The Elite Physique

Competition Workout Plan

Try This Competition Workout Plan for Your Show

Your competition workout plan is a very important factor in your contest prep.  It’s important to have the right training split that allows for muscle growth and recovery.  When you combine the right type of training with cardio and dieting, your results will be nothing short of jaw-dropping.  Now, let’s cover some important factors to get you stage-ready.

competition workout plan

Phase 1 – First 3 Weeks

Typically, phase 1 is from the 12-week mark, counting down.  So, weeks 12, 11, and 10 will fall under this category.  During this phase your diet should have some decent calories, but not in excess.  Your cardio should be on the light side, perhaps 3 days of cardio for 20 minutes and increase it to 25 minutes in weeks 11 and 12.  As for training, it should be close to what you were doing off-season.  A good training split to follow is a 2 day on, 1 day off.

Example of 2 on, 1 off Training

Monday – Legs / Calves

Tuesday – Shoulders/ Traps / Abs

Wednesday – Rest and Recover

Thursday – Back / Triceps / Calves

Friday – Chest / Biceps / Abs

Saturday – Rest and Recover

Sunday – Legs / Calves

This type of split allows for complete muscle stimulation without over-training.  You must have recovery time if you want to take your physique to the next level.  Yes, even in contest prep mode, your training needs recovery days.  No recovery, no muscle growth.

During this phase in your competition workout plan you need to keep your weight training as heavy as possible.  Shoot for 3 exercises per body part using reps in the 8-10 rep range.  You still have the power and strength to do this since your prep diet just started.  By this time your strength could be tapped just a little.  If you need to, at this point you can lower your poundage.  But only do so if you cannot complete 10 reps with good

Phase 2 – Second 3 Weeks

Weeks 9, 8, and 7 (counting down) will fall under this category.  During this phase of prep your calories are lowered some and there may have been a tweak in your macronutrients.  At this point, increase your cardio some by adding a day, making cardio 4 days a week.  Weeks 8 and 7 you can add in fasted cardio if you haven’t yet.  Your training can remain on the same training split of 2 on/1 off.  form.  Shoot for about 10 reps on all your sets.  If you can do more than 10 reps the weight is too light and if you cannot quite get 10 reps, the poundage is too heavy.

Phase 3 – Third 3 Weeks

This phase will include weeks 6, 5, and 4 (counting down).  Yes, contest day is getting close.  In phase 3 your calories are going to lower slightly and even adjustments to macronutrients.  Cardio can be tweaked once again.  You can do 4-5 days of cardio in the 30-45-minute range.  Fasted cardio at this point is a plus, and even adding in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for a portion of your cardio.

Training can remain on the same split.  Keep with about 3 or so exercises per body part and reps can be in the 10-12 rep range until failure.  Your strength will be dropping some at this point and it’s important to lower the poundage and increase the reps some to avoid injury in this delicate state your body is transitioning to.

Phase 4 – Fourth 3 Weeks

During phase 4 you’ll really see changes in your physique.  This phase includes weeks 3, 2, and 1 (peak week).  During this phase your diet will be super strict.  There is absolutely no room for dieting mistakes.  This means, DO NOT CHEAT!  You can amp-up your cardio in weeks 3 and 2.  Keep your training as heavy as you can stand for 12-15 reps.  Your body is in a vulnerable state, so no extremely heavy lifting.  What I mean is, if you can only lift a weight for 8 reps to failure, that’s too heavy.

Peak Week

Peak Week is part of this phase.  Peak week is the last week before your contest.  This week will be opposite of everything you’ve been doing during prep.  Your peak week will start the Sunday before your contest.  This is when you start priming your body for your big day.  This will involve de-carbing and carbing-up.  Macronutrients will vary greatly in this phase.  Cardio should be avoided this final week.  Your body needs to rest to allow for the diet to do its job.  Train only Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  Keep your training very light.  It’s going to be a glycogen depletion workout.  Therefore, choose 2 exercises per body part and do 40 reps with light weight.  Your workout these 3 days should only take about 15-20 minutes.  It’s just a pumping workout, quick and easy.

Phase 5 – Doing it Rightred arrow pointing down

If you want to do your contest prep the right way, you need to click below and get my free Contest Prep Crash Course…


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Now that you have some information on the patter of how to prep for a contest, you might get my FREE Contest Prep Crash Course to help fill in the blanks.

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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT

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My name is Karen Sessions and I am a life-time natural female bodybuilder, multi-certified fitness instructor, author, specialist in performance nutrition, and a success coach. I've been in the fitness industry since 1988! I teach people Just Like You how to transform their bodies, get in shape, build muscle, lose fat and compete in Bodybuilding, Physique, and Figure Competitions. When you have the CORRECT information you can have total confidence and turn your dreams into reality... and I can help transform YOUR body. I have helped THOUSANDS of clients reach their goals and I can help you, too. Be sure to grab my free gift above so you can start moving toward your goal.

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