Bodybuilding involves increasing fundamental strength and targeting all the major muscle groups with higher-repetition exercises that promote muscle growth, according to Clay Hyght for T-Nation.com. Bodybuilders also go through bulking and cutting cycles with their diets to maximize muscle gain and fat loss, notes RippedNaturally.com.
Fundamental strength programs tend to emphasize lifts that work most of the major muscle groups, such as the deadlift, squat and bench press. Lifting to improve overall strength also increases muscle mass and starting programs tend to recommend performing three to five sets of five repetitions of these exercises and increasing the weight incrementally over time.
In addition to fundamental strength exercises, bodybuilders also perform muscle-group specific lifts at a higher rep-range, usually completing multiple sets of 8 repetitions at 65 to 85 percent of their one-rep maximum in a given exercise, says Jordan Syatt, for T-Nation.com.
Bodybuilders tend to perform multiple exercises that target the same muscle group, Hyght writes. For instance, a bodybuilder might devote an entire day to chest exercises, utilizing multiple versions of the bench press along with dips, dumbbell flyes and other exercises.
Finally, bodybuilders usually eat at a caloric surplus to gain muscle mass over time, according to RippedNaturally.com. These bulking cycles also cause bodybuilders to add fat to their bodies, so they follow them with cutting cycles, during which they eat a caloric deficit while continuing to lift heavy weights to retain muscle mass.