar levels to maintain insulin sensitivity
  • It has antibacterial properties
  • It is a powerful antioxidant
  • It protects you against the risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases
  • It relieves the cold and prevents you from catching diseases
  • It improves digestion

Faced with these many advantages, it would be a shame to go without cinnamon! If you haven’t adopted it yet, give it a try!

How to use cinnamon?

Cinnamon goes very well and easily with your desserts. You can easily add it to your yogurt, drinks, cottage cheese and any other food you want. You can also add it to your breakfasts such as bowlcakes, protein pancakes, protein powder and oatmeal, fruit … Cinnamon goes well with almost any sweet meal! After that, let your imagination run wild!

BySteve Howard

How to do a Personalized Bodybuilding Program?

If you are looking for a personalized weight training program , it is undoubtedly that you are starting out and as a beginner you have a mountain of questions: Where to start? What exercise? How many repetitions? … I reassure you, no need to train 7 days a week to explode everything in 3 months. The only mistake: Copy a bodybuilding program to the letter and cross your fingers to get results.

musculation curl biceps

I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that the perfect bodybuilding program and miracle exercises does not exist. The good news is that if you’ve been looking to get a workout schedule, it’s because you want to structure your strength training sessions so as not to let things happen and that’s a huge deal. step forward.

Save your energy and follow this guide step by step. You will know how to make your own personalized weight training program .

Here is the summary:

Going for a strength training program to get big results and fast is not the right approach in my opinion. I like to say that weight training is a marathon and indeed, you really have to be very patient if you want big results. Be aware of what you are asking your body to: build muscle ! And training is nothing more or less than a way to “break down fiber” (to rebuild with food and rest, bigger muscle ).

The right approach is to have a personalized program for:

  • Avoid injury
  • Stay motivated and have fun
  • Do productive sessions to progress
  • Adapt it according to your strengths / weaknesses

So no need to do the latest trendy exercise. It is not for you to adapt to the program, but rather to the program to adapt to you and to your situation.

On what basis to make a custom program?

Beyond your level, you must first take into account your genetics to build a solid personalized bodybuilding program . We are not all starting from the same point. You will not progress at the same speed and you will not be as receptive as someone else to a given type of training .

génétique musculation

Your genetics give you the first clues to answer the following questions:

  • Which exercise?
  • How many sets / reps?
  • And the number of sessions per week?
  • How much rest time to take?
  • When to change your bodybuilding program?

The art of choosing your exercises according to your morphology

By far the most important part of your weight training program. The morphology is the number 1 pillar for having a square personalized bodybuilding program , efficient and optimized. If your goal is to develop your physique you have this enormous chance to choose the exercises .

Knowing how to train according to your body type means avoiding (or delaying) pathologies and selecting exercises that are effective for you.

You will understand, no need to copy the neighbor. Your levers will not be the same. The length of the limbs, the muscles, everything comes into account. This will have an impact on the stretching tension and contraction of a muscle during exercise but also its development capacity, for example it will be more difficult to make meat on a short calf rather than a long calf.

anatomie morphologie musculation

I’m not hiding from you that it will take a little experience to get to know yourself, but the earlier you do it, the faster you will progress.

This answers the question: Which strength training exercise to choose?

I would like to thank Frédéric Delavier and Michael Gundill, two French authors who were the first to popularize this approach to bodybuilding. Their books have given me so much that I can only recommend them to you, especially the Delavier method of bodybuilding 2 (and 3).

Recovery: determine the number of sessions

The speed of recovery from one session to another varies according to your genetics, your age, your pace and lifestyle … Although too often neglected for fear of “melting” or regressing, recovery is nevertheless l ‘one of the pillars of progress.

By the way, recovery is not just a matter of waiting until you have not been able to have aches, in fact, the muscle does not recover at the same speed as the joints, for example. Let’s see the different recoveries together:

  • Energetic: Have fishing for the next session – 1/2 days.
  • Muscle: Rebuild and ready to cash again – 1 to 2 days depending on muscle group.
  • Hormonal: Limit hormonal disturbances (increase in cortisol…) – 2 days.
  • Nervous system: Maintain strength and efficiency – 5 to 10 days depending on the intensity of the session.
  • Articular / tendon: Avoid ending up with tendonitis or other pathologies.

récupération sommeil

Recovery times are approximate, so it’s best to ignore this too much. In short, recovery gives the first clues to determine the number of sessions per week, in order to have a TRUE personalized bodybuilding program and to avoid being counterproductive.

Note that it will be difficult to change mother nature. You will only be able to take care of your lifestyle (food, sleep, rest…).

Knowing your limits will come with time. This may answer the question: How many weight training sessions per week?

Types of muscle fibers: how many repetitions?

Definitely, the body is a complex machine! There are several types of muscle fibers (or myocyte), each of which has a use. To be precise, there are 3:

  • Fiber I (slow)
  • Fiber II a (fast)
  • Fiber II b (fast)

Therefore, muscles will not be composed in the same way from one individual to another, whether it is the type of fiber, but also their number.

This is why we often find in bodybuilding programs a number of repetitions ranging from 8 to 12 to be executed in explosives. This range of reps and the explosiveness of the movement would make it possible to use mostly fiber type II to develop your physique, because they are the most voluminous.

Here is a table to compare the types of muscle fibers:

comparaison type fibre lente rapide musculation force masse endurance

Determine the repetition ranges of your bodybuilding exercises

Wanting to use this type of fiber in bodybuilding at all costs can slow you down in your progress. Usually we are 50/50 dialed (except the champions, the lucky ones!) But it will be different from muscle to muscle. If I take my example, there is a good chance that my triceps are denser in fiber II while my quadriceps are denser in fiber I. Indeed, I had much better results for my thighs by performing a lot more repetitions (and sets) with a less explosive movement.

I still want to reassure you! The human body is so well designed that it is possible to “change” the fiber I / II ratio just by going to weight training and training intelligently . Anyway, if you are starting out you will not be able to know if you are receptive to such training, it will take you several months / year to know yourself and modify this ratio. You just have to take this into account so as not to imitate the training of a champion.

This may answer the question: How many reps to do?

The nervous system: how many sets, determine rest times and know when to change exercise

The nervous system is the human body’s information highway, sending and receiving messages. It is precisely the somatic nervous system that interests us today, because it is it that allows you to control your muscles .

In other words, if you have a concrete nervous system, you will be strong and powerful, because you will be able to mobilize neurons quickly and in large numbers to activate the maximum of muscle fibers . And yes, strength is in the head and the size of a muscle is not the only factor (of course, big arms will always be stronger than thin ones …).

If I have to use a metaphor, having a lot of muscle mass and a wobbly nervous system is like having a Lamborghini with a Twingo engine. You are in a way “restrained” by your SN.

Wanting to build up a lot of muscle mass Without taking into account your nervous system can be disabling in the long term. Some beginners will have a more efficient basic nervous system than others. This can come not only from your genetics , but also from your sporting past .

système nerveux musculation

Why take an interest in the nervous system to create a personalized weight training program?

Well for 2 reasons:

First, to fix your rest time and the number of repetitions / sets / exercises .

Indeed, there is no point in wanting to do a lot if you can’t take it. Here is yet another reason not to copy the program of an experienced person, because it is a safe bet that you will be content to count your sets and your repetitions without really giving intensity , having, moreover, times of rest not adapted to your capacity of recovery between series. Better 3 intense sets than 5 normal sets.

Second, to know how long to keep your program and when to change your exercise

No! A program does not change every 3 months to “shock the muscle”. Once you have selected an exercise that suits you, you should do it as long as possible (it can be counted in years) to:

  • Learn and use the same nervous circuit
  • Create new neural connections
  • Thicken neural connections

This explains why we take more from session to session when we select a new exercise and that we “feel” to have done a productive job and it is precisely the opposite, it is simply that we were “constrained” by the nervous system, the time it adapts what …

A sharp drop in the number of repetitions from one set to another is a sign of an exhausted nervous system, better stop there and move on to another exercise, you will know the number of sets to do for the next time.

A drop in performance from week to week with a loss of desire to exercise is often indicative of a burnt out nervous circuit, in which case it is time to change exercise (for his bodybuilding program).

Choose a training strategy before doing your personalized bodybuilding program

A bodybuilding program must be personalized to be adapted to its genetics , but also to its rhythm of life. The questions to ask yourself before wanting to write your bodybuilding program are as follows:

  • Do I do weight training at home or in the gym?
  • What equipment do I have available?
  • How much time per day can I spend?
  • How many sessions per week can I do?

Indeed, you will unfortunately have to put aside some things, but that does not prevent you from having the most optimized program possible to achieve your goals! As we will see, there are different training strategies , each with their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see which one to choose in your case.


Full body

The Full Body consists of working the whole body in a single session. This type of training allows you to train 1 to 4 times a week.

At first glance, this ideal air training regimen, as it easily multiplies his training frequency (per week). Although it is often seen as the ” beginner’s program “, it doesn’t have to be, it is very often the opposite.

In which case to choose the full body?

