They say that bodybuilding competitions are won from the back, and I
think that the same can be said about the Men's Physique Division. It
is very important to have developed back muscles due to the fact that
they play a part in both your front and back poses. Here is a routine
that can help you build a wide muscular back so that you can create a
Question. What is your favorite body part to train ______________?
Chest? Biceps? Legs? Shoulders?
I bet you dollars to doughnuts that very few of your answered “back.” Why, is that? Well, there are several reasons. First, the back isn’t a glamorous muscle like the chest or biceps. Second, building a great back, from top to bottom, takes hard work and effort. And, third, taking ‘selfies’ to show off your back is pretty darn hard. Seriously, you almost need to be contortionist to take a solid back picture.
In the ongoing journey towards achieving aesthetics, we must evaluate what constitutes that ideal image or “look”. To take a deeper dive into the topic, we can start by looking at the various divisions in the NPC and the IFBB to discover any common or recurring themes in what those organizations deem to be an aesthetic look. Setting aside the obvious tans and shredded abs, the large rounded shoulders to small waist ratio stands out as the basis for creating that pleasing look. How to achieve it? Well, it varies from person to person but here’s what I do:
A very common way to warm-up prior to resistance training workouts is to first do a general warm-up consisting cardio or callisthenic type exercises to increase heart rate and heat in the muscles (among other physiological changes). From there specific warm-up sets are usually performed for each body part being worked.
While this is certainly a useful strategy, I have also found it extremely beneficial to transition from the more general warm-up to the main resistance workout by also utilizing one or two movements that enhance full-body structural integration. These incorporate the fundamental movement patterns of Push, Pull, Bilateral Lower Body (i.e. Squat pattern), Unilateral Lower Body (i.e. Lunge pattern), and Rotation in various ways.
Measuring Progress in very important when working to lose fat. Here is what you need to do to keep track of fat loss.
1. Calculate your waist-to-hip ratio
Your waist-to-hip ratio — or the circumference of your waist divided by the circumference of your hips — can be a good indicator of whether you need to lose belly fat. Here's how to get it:
How do you build a monster chest to fill out your t-shirt? Well, to really build muscle mass and induce muscle hypertrophy, it’s all about incorporating multi-joint exercises into your chest routine.
The chest is best stimulated and developed when it is fully stretched and flexed and targeted through movements designed to maximize development. For example, the upper chest is best stimulated from exercises done on a 30-45% incline bench, the middle chest is best stimulated from exercises done on a flat bench, and the lower chest is best stimulated from exercises done on a 30-45% decline bench.
The exercises below will ensure that each part of your chest is targeted so you will have a chest that resembles the Austrian Oak himself!
"What are the ideal reps and sets for muscle growth?" The question has been around as long as bodybuilding. You may be thinking that you know exactly the right reps and sets for muscle growth. Three sets per each exercise and 6-12 reps, right? It's what the average bodybuilder has been doing since bodybuilding began. Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple...
I honestly can’t remember the last time I did cardio on a machine. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” to use a Seinfeld reference, but I prefer to work with more athletic modalities. One of my favorite pieces of conditioning equipment is the often overlooked, humble, inexpensive, and extremely portable jump rope. Jumping rope really provides a tremendous fitness ‘bang for your buck!’ It not only gives you a serious caloric burn, but it really enhances one’s coordination and athleticism!
When you think back to the first few months you ever spent in the weight room, you probably remember adding more and more muscle with seemingly every session. What’s more, this was despite not having half the knowledge that you may have now with respect to training or nutrition. But still, in that first year of training your weight shot up by 15 pounds and you also looked significantly leaner!..
Ask someone, anyone, to "flex" or "make a muscle" and what do they do? Bust out the old tried-and-true Schwarzenegger twisting front biceps pose. It's every teenage boys dream to build huge biceps complete with a sharp peak to attract all the ladies – or at least to stop the bully from those Charles Atlas comic book ads from kicking sand in your face at the beach.
Unfortunately, biceps are one of the most over-trained muscle groups known to man. Ask any "brofessor" at the gym… Mondays are chest, Tuesdays are biceps, and Wednesdays? Why, chest and biceps, of course! I think most average lifters need only one day committed to arms each week, or slight biceps work after major back exercises on a "pull" day. But who wants to be average? If you're reading this, you want some biceps peak. And you want it now! No full Larry Scott arms for you. You’re interested in some Arnold-like 22-inch mountain peaks!
Check out this motivational video featuring Tory Woodward. See what this IFBB MP Pro is up to in his final month of prep going into The Olympia and check out and try Tory's BONUS CHEST WORKOUT ROUTINE!
