Bringing the complete package to the stage is more crucial now than ever before. With the Men’s Physique division introducing Classic Physique, this division is more popular than ever. With popularity comes intense competition. In this column, I will share with you a few tips that helped me improve lacking areas of my physique, so I could have a more complete package on stage.
First and foremost, you must make sure your diet contains the proper nutrition to help grow those “lacking” areas of your physique. Whether you are cutting or bulking, you will need to make sure you are feeding the body appropriately to reach the goal that you desire. If you need a little help with cutting, be sure to check out my feature entitled The Cut. And if you need help with bulking, be sure to review The Bulk.
I have been fortunate enough to work with some very good trainers. Each of them had the same insight when it comes to improving areas for stage competition. I have always had to work very hard on increasing the width of my back, the sharpness of my shoulders and of course, we would all like to have Arnold’s massive chest. Unfortunately, there is only one way to improve those areas of the body…
What does that hard work consist of? Reps, reps and more reps! Of course, we are going to be very strategic on which exercises we will choose to add those extra reps.
For instance, when I’m trying to improve my back/lats – I will start my workouts with wide-grip pull-ups. Wide grip pull-ups encourage growth in widening your lat spread. Also, pull-ups are a key movement that we learn as novice weight-lifters.
Even on days that I am not scheduled to train back – I will still start my training session with wide grip pull-ups. I would insert these extra reps into my training sessions every other day.
Then on back day, I make sure to do at least 4 sets of each exercise, consisting of 15, 12, 10 & 8 reps. Once you complete your entire workout, you should be absolutely spent!
On chest day, I like to incorporate a lot of push-ups into my routine. Why push-ups? Again – push-ups are a key exercise that we learn early on in our fitness journey. Along with