The full body is best if you want to train 1 to 3 times a week , note that a full body session lasts on average 1h30 to 2h. It allows you to have flexibility in organizing your week. Indeed, if you miss a session, you can fit it another day or even miss a workout without worrying about not having worked all of your muscles during the week. Be sure to work the larger muscle groups (thighs, pectorals, back) at the start of the session and change the order of the exercises at each workout for better management of the effort. If you’re clearly low on energy, better wait until the next day. In any case, within each session a minimum day of rest!

Half Body

The Half body consists of working the upper body in one session then the lower body in another. Therefore, it is up to you to choose whether you can train 1h30 to 2h, 2 to 4 times a week.

When to choose the Half Body?

Personally, it’s a way of working that I approve of and still use to this day. As with the Full Body, the Half body also allows you to have a flexible program , according to the schedule of the week. It is therefore easy to put in a missed session or even add a fifth if you want to focus on certain muscles .

The big advantage is the working balance between the upper and lower body. We often find two types of people, those who have more facility to develop the top rather than the bottom (which is my case) and vice versa. The recovery of the thighs between two workouts is quite long, the two sessions can allow you to focus on the quadriceps during one training and the hamstrings the other day, it’s a very efficient and less trying way of doing things than putting everything in the same training.

PPL (Push Pull Legs)

As its name suggests, the PPL groups exercises by movement category:

  • Push (pecs, shoulders, triceps)
  • Pull-up (Back, biceps)
  • Legs (thighs and calves)

In which case to choose the PPL?

In short, if you are limited to 3 bodybuilding sessions per week (1h30), it is preferable. Despite the lack of flexibility compared to full body, Push Pull Legs allows you to manage your energy (and your nervous system) much better, thus making sessions more productive. As with the Half Body, it is easy to add a workout to emphasize certain muscle groups, such as your weak points .


The best way to have a most personalized program possible . Split (which means “divided”) generally allows you to organize your workouts in order to focus on one or two muscle groups per session.

When to choose Split?

As I said before, this is “usually” how it is done. At least from what I can see, a lot of people use Split to “flatten” and “club” a muscle to the last fiber. Divide to divide, without considering its goals, strengths and weaknesses reap the benefits of this strategy. Some days you can work 3 muscle groups, others just one. Some muscles will be worked only once a week, others several … The number of sets and exercises can be adjusted according to the mood of the day. So it’s up to you to manage, according to:

  • your strengths / weaknesses,
  • your recovery capacity
  • your available time.

Therefore, the Split is right for you if you want the personalized weight training program as square as possible . Of course, you will need a little experience, to make some adjustments over the weeks. However, it’s up to you if you can train more than 4 days a week.

Build your personalized body-building program in 3 steps

Now that you have the basics of your bodybuilding routine, it’s time to complete it! It’s hard to know in advance what you can do, especially if you are a beginner . To start a personalized weight training program as quickly as possible, you have to go step by step.

Step 1: Test the exercises (2 weeks)

As we could see in the previous chapter, the exercises must be (above all) selected in relation to its morphology. However, it is quite difficult as a beginner to analyze yourself and know what to choose

Note that it is much easier to analyze yourself in a photo than in front of a mirror.

I recommend that you do the “tourist” for two weeks, to test exercises . To do this, plan 3 days a week, with a Full Body as a training base to be able to test six exercises per muscle at the end of the 14 days. The idea is to select only one exercise per muscle group , preferably polyarticular .

Finally, just take stock to find out which ones are right for you (or not). Your choice will be on exercises which:

  • Gives you a good feeling (burning sensation on the targeted muscle …)
  • Does not cause you any discomfort or abnormal pain (for example, pain in the front of the shoulder on an incline curl …)

To have a list of exercises (by muscle group) and examples of workouts, I have prepared a file with examples of strength training programs starting in PDF for you.

Strength exercises to avoid

Finally, first avoid polyarticular exercises which are quite technical, where, moreover, morphology plays an important role. We find in particular the 3 exercises performed in powerlifting: the bench press, the squat and the deadlift.

However, if you are limited by the choice of exercises, or if you simply want to perform them out of desire, here are some recommendations to overcome bad morphological predispositions:

  • Bench press: If you have a thin rib cage and long arms, you can add thickness to your chest, or simply limit the amplitude, so as not to over-stretch the pecs ( broken parallel).
  • Squat: If you have long legs, you can raise your heels with a wedge or weightlifting shoes, to prevent your back from leaning too far forward. In addition, you can also limit the amplitude, usually you have to go up when you feel discomfort, which can also be due to a lack of flexibility of the ankles.
  • Deadlift: If you have short arms (and worse, long legs), you can limit range of motion with a squat rack and perform a ‘sumo’ deadlift, using flat-soled shoes is a plus, your back will thank you.

Step 2: Write your final bodybuilding program

Now that you know your routine, you must now determine the number of sets , repetitions and rest times . Of course, the program is not set in stone and must evolve as you progress.

As for the repetitions, you can base yourself on these repetition ranges:

  • Chest / back: 8 to 12 repetitions
  • Arms / shoulders: 10 to 15 repetitions
  • Thighs / calves: 15 to 20 repetitions
  • Abs: 25 to 30 repetitions

Regarding the number of series , you must refer to the first chapter (concerning the nervous system), that is to say, stop as soon as your performance drops, while keeping some juice for the rest of the session.

And finally, the rest times. Usually, we often hear rest times ranging from 1 minute 30 to 2 minutes. You can fix your rest times by getting closer to its values ​​at first. You can know when to resume thanks:

  • Getting your breath back
  • At the end of this localized burning sensation.

As a reminder, one in four failed series still represents 1/4 of shoddy work. Better to focus on the intensity of the exercise rather than the number of repetitions, even if it means doing 17 or 5 rather than 10.

Step 3: Follow your progress and anticipate the change of bodybuilding program

It’s all good, you’re ready to push! More than concentrating under the bars and letting the time do things.

Now that you know where you are going, don’t forget to keep an eye on your progress so you don’t get lost. So you can:

  • Preserve your motivation
  • Anticipate changes in exercise, program or even training method

In bodybuilding, tracking your progress is more effective than setting goals .

I want to gain 4kg of muscle in a year!

Difficult to predict the future … It answers the question “what” and not the question “how”. The objectives must be set on the very short term (from one training session to another) and not over the long term:

I will try to add 5kg on this exercise!

Why not do one more set?

What if I took less time off?

Here is what you can act on.

Use indicators of progress

Long term, you have to use indicators to track your progress and there are a ton of them! The idea is not to calculate everything down to the millimeter, but to keep the ones that we think are consistent and easy to follow. Here are a few:

  • Body weight
  • Fat (comparison in photo)
  • Load used
  • Number of repetitions
  • Number of sets
  • Rest time
  • Measurements…

It’s something that takes seconds, seconds that will save you months or even years of results for the less organized.

Obviously, you don’t have to look every day to see the slightest sign of progress. The right way is to take stock either monthly or quarterly, this is ideal for seeing noticeable changes and anticipating if something goes wrong. (For example: photos, measurements and weighing every month + note taking at each training).

The progress indicators that I use

Personally, I am still closely monitoring my progress and from experience not doing it is a disaster:

  • Loss of motivation
  • Stagnation see regression

It becomes a vicious circle… The loss of motivation will make you regress and the regression will make you lose even more motivation.

I use a lot of indicators to follow my progress, the most important:

  • Workloads
  • The measurements
  • My body weight / fat ratio

Here is an example of progress tracking for my thighs, I took the two biggest exercises:

How do I interpret the results?

I have a specific goal in my follow-up:

  • Change exercise at the right time: I correlate the loads used and my measurements . If I notice a stagnation or even a regression of the loads used AND the measurements over three months, I change.
  • Changing my eating habits: I analyze the body weight / fat ratio. If I put on pounds and too much fat at the same time, I take it easy. On the contrary, my body weight drops, I gasp. In the best case, my body weight increases without gaining fat, I stay in freewheel.

As you can see, my measurements have only increased over a year. It was the same for my performances (Series, rehearsal and workload). It was then unnecessary to change the exercise, only a few corrections to the exercise itself (highlighted in yellow), for a matter of comfort.

After a year my motivation and progress suddenly dropped, so did my measurements (as shown in the graph). I was able to anticipate to change exercises.

There can also be a correlation between an increase in measurements and body weight, which results in muscle gain. Nevertheless, to be taken with a grain of salt, especially on fatty areas.

BySteve Howard

How to make a Home Gainer?

If you want to gain mass , the Homemade Gainer can be useful. Besides, doing it yourself will be a lot more interesting than buying “out of the box” Gainers.

The most interested are mainly people who have trouble gaining weight and who want to gain muscle mass . That said, it’s a far too overrated dietary supplement for my liking (probably for the name), easy to sell to the less informed.

However, we must admit that in some cases, the Gainer can give a good boost to gain mass . The problem is knowing exactly what to put in it, to make the right Gainer for your situation, your goals and when to take it?

gainer maison

Before going into the kitchen, let’s take it step by step. Here is the summary:

What is a Bodybuilding Gainer?

It is important to remember that a Gainer is neither more nor less than a source of protein mixed with carbohydrates .

This makes gainer, an ideal high calorie snack , almost complete, easy to consume and carry.

