Building The Perfect Body
Demystifying the key elements of bodybuilding…
proportion and symmetry.
The “total package” everyone wants it, all admire it however many have no idea what it actually entails or how to achieve it.
The total package combines many elements but as it pertains to bodybuilding it can be narrowed down to proportion and symmetry. If you have proportion and symmetry than you have managed to achieve a basic work of art much like that of a chiseled Greek sculpture.
Perfectly Proportioned and Simply Symmetrical
What does it mean?…
Let me begin by saying that a perfectly proportioned and perfectly symmetrical physique is nearly impossible to achieve. Even the likes of Frank Zane, Steve Reeves, Bob Paris and Lee Labrada each legends know for their proportion and symmetry were not perfect. If they are not perfect than where does that leave you? Well, first of all as with so many other things your genetics will have a lot to do with how proportioned and symmetrical you can become. It is the ultimate predictor of how gifted you will be in these area and what many of the gifted have in common is good bone structure. If you have it than your golden or at the very least off to a good start. Now to break it down…
When we talk about proportion we are looking at the body as a whole, it is the comparison of all body parts. A well proportioned body is esthetically pleasing to the eye…a pleasure to look at and certainly something to be proud of, for those who are fortunate enough to attain it.
To achieve proportion outside of genetics is a creative process. It is far more difficult than simply building muscle mass and requires an eye for muscular balance, extreme focus and smart, precise training techniques. A pitfall that many young bodybuilders fall victim to and one that is hard to rectify is the “beach body.” The beach body results from putting too much focus on the chest and arms, the parts primarily visible when at the beach. This is commonly accompanied by the question “how much can you bench?” Sound familiar? It is also the result of “chicken legs.” Legs that are underdeveloped in comparison to the upper body, definitely something you don’t want! Each muscle group must be worked equally to maintain the best possible proportion. Failure to do so results in a case of catch up which can be very frustrating and difficult to do. As for symmetry…
Symmetry and proportion work hand in hand and are very similar with symmetry being more precise. Symmetry is the comparison of muscle groups in size and shape on both the right and left sides of the body. Here you want to see that a specific muscle is equal on both sides as in the case of the right and left biceps. Is there a symmetry pitfall? Of course there is! An important aspect of keeping your muscles symmetrical is ensuring proper form when training. If your posture is off it will negatively affect how your muscle is worked, ultimately affecting your symmetry. Another thing to watch for is allowing a strong muscle to compensate for a weak one. When training it’s important to use the same weight for both sides of the body (for example the left arm and right arm) and to primarily use free weights and cables. The use of barbells and some machines can actually work against symmetry as often the body will naturally compensate the strong side for the weak. What is the ultimate goal?…
A physique that flows
Ultimately, your goal should be from the onset of training to develop a physique that flows. You want to create an illusion with muscles that are defined, have depth, fullness and shape. Perfect proportion and symmetry has been described as the body being in the form of an “X.” The top of the -X- representing wide shoulders, the upper center of the -X- being a wide back (lats,) the center of the -X- a small waist, the bottom of the -X- representing long legs with a wide quad sweep and the lower part of the -X- full, diamond shaped calves.
To sum it all up, mass, proportion and symmetry are an extremely difficult combination to achieve which is why so very few ever make it to the IFBB Pro ranks. That being said you can be your very best by constantly monitoring your physique, controlling your growth and development (thick, blocky over-developed muscles destroy shape) and by training wisely, with the choice of exercises you do (certain exercises develop different areas of the same muscle) you will be well on your way to building the perfect (or nearly perfect) body!
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