Broad Shoulders, Always Admired
Throughout the ages broad shoulders have been admired. This is well proven by the fact that all the long dead sculptors who moulded the classic statues of Greek and Roman civilizations carved them with exceptionally broad and powerful shoulders. It was the habit of these old artists to exaggerate a bit the features which they preferred in their models, so almost without exception they showed the broadest possible shoulders with a small, curly head, extremely well muscled torsos and splendid arms and legs. In all recorded history the ancients enshrined the well developed human body. The majority of the men who posed for these works of art of the ancient Macedonians, Carthaginians, Spartans, Greeks and Romans, were winners of the ancient Olympic Games. Being perpetuated in marble was one of the rewards for their long and arduous training to develop the physical power, strength and skill to win at these games in which the supremacy of the men of the known civilized world was decided.
Although a great many of these statues of antiquity have been destroyed and stolen in the past, just as they have been destroyed and stolen in the recent war, enough of them remain to prove that the people and the artists of these ancient civilizations idolized physical beauty whether possessed by men or women. The fact that all of these ancient statues pronouncedly emphasize shoulder development proves that broad, well developed shoulders were admired then as now. If you examine these ancient statues carefully, or their replicas the next time you have the opportunity to visit an art gallery, especially the section devoted to sculptured art, you will observe this fact.
You will note that the old masters seemed to specialize upon the shoulders, for without good shoulders the human body, male or female, loses much of its attractiveness, much of its interest. The possessor of a too generous waist line may even present a pleasing appearance if he has broad shoulders. For broad shoulders have a tendency to make the waist look smaller and the entire figure somewhat athletic. While the person with narrow shoulders, even with a slender waistline, can not be anything but skinny and weak in appearance. Well developed shoulders, much wider in proportion than the masculine waist and hips, are required to mold the much desired and admired wedge shaped body. That’s why the ancient masters, both painters and sculptors, had a tendency to exaggerate the breadth of the shoulders if their models were not sufficiently broad shouldered, depicting a narrower than normal waist line and a smaller head to accentuate the more than normal shoulders they gave their statues. Admired throughout the ages have been broad shoulders, narrow waist and hips, with a rounded, well muscled, deep chest.
The most truly Herculean statue which has come down to us is the Farnese Hercules. It is doubtful if a man ever lived who was as powerfully developed as this representative of masculine excellence. It seems that every muscle in the body is developed to and tensed to the limit. While this would be an unnatural circumstance in the otherwise at ease posture of the statue, the student of anatomy and the admirer of the well developed masculine physique will agree that it depicts the most Herculean masculine figure ever produced in the line of ancient or modern art. No doubt a number of models were used to produce this statue as well as the imagination of the artist who created it. One model used for the wonderful shoulders, and another for the splendid chest and upper back, still another for the magnificently muscled midsection, and one or more for the wonderful legs. It is evident that the sculptor not only copied but amplified the best points of a number of models. Eugen Sandow, one of the best built men of modern times, looks almost like an undeveloped boy when posed in a position similar to this statue and compared to it. And while the sculptor endeavored to illustrate the most superior development of all the major muscles of the body, his molding of the shoulders is the real masterpiece of the statue. Therefore, the Farnese Hercules, which has won undying fame, is additional proof of the admiration of all men and women of any age for the well developed male physique.
On page 41 of the Big Chest Book there is a beautiful but unnamed Roman statue which was unearthed from the sands of
The statue which represents the Gladiator, the original of which was in the Louvre,
One of the most admired of the statues, not as ancient as many, as it was hewed out of the marble by Michelangelo in the 16th century, is his colossal statue of David. While it shows this Biblical character standing at ease, the beauty of the male physique is very evident, particularly the width of shoulders. The writer believes that this statue has been copied more than any other one by modern body builders. The original of this statue has been in the Italian city of
If you consider the following group of famous statues which were carved in a period of antiquity you will be impressed with the great beauty of their shoulder development. The discus thrower of Discobulus, the Laocoon group, particularly the central figure of that group and the seated stature of the ancient God Mars, possess charms which please and delight the lover of the well developed body. They show exceptionally virile and forceful shoulder development. While the figure of Mars is most outstanding in every way, a distinct masterpiece of the sculptor’s art, as with many of the products of the ancient masters it portrays very exceptional shoulder development. In the opinion of lovers of the well developed human body it is far superior to that other so called model of male perfection of physique, the Apollo Belvedere. The only feature of the statue of Apollo which is really masculine is the shoulders; other features of this statue tend toward the feminine. But the figure of Mars is a masterpiece depicting the powerful, well developed man in every way. It almost lives and breathes strength, virility and ruggedness. It is a real masterpiece and a beautiful example of outstanding shoulder development.