And this is where you have to be careful! The quality of the ingredients (protein and carbohydrate) used in most of the Gainers on the market are low end. It will mainly be a simple whey concentrate with sugar, a lot of sugar, a cheap ingredient that sells for a high price. We therefore end up with a low-end, expensive gainer, with a protein / carbohydrate ratio that is far from optimal.

In the end, the promise will be kept. You will gain weight quickly, sure, but not the “right weight”. Only a little muscle for a lot of fat .

A quick note for thin people: when you’re just starting out and want to start weight gain, you neglect food and say to yourself “I have a lot of leeway”. Do not fall into this trap. Be patient and do not hide fat. It’s not aesthetic, it’s not the best level of health and it’s harder to lose it.

Make your house gainer, a safe bet!

Right now, making your Gainer home is the best solution. We inhibit (almost) all the disadvantages of a market gainer.

  • The choice of ingredients: you will be free to choose the source of protein and carbohydrate . The best for making a tailor-made Gainer (with, for example, a higher or lower glycemic index depending on when it is taken).
  • The price: it will come back to you in any case cheaper per kilo.
  • The quality: it will be difficult to do worse than a traditional Gainer.
  • The protein / carbohydrate ratio: As with the choice of ingredients, you can adjust the quantities, according to your nutritional needs . Some will need more protein than carbohydrate and vice versa.

Do you need to get a homemade Gainer?

Before taking Gainers, it is necessary to know if you really need them.

The Gainer is an easy to carry snack and allows you to multiply your meals, so it can help you reach your goals more easily if:

  • You have trouble eating or you are not eating enough.
  • You are often on the go and want to have a complete snack that is quick to consume.

In both cases, it is necessary to take stock of your diet before going any further. Nutrition is just one of the factors that promote muscle (re) construction. If your diet is already on top, but your training and your rest are totally random, then sheathing it will be a waste of money .

So you are probably asking yourself the question:

And how do I know if my diet is sufficient?

The subject is way too broad to cover everything in this article, but I will still give you the basics of sports nutrition and a method to know more or less your nutritional needs.

Sports nutrition basics

I will popularize as much as possible, this subject will be covered in detail in another article.

To have a balanced diet and adapted, it is important that your meals give you enough macronutrients and micronutrients to your body in the day.


Three in number, we find:

collation musculation

  • The proteins (4kcal / gr): Necessary to build muscle (BUT NOT THAT). The quality of the protein will depend in part on its aminogram (number of amino acids) and its biological value .
  • Carbohydrates (4kcal / gr): Used as the main source of energy by your body. (BUT NOT ONLY). The choice will be based on their glycemic index (more or less rapid sugar).
  • lipids (9kcal / gr): For the proper functioning of your body . (BUT NOT ONLY). Some fats are essential, others should be avoided and avoided.

This is really the minimum to remember.


Micronutrients are all vitamins and minerals. Also vital for the functioning of your body, the homemade gainer will give you unlike a gainer on the market.

Calculate your nutritional needs

Calorie needs will be different depending on your gender, your daily activity, your metabolism, your current weight, your age… I prefer to count macronutrients rather than calories. Look at the table to help you with your calculations:
Average values ​​for a bodybuilding practitioner :

Protein: 1.5 to 2gr / kg of body weight
Carbohydrate: 4 to 5gr / kg of body weight
Lipid: 1 to 1.5gr / kg of body weight

Example for a man who weighs 70 kg:
Protein: 2 x 70 = 140gr
Carbohydrate: 5 x 70 = 350gr
Fat: 1 x 70 = 70 gr

Daily Calories: (140 x 4Kcal) + (350 x 4Kcal) + (70 x 9Kcal) = 2590Kcal

After your calculation, you just need to write down how much you eat per day for a week and how much. At the end of the week, calculate the macronutrients (per day) and take an average. You can go directly to this site to find the nutritional values ​​of foods or directly use the MyFitnessPal application.

Even if you’re in the nails, try to incorporate a gainer during the day to have excess calories , for a good month. Take stock at the end to see any change.
You can use two indicators like your weight and your body fat . For a beginner, you should set a gap of about 2kg max per month. Beyond that you will make way too much fat over time. In this case, there is no need to take Gainers .

Note also that on days without physical activity, your body will not burn as many calories as on other days. If you practice other sports such as boxing where body weight is an important factor, it is best to match your daily calorie needs to your expenses. It allows you to gain strength without gaining a lot of weight.

If you clearly lack carbohydrate and / or protein during the day then you can move on to make your homemade gainer !

Choose the ingredients for your homemade gainer

Now is the time to play the cook, or rather the mathematician! The gainer must meet the following conditions:

  • Easy to transport
  • Quickly consumable
  • Complete

I know some people don’t necessarily like using “powder” as a source of protein. To satisfy everyone, I will give different homemade gainer recipes , with or without food supplement, but also for vegans . Gainers are in most cases in the form of protein shake .

In my experience, certain recipes and dosages are to be favored at certain times of the day. I’ll share this with you right away.

Choose your protein source

there is so much to say that it’s hard to get into everything here, I’ll keep it simple. If you are not lactose intolerant, go for ” whey ” (from milk). Here’s what to avoid:

  • Whey concentrate: cheaper but not a great composition
  • Hydrolyzate: It’s expensive and it digests (too) quickly. It can be interesting to take after a session. Some people tolerate it, for others it causes digestive problems (diarrhea …).

Isolate works well, see your budget. Casein is best if you have your snack before going to bed (digest slowly).

Personally I attach great importance to the ingredients that make up whey . The less, the better. I especially avoid sweeteners like Acesulfame-K which is present in most protein powders .

shaker musculation

If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to go for egg protein , an excellent source of protein, but more expensive. Meat protein should be avoided given the quality of the raw materials used.

If you are a vegetarian, you can use vegetable protein from soy or hemp. Namely that their anabolic potential will be much less than those of animal origin.
Regarding tastes, stay on safe values ​​(chocolate and vanilla), the rest quickly becomes disgusting. Even better, if you can stand the neutral taste, go for it! It is often cheaper and without sweeteners.

Keep in mind that taste and miscibility are not quality criteria for a protein powder , it is often the opposite. A good tasting protein powder that mixes well should alert you to the possible presence of additives or other unnecessary components.

Make your homemade Gainer without Whey

Of course, you can make your own homemade Gainer without whey, the downside is that it costs (much) more. The composition of food is not as good as that of food supplements and digestion is slower. Here are some protein-rich foods that are easy to transport and consume:

Of animal origin: Grison, dried beef, dried turkey, tuna in brine (canned), milk …

The meats are generally very salty. Compare products to avoid as much salt as possible and don’t consume too much.

Of plant origin: Spirulina, soya, (oleaginous fruits) …

Vegetable proteins are generally less interesting than animal proteins.

  • Spirulina is rich in protein but excessively expensive.
  • The oilseeds do not give the freedom to manage macronutrients, the balance is tilted in the side of lipids.
  • soy spills a lot of ink. The presence of isoflavones could have estrogenic effects (and therefore lower testosterone levels). Although some people disagree, you should still be careful about your soy intake.

Choose your source of carbohydrate

The homemade gainer offers the possibility of choosing a food with a higher or lower glycemic index (something impossible with a traditional gainer).

Simply put, the glycemic index tells you how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels, they are often called fast or slow sugars.

In most cases, “slow sugars” (low glycemic index) will be preferred. There is no point in wanting to increase your blood sugar quickly if it is not used. In this case, the insulin (hormone) will regulate blood sugar levels in the blood , most of the excess will be stored as fat.

Here is a list of foods with their glycemic index (GI), some examples:

  • top: Bread, cakes, soda, syrup, baked potato, rice (quick cooking), candy…
  • medium: Banana, honey, sweet potato, wholemeal paste, rice…
  • bottom: Oats, al dente paste, lentil, beans…

Note also that the type of cooking, the temperature and the processing of the food greatly influences its GI. For example, basmati rice cooked quickly and having had time to cool does not have the same GI as rice cooked quickly and served hot.

In any case, I recommend these two foods to compose a homemade sheather : oats (flake or powder) for a low / medium GI and ripe banana for a medium / high GI.
From experience and after numerous tests, I mainly compose my homemade oatmeal Gainers.

I replace oats with 2 or 3 bananas if I have the snack after my weight training . Since glycogen stores are low after a workout, the banana GI can quickly give the body what it needs.

Choose your source of lipid

To have a complete Home Gainer , it is best to add a source of fat to your snack. Very caloric , a good handful of almonds, walnuts or cashews will do the trick.

I only advise against adding fat if the gainer is consumed after weight training, as it will slow down digestion, the opposite of what you are looking for.

Be careful not to take any roasted / salted nuts or almonds.

Make a success of your homemade gainer: Recipe and dosage

To make it easier for you, I will give you the recipes and dosages I use to make my homemade Gainers . The oilseeds have almost the same values, you can replace those in the tables while keeping the same dosages. Remember to adjust the amounts according to your needs and the number of meals / snacks you eat per day.

Winning express house: When you don’t have time

Simple recipes to make a gross house sheathing mat , to do when you’re in a hurry. It’s far from a feast, but it’s quick to make and very complete.
When to take it: between meals, in the morning or an hour before training.

