The Bigger Picture
In This article I want to address what I believe to be the Top 8 Muscle- Building Exercises.
The ancient Greek God know as Zeus summoned the Great Prometheus.
Prometheus was a Titan known for his fore-thinking mind.
Zeus gave Prometheus the duty of molding man from clay.
As any artist could tell you, seeing the “bigger picture” from the start is an important part of creating.
You take a ball of clay in your hands and you start to shape it slowly.
Every pinch and fold Is equally as important as the next.
But none of it matters unless a desired end is made.
It’s all about the finished look and the planning that goes into it.
Molding The Clay
In a way each one of us are like a ball of clay, figuratively speaking.
We’re pliable living creatures that can be molded.
Our Starting mold depends greatly on our environment and genes.
Good genetics are like soft clay: easier to mend and move.
Bad genetics are like hard clay: you can get there, it just takes more effort.
Those with great genetics will be able to mold themselves easier.
Those on the lesser end have to work a bit harder. Regardless, the end—wherever that may be—is possible.
Have An End Game
You need to have and end goal in mind for your physique.
Start by being the fore-thinker and not the after-thinker.
Have a strong decision on what you want your ball of clay to look like.
You need to ask yourself these questions:
- What you want to look like?
- The type of person you want to be?
- What abilities you want to have?
- What you want it all to mean?
- The point of your program you’re currently on?
- Where is it going to take you and how long is it going to take?
Many people jump into the fitness would like this:
They pick a style first- power lifting, cardio, crossfit , bodybuilding , yoga , or calisthenics to name a few.
This is usually decided on a friends advice or walking into a gym and talking with a trainer.
Fat loss is typically the driving force here for most people to take that first step.
All of these different categories of fitness are great and each server there on purpose.
For example you might have the friend that is really into cardio and runs every day or on the weekends.
If your goal is to mold you physique cardio alone is not going to do this.
Fat loss is great we should all be striving to lose more fat if needed but there is more to the end result than just losing the fat.
If you want to reshape your clay, you can’t always doing something just because it is familiar .
You have to bend these two elements of creating your physique to fit your desires.
Not anyone else’s.
You have to be able to say, “I respect what her or she does, but that’s not in line with my goals.
The Popular Vs Maximizing
Exercises are popular because they are judged in a sport, not because they are effective for a certain goal.
Most people will say the bench press is the “best” pressing exercise. But that’s really only because of its powerlifting popularity.
Back when the overhead press was judged in Olympic weightlifting, it was a much more popular exercise.
Outside of some underground circles, the overhead press is all but lost. Why?
The exercise didn’t magically lose effectiveness. It lost popularity because it’s no longer Judged.
The body responds to stress somewhat specifically (think of adding clay in key areas).
You need to pick lifts that are going to mold the clay over time.
You shouldn’t do an exercise because it’s popular or because it’s done in a sport.
Those athletes share different values and goals.
Do exercises because it gets you closer to where you want to be, not because it’s popular.
A minimalist approach
Sculptures start as one giant mass of clay.
The immediate goal is to whittle a decent overall shape.
Too much detail too soon is a mistake. And that goes for both of these elements that create an Ideal Physique.
Even though you’re building a base, you’re still working towards the final shape.
You need to pick the best “shaping” lifts that set the best foundation for future molding.
It’s More that just Overall Mass
Growing up, I suffered from skinny-fat syndrome.
Combining love handles, string bean biceps, and narrow shoulders makes for miserable body image issues as a kid.
It destroyed my confidence.
When I got into training, I had a vision!
I wanted to grow and finally have body proportions I was proud of.
To me, this was centered around The Alpha “x physique.”
The most universally recognized and sought after physique is known as the “x” physique: thick upper back, broad shoulders, thin waist and angile powerful legs suited for overcoming great resistance, yet also moving at high speeds, and calves that give the legs a finishing pop.
For a long time—and for whatever reason—I associated this X Physique with athleticism and virility.
I’m no oracle, but I was onto something.
- Women value physical characteristics in men such as
height, muscularity, and broad shoulders.
- Using facial photos of male college students that were
cropped at the neck, those with faces that women rated as
attractive had more pronounced wedge shaped torsos
(broad shoulders and narrow hips), a masculine feature
many women prefer.
- Narrow hips are an advantage in fast running.
- Proportions alone are associated with
physical attractiveness. In the crudest sense, the more you
appear like a certain sex, the more attractive you will be.
We don’t like ambiguity.
My Genetics are anything but ideal , coming from a former skinny fat physique.
I was never meant to walk around with a six pack or well proportioned muscles.
Fat loss was a struggle for me, along with building a solid foundation of muscle.
What I’m trying to tell you is you’re reading the troubles of someone with dry clay.
Maybe you suffer from dry clay as well.
I’m here to tell you that you can fight through it and build a body your admire.
I will be the first to admit that I’m not the strongest or the biggest.
What matters is I have been able to mold myself into something I am proud of and you can too!
The Two Components
Its Takes two important key components to build the and ideal X physique.
The first one is your core training.
You cannot build the ideal X physique if you’re not training with the right lifts.
The Second is probably the most important but we can discuss this further down.
Picking the Right Lifts
These 8 exercises are going to shape 80-85% of your clay.
These are going to set a powerful foundation as well, a body built for performance.
The 8 Lifts to the Ideal X physique
- The Front Squat– This variation of the squat is a power house lift. Not only are the glutes, quads and hamstrings worked , the upper back has to stabilize the load. This builds the upper back at the same time.
- Conventional Deadlift– When it comes to a full body exercise, nothing shines brighter than the Conventional Deadlift. This lift alone will be shaping 90% of your back side.
- Weighted Chin Up– This variation of the pull up is going to make the lats pop, shaping that Ideal X Physique all the way to your waist line.
- Weighted Dips– This is a great exercise for hitting the triceps , shoulders and chest as well.
- Incline Bench Press– You might be wondering why the flat bench in not is the list? well that is because most people’s upper chest is lagging in size and strength. On a typical chest day you will see most guys hit the flat bench harder before hitting the Incline. When in reality is should be the exact opposite.
- Barbell Row– This variation of the row when combined with the deadlift and chin ups will have your back growing like nothing else.
- Standing Overhead Press– This is one of the hardest lifts out there to advance on but will build the meat on the shoulders if your can master the strength.
- Barbell Curl- Curls jack the heart rate up and are a nice arm builder and strengthening for other exercises down the road. If you can find a wider variation of the bar use it.
As you can see I have made some significant progress, making these key lifts the foundation of my workouts.
IS THAT ALL?
People often want to know if that’s “all” of the exercises that are good for the x physique. The answer is absolutely no. But the other exercises are better served after these eight exercises are mastered.
So master them first. Then worry about everything else
THE SECOND COMPONENT
The second secret to the x physique is…
…can you guess…?
There are bigger implications here.
Most people kill themselves because they don’t know how to train and balance fat loss and muscle gain.
The Rigid Core
I break the nutrition quest into two distinct pieces:
First, is the quest to the Rigid Core. This means you do everything in your power to get down to about 10% body fat. Be sure to strength train during this time.
Second, is the quest for muscle without gaining fat. This is commonly known as a “lean bulk.”
Don’t underestimate nutrition. If you spend hours in the gym, why waste muscle building potential with a shitty nutrition foundation?
Ultimately, the “best” way to tackle the x physique is with these lifts and a solid progressive overload over time.
Front squatting 1 x BW
Deadlifting 1.5 x BW
Incline pressing 0.75 x BW
Barbell rowing 0.75 x BW
Chinning for 10 reps
Dipping for 15 reps
Overhead pressing 0.5 x BW
Front squatting 1.5 x BW
Deadlifting 2 x BW
Incline pressing 1.25 x BW
Barbell rowing 1.25 x BW
Chinning with resistance
Dipping with resistance
Overhead pressing 0.75 x BW
Once you pass the beginner level, more advanced exercises can be introduced to further work on the x physique while also giving the body some built in recovery and differing stimuli.
The only way to get further ahead of the game is to go out and attack these eight so you’re more prepared for what’s to come down the road.
If you’re want a program that infuses all 8 of theses lifts , engaged with targeted volume training on key areas of the body for the extra muscle growth check out my program: Alpha Gains
Alpha Gains is going to push your limits , give you new goals to nail each week and boost your natural testosterone. This workout is going to make you feel like a man while generating new goals from week to week and maximizing muscle growth. This is going to keep motivation high and your momentum going while on this program.