The exceptional development shown in Mars seated is so unusual because he is entirely at ease with none of his muscles tensed, yet force, strength and power radiate from every part of the entire figure. The shoulders are remarkably broad but not conspicuously so as are those shown in so many statues. The admirer of the well developed masculine physique who studies this statue carefully will be immediately impressed with the intensely masculine and masterly manliness of the entire body.
Beauty of physique should mean harmony of development, because when something inharmonious enters into anything, at once the real beauty this object may possess is overshadowed by the inharmonious element. Although most of the ancient statues have shoulders which probably were exaggerated somewhat in their development, few of the masters have made their creations unsightly in spite of the constant love for the broadest of shoulders. Perfect balance and complete harmony are the true marks of beauty and both of these are found in that famous statue about which we have been writing, “Mars Seated,” for it illustrates the perfection of masculine development not only in the shoulders but in the entire development of the body.
Great breadth of shoulders is portrayed in the statue known as Spartacus. The statue which represents Hercules carrying away the apples of the Hesperides, which is called the “Hercules of Tyrian,” depicts the finest of deltoid development. There were many other statues of mythical figures of the same period, the best known of which portray Atlas, Achilles, Hercules,
While there are few men of today as Herculean as the models who must have posed for the Farnese Hercules, Tony Massimo, John Grimek or Steve Stanko being our closest approach to these most powerfully constructed of old time strength athletes, there are many men of today who could fittingly pose for others of the ancient statues. For they possess shoulders just as magnificent, just as beautiful as those possessed by the men who posed for the marble or bronze masterpieces bequeathed to us by Macedonia, Carthage, Sparta, Greece, ancient and modern Rome. There are few ancient statues, even with the known tendency to exaggerate the shoulders, which excel the famous stars of strength and development of a slightly older day. Eugen Sandow, Otto Arco, George Hackenschmidt, John Lemm, Staff Sergeant Moss of the British Army, the Nordquests; Joe and Adolph, Bobby Pandour, Antone Matysek, and the stars of the present, Sigmund Klein, Tony Sansone, Frank Leight, Ludwig Shusterich, Gene Jantzen, Paul Compo, Phil Campisi, Bill Hillgardner, Terry Robinson, Jack Lalanne, Bill Barad, and so many others as well as the famous York barbell men of recent years, Wally Zagurski, Joe Miller, Elmer Farnham, Dave Mayor, John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Johnny Terpak, Tony Terlazzo, Jules Bacon, Weldon Bullock, Dick Bachtell, Eddie Harrison, Gord Venables and others. On the entire physiques of the men just mentioned the shoulders are the essence of symmetry in spite of the fact that their entire physiques are so well molded and outstanding in development. Men like these just enumerated would be lost, would not have attained their present fame for the beauty of their bodies, were it not for their broad shoulders and the exceptional development of their deltoids, those muscles on the points of the shoulders which give that rounded appearance to the shoulders which is so much admired. While all of these men have shoulders, particularly deltoids, which are exceptionally large in size, they blend and merge themselves so gradually and beautifully with adjacent groups of muscles that although they are much larger than the deltoids of less developed men, they merge well with the remainder of their bodies, giving only the impression of balance and excellence of physique as well as of broad, powerfully developed shoulders.
The ancients, for whom the statues were created by the artists of the day, worshipped the strong men of their time. There is little change in people of various ages, so it behooves the man who wishes to be honored and admired for his physique today to place a fair share of his training time back of building the finest shoulders of which he is capable. Broad shoulders are not only nice to look at, much admired by others of both sexes, but they come in mighty handy to the man who owns them, for they make it easier for him to work, to lift, to pull, to carry. People have come to associate broad shoulders with the more desired masculine qualities of strength, endurance, vitality, and there is a sound foundation for these beliefs. As briefly mentioned in the preceding chapter, men who have broad shoulders are usually broader all over. They have broader hips which transmit the power of a powerful pair of legs to the tasks at hand, whether they be work or athletic endeavors, the broader hips give more support to the important organs of the upper body, make it possible for all internal processes to operate with greater efficiency, and with these broader shoulders there must be a larger, wider, fuller and deeper chest. The chest houses two of the most important organs of the body, two on which our lives depend, the heart and lungs, and the greater room for these organs, which the possessor of broad shoulders enjoys, means that the man is stronger, healthier, and more enduring in every way. So know when you make up your mind to have broader shoulders, to be more like the men who posed for these statues which have remained famous throughout the years and like the muscular marvels of today, that you will also obtain a new brand, a super brand of health, and that you are building in addition to your admiration creating physique the possibilities of a much longer, fuller, happier and more successful life. Time spent in building the ultimate in shoulder development is time well spent.