Dosage (approximately):

  • 60% carbohydrate
  • 25% protein
  • 15% lipid

With food supplement:

You can replace whey with another protein such as egg protein, the nutritional values ​​are almost the same.

Amount Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Vanilla powdered oats 100 gr 67 gr 14 gr 6 gr 402 Kcal
Pure native vanilla whey 15 gr 1 gr 13 gr 0 gr 56 Kcal
1 handful of almonds 20 gr 2 gr 4 gr 11 gr 127 Kcal
TOTAL 70 gr 31 gr 17 gr 585 Kcal
59% 26% 14%

Without protein powder:

You can replace the grison with another meat (dried beef…)


Quantity Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids Kcal
Vanilla powdered oats 100gr 67gr 14gr 402Kcal
Grison meat 30gr 0gr 11gr 2gr 60Kcal
1 handful of almonds 20gr 4gr 11gr 127Kcal
TOTAL 69gr 29gr 19gr 589Kcal
59% 25% 16%
Quantity Carbohydrates Protein Lipids Kcal
Banana (small / medium) 3 72gr 5gr 0gr 324Kcal
Grison meat 50gr 0gr 19gr 3gr 101Kcal
1 large handful of almonds 25gr 2gr 5gr 13gr 159Kcal
TOTAL 74gr 29gr 16gr 584Kcal
62% 24% 13%



Quantity Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids Kcal
Vanilla powdered oats 100gr 67gr 14gr 402Kcal
Hemp protein 25gr 4gr 12gr 3gr 103Kcal
1 handful of almonds 20gr 4gr 11gr 127Kcal
TOTAL 73gr 30gr 20gr 632Kcal
59% 24% 16%


Quantity Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids Kcal
Vanilla powdered oats 100gr 67gr 14gr 402Kcal
Soy protein 15gr 0gr 13gr 1gr 58Kcal
1 handful of almonds 20gr 4gr 11gr 127Kcal
TOTAL 69gr 31gr 18gr 587Kcal
58% 26% 15%

Home gain post-workout: for rapid muscle recovery

This homemade gainer is to be taken after a good weight training session. The stores of muscle glycogen are low and the protein + carbohydrate combination is excellent for secreting a lot of insulin. Glucose will get to the muscles faster. I deliberately removed the lipids so as not to slow down digestion. Bananas are best eaten very ripe.

When to take it: After training

Dosage (approximately):

  • 70% carbohydrate
  • 30% protein
  • 0% lipid

With food supplement:

Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Banana 3 72gr 5gr 0gr 324Kcal
Pure native vanilla whey 30gr 2gr 26gr 0gr 112Kcal
TOTAL 74gr 31gr 0gr 436Kcal
70% 30% 0%

Without protein powder:

Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Banana 3 72gr 5gr 0gr 324Kcal
Grison meat 70gr 0gr 26gr 4gr 141Kcal
TOTAL 72gr 31gr 4gr 465Kcal
67% 29% 4%


Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Banana 2 48gr 4gr 0gr 216Kcal
Hemp protein 50gr 8gr 24gr 7gr 206Kcal
TOTAL 56gr 28gr 7gr 422Kcal
62% 31% 8%
Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Banana 3 72gr 5gr 0gr 324Kcal
Soy protein 30gr 1gr 26gr 1gr 116Kcal
TOTAL 73gr 31gr 1gr 440Kcal
70% 30% 0%

Gainer maison gourmand: to savor your snack

The house gainer to do when you’re at home and want to enjoy the taste of your snack. A very complete cocktail with a fruity taste. To mix it all up, just put everything inside a Blender. You can replace blackberry and whey with other red fruits and another source of protein powder (soy, egg, etc.), the dosage is the same. You can also add a little milk, water or even ice cubes to have a slightly more liquid texture and a cold drink.

When to take it: between meals, in the morning or one hour before training.

Dosage (approximately):

  • 60% carbohydrate
  • 25% protein
  • 15% lipid


Quantity Carbohydrates Proteins Lipids Kcal
Pure native vanilla whey 20gr 1gr 17gr 75Kcal
Banana 2 48gr 4gr 0gr 216Kcal
1 handful of almonds 25gr 5gr 13gr 159Kcal
1/2 skimmed milk 200ml 7gr 3gr 100Kcal
Blackberry 30gr 3gr 0gr 0gr 13Kcal
TOTAL 64gr 33gr 16gr 450Kcal
57% 29% 14%

If you want to do this Gainer without whey , you can remove it and consume a source of protein on the side, which provides about 20 grams of protein (50 grams of dried meat or 200 grams of 0% cottage cheese for example).

Anti-catabolic home enhancer: to sleep without lacking anything

If you haven’t eaten enough during the day, you can always make this slow-digesting Whole Home Gainer. We sleep between 6 to 8 hours, so this is ideal given the time gap between the evening meal and breakfast.

The strengths and the source of protein is different. Some people don’t like to eat carbohydrates before bed, to me that’s a mistake. Personally, I don’t gain more fat and I know that if I don’t eat carbohydrates in the evening, I will be less strong and less enduring for the weight training session the next day. If you are ectomorphic and have trouble gaining weight, you can try keeping the carbs down to see how your body is responding.

When to take it: Before going to bed

Dosage (approximately):

  • 45% carbohydrate
  • 35% protein
  • 20% lipid

With food supplement:

Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Powdered oats 60gr 40gr 8gr 4gr 241Kcal
Casein 25gr 3gr 19gr 1gr 89Kcal
1 large handful of almonds 25gr 2gr 5gr 13gr 159Kcal
TOTAL 45gr 32gr 18gr 489Kcal
47% 34% 19%

Without protein powder:


Quantity Carbohydrate Protein Fat Kcal
Oatmeal 30gr 6gr 3gr 161Kcal
Fromage blanc 0% 250gr 11gr 19gr 0gr 123Kcal
1 large handful of almonds 25gr 2gr 5gr 13gr 159Kcal
TOTAL 43gr 30gr 16gr 443Kcal
48% 34% 18%

You have everything you need to make Homemade Gainers and succeed in your mass gain ! Less expensive, of better quality and adapted to your needs. Remember, the Gainer is not a quick fix, it just helps you meet your calorie needs. Stay reasonable, take one or more twice a day and space your meals / snacks for several hours (3h30 / 4h30). It’s not a prescription either, take breaks every now and then.

BySteve Howard

The Solution to Progress

Using a heavier workload, heavier from session to session is, in theory, the most effective way to build muscle mass and strength. Based on this fact, it is legitimate to wonder if isolation exercise really has a place in a weight training program.

Is this a waste of time? Do you have to focus all of your efforts on basic movements? To boost your progress, you can finally determine precisely when to do isolation exercises.

You can also find a list of movements at the end of the article to establish your own training program.


What is an isolation exercise in strength training?

Unlike polyarticular exercises, isolation movements involve only one joint. As a result, fewer muscles will intervene during the effort which allows you to concentrate more on the target muscle .

Let’s take as an example a poly and an iso for a bicep session.

The only basic movement for the biceps: pull-ups, supine grip (or fixed bar pull). Indeed, two joints are used: the elbows and the shoulders. Thus, the biceps, deltoids and some muscles of the back therefore lift the load.

As an isolation exercise , let’s mention a classic: the bicep curl (and its variations), since only the elbow joint moves.

exercice isolation curl biceps

At first glance, we might say to ourselves that ultimately, it would be even more judicious to train only from mono-articular exercises in order to balance the amount of work between the different muscles, but this way of proceeding is not optimal for establishing a strength training program. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages to find out in which case they will benefit you.


Many bodybuilders use isolation exercises as a “Finisher,” that is, they are placed at the end of a workout to consume the last grains of energy.

With this in mind, it is clear that this type of exercise can come in handy. They are much less energy-consuming and traumatic on the muscular, articular and nervous levels, than a polyarticular movement. In addition, isolation exercises are effective at congesting in addition to getting a better feeling on the target area, which gives the feeling of having done something productive.

For all of these reasons, you might be tempted to include a few iso exercises in every workout to work all of your muscles, but that would be too time consuming. The extra time spent in the gym will not match the expected results.

In fact, isolation exercises mainly do two things.

Learning and improving engine recruitment

Not feeling the target muscle on a basic movement is frustrating. At first, it is thought to be due to poor execution technique or time to adapt to the movement …

Despite your best efforts, there’s a good chance you’ll make the situation worse. Indeed, the secondary muscles will develop more, whether in strength or in mass, unlike the targeted muscle. Ultimately, this causes muscle imbalances which is both aesthetically and mechanically disabling.

By “isolating” the muscle on an isolation exercise , you learn to solicit it, to contract . So it’s more of a nervous job, we improve neuronal transmission, we create new connections.

There are many reasons for these motor recruitment imbalances:

  • The sporting past (example: a former cyclist will have an easier time recruiting his calves unlike a sedentary)
  • Genetics (You are born with strengths and weaknesses)

Thanks to this motor training, you will be able to obtain more results afterwards with polyarticular exercises. Know that every workout, good or bad, leaves a mark in your nervous system.

You can do some basic movement tests every now and then to see if the muscles can finally work synergistically, but be patient … It usually takes months or even years. A considerable gain in strength and a better feeling in general are good signals, the hours devoted to this learning are well worth it in the long term.

