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5 Ways To Build The Ultimate Male Physique

8 years ago | 8407 Views
People have a tendency to treat training for a “look” differently than training for an athletic or a strength goal. The truth is, whatever your fitness goals are, it is important to structure your programme in a way that allows you to meet those goals in the shortest time period possible.

Everyone has a tremendous variety of tools available to them, and it’s sometimes easy to forget that not all methods are effective for all goals. Athletes training for their sport put together some highly specific excercises; training for fat loss requires a new diet; weightlifters work on becoming skilled and efficient in their primary lifts.

Given these examples, it’s easy to see that none of these scenarios would really benefit from using strategies intended for the others. So, if your goal is simply to build a lean, symmetrical and attractive body - the ultimate male body - the solution is to gear your diet and training structure toward those goals.

1. Focus On Building An X-Shaped Physique
When it comes to being physically attractive, it’s important to understand that certain body dimensions are visually important from an evolutionary perspective. That’s why you should focus on creating what we call an “X-shaped physique.” The idea is that the shape will make you more attractive while making appearing more imposing to men.

You see, our ancestors credited desirable traits like strength, productivity and virility to corresponding physical attributes. While societal needs may have changed in a way that no longer makes it necessary to have the characteristics to succeed, to a certain extent, we carry our ancestors’ tastes. This means that physical traits that imply the presence of “mating qualifiers” are important for increasing your stock with the ladies.

To that end, an X-shaped physique means broad shoulders, a narrow waist and strong, well-developed calves. For broad shoulders, focus on core movements such as the push press and some isolation exercises to focus on the medial delts and increases in width, such as lateral raises.

A narrow waist is primarily the result of a low level of body fat. However, it is important to understand that the muscles around your waist respond to weight training in much the same way that all other muscles do: by growing. So while you shouldn't avoid certain exercises completely, train with the reminder that you should avoid rotational exercises with either a heavy weight or high volume. The goal, overall, is to develop a waist-to-shoulder ratio of about 1.618 - the Golden Ratio.

Now, strong, well-developed calves, are not easy to come by. Calves are a notoriously stubborn body part to grow, so I recommend training them more than once a week. Work your calves first in your session, not last. By focusing on these muscles and building a physique more in line with what our ancestors considered desirable (and let’s be honest, we still do), you are on the road to a better-looking body.

2. Push Less, Pull More
In keeping with the above ideas, the goal of training should include balance and symmetry. This means that not only should you train the right way, but also that you need to make a concentrated effort to avoid training the wrong way.

By nature, men are highly visual creatures. As trainees, this translates into becoming highly focused on mirror muscles - that is, those you can easily see in any mirror. In general, guys tend to do a lot more work on muscles like chest than back. I cannot begin to describe the drawbacks of this mentality. With specific regard to appearance, lopsided training that focuses on anterior (front) muscles over rear muscles usually leads to ugly imbalances. In addition to this being a great way to get yourself injured, it can lead to a round, forward-shouldered look that is not the goal of any training program I’ve ever heard of.

It’s worth noting that building the ultimate male physique isn't just about the aforementioned. Instead, we should focus more on the muscles of the upper back: latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius, et al. Put simply, these muscles, will help pull your shoulders back, helping to create the broad-shouldered look that men find powerful and women find attractive.

To prevent imbalances and to help create such a look, try to maintain a 3:2 ratio of pulling exercises to pushing exercises. As an example, 3 sets of rows, 2 sets of bench presses. Following this pattern, you are far less likely to develop unattractive imbalances. And, in addition, you will be less likely to incur injury. And more likely to pull.

If you’re already suffering from “IT man” posture resulting in a round-shouldered look, you can start fixing this by incorporating some corrective exercises into your routine. A good place to start is corner stretches for your pecs, followed by stick-ups. Do this for 5 sets of 5 reps before you train, and you’ll sort out your posture in no time.

3. Lift Heavy At Least Four Days Per Month
The benefits of heavy training are widely documented, so once again, I’ll just focus on the relevancy of building a great-looking body. Training heavy doesn’t just make you strong; it makes you look strong. Training in low-rep ranges (3 to 5 reps) necessitates the use of near-maximal weight. In general, you would be working within 75% to 85% of your 1RM.

This elicits some profound physiological changes. Training with heavy loads leads to an increase in both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone, both of which are important for building an attractive physique. First, it is necessary to recognize that for the purposes of this writing, the word “tone” means the level of tension in a muscle. With that understood, let’s talk about each type.

