5 Bodybuilding Techniques You Shouldn’t Copy

Bodybuilders have a very particular style of training that is utterly useless for the average person who desires functional fitness and time-efficient fat-burning. If you want to work out so that you look your best and your body can stand up to the demands of everyday life, and you don’t want to spend hours every day in a gym, then there are certain bodybuilding techniques that you positively should not copy.

1. Split Workout Routines

Bodybuilders love split workout routines, which means that they train one or two muscle groups per workout. You shouldn’t train that way if your preference is to perform time-efficient workouts that allow you to get maximum results from minimum time spent exercising. Bodybuilders can get away with doing split workout routines because there’s nothing they’d rather do than spend hours upon hours in the gym every day. So the fact that split workout routines are the most inefficient possible use of your time in the gym is irrelevant to meathead bodybuilders. But non-bodybuilders that simply want to look and feel their best need to avoid split workout routines like the plague, unless they want to spend all of their free time in the gym. Instead of split workout routines, the vast majority of men and women will see the best results from performing full-body workouts.

2. High Volume Training

Bodybuilders love high volume training, which means they spend an hour or two in the gym per day, nearly every day of the week. You shouldn’t train that way. Bodybuilders love high volume training because bodybuilders are under the warped belief that they must “attack their muscles from all angles” (i.e. perform umpteen sets of countless different exercises for each individual muscle). It’s a bunk theory that bodybuilders blindly follow, but you shouldn’jt. While bodybuilders spend hours a day in the gym performing these old-school high volume workouts, the vast majority of men and women will be best served by increasing the intensity, decreasing the volume, and exercising for about 30 to 45 minutes per workout.

3. Long Slow Cardio

Bodybuilders love long slow cardio, which means they perform cardio workouts at a very low intensity for upwards of an hour per session. You shouldn’t train that way. Bodybuilders do long slow cardio for a couple of reasons. First, the meathead style of resistance training that they do means that they get don’t much fat-burning benefit from their resistance training workouts, therefore they need to do a separate workout for that. So that’s why bodybuilders do cardio in the first place. The reason bodybuilders do long slow cardio is that they are extremely paranoid about doing any cardio workout at a high intensity for fear of muscle loss (catabolization). For most people who aren’t meathead bodybuilders, they should be performing effective resistance training circuits with minimal rest, and therefore won’t need to do separate cardio workouts. And even if they do decide to do some cardio, most men and women would be best served by upping the intensity and decreasing the time, with zero worry about muscle catabolism because the amount of muscle loss that occurs by exceeding the “fat-burning zone” is so ridiculously minor that it’s not worth worrying about.

4. Isolation Exercises

Bodybuilders love isolation exercises, which means they focus on performing exercises that move one joint and target one muscle. You shouldn’t train that way. Bodybuilders love isolation exercises because they mistakingly believe that isolation exercises allow them to sculpt and shape the individual muscles. This is a ridiculous notion. Your genetics determine the shape of your muscles. You can make your muscles bigger, or lose fat to show more definition in your muscles, but there’s no way to alter the actual shape of your muscles. Your genetics control that. So while clueless bodybuilders focus on isolation exercises as part of a wild delusion that doing so will allow them to defy their own genetics, most men and women who aren’t drinking the Bodybuilding Kool-Aid and want to focus on effective workouts that produce time-efficient results should focus almost 100% of their time on compound exercises (multiple joints moving, multiple muscles involved).

5. Seated Exercises

Bodybuilders love seated exercises, which means they take exercises that normally would be done standing up, but sit on down to perform them. You shouldn’t train that way. Seated exercises are a bodybuilding staple that are likely patented by the International Society of Thickheaded Bodybuilders. In the bodybuilding world, any exercise that can be performed sitting down, should be performed sitting down. So bodybuilders will perform all kinds of exercises such as overhead presses, shoulder raises, reverse flys, etc while sitting comfortably on their asses. The reason they sit down while performing all those exercises is in order to disengage their core and other muscle groups so that they can focus exclusively on the primary muscles involved (i.e. isolation). So a bodybuilder can take an effective compound exercise such as an overhead press, and ruin it by sitting down while doing the exercise, turning it into some kind of Frankenstein compound-but-not-really exercise. You sit down enough already, don’t sit down while you’re working out. The vast majority of men and women will see the best results by standing on their feet for as much time as possible during their workouts, and avoiding all exercises that involve sitting down when the exercise could also be performed standing.


If you’re looking to improve your functional fitness and not spend hours in the gym, perform short and intense total-body circuit and interval training routines. Avoid the time-wasting and aesthetics-focused bodybuilding style of training that involves marathon body-part split routines based around seated isolation exercises and hours of long boring cardio.