The magic of levers in bodybuilding: muscle insertion and bone length

Sometimes the problem is not with the nervous system itself, but rather with the wrong lever. Definitely, genetics!

Muscle insertions (where muscle is attached to bone) and bone length will have a significant impact on the effectiveness of an exercise compared to your body type.

To realize the importance of levers, you can take this test. Try to hold a dumbbell, arm parallel to the floor, elbow bent then arm straight. Result: the load seems much heavier, arms extended . So the longer your arms are, the less you will be able to handle a heavy load on lateral elevations for example.

Disadvantageous muscle insertions coupled with unfavorable bone lengths are problematic during polyarticular exercise. Take my case.

I have long believed in the myth of the miracle exercise for the pectorals: the bench press. I was convinced that by having a strict gesture there is no reason not to progress and that increasing the load was the main indicator of effectiveness. This mistake cost me a lot of time because I was taking it all on the shoulders and this gap was widening month by month.

The reason is simple, my morphology gives me bad levers for this exercise: long collarbones, long arm, thin rib cage and pecs attached high on the humerus… Stretching and contracting the pecs was less . Also, I had a hard time straining my pecs, as I had no athletic background. As the body seeks to save itself as much as possible, it places more emphasis on the secondary muscles to lift the load. In my case, it was the deltoids and the triceps.

A simple reorganization of my training schedule and hard work on isolation exercises allowed me to catch up, although we drag our weak points all our lives.


Of all the muscle growth factors, mechanical tension, that is to say the load used, remains the most effective way to gain muscle mass. The more muscles that interact with each other, the more you will be able to lift heavy loads.

As a result, it will be difficult or unproductive to handle heavy loads during an isolation exercise. It is therefore more appropriate to play on metabolic stress to gain muscle. For that, you have to favor:

  • Congestion
  • time under tension
  • burning sensation
stress métabolique congestion brulure temps sous tension musculation

All of this can be achieved with a higher number of reps, a slower negative and a controlled gesture .

In theory (and not in practice) it is therefore less effective for building muscle and gaining strength.

When should you prioritize an isolation exercise in your sports program?

It may sound complicated, but the idea of ​​this article is to make it easier for you, let’s focus on the basics.

The question to ask is simple: should you prioritize the feeling to the detriment of a heavy load?

First of all, if you are just starting out and you do not have too much bodybuilding experience, it is interesting to build your training program mainly from polyarticular exercises for two reasons. The lack of experience to analyze its morphology and the difficulty in knowing its weak points.

To accurately determine when to include an isolation exercise, it is necessary to monitor its progress with these three indicators:

  • The level of progress on your workloads
  • The difficulty in congestion, the feeling
  • The evolution of the physique as a whole (from photo)

After 4 to 6 months of regular work, it’s time to take stock. If you notice a stagnation (see a regression) in workloads and difficulty in gaining muscle where you want it, it may be better to promote isolation exercises .

Otherwise, keep the basic movements as much as possible. A few iso exercises can potentially target certain areas reluctant to muscle hypertrophy , such as the back of the shoulders, although this is not a priority.

When it comes to the wrong levers, you usually find out pretty quickly. In addition to stagnating, we have the impression that the gesture is not “natural”, sometimes causing pain. Remember the golden rule, when it hurts, it’s best to stop and move on.

Choosing the right isolation exercise in training: Machine or free weights?

Among the number of isolation exercises, it’s hard to choose … Not to mention the almost endless number of variations! If there is one thing to remember, it is that there is no miracle exercise.

The goal when you are starting out is to learn to use the target muscles . Choose an exercise that you like, that gives you a good feeling and keep it to progress on it as long as possible.

Now comes the question of machines or free weights. If you don’t have access to machines all is not lost. Conversely, if you have the opportunity to train in a well-equipped gym, you can further optimize your weight training program.

Guided devices allow you to have stable movement , you sit down and push, which allows you to concentrate to the maximum. Another advantage is that they are sometimes designed to work with better levers. For example, some pec-decks allow you to push with the elbows and not with the arms outstretched as with lying spreads. In addition to this, the variation in tension between the stretching and contracting phase remains mostly homogeneous, which guarantees optimal work.

Note: Prime brand machines even offer the possibility of modulating resistance. Example: more weight when contracting than when stretching and vice versa.

Unfortunately, despite all the settings, you will inevitably come across a machine unsuited to your body type. A feeling of forced trajectory or abnormal pain are reliable signals to know if this is right for you or not.

Regarding bodybuilding with free weights , the advantage is that with little equipment, a pair of dumbbells and rubber bands, you can do just about everything in addition to being able to adapt the trajectory to your morphology. On the other hand, you have to manage the balance and the leverage problem cannot be fixed.

Another downside, voltage variations do not always guarantee productive work. For example, when you do bench spreads for the pecs, all the tension is stretching and none of the contraction (the most interesting moment for motor learning). To limit this problem, you can use elastic bands if possible.

Isolation exercise list for each muscle

To get the most out of your bodybuilding program, you can pick from this little list. The number of isolation exercises in addition to the number of variations, whether on machine or with free load, is endless.

The key is to understand the movement , the trajectory, the variation in resistance between the phase of stretching and contraction, to let your imagination speak and best suited the exercise according to the equipment available and to your levers.


It is important to vary the angles of attack to develop the pecs as a whole. At first, if you’re having trouble feeling your pecs, focus on the angle that gives you the most sensation.

  • Spreads with dumbbells (lying, inclined or declining)
  • Cross-over with the pulley opposite
  • Peck-Deck


It is often difficult to recruit back muscles when you are just starting out. Introducing an isolation exercise at the start of the session can potentially be helpful in overcoming this problem.

  • Pull-Over at the high pulley
  • Shrugs
  • Reverse Shrugs
  • Lateral flexions at the high pulley


As with the pecs, it is more interesting to focus on one or two exercises that provide good sensations rather than wanting to target all the portions of the biceps.

  • Supine curl
  • Hammer curl
  • Incline bench curl
  • Desk curl
  • Drag curls
  • Spider curls

In addition to this article, you can read the one dedicated to bicep exercises to do without equipment.


If the development of the triceps is problematic, you can select two exercises , one with the arm along the body, the other close to the head, in order to develop the head lateral and medial .

  • Kickback
  • Pulley pushdown
  • Triceps extensions
  • French press


The specific work of forearm muscles is useful if you lack mass or grip on certain exercises such as pull-ups or deadlifts or simply to prevent certain pathologies.

  • Wrist curl
  • Wrist extension
  • Inverted curl


Isolation exercises for the deltoids help to develop harmonious shoulders. Generally, specific work is required for the lateral portion and the posterior bundles.

  • Lateral elevations
  • Frontal elevations
  • Lean forward elevations


The abdominal strap work is not just about the aesthetic. The development of this allows you to be stronger on most polyarticular exercises while providing additional protection to the spine.

  • Crunch
  • Leg raises
  • AB Wheel
  • AB Coaster
  • Side bust raises
  • Lateral leg raises
  • Pelvic rotations
  • Gainage


To protect your back, especially in the face of a herniated disc, it is essential to devote time to your lower back.

  • Good morning
  • Bust raises on bench
  • Revers hyper


Sometimes, the morphology tends to favor the work of the glutes on the basic movements. Complementary work can be useful to learn how to recruit the quadriceps or to give a more harmonious shape to the muscle.

  • Leg extensions
  • Sissy squat
  • Leg raises

If you are training at home, you can consult my article dedicated to leg exercises to do without equipment.


Too often neglected, developed hamstrings allow: to offer additional protection to the knees, to give a lot of mass to the thighs and to gain considerable strength on polyarticular exercises.


Basic movements are usually sufficient to develop your glutes . Depending on your goals, some isolation exercises can be incorporated into your program.

  • Hip extensions
  • Lateral leg raises


Generally, the body type dictates the time needed to spend on the calves. We all know someone who unfairly has naturally grown calves. If these are a weak point, you will have to devote a lot of time to rectify the situation.

  • Standing calf extensions
  • Seated calf extensions
  • Bending bust calf extensions

Conclusion about isolation exercises to ensure muscle mass gain

This list is far from complete but still enough to build your first strength training programs.

Unfortunately, it would take way too long to go into depth on all these isolation exercises and I must admit that some details can bring a real plus to accelerate your progress and to adapt better the movement to your morphology. I think I can compile my years of experience into a guide dedicated to this topic if you’re interested.

In short, polyarticular exercises and heavy loads, that is to say mechanical tension, should be favored for the muscles receptive to this type of training. Progress in strength and muscle mass gain are good indicators.

Conversely, if you stagnate and find it difficult to use a particular muscle, it is necessary to go through a learning phase. To do this, it is necessary to promote metabolic stress by increasing the time under tension, by resisting this burning sensation as long as possible and by seeking to make the target muscle congest thanks to isolation exercises .

After several months and years of practice, you can implement this type of movement in order to precisely target certain muscle portions. The goal then is to obtain the most harmonious physique possible.

BySteve Howard

11 strength training exercises for legs without equipment

It is not a given … Finding weight training exercises without equipment that are effective for the legs is a hassle. The legs are constantly solicited, while walking, during a run or even standing, they are very powerful muscles. Therefore, without additional load, it will be difficult to progress.