Neurogenic tone refers to the level of tension in a muscle in a working or flexed state. That is how “hard” a muscle is when you are training it or just flexing it at the gym/trying to impress on a night out.

Myogenic tone can be defined as residual tension in a resting muscle. What this really means is how hard, full and dense your muscles are when you’re just mooching about. Rather than some artificial pump, an increase in myogenic tone is a permanent increase in the appearance of your muscles.

Increasing neurogenic and myogenic tone also has the benefit of making muscles more visible at slightly higher levels of body fat. There is a lot to be said for having your triceps pop out a bit more at 10% (just imagine how they’ll look at 8%). To achieve the increases, my clients all have at least one day per week dedicated to lifting near maximal loads. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, heavy training also leads to strength increases, which has obvious implications for training in the future.

Takeaway: Lift heavy, get hard. Okay, that sounds wrong.

4. Mix Up Your Training
In order to create a body suited to a variety of physical tasks, you need to change your excercise routine quite frequently. Training variety keeps you motivated and invariably leads to better results. In terms of helping you increase your looks, the main benefit is from a fat-loss perspective.

While you can argue that training changes can inhibit muscle gains (which is only true if you are changing haphazardly with no thought to programming), exposing yourself to consistently changing stimulus is an excellent way to ramp up metabolism, and it increases the processes by which fat loss is made possible.

Certainly, I do not advocate switching programs day to day. Instead, I recommend choosing or designing workouts that have multiple training methods built into a week.

An easy way to work variety into your training is to change exercises for the same movement pattern. For example, switching from bench presses to pushups, counter-intuitive though it might seem, can actually help you increase muscle mass as well as lose fat. Even a change as simple as trading in barbells for dumbbells for a single workout can make significant changes and keep you lean year-round.

For more structured change, consider trying out timed workouts. That is, instead of counting reps, each set will be for a given length of time. The goal is to get as many reps in that time period as possible. Not only will increasing training variety make you look better, but it also keeps training fresh and fun.

5. Tame Your Hormones
It probably isn’t news to you that men and women have vastly different fat storage patterns. Moreover, these vary pretty heavily from man to man. In general, men tend to store fat around the abdominal and love-handle areas. Once again, we have our ancestors to thank (read: blame) for this one. So, after 10,000 years of evolution, we’ve adapted to storing fat where it wouldn’t get in the way of hunting, killing, skinning, and devouring mammoths. Women, alternatively, store fat in the hip and thigh area.

Evolutionary favouritism notwithstanding, these differences are due in large part to differences in hormonal environments between men and women. To make it basic, men generally have higher levels of cortisol, which will lend itself to storage of midsection fact, whereas high estrogen leads to lower body-fat storage.

Of course, we can't talk about male hormones without mentioning testosterone. Men, listen up: testosterone is your friend, and the more of it you have, the faster you’ll gain muscle, lose fat, meet women, and read my blog posts. Therefore, high levels of testosterone are good.

Unfortunately, when you are on a fat-loss program, the way testosterone effects insulin management gets a little messed up. Insulin (or rather insulin resistance) is a tremendous problem for most guys trying to lose fat. In fact, with many male trainees, as they get closer to their goal body-fat level, it gets much harder to lose fat in those more “masculine” areas, such as the abs, obliques and lower back. Therefore, as you continue to lean out toward your ideal body, you will probably notice that you are suffering from Chronic Love Handular Fatittude.

To aid in shedding the love handles and sculpting a body to feel proud of, there are a few ways to improve insulin management via supplementation and diet. For supplements, fish oil, along with the myriad of other benefits, has been shown to vastly improve insulin management when taken in high doses.

Additions to your diet can include cinnamon. When added to meals containing carbohydrates, it has been shown to mitigate the effects of insulin spikes and fat storage. Along those same lines, there is some evidence to support that drinking a moderate dose of apple-cider vinegar prior to meals containing carbohydrates has similar effects.

A combination of an intelligent diet and training program, as well as a few tricks like the supplement recommendations above, are a great way to make your endocrine system work with you to build your ideal body, instead of against you.

So there you have it: five simple strategies to help you lose fat, put muscle on the right places and create a body women are evolutionarily programmed to want to see naked. It's science. -ASkMen (By John Romaniello)
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Tags: Physique

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