Have you seen physique men that have size and muscularity but still seem to lack that extra something? In this article Mr. America tells you how to reshape your physique and gain that extra something.
It is certainly theoretically true that if a bodybuilder has attained 18 or 19 inch arms, a 50 inch chest, a 32 inch waist, 26 inch thighs, and 18 inch calves he should possess an almost perfect physique as far as measurements are concerned.
He may also have achieved fantastic muscularity, yet there may be one very important quality missing -- PROPER SHAPE. In the final analysis this is the quality which usually designates a real physique champion. It is that certain something which makes him stand out of the crowd. I am the first to realize the great difficulty in attaining all these qualities synchronously. However, I have seen far too many bodybuilders who simply disregard this quality. One of the reasons for this is that some physique contest judges seem to show as little concern as the bodybuilders themselves, therefore minimizing the immediate importance of shape. Since this condition existed for many years, I must assume that the reason is because of mutual ignorance. This statement is certainly not meant to be derogatory. My aim is only to bring light upon the subject.
Any person of average intelligence who has been exposed to any sort of art or physical culture should be able to recognize a good physique. For the life of me, I cannot understand why a bodybuilder, of all people, cannot recognize some of these qualities. I have seen some young bodybuilders admire others who do not have one properly shaped muscle in their whole body. I certainly see a need for some education concerning this matter.
The most common faults are as follows:
- short biceps
- high triceps
- saggy pecs
- high lats
- high calves.
Even if you have all of these inferior features you are not lost. You can remedy the situation if you approach your problems correctly. After all, if you had a perfect body you wouldn't have any need for bodybuilding but only for body maintenance.
When the bicep is properly developed, it should extend the whole way down to the elbow. It should not be short and knotted. Even in a flexed position the biceps should extend to the elbow. Whether or not the bicep has a high peak is another matter. However, both qualities are present in a well developed arm.
If your lower bicep lacks fullness, try doing seated incline dumbbell curls or regular barbell curls. Cheating is the last thing you should do. Your starting position is very important. Start slowly and deliberately and with the arms completely straight. If, on the other hand, you happen you happen to have a shapeless, non-peaking bicep, try some concentration curl movements.
A properly developed tricep will be full and round with a sufficient thickness adjacent to the elbow. If you have trouble gaining thickness around the elbow area, try doing some close grip bench presses followed by a few sets of strict triceps pressdowns on the lat machine. You are more likely to attain the desired type of development by the use of heavy weights. Therefore, it will necessary to work up to singles at least once a week with your bench presses.
if you find that your triceps lack shape and muscularity, why not try dumbbell extensions. This exercise will improve the general appearance of your triceps.
The pectorals are a very showy muscle group. Therefore, they can add to or detract much from the general appearance of the bodybuilder. Bodybuilders have designed many methods and angles of approach to "pec" development. However, a few misconceptions seem to remain. Let me begin by saying that the "bigger is better" concept is simply not true. Bodybuilding has never been quite that simple. The first thing which we must establish is a norm, or an acceptable explanation of what is good.
Before I carry this subject any further, may I say that this so-called "norm" is somewhat flexible. It can usually be reduced to a matter of opinion or opinions. Of course, there is such a thing as an educated or qualified opinion. The pectorals should have a square or somewhat horizontally elongated shape. In general. the better the upper portion of the pec the better the appearance. Of course, the pectorals should be well defined and muscular, least of all saggy.
The bench press has invariably been used with great success. However, this exercise does not react favorably for all individuals. Some men seem to obtain better results if they employ an incline or decline bench position. The same applies to lateral (flye) movements.
In the decline position one can expect to receive more direct pec action than in the flat position. The flat position demands more work from the deltoids. It can be noted that for some people the decline position is also excellent for working the upper pec area. On first thought this may not seem logical, but my own experiences have shown it to be true. Try it for yourself.
May I suggest you try the following: Alter all your bench work to the decline position -- lateral movements included. After several weeks you should note some sort of change. If you find that this still is not what you are looking for, try the incline position. After you have employed both angles you should be able to determine which is best for you.
Each position or angle will have a different effect on the reshaping your pectorals. Try working up to a maximum poundage in the decline press about once a week. I do not feel that heavy weights are necessary for the dumbbell flyes as this is basically a shaping exercise.
If one makes a close study of an anatomy chart he will find that the latissimus extends down t0 approximately the waist level. If one is to show a complete development, the lower "lats" must appear as well developed as the upper portion. Some choose to concentrate only on the upper area. This approach is wrong. If you exercise the lats properly, you can obtain a complete development. Here again, no two people react exactly the same to any given exercise. In general though, if you lack development in the upper portion of you latissimus, you should include wide grip chins and lat machine pulldowns in your routine. If on the other hand you lack development in the lower portion of the lats, which is usually the case, be sure to include heavy rowing motions with a barbell and deadlifts in your schedule.
I realize the great difficulties one can have in finding the proper approach for developing the calves. In many cases, the application of regular calf exercises does not stimulate them sufficiently to cause them to attain proper shape. The most common problem concerning calf development seems to be a condition referred to as high calves. This means that the soleus (the inside, lower calf area) is long and lack proper size. This condition is usually seen with a narrow foot and a long heel bone.
When this condition is present, the first thing that one must do is find the foot position that requires the muscles of the calf to contract as desired. The calf or any other muscle will react to the type of contraction to which it is subjected. Therefore, you must use a foot position that will exercise the soleus muscle vigorously. I have found that the toes turned out position is the best for me. However, you must experiment and find the best position for yourself. Do a calf movement employing each of the three positions. Hold your hand on the calf and observe the action of the muscle.
Another means of improving the high calf look is to stretch the calves to their maximum while exercising them. And you should begin each rep from the maximum stretch position. Also, remember to repeat each repetition very slowly -- no fast starts.
I have found that I get the best results from performing toe raises on a leg press machine, exercising one leg at a time, using medium heavy weights for 8 to 10 repetitions, and doing no less than 5 sets
I know of no bodybuilder who has attained absolute perfection. Everyone seems to have some room for improvement. Bodybuilding seems to be a process which is never really completed because it is an endeavor for perfection.
Enjoy Your Lifting!