Fortunately, part of this can be remedied. You will not only find exercises to work all of your legs (glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves), but also some methods to intensify your sessions and make them productive.

If you’re lacking inspiration, three leg strength programs are waiting for you at the end of the article!

exercices musculation jambes sans matériel


  1. Polyarticular movements for the legs
  2. Quadriceps exercises
  3. Hamstring exercise
  4. Buttocks exercises
  5. Calf exercises
  6. Bodybuilding program for legs without equipment

Polyarticular exercises to build your legs at home

Before talking about isolation exercises, it is necessary to take stock of some polyarticular exercises that are easy to do without equipment. They allow you to work all of your leg muscles .

The basic exercises, without load, will be insufficient if your goal is to develop harmonious and firm legs. I encourage you to use intensification methods if the exercise is too easy. Indeed, the goal is not to play on the tension of stretching or contraction, but rather on muscle burn and congestion .

Let’s see what you can do.

1. The bodyweight squat

Impossible to talk about leg day without a squat. Although it is one of the most popular exercises, it needs to be talked about.

The squat is a very complete exercise, it allows you to work:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Buttocks
  • Calves
  • Lumbar
  • Abs

The advantage of doing squats without equipment rather than with weight is that the exercise will be much less dangerous. A person who does not have the morphology to squat in normal times can do it at bodyweight without the risk of exposing themselves to pathologies.

exercice musculation jambes squat sans matériel

Even without a load, care must be taken not to round the back and to push with the heels.

The downside, however, is that without the additional load, the exercise is far from intense enough. It’s easy to do a 50ene one before you feel the first signs of fatigue. It all depends on your level.

If you’re way over 50, I recommend using intensification methods like pre-fatigue. That is, do a isolation exercise with the squat, without taking any time to rest. You are free to choose a gluteal, quadriceps or hamstring exercise. Personally, I like to start with the Sissy squat and finish with the Squat.

2. Lunges, an intense exercise

This is already more interesting! Slots are more suitable for me if you don’t have any material.

This is again a very complete exercise, the muscles used the most are:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Buttocks

In fact, lunges are like a squat, except you perform one leg at a time and that’s the advantage! Working one leg after the other allows you to put 2x more stress on it, you gain intensity.

The downside is that it also takes 2x longer to do a set, it would be way too time consuming to use an escalation method. In this case, it is better to be content to do a series of sets with limited rest times, the opposite leg recovers while the other works.

There are many variations, including slipped lunges which allow for a movement much more suited to the way the body moves. In addition to that, you gain in amplitude, so do not hesitate to do it if the ground is smooth. A fabric under the support foot is enough to slide.

3. The Bulgarian squat, an alternative to work on your thighs

It’s a bit of an improved version of the slots. You gain amplitude as the back foot is raised.

The amplitude gain will allow you to put more stress on the glutes and hamstring .

Of course, the Bulgarian squat uses the same muscle groups as the lunges. I personally find the exercise with a dumbbell unstable. Without hardware, it is mostly a matter of taste. The main thing is to do the exercise you prefer and which does not hurt your joints.

Exercises for the front of the legs, the Quadriceps

I remember two isolation exercises for the quadriceps to do without equipment. The two complement each other, they allow you to work the different muscles of the quadriceps .

anatomie muscle jambe quadriceps musculation

4. The Sissy Squat for firm quadriceps

An exercise that has deserted the gyms and yet is so interesting, this is my favorite.

You should know that in a classic squat, the more the knees will be thrown forward, the more the quads will be used . With a Sissy Squat we are just in this condition.

The burn is very intense. The more the bust is tilted back, the more difficult it will be. The idea is therefore to start with a large amplitude, the bust leaning very back and then bring it back according to the level of fatigue.

Unfortunately, this is not an exercise that can be done by everyone. I advise you not to do this if you have knee problems . The rule is still the same anyway. If you’re in pain, don’t force it, you have to stop and change.

5. Curve the thigh with Leg raises

The exercise that perfectly targets the right thigh (the top). It is an interesting exercise especially for warming up the legs before an effort.

A developed straight thigh gives a curvy profile, so it is important to linger there to have harmonious legs. Moreover, this is a portion too often overlooked by bodybuilders.

If you have so-called carrot-shaped legs (much larger at the top than at the bottom), this exercise is unnecessary. In this case, it is better to go after the sissy squat.

The more straight the leg, the more difficult the exercise. It may be beneficial to start with your leg straight and bend it when fatigue arrives to continue. As with lunges, it is best to do a series without rest, especially when the intensity of the effort is low.

Exercise for the back of the legs, the hamstrings

The hamstrings are often neglected in favor of the quadriceps. Yet the hamstring is an important muscle, it:

As with the back, these are muscles that you can’t see. Because of this, it is more difficult to feel them if no motor training has been done. This lack of feeling makes the first sessions frustrating, you have to allow time to do things.

6. Strengthen your hamstrings with the Glute Ham Raise

The Glute Ham Raise is a great exercise for learning to recruit and feel the hamstrings .

Without equipment, it is possible to perform the exercise by locking the ankles. The goal is to hold the descent as long as possible (known as SuperLent) before going back up using the arms.

In addition to feeling better, doing Glute Ham Raise in SuperLent is much less traumatic on the nervous, joint and tendon levels.

Be careful though with the working range. Depending on the length of your muscles, you will have to go up before, so as not to over-stretch them. With experience, you will be able to know your range of work.

A number of variations exist to facilitate the exercise, I planned to film this!

Firm your buttocks for a harmonious physique

Regarding the glutes, we will focus on three exercises that allow you to work all the muscles of the buttocks.

The gluteal muscles are used in a lot of exercises. Dwelling on it too much to have a big butt doesn’t have to be helpful. It is especially the length of the muscles and the deportation of the iliac bone that gives a “bulging buttocks” effect.

anatomie jambes muscles fessiers petit moyen grand glutéal

7. The pelvis survey

Arguably the most famous glute exercise. The Hip Thrust is not a specific exercise strictly speaking, but it is relatively favorable for the work of the gluteus maximus.

The buttocks muscles being powerful, it will be difficult to tire them with the body weight. Therefore, you can put your feet up to gain amplitude. On top of that, I recommend hold the contraction as long as possible.

Note that a Hip Thrust / Squat SuperSet is interesting.

8. Hip extensions

The donkey kicks is a hip extension . This is an exercise that isolates the gluteus maximus particularly well.

You can start straight leg at the start of your series before finishing knee bent to gain repetitions. Moreover, it is especially the end of the movement that is difficult, working on a small amplitude is effective in achieving muscle burn more quickly.

9. Side elevations of the leg

Now let’s talk about a specific exercise for the middle and the lesser gluteus . The gluteus medius, in addition to its stabilizing role for the pelvis, is a muscle which, once developed, gives curve to the buttocks .

There are three ways to perform lateral leg raises without equipment:

  • lying on your side
  • Stand up
  • Knees on the ground

It is best to choose the position where you feel most comfortable. Namely that on your knees and standing, it is especially at the end of the movement that the tension will be maximum. On the other hand, the tension will be maximum from the start of the lying down movement. It is just a matter of gravity.

Note that lying down and standing, it is possible to cross your legs , in front or behind, for:

  • Gain amplitude
  • Recruit different areas of the gluteus medius

For morphological reasons, care must be taken not to lift the leg beyond its limits. The lack of hip mobility is not due to a lack of flexibility, but rather a bone-to-bone stopper. Forcing on it can lead to long-term pathologies.

Exercises for the lower legs, calves

As with the forearms, the length of the calf muscles is a very important factor.

Short calves (with large tendons) are useful for running, they are less energy intensive and more powerful. On the other hand, for aesthetic reasons, they will be much less impressive than large calves. Unfortunately, it is not possible to lengthen your muscle.

If you have small calves, you will have to spend a lot of time on them to be able to develop them.

We will focus on exercises primarily recruiting the two gastrocnemius , the soleus will be in all cases requested.

anatomie muscle jambe mollet soléaire gastrocnémien médial latéral

10. Standing calf extensions

Doing standing calf extensions is great for working your calves as a whole.

Without equipment, it is best to do the exercise unilaterally, that is, one leg at a time.

During exercise, the calf is in continuous tension. It is therefore interesting to take one or two breaks during your series, to recover and gain repetitions.

You can gain amplitude by placing a wedge under your foot, before ending up on the ground to have more power in the calf . Likewise, you can also play with the orientation of the feet to recruit different areas of the calf.

11. Muscle gastrocnemius with the bust bent

The objective here is to give more slack to the soleus to concentrate more on the gastrocmenians, those who give shape to the calves. This version is best if you have trouble feeling them, which is probably the case if you have small calves.

Performing the exercise is the same as standing. One leg at a time for more tension.

Likewise, you can gain amplitude with a wedge while adjusting the orientation of the feet to vary the sensations.

Weight training program for legs without equipment

I now suggest that you practice. For this, I have planned 3 examples of home strength training program , without equipment, to work all the muscles in your legs. I focused on one muscle group for each program.

