10 Training Tips for the Bikini Competitor
What the judges want:
Bikini women are judged on their lean and firm physique scored on proportion, symmetry, balance, shape and skin tone. Abs and glutes are important muscle groups. During comparison judging in height classes, bikini women do a front and back pose. Bikini woman are generally in the 8-10% body fat range.
1) Focus on glutes!
A good bikini program focuses on glute training more than 2x per week. Depending on your current condition, don’t be afraid to push those heavy weights. Glutes are an important part of a bikini body! Do a heavy leg day and a then a separate high rep leg day with a glute focus. Incorporate plyometric exercises often, if not daily, that work the glute muscles. Squatting is a little over played in the fitness realm to grow a booty as there are MANY good back side building exercises that should be utilized….but don’t leave the squat out. A tip for squats: a wide stance squat works more of the glutes where narrow stances focus more on the quads. (Looking for a contest prep coach… contact me!) Make sure you are also evaluating your overall symmetry as your program progresses.
Also check out Workouts from the Pros to see what they do!
2) Don’t forget about the upper body!
That upper body needs muscle too! It helps to add shape and symmetry. Depending on your level of muscularity, you will want to lift in the appropriate rep range to add or maintain symmetry and shape. (size: 6-12 rep, endurance: 12+ reps). Bikini girls have some nice muscle up top but not the size a figure or physique girl works for. See Don’t Lift! You’ll Look Like a Man!
3) HIIT up that cardio!
HIIT is a great type of cardio to burn fat and keep that metabolism reved so you continue to burn cals through the day. Don’t do hours and hours of steady state cardio everyday. It will only slow your metabolism and make it harder to keep that body after your competition. You may see two a day cardio closer to a show but not 15 weeks out. See It’s Not Nice to HIIT on how to use HIIT properly.
4) Don’t skimp on the workouts
If you have 8 HIIT intervals, you do 8 for the allotted time. If you have 30 min of MISS cardio, you do 30 minutes. Not 29 min and 30 seconds…. finish to the end.
5) Follow and track your program
Keep track of all of your workouts so you can see improvement over time. Track your food with an app like my fitness pal and prep your food at least 1x per week. Then make sure you have your food all set the night before. Every bite counts. One extra bite here and there really adds up at the end of the day. So don’t pop that extra piece of grilled cheese sandwich your kids didn’t eat!!
6) Do not cut salt/sodium
This can be a common mistake through the cut phase and/or during peak week to pull water from under the skin and look “tight.” But cutting sodium to very low – zero levels will only have the opposite effect and cause you to retain water.
The kidneys regulate blood sodium levels to very tight ranges – about 140 mEq/L. If you eat more sodium, the kidneys will filter some out and excrete it through your urine. If sodium is reduced, the kidneys will do their very best to conserve sodium by reabsorbing more back into the blood stream and excreting less in the urine. You can see below, in restricted sodium diets, blood concentrations of serum sodium remain unchanged while the hormone aldosterone sky rockets. Aldosterone is trying to conserve sodium and only make you retain water! Not what you are going for!
7) Drink your water!
Drink 3/4 – 1 gallon per day. 2% dehydration effects performance by 20%! Mark a water gallon to help you stay on track.
8) Cycle carbs and refeed
Cycling carbs is usually only necessary around 6-8 from your contest when carbs are getting low. Carb cycling is a helpful tool to keep your body composition moving in the right direction. Cycling carbs isn’t necessary in a bulking season as you are getting plenty to eat throughout the day.
There are many ways people cycle carbs. For example, they may have a drastic low day of 30-50 carbs with low fat and high protein and then high carb days of 150-200 carbs with low fat and moderate protein. Others have a less drastic shift between days such as a 30 carb difference between high, medium and low days.
Refeed meals. When done correctly, you can have them all the way into a show. Refeed and cheat meals are two different things. Cheat meals are one free-for-all meal per week and refeeds are structured meals with specific macros, usually high carb and low fat. See My Contest Prep 2015 for more detailed info and calculations on cycleing carbs and refeed meals
9) Keep carbs around your workout
When you are cutting calories and carbs start getting low, center the majority of your carbs around your lifting session so you have the most energy to get a good workout! See My Contest Prep and Weekly Updates or examples.
10) Above all, have a support group!
It is SO beneficial to have a support group of people that are also training for a competition. If you don’t know anyone, start meeting people at posing sessions or group workouts. You can also join bodybuilding groups or forums on facebook for feedback and advice.
Looking for a contest prep coach? Look no further! Contact me!
Featured post pic from Purelifts.com