One of the biggest criticisms I hear about Men's Physique competitors is that they have no legs. They are simply average gym-goers absent of leg development who wake up one day and decide to donn some Hurley board shorts. I beg to differ. My leg training requires a 24-hour commitment. Some weeks I literally cannot sleep before "leg day" because I am so excited.
One cannot have an aesthetically pleasing (and contest-winning) body with "chicken-legs." I'm going to walk you through an intermediate leg workout for those competitors looking for award-winning wheels...
A question I get asked quite often is whether to use lifting straps or not. Depending on your goals the answer will be different. So let's look at two separate goals someone might have in the gym. The first individual's goal is to build as much strength a possible in all aspects of his training. You could even call this individual a power lifter.
The advantage of using straps for this individual is that he will be able to grip the weight better and lift more weight...
Have you ever heard someone say that their pecs were too big? Of course not! I don’t think those words have ever been uttered aloud by anyone in the history of weight training. Everyone who is anyone desires a nicely developed chest, right?
If you tell anyone that you train, what is the first question that they typically ask you? You guessed it, “How much do you bench?” This is an age old question that will probably be asked for the rest of time. I have another question for you. What piece of equipment comes standard in most home gym systems? A bench, of course.
In last month’s article I discussed the often forgotten anterior calf muscles and the way they can be trained in order to enhance your overall calf development. This month I am going to take a look at the posterior calf muscles, how to isolate them and then will show you an example calf workout that will help you maximize growth potential for this most stubborn of body parts!
Research shows that interval training, or alternating short bursts of energy with brief resting periods, can improve muscle and build endurance more quickly than traditional exercise.
Sprint. Run as fast and as far as you can for 20 seconds, then slow to a walk until you catch your breath. Repeat for 10 minutes.
Set a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike for interval training. Most modern exercise equipment can be set to an interval training mode, which significantly increases the difficulty of the exercise for short periods of time.
Take quick walks. Fit some exercise into your work day and take 5-minute power walks. Take long strides and keep a brisk pace, or try going up and down stairs.
Whenever I’m asked the question, “Do you lifts weights?” I will usually answer with “Well, sort of.” While it is true that weights are the primary tools used in my workout program, I don’t just “Lift things up and put them down!” Rather I am interested in using resistance for the purpose of stimulating my muscles.
Unfortunately, it seems that too often people go to the gym with the goal of improving their physique but what they really end up doing is carelessly pushing weights around. They seem to have no connection at all to the muscle contractions involved in the exercises they are performing. However, for me, training is all about the mind-muscle connection.
Working as a trainer for 13 years, I’ve heard the word “overtraining” thrown around a lot. Your average gym-goer can be fearful of “overdoing it” as they are afraid of overtraining and thus making their hard work counterproductive.
Yet is it possible to overtrain? And if so how does one do it and what exactly does it mean? Consequently, is “overtraining” a myth or not? Overtraining by definition is training so hard that it exceeds your capacity to recover. So, how do you avoid this and where do you get the most “bang for your buck”?
AIM TO TAKE 10,000 STEPS A DAY
In one study, where men reduced their daily steps from about 10,000 to less than 1,500 (without changing their diet), their visceral (belly) fat increased by 7% after just 2 weeks.
Get a pedometer and try to increase the number of daily steps you take.
Take stairs instead of elevators; walk instead of driving.
Stand up and walk for 30 steps every 30 minutes. If you have a sedentary job, consider getting a treadmill desk...
One of the major differences between a physique athlete and a recreational gym user is the attention to detail. One metaphor I often hear is that we are like sculptors working on a piece of art. Like any masterpiece it is important to pay attention to the details. No painting or sculpture of any note would be held in high esteem without remarkable attention applied to the finest brush stokes or the use of tools as thin as a needle to carve out the final details with immense precision.
Completing 3 sets of seated or standing calf raises at the end of a brutal leg or back session may suffice for most, but to really stand out on stage, the physique athlete needs a little more. Great calves will show clear separation between the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius and a clear V-shaped soleus but what’s more, you will also see details and cuts on the calves even when viewed from the front!
Due to the recent interest in the Ab Article by Todd Abrams and all of the questions I get on the subject, I have decided to bring you some more info on the subject of ABS. Whether you are a competitor, just the average fitness junky or beach goer looking to stay in shape, everyone wants a killer mid section. It is said “Abs are made in the kitchen and sculpted in the gym” which is very true.
Over the next few paragraphs I will break down the different parts that make up your abdominal area and leave you with a sample workout that targets each group. The truth is that everyone has abs. The difference is that many times they’re hidden under a layer of fat just waiting to be exposed. Once dieted down to under 10% for men and 13% for women, abs will appear.