Of course, the number of series, repetitions and the rest times are to be adapted to the level of each one.

The rest pause means that you need to take 1 to 2 mini-breaks, in order to release the burn to complete your streak. When it comes to pre-fatigue, the goal is to do the two exercises without taking a rest.

Filled quads for shapely legs


Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Pre-fatigue: Sissy squat + Squat 5 25 + FAIL 1min to 1min30
Slotted slot 5 FAILED 30s
Donkey Kicks (REST PAUSE) 4 50 0s
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s


Muscle strengthening of the hamstrings

Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Glute Ham Raise ( REST PAUSE) 5 20 to 25 1min at 1min30
Bulgarian squat 5 FAILED 30s
Sissy Squatt (REST PAUSE) 3 50 1min
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s

Glute training

Exercise Series Repetitions Rest time
Pre-fatigue: Hip Thrust + Squat 5 25 + FAIL 1min to 1min30
Lateral leg elevation (REST PAUSE) 4 50 0s
Glute Ham Raise 3 FAILED 1min
Calf extension (REST PAUSE) 5 50 0s


BySteve Howard

Breathing in Bodybuilding to Gain Strength

Breathing greatly influences bodybuilding performance and safety. The way of breathing must be adapted, depending on the sport and the type of effort. In view of its importance, it is imperative that you learn to manage your breath as soon as possible, to eventually make it a habit.

Let’s see what it will do for you first, before looking at the different ways of breathing to improve your workouts. We will end with exercises to strengthen the respiratory muscles , not only for the sake of efficiency, but also aesthetics.

The importance of oxygenation and respiration in bodybuilding

Contrary to what one might think, breathing is not automatic , but rather semi-automatic. We can act on the way of breathing, its rhythm, its blocking, to benefit from it. This is why it is necessary to briefly go over the fundamentals, in order to understand why breathing is so important in weight training. The respiratory cycle has two phases:

  • The inspiration : we inflate the lungs with air, loaded with oxygen . The blood is then responsible for redistributing oxygen in the body, especially in muscle tissue. This oxygen is essential for the krebs cycle to produce energy.
  • The exhalation : you empty the lungs and release carbon dioxide (waste).

air oxygène poumon respiration

Starting from this fact, it is legitimate to say to yourself that it is enough just to inhale on the negative and to exhale on the positive phase not to disturb the cycle, but haven’t you noticed something? during your workouts?

Should you block your breathing in weight training during exercise?

We often hear it said that you should never block your breathing in weight training. Personally, I have never seen an athlete do 100kg squats, breathing without blocking.

In reality, when the effort is short and intense, a respiratory blockage for a few seconds will not interfere with energy production. In this case, we use another energy route: the anaerobic route. This sector uses ATP (energy source), stored in our muscles.

If you are new to bodybuilding, you probably have the reflex to block your breathing throughout a series and from a mechanical point of view, this is normal. In fact, your body is trying its best to make it easier for you.

By blocking breathing, several muscles contract , including:

  • The abdominal strap
  • The intercostals
  • Serrated
  • Paravertebrals
  • Prevertebral muscles (neck muscles)
muscles respiratoires anatomie

Thanks to the contraction of these muscles, in addition to the intra-abdominal pressure, the trunk becomes rigid and powerful. Therefore, in addition to being stronger, it protects your spine.

Of course, needless to say that you should not do freediving either. The goal is therefore to play on inspiration, expiration and blocking to have breathing adapted to the effort.

In summary, knowing how to manage your breathing on a weight training exercise provides:

  • A gain in strength
  • Safety (stabilizing the spine and pelvis)
  • Sufficient ventilation for the body

How to manage your breathing during your weight training?

It would be far too easy to give a universal rule! For example, the way of breathing on a heavy squat is going to be different compared to crunches for your abs. Let’s take a closer look at the different phases:

  • Inspiration: This is when you are weakest, most vulnerable, but essential for oxygenation and energy production .
  • The exhale: you are stronger than the inspiration. Likewise, essential to reject waste (CO2) before renewing the respiratory cycle.
  • The blockage: you are in a position of strength, your bust is rigid and (partly) stabilizes your spine.

In short, we can retain 2 types of bodybuilding effort: short, intense work with heavy loads (6 to 15 repetitions), generally this concerns polyarticular exercises. Or, long sets with a light load, for isolation exercises.

Breathe well during exercises with heavy loads

Losing 1 in 10 reps is 10% less work. In other words, you have to put all the chances on your side to be stronger on your series in order to gain repetitions to progress in bodybuilding.

In addition to that, the heavier you put on, the more dangerous the exercise becomes, especially for your spine (compression …), especially during leg exercises.

For all these reasons, you must take care to control your breath .

Method 1: Partially block your breathing

The goal here is to hold your breath for 1-2 seconds where it is most difficult. This makes explosive work possible while maintaining sufficient force. It’s easy to follow up without resting at each repetition. However, stabilization of the spine is not ensured throughout the movement.

Therefore, this method is more suitable for upper body exercises.

In practice:

  1. Negative phase (eccentric): At this time, the muscles are powerful, you have to breathe in .
  2. End of the negative phase, start of the positive: block your breathing for 1 to 2 seconds to gain strength when starting the positive (difficult moment).
  3. Positive phase: End the movement by exhaling .

For example, with the bench press, you inhale when you lower the bar, you block to start the push and you end the push by exhaling.

On pulling movements, like pull-ups, it’s a little different because you start on the concentric phase. It is best to start by blocking your breathing , finish the movement by exhaling before coming down again while inhaling.

Method 2: Respiratory blockade, aka, the Valsalva maneuver

Known in medicine and in scuba diving, the Valsalva maneuver is also used in strength sports such as powerlifting. Besides, you do this naturally when you sneeze or cough. The goal here is therefore to exhale with the airways closed.

Note that this method should be avoided for people with heart problems or hypertension (increased blood pressure).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a deep breath before starting your rehearsal.
  2. Negative and positive phase, blocked breathing .
  3. End of repetition: breathe out and inhale to repeat the cycle.

blocage respiratoire soulevé de terre sport

For example, in the squat: you breathe in before you start, the descent and ascent is done by exhaling with the glottis closed to finally expel the air at the end of the movement.

This allows you to be fully in a position of strength in addition to stabilizing the spine throughout the movement. On the other hand, it is not possible to go through the repetitions without taking a few seconds of pause, to catch your breath. Working with explosives and / or continuous tension is therefore difficult.

This method is preferred for sets with heavy loads and where the spine is vulnerable, such as squats or deadlifts.

Breathing on light weight training exercises with lots of repetitions

What limits performance in long sets is not so much strength, but rather fatigue and muscle burn . To limit this, you must constantly bring oxygen to the body in order to be more enduring. As a result, respiratory blockage may or may not be useful.

As a general rule, you should:

  1. Inspire on the eccentric phase
  2. Exhale on the concentric

As an example, let’s take the curl for the biceps: you inhale on the way down and you exhale on the way up.

Be careful with hyperventilation on low amplitude weight training exercises, especially those for the abdominals. Common sense is required to have a normal respiratory rate .

Improve your breathing by strengthening your respiratory muscles

Given the importance of the respiratory muscles, strengthening them can be beneficial in order to be more efficient.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts (it goes down), the lungs fill with air thanks to the phenomenon of decompression and the ribs open ( stretching of the intercostals). Conversely, when you breathe out, the diaphragm rises and the ribs return to their original position to expel the air.

muscle diaphragme

Although other muscles are involved in pulmonary ventilation , we will focus on the diaphragm, separating the abdomen from the thorax and the intercostals.

Deep breathing exercise to strengthen the diaphragm, the Vacuum

Much less popular today, this strength training exercise mainly works the diaphragm and transverse . There is a twofold advantage of integrating this exercise into your program, not only for practical purposes, but also aesthetics, it allows you to:

  • Strengthen the diaphragm for respiratory strength and endurance .
  • Have a flat stomach (and therefore a slimmer waist) thanks to the transverse.

Moreover, the Vacuum was very famous in the golden age of bodybuilding, in the 70s / 80s, in order to slim the waist and accentuate the V.

franck zane arnold schwarzenegger musculation vacuum respiration

If you find it difficult to have a homogeneous and traced abdominal strap, you will have to work more on your Vacuum. Note that it is people with a large rib cage who will benefit from a more marked result.

The advantage of this exercise is that it can be done anywhere without any equipment, whether standing, sitting or lying down. For convenience, it is best to do the exercise lying down.

Nothing could be simpler for that. You just have to empty the air from your lungs , then inhale , glottis closed, in order to retract the belly as much as possible (the principle is the same as inhaled in an empty bottle). The position should be maintained for a few seconds before repeating the movement. If the goal is to be more enduring during your workouts, do not hesitate to do a lot of repetitions (over 30).

The diaphragm being a muscle like any other, it may be interesting to do some series as a warm-up at the start of the session, to be even more efficient.

