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Bodybuilding Training - Bodybuilding Pre-Contest Carbohydrate Depletion Training

Characteristics of A Good Pre-Contest Bodybuilding Depletion Training Routine


Man's Muscular Legs
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The carb depletion bodybuilding pre-contest routine is designed to assist the carbohydrate depletion process that competitive bodybuilders undergo a week before a contest. Typically, if a bodybuilding contest is on Saturday, I like to start depleting my body of carbohydrates seven days before a Saturday show (so that means that you start on the Friday that comes before the Friday prior to the event).

While the routine presented in this article is the one that I personally use, keep it mind that this routine is designed for my own individual genetics and recovery capability. At this level, each bodybuilder should know how much their body can handle in terms of workout volume. However, there are some pointers that all bodybuilding depletion routines should have in common:

  1. Thighs should be trained on the first day of the carb depletion process 8 days prior to the show, followed by hamstrings on the second day back on the third, and chest on the fourth.

    There are a couple of good reasons for this:

    • Large muscles hold water after they are trained the longest.

      Therefore, by training legs 8 days before a bodybuilding contest we ensure that there is no water retention on the leg muscles the day of the show due to recovey.

    • Training legs on the first day ensures maximum intensity.

      As you deplete, each day energy levels go down. Therefore, by setting up your training routine in a way that the largest and more challenging muscles get trained first, not only do you protect yourself against undue water retention caused by training on the day of the show, but you also you can take advantage of the fact that on the first few days of the carb depletion process energy levels are higher.

  2. Repetition ranges should be kept at 10-12 reps on a few multi-jointed exercises in order to preserve mass but at 15-25 reps (and above if you wish) on most of the exercises. The key for this routine is not to build mass but instead to preserve it and deplete the muscle out of its carbohydrates stores. The better job you do at depleting, the more successful will your carbohydrate loading be as the muscles will really be looking forward to absorbing them.

  3. Keep it at a fast pace resting no more than 1 minute in 10-12 rep range exercises and 30 seconds in 15-25+ rep exercises. Again, we are trying to deplete here, not build mucle mass.

  4. Use a variety of exercises so that you hit your muscles from every angle. This is something that should be done through the whole contest preparation training and should be continued through the depletion pre-contest routine. Muscles have many heads and for a winning contest physique we need to ensure that all angles are covered.

  5. Set up your routine so that you concentrate on one major bodypart per day with perhaps a smaller muscle group in order to cover all of the angles that need to be covered with the little energy that you will have available. On arm day, which should be the last training day, you can pair both biceps and triceps as these are small muscle groups.

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