5 Tips for Developing the Perfect Masculine Form
While lifting heavy and eating well is a great start, if you want to build a truly impressive physique, an ideal male body with symmetrical proportions, you have to structure every aspect of your programming towards doing that, and doing it in the shortest time possible.
I’m talking about a truly ideal male body: the kind with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and strong legs. The kind of body that fits into our biologically encoded criteria, and fits the Golden Ratio.
It’s not simple, but–as you’ll see below–it can be done. And we’re going to give you 5 steps to do it.
The problem is that we have a tremendous variety of tools in the toolbox, and it is sometimes easy to forget that not all methods are effective for all goals.
Of course, these are just a few examples, but the point is: no matter what your goal, you have to train specifically for that goal.
In none of these scenarios would you really benefit from using strategies intended for one goal to meet any of the others.
And so, if your goal is simply to build a lean, symmetrical, attractive, and sexy body, you have to gear your diet and training structure towards those goals.
When it comes to being physically attractive to the opposite sex, it’s important to understand that certain body dimensions are visually important, from an evolutionary perspective.
Our progenitors 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 which 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 that allow for maximal recruitment, such as the push press, as well as some isolation exercises to focus on the medial delts and increases width, such as lateral raises. On the other hand, you can make it easy on yourself, and just do this 15-minute shoulder workout I posted, or this slightly longer one.
A narrow waist is primarily the result of a low level of body fat, obviously. 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 I don’t ever advise avoiding certain exercises completely, I offer the caveat that one should avoid training rotational exercises with either heavy weight or high volume.
Strong, well-developed calves are not easy to come by. Calves are a notoriously stubborn body part to grow, so I recommend training them multiple times per week. Work your calves first in your training session, not last.
You should also consider why calves are so stubborn, and how this (should) factor into your training. Calves don’t grow, simply, because they’re hard to overload.
This is because your Achilles tendon acts like a rubber band, transferring energy during the lowering and lifting phases of calf exercises, so your muscles do less work.
Try this, beginning with the standing calf raise, pictured right.
I suggest you pause for 5 seconds at the bottom of each rep and 3 seconds at the top, at the minimum; this limits assistance from your Achilles, so you can overload your calves for rapid growth.
Want to kick it up a notch? We’ve got you covered. Check out this article, which completely outlines an 8-week calf training program.
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 an ideal male body.
In keeping with the ideas from above, the goal of training for sexiness should also include balance and symmetry. This is not only so you train the right way, but also because you need to make a concentrated effort to avoid training the wrong way.
As men, we’re highly visual creatures. As trainees, this translates into becoming highly focused on ‘mirror muscles’ – that is, those you can readily see in any mirror.
Guys in general tend to do a lot more work on muscles like chest than back. I cannot begin to describe the drawbacks of this mentality. Instead, I’ll focus on the main ideas of this post.
With specific regard to appearance, lopsided training which focuses on anterior (front) muscles over posterior (rear) muscles leads to pretty 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.
Keeping in mind the idea of building a sexy body, it’s worth noting that such a look is also decidedly unattractive.
Instead, we should focus more on the muscles of the upper back: latissimus dorsi, teres major, trapezius, et al. These muscles, developed correctly, 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 help to 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; in addition, you will be less like to incur injury. And probably be more likely to get naked. And, by the way, if you want to address this all at once, I wrote a full program on specialization for your back.
The benefits of heavy training are widely documented, so once again I’ll just focus on the relevance to building the perfect male body.
Firstly, let’s establish what I mean by heavy. In this case, we’re talking about training with high intensity–that is, with loads representative of a significant percentage of your max capability. In terms of numbers, we’re talking about working within 75%-85% of your 1RM. For the sake of ease, this is generally going to mean sets of 3-5 reps.
Now, for the benefits. Firstly and most obviously, training with heavier weight makes you a lot stronger; and there is simply no downside to being strong. Not only does this allow for greater muscle building, it also makes it easier to lose fat–because you’ll be using heavier weights even during fat burning workouts, which burns more calories.
But beyond all that, training heavy doesn’t just make you strong—it elicits some profound physiological changes that help you look as strong as you are.
Training with heavy loads leads to an increase in both neurogenic and myogenic muscle tone, both of which are important for building the ideal male body.
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 during a working or flexed state. That is, how “hard” a muscle is when it’s in action–whether that means at the gym, or just flexing.
Myogenic tone, on the other hand, is the residual tension in a resting muscle. What this really means is how hard, full, and dense your muscles are when you’re just hanging out. 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 bodyfat – and 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%!
The benefits of heavy training are legion—so if you really want to build an attractive physique that hits all the proportions of an ideal male body, you need to be lifting near-maximal loads at least once per week.
Take home: lift heavy, get hard. Wait, what?
In order to create a body suited for a variety of physical…er, tasks, (yup, that was a sexual innuendo) you need to change up your workout from time to time.
Firstly, training variety keeps you motivated and leads to better results. How often you need to change things up is absed on your goal.
If you’re currently training to build muscle, you should make some adjustments to your program every 8-16 weeks.
For fat loss, you need to change things more frequently–roughly every 4-8 weeks.
In either case, the changes help you stay ahead of the body’s adaptation curve, which prevents stagnation and helps you avoid a plateau.
All of that said, it’s important to realize that there’s a fine line between changing it up to stay ahead of the curve, and blatant inconsistency–which is just as bad.
To avoid that, make sure of the following:
Again, adding in variety is important, but not the expense of results. Building the ideal male body comes down to knowin how to effectively gain muscle or lose fat, so you’ll be changing things up based on the goal.F
For the purposes of getting lean, you need to change more often. In fact, exposing yourself to consistently changing stimulus is an excellent way to ramp up metabolism and consistently increases the processes by which fat loss is made possible. This is why my bestselling fat loss program, the Omega Body Blueprint, rotates different training styles over a given week.
But, it doesn’t need to be that specific; easy way to work variety into training for the ideal male body is to change exercises for the same movement. Switching form bench presses to push-ups, counterintuitive though it might seem, can actually help you increase muscle mass, as well as lose fat.
Even a switch as simple as trading in barbells for dumbbells for a single workout can make significant changes, and keep you lean year round, aiding your quest for a sexy body.
For a 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, of course, is to get as many reps in that time period as possible.
Not only will increasing training variety speed up your quest to build the perfect male body, but it also keeps training fresh and fun.
I covered this in a full article on hormonal optimization to lose stubborn fat, but let’s address it briefly here. In general, men tend to store fat around the abdominal and love handle areas. Once again, we have our ancestors to thank/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 dinosaurs, wildebeests, umber hulks, and squirrels.
Women, on the other hand, store fat in the hip and thigh area. (As an aside, women need to follow a completely different set of steps for the perfect body.)
Evolutionary favoritism 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 dude 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, and meet women. Therefore, high levels of test are good. Low testosterone levels, on the other hand, are awful–and can affect everything from sleep to sex drive–and will radically slow things down in terms of physique progress.
Unfortunately, when you’re on a fat loss program, whether you’re dieting down for beach season or preparing for a photoshoot, the way testosterone effects insulin management gets a little screwy. And insulin (or rather insulin resistance) is a tremendous problem for most guys trying to lose fat.
In fact, with most of the male clients I’ve had, as they get closer to their goal body fat level, it gets much harder to lose fat in those more “masculine” areas such as abs, obliques, and lower back.
Therefore, as you continue to lean out towards your ideal sexy body, you will probably notice that you are suffering from Chronic Love Handular Fatittude—never fear, Roman to the rescue.
Of course, the training protocols to address both of these are heavily detailed in Omega Body Blueprint, and are both so comprehensive that they are rendered a bit beyond the scope of what I can cover in this post.
However, to aid in shedding the love handles and creating a body worth seeing naked, 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.
If you’re looking for a more advanced (and more effective) approach, you can supplement with something like BioTRUST’s IC-5, which is specifically designed to improve insulin sensitivity.
You can also make some additions to diet: cinnamon, when added to meals containing carbohydrates, 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.
In combination with an intelligent diet and training program, the supplement recommendations above can have a profoundly beneficial effect on your endocrine system, allowing it to work with you to create a sexy body, instead of against you.
You now have 5 simple strategies to help you lose fat, put muscle on the right places, and build a body women are evolutionarily programmed to want to see naked. (You’re welcome.)
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Because they’re intended to help you look awesome, I have cleverly titled them How to Look Fucking Awesome and 30 Days to Awesome, respectively. And they are going to show you EXACTLY what to do to build the ideal male body.
These guides cover everything you need to know about finding the right training methods to maximize your potential, PLUS you get a complete 30-Day program that uses all 5 principles outlined above to help you pack on serious muscle while incinerating fat–giving you a massive head start on your road to a truly epic body.
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