Soften the rib cage to leave more room for the lungs

Originally, the goal of the pullover is to soften the rib cage (stretching the intercostals) and not to work the pecs or backs (although these muscles are also requested). Simply put, this is work to improve the expansion of the cage during inhalation, when the lungs are inflating.

muscles intercostaux cage thoracique

With regard to the execution of the movement, it is necessary: ​​

  • Take a deep breath on the descent
  • Blow while going up

Especially when it comes to stretching work, the amplitude should be large, performing a lot of repetitions with a light load. No need to put on heavy even if you are able to lift more, otherwise you will tear the long head of your triceps. Let’s also add that by bringing the dumbbell far in front of you, you also recruit the previous serrations.

Some weight rooms are equipped with a pull-over machine. For having tested a hammer, I find the machine rather well designed. Sitting is more comfortable than lying down, the stretch is sufficient and the tension is constant unlike dumbbells. Ultimately, if you are lucky enough to have this machine available, don’t hesitate to use it if your goal is to soften your cage.

Specific work of the respiratory muscles participating in inspiration and expiration

The accessory muscles involved in inspiration can be worked in specific ways. Strengthening these muscles is especially helpful in delaying shortness of breath .

The exercise is simple to perform and requires little equipment. To do this, you just need to restrict the expansion of your rib cage, during swelling of the lungs on inspiration.

So you can do it very well lying down, placing a load on your chest or standing using a rubber band.

Personally, I prefer to do it standing. To do this, I hang a rubber band (resistance 25kg) on ​​a pole, at chest height. Once inside the elastic, I stretch it so that I have enough resistance to constrain my breathing .

Regarding the number of repetitions, do not hesitate to go beyond 30, 40 repetitions.

BySteve Howard

Are BCAAs in Days of Rest useful?

BCAA powder is one of the food supplements most consumed by athletes, especially in bodybuilding , because of its many benefits. In fact, a question often comes up on this subject. Can taking BCAAs on off days help?

We will see that BCAAs are probably not the preferred dietary supplement and that there are other alternatives on the market, including one that is more effective in achieving the results you are looking for.

complément alimentaire bcaa jour de repos musculation

At the end of this article, you will be able to know if you have any interest in consuming it during your days off, which is the most appropriate food supplement , to what dosage and at what time of day is best to take.

Here is the summary:

What are BCAAs?

Before getting to the heart of the matter, it is essential that I briefly tell you about amino acids in general.

Amino acids are molecules which, when assembled, form a protein . Finally … It is only when the chain of amino acids is long, that is to say greater than 10. Below 10, we are talking about peptides . There are a very large number of amino acids, but only 20 of them are essential for the body because they are involved in metabolic processes, including the transport and storage of food.

acides aminés protéine

Some can be made by the body and other amino acids, known as “essential” , can only be provided by food. 8 in number, we find in particular the branched amino acids :

  • Leucine .
  • Isoleucine .
  • Valine .

These are the famous BCAAs ( Branched Chained Amino Acid ).

bcaa acides aminés ramifiés molécules leucine isoleucine valine

Finally, isolating the BCAAs is a bit like breaking down a house to collect only the bricks.

Why are they interesting?

In any case, all amino acids are interesting (we will see it later), but we mainly retain BCAAs for several reasons:

  • They constitute 1/3 of muscle proteins .
  • These are the first amino acids broken down during exercise.
  • Leucine is the most potent amino acid for anabolism .
  • Leucine oxidizes in the muscles, so it is a source of energy .

As a reminder, anabolism corresponds to the phase of (re) construction, in particular muscle mass. In contrast, catabolism breaks down muscle tissue to provide energy. Hence the importance of nutrition, you need to provide your body with enough nutrients to avoid draining the reserves, namely, muscle.

Where can we find branched amino acids?

First, you should know that BCAA on their own is not enough. Therefore, it is necessary to provide all the amino acids that your body needs.

All foods have a higher or lower content of branched chain amino acids . To know the values, just consult the aminogram of the food in question. By the way, if you eat protein powder, you may have seen that the aminogram is written on the jar.

In the diet in general, it is therefore foods rich in protein that provide the most:

  • Meats: beef, chicken…
  • Fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Milk …

lait protéine

Namely that the holy grail is whey protein. Its biological value is 96%, that is to say, it is extremely well assimilated, in addition to that, 1/4 of these proteins are from BCAAs.

What are the benefits of BCAAs?

Consequently, this explains why this food supplement is popular among athletes. You can always reap benefits, both for strength sports and endurance .

Let’s do a checklist of all the benefits of BCAAs :

  • Delays fatigue (therefore more endurance).
  • Promotes muscle gain : more powerful anabolic response (higher protein synthesis).
  • Fight against catabolism (muscle wasting).
  • Accelerates the speed of muscle recovery .
  • Promotes fat loss .
  • Strengthens the immune system and reduces muscle stiffness (to a lesser extent).

poudre bcaa

The BCAA requirements are even higher for athletes. The effort consumes it, sweating increases the losses and the maintenance of a consequent muscle mass requires to have more of it.

Which ratio to choose?

You can find everything on the market from 2: 1: 1, 4: 1: 1 to 20: 1: 1! But ultimately, what does this ratio mean? Take as an example 2: 1: 1:

  • The first number (2) represents the content of leucine
  • The second number (1) corresponds to isoleucine
  • The last (1) is valine

This means that for 4 grams of powder, you will have 2gr of leucine, 1gr of isoleucine and 1gr of valine.

As said before, amino acids must work in synergy to be effective. Therefore, limit yourself to the 2: 1: 1 ratio , the rest is completely unnecessary and is just a commercial argument based solely on the benefits of leucine.

What are the limits for BCAAs?

In view of all the benefits, this seems to be the ideal dietary supplement for building muscle quickly and effectively. Unfortunately, there is a but.

The problem is, BCAAs need the other amino acids to produce complete proteins , and thus build muscle mass . And yes ! remember, amino acids work in synergy! The body will then try somehow to restore balance by going to seek the missing materials directly in your muscles . Finally, it can even be a brake on the process of muscle growth .

In addition, amino acids alone are absorbed much less quickly than di or tri-peptides (chain of 2 or 3 amino acids), Julien Venesson has also devoted an article on the effectiveness of peptides compared to acids amino alone.

Alternatives to BCAAs

Alternatives exist on the market:

  • EAAs (includes all essential amino acids ).
  • Peptopro (or hydrolyzed casein) which, despite its price, remains a safe value (includes 20 amino acids).

Peptopro is a predigested protein rich in di and tri-peptides. As a result, assimilation is extremely fast (compared to a conventional protein powder), which is why this supplement can cause diarrhea in some people. It is therefore advisable to take it during training , to replenish the stock of amino acids.

Therefore, the consumption of BCAA is especially preferred for its anti-fatigue effect during your bodybuilding session, and not for its action on anabolism or catabolism.

Do you need to take BCAAs on your days off?

A priori, given its limitations, there is no point in supplementing with BCAAs during your days off .

On the other hand, some people need to take in more amino acids:

  • The elderly: the turnover (degradation / reconstruction) of proteins is negative, unlike the young.
  • During a diet (calorie restriction): Consumption of amino acids is not sufficient, which results in muscle wasting .

The alternatives to BCAAs are not the most interesting to overcome this problem. Let’s see together which are the most suitable food supplements.

Which food supplements to favor during your days off?

A priori, peptopro, BCAAs or EAAs are rather supplements intended to be consumed during training. The goal is simple, you need to get enough amino acids in your body on your days off to limit catabolism and promote anabolism .

The most suitable food supplements to fulfill these functions during your days off are still whey and casein .

Whey is absorbed faster and is rich in BCAAs, the level of amino acids quickly rise in the blood before falling again a few hours later (promotes anabolism). There is a lot of whey on the market, from concentrate to hydrolysates, I personally have a preference for whey isolate dairy (native or bioactive) with few additives.

Casein is absorbed more slowly, the level of amino acids in the blood remains stable over time (fights against catabolism). As with whey, Casein is sold in different forms. I recommend micellar casein , much easier to assimilate with a longer duration of action than sodium caseinate (which probably should not have existed).

When to take these food supplements?

First, it’s best to have these two supplements if you have the budget. Thanks to this, you will be able to adapt your snack, according to the time of day. It is always good to remember that if your diet is already rich in protein and you respect the fundamentals of sports nutrition , the investment is unnecessary.

To keep it simple, here’s how you can do it:

  • In the morning when you wake up: after a long night without eating, it is better to consume a whey shaker to provide the missing amino acids more quickly.
  • Between two meals: in this case, it is interesting to make a 50/50 mixture of whey and casein to take advantage of the anabolic and anti-catabolic action .
  • At bedtime: To fight against nocturnal catabolism it is more appropriate to consume only casein.

Regarding the dosages, they will be specific to each. The main thing is to get closer to your daily protein needs, which is around 2gr / kg of body weight for a bodybuilding practitioner . It is still better to bring 25 to 30 grams of protein per snack, not to mention a source of carbohydrate and fat if you are not on a diet, a homemade gainer can do the trick.

To summarize, yes BCAAs can be interesting only during your workouts for its anti-fatigue effect or to reduce muscle stiffness, in this case, 5 to 10 grams to consume throughout the session are enough. For its equivalent, your best bet is still opt for peptopro if your wallet allows it. On your days off, it’s best to consume whey or casein, depending on the time of day.

Food supplements don’t work a miracle anyway. As the name suggests, it complements your diet, and that’s it.