Bodybuilding Training Article from

Body Sculpting
For Symmetry
by Steven R. Harless -- 1993

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Every day in every gym across the world scores of bodybuilders are transforming their bodies into dimensionless blobs. The have forgotten the very nature of bodybuilding -- a symmetrical and proportionate physique. The entire premise of bodybuilding is to shape the body through progressive weight training.

Being "big" is still what bodybuilding is all about, but aimless mass just piled on has little if any impact. Training purely for muscle size without anything else in mind will definitely land you a job as a bounce in a night club, but any chance of physique stardom will be out of the picture.

If you've been training for over a year, symmetry should be foremost in your mind. If you are starting to look like a bowling pin, there is still hope. Through the use of shaping movements and a mirror when training, even the most devoid of shape can chisel out an eye-catching physique.

There is not much a bodybuilder can do to alter genetics -- that is, narrow shoulders, wide hips etc. Only with the implementation of certain weight movements and the exclusion of others can any genetic shortcoming be corrected.

When you are in the gym, anywhere in the world, take a long look around. How many men have proper deltoid development with the lateral head predominant over the front? How Many possess even a slight degree of forearm size or shape? What about the abs, with the serratus clearly showing? Calves are even more difficult to detect. What you do find is overdeveloped pectorals, hanging -- almost sagging -- with little or any shape, and turnip thighs, a condition where the glutes and upper thighs take on the shape of a turnip.

When observing symmetrical physiques such as those of Serge Nubret, Steve Reeves or even Lee Labrada, notice that certain portions of the body are developed more than others. This is done to attain an aesthetic balance.

The areas that are enhanced more than others are the lateral deltoid head, upper pecs, the lower outer sweep of the pecs, the serratus, upper lat, outer triceps head, very bottom of the thigh, calves and inner and outer forearm. Let's take a look at how these areas can be trained to add mass in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

The shoulder region may be the most crucial in magnifying the entire upper torso. Wide shoulders not only give the appearance of a small waist but can be seen regardless of the clothing worn. Lateral raises are unparalleled for creating that wide look. Larry Scott, one of the narrowest of Olympians, used this movement alone to add incredible width to his delts. Form is very important when performing side raises. The exercise should be done fluidly, and at the top the front of the wrist should be turned in and held before lowering the weight. It is not the quantity of weight but the quality of the movement that is important. Throwing weight should be saved for the Olympics -- shot put or hammer throw.

All sculpted physiques would be incomplete without a lat spread. These muscles in the top of the back, when expanded, make the waist appear smaller from the front or back. The primary shaping alteration for the back is the wide-grip chin-up Chins not only work every muscle in the upper back, but they also stretch the shoulder clavicles. Some bodybuilders have even claimed a wider shoulder measurement after years of chinning. An almost forgotten weight exercise that will reshape the upper back and serratus is the straight-arm pullover with a dumbbell or bar.

Nothing enhances an upper body more than a well-developed chest. The two most important aspects are the upper and outer pec areas. A low, sagging chest might be okay for a centerfold, but it has no place in the bodybuilding arena. If the pecs grow fast, there is nothing worse than bombing them with flat bench presses until you're begging for under-wire support.

The best movements for really chiseling the pec area are wide-grip dips, incline dumbbell presses and the pec-deck. The dips should be performed on a rack with the hands spaced 32 inches apart. The elbows should be kept out through the entire exercise. The dumbbell presses should be performed second. The blood is already in the bottom of the pecs, so it doesn't have quite as far to travel. The bench should only be on a slight incline -- a four-by-four block can be placed under one end. It's very important not to lock the elbows out at the top of the dumbbell presses. Flex the chest at the top of the movement. The peck deck is best used for the inner and outer chest, but without strain, like doing dumbbell flyes. these three movements whether in straight sets or supersetted should shape the chest into a symmetrical masterpiece.

An aesthetically pleasing arm should have measurements equal to and not greater than the calf or neck measurement. The outer triceps head should be fully shaped. This will give a sweeping appearance to the total arm no matter what position it's viewed from. The best exercise to achieve this goal is the close-grip bench press with an EZ-curl bar. The elbows should be held wide and out to the sides.

A sweeping distinction for the back of the arm can add an overall balance to the triceps. The long head of this muscle is best stimulated by dumbbell kickbacks. Form is more important than weight.

Huge chiseled arms seldom look good unless accompanied by forearm growth. This development requires not just a few sets thrown in haphazardly at the end of a workout but but a complete forearm routine. The most balanced forearms I've seen belong to Larry Scott. His mainstay forearm exercise was wrist curls, heavy, high reps and good form.

When we move to the bottom half, nothing is more spectacular than a sweeping curve that flares the thigh accompanied by the teardrop above the knee. Add this to a pair of diamond shaped calves, and it's a winning combination.

Squats will definitely build the legs and the buttocks. If you've had any trouble getting out of chairs lately, maybe it's time to lay off the steroids and heavy squats. Blocky turnip thighs, no matter how large or cut, will not make the grade on the posing platform.

One of the best exercises ever invented for the leg is the hack squat. It places all of the stress on the frontal thigh. It allows for none of the cheating or forward bending that is done in the regular squat.

The calf wouldn't be complete without a harmonious thigh to stand under. It is the most overlooked muscle in all of the bodybuilding world. It is the most difficult, stubborn area to work but with a little persuasion it will come around.

The simplest and best movement for the calf is the one-legged calf raise with a dumbbell in the hand. It should be performed in high repetitions over the twenty mark. the calf block should be at least four inches off the ground and covered with foam rubber so that you can really dig your toes into it.

The key to a sculpted physique is to always let your eyes be the judge and the dumbbells the chisels. You can shape your physique into truly statuesque proportions. A balanced physique is something magnificent, a bodybuilding work of art -- a masterpiece. You're the artist -- create your body with flair.

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