Many of us exercise to improve our overall health and wellbeing and to look better for bathing suit season. However, many times an exercise program developed for general health and wellness fails to focus on aesthetics.
A sport we can utilize to really improve the way we look is bodybuilding.
This sport started in the ’50s and ’60s and at its heyday throughout the ’70s and ’80s was in many ways far ahead of exercise science.
While being healthy is important, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to look their best!? In this blog, I will highlight some techniques the classic 1960’s and ’70s bodybuilders used to create the look of the “perfect physique”.
The art and science of physique training models the appearance of ancient Greek and Roman statues. These figures were created to portray perfect symmetry and proportion.
While we may not be looking to put in the time and effort to become Adonis, we can use bodybuilding techniques to create a better-proportioned body. According to bodybuilding, shoulders and back should be wider than the torso. This is referred to as the V-taper.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. The first is to lose body fat by eating less fat and carbohydrates. As your body begins to make changes, it is important to continue making healthy food choices in order to maintain this look.
The second way to make your waistline appear smaller is to create a v-taper. This starts with the shoulders.
We want to add muscle mass, primarily at the lateral or outside head of the deltoids. The way to do this is to work in dumbbell side lateral raises 3-5 sets, 6-12 reps, overhead dumbbell presses 3-5 sets, 10-15 reps, and bent over rear delt raises 3-5 sets, 8-15 reps.
We are working on gaining hypertrophy achieved through higher volume, with 30-60 seconds of recovery in between sets. This increase of muscle size will make your shoulders wider than your torso.
The next part of the v-taper is working on your latissimus dorsi muscles, usually referred to as the lats. These muscles are located on the side and back of the body.
Some exercises to increase the width of the lats are by performing pullup/pulldowns 3-5 sets, 6-12 reps, cable rows 3-5 sets, 8-12 reps, V-bar pulldowns 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps. Have 30-60 seconds of rest time in between sets.
Finally, the finishing touch on the V-taper is to work your torso. While with the above exercises we are trying to increase muscle hypertrophy, in the abdominal area we want the muscles to be strong but not to increase in width.
Perform the roman chair, 3 sets of 10-15 reps with just your body weight, leg raises no extra weight, 3 sets, 15-25 reps, and 3 sets plank holds for 30-60 seconds.
Utilize this workout over the next 8 weeks to improve your appearance. It’s not only about being healthy. It’s about looking good, too!
-Guy C., Fitness Director at Dedham Health & Athletic Complex