3 Crucial Skills for Men’s Physique Training
Is your goal to look good? Feel confident walking shirtless on a beach? Or just be happy when you look at yourself in a mirror?
Great! Let’s talk about physique training then.
Guest author Vaclav Gregor’s Inspiring Transformation
The truth is that in order to change the way you look, you have only two options:
a) Lose or gain muscle
b) Lose or gain fat
That’s it, there’s no other option.
Fat loss is hard, but if you are dedicated it can happen very quickly. However, once you lose fat and get really lean, it takes time and hard work to build muscle. It’s just a painfully slow process and almost impossible to measure on a weekly basis compared to fat loss.
Let’s talk about the skills you need to have to ensure you build more muscle and shape your physique in the way you desire.
If you aren’t an athlete and you are not interested in performance, what you are basically doing is training for a good looking physique – physique training.
There are three absolutely crucial skills you need to learn in order to succeed in physique training.
Physique Training Skill No.1 – Well-Structured Workout Program
This is your number one tool if you want to build muscle and change the shape of your physique. There is no magic bullet or perfect supplement or anabolic food you can take to build muscle overnight.
Quite frankly there are only three options to build muscle:
b) Juvenile muscle growth
c) Consistent training
And if you don’t want to take some kind of pharmaceuticals like the professional bodybuilders do and aren’t in your teens anymore, you are left with only one option – train your ass off in the gym (…um, that’s a metaphor, folks).
This is why it makes sense to put most of your budget into this area of your fitness, not some crazy supplements.
Let’s face it, supplement companies have really mastered the art of marketing, I mean it’s almost impossible to walk past the supplements in a gym and not end up drinking some shake.
So, it doesn’t come as such a surprise that people invest most of their budget in supplements, but when you ask them how much they have invested into workout routines and different programs, they say “well, nothing, I make my own programs, because I read fitness magazines”.
Well, if you are still asking yourself why you are not getting any results, there is your answer.
I believe that learning how to design a workout is a skill that anyone can learn, but it requires lots of experience.
And if you are not satisfied with the way you look, you don’t have enough experience and knowledge to design a good program.
You need to seek out some expert and have him design the workout for you. Or if you can’t afford a customized plan, there are all sorts of physique oriented workout programs and routines you can get online nowadays that are very good for just a few bucks, and they usually come with some sort of money back guarantee. You just have to know where to look for them and know who to trust.
Here are a couple of guidelines to help you out pick a solid physique training workout:
1. You need to know whether you are interested in physique training or performance training and if your goal is looking good, you need a workout that is focused on this goal.
2. In your workouts you have to focus on building your V-taper. Here is how: dedicate the first part of each workout to training your shoulders, the second part to back or chest and then follow by training your arms or legs and abs. Arms and legs do not need as much attention as the muscles that make up for the dominant V-taper. You need to build a solid frame first, then you can focus on your biceps or calves if they are you lagging parts.
3. Training twice a week is not enough. 3 times a week is bare minimum, but preferable you should train 4-6 times a week, depending on your conditioning. And don’t worry about over-training; it’s really just about conditioning yourself to handle more intensity and frequency (this is what The Vital Breath Performance System was designed to do). The only people that truly know what overtraining is are professional athletes who train 2-3 times a day, every day of the week, month after month.
4. The workout program should be made around YOUR lifestyle. Which means having no set times for the workouts or meals. You should be able to go to the gym after your work or before, whatever suits you the most. People go way too strict and then fail, because they don’t realize they have a life that will get in the way.
5. It should have variety of exercises and set/rep/rest patterns, and preferable change on regular basis and introduce new patterns every month
6. The rest period should be included and be very specific (ex.:90 seconds of rest in between sets)
7. It should state whether it’s designed for beginners, advanced, or very experienced trainees
8. It shouldn’t have muscle building diet plans or list of supplements you have to buy to get results from the workout or at least not stress it too much (if it’s just a list of recommended or optional stuff it can still be a good workout program)
These are a couple basic guidelines to have when choosing a workout program. I think that if you can find a workout program that meets 85-95% of those guidelines, you know you have found a really solid program.
The Results of a Solid Program
Once you have a good program it comes down to what you are going to do with it. Which brings us to skill number 2.
Physique Training Skill No.2 – Perfect Form
Having a good program is one thing, but knowing how to use it is something completely different.
You absolutely have to learn the proper technique of each exercise.
Your training style will determine how good results will you get form the workout.
You can buy the best workout program in the world that has helped thousands before you, but if you are just hanging out in the gym, sort of lifting some weights then you can’t really expect any results.
Some exercises are more difficult and you will probably find squats or deadlifts more tricky than bicep curls. However, it’s worth learning all of those. Go and watch some YouTube instructional videos (link to Vaclav’s videos) – you can start here and then copy those lifts in the gym.
Ask experienced guys in the gym about your form, and I would suggest paying some good trainer to help you learn a good technique and review your form with him once a month. Just tell him that you have your workout and you are only looking for improving your technique nothing else.
Women don’t usually have issues with this part, but for guys it’s like the phase “perfect form” doesn’t even exist. We are all about lifting heavy, right?
Well, you have to lift heavy or in other words create a great resistance, however if you don’t learn how to work that specific muscle properly it doesn’t really matter what amount of weight you lift.
If your form sucks, your results will suck too.
This brings us to the third skill you need to learn to master physique training.
Physique training skill No.3 -Muscle Tension and Muscle Contraction
One of the most common questions people (especially guys) ask is “How much should I lift?”.
Well, the answer is lift as heavy as possible; however there is a catch that most people don’t know about.
It’s not just as heavy as possible, but as heavy as possible with perfect form AND while still feeling the muscle working.
The last part is very important.
Here is the thing, it’s really important to lift heavy and challenge your muscles, you can’t lift pencils and expect your biceps to double in size over the next month. Ain’t gonna happen. However, there is a clear difference in lifting and training.
Most people go to the gym to lift. Well, if you focus on just getting the weights up and down you are missing a major bodybuilding secret. In order to get your muscles to grow, you need to really feel the movements. Or in other words think from the muscle, not from the weight.
Let’s see, most people care about how much they lift, you hear it all the time: “Hey man how much can you bench”.
Well, there will always be someone, who can lift more than you.
If your goal is to look good, then stop caring about the weight and how much you lift and start focusing on training your muscle.
Think from the muscle. Can you feel it working? Feel it stretching and contracting while lifting the weight?
Can you assemble the specific muscle units to fully work the muscle?
That should be the goal!
Learn those three skills and you will master physique training in no time (well almost).
• Decide on whether you want to focus on performance or improving your physique, doing both performance training and physique training together is counter productive (ie. stupid).
• Get a good workout program that’s designed by a pro.
• Focus on building your V-taper, just as women have their naturally attractive look – hourglass, guys have too – V-tape.
• Learn the proper technique of all the exercises you have in your workout plan.
• If you are not interested in being a competitive powerlifter, then you shouldn’t think “from the weight”, but rather “from the muscle”.
• You need to make your muscles bigger, you shouldn’t focus on the weight. The number doesn’t say anything, but how you look does.
Vaclav Gregor is a former hard-gainer, fitness writer, online coach and founder of the Muscle Pyramid and member of Adonis Lifestyle team. His focus is on helping young, busy men achieve their physique goals and improve their social life.
He is a believer in doing things differently. Being connected to a few of the best scientists and “behind the scene guys” he knows the truth about bodybuilding, steroids and supplements.
To learn more about his approach and build a better body with professional workouts and diet made to fit around your life, click here: 2012 Fitness Photoshoot (Photos & Mind-blowing step-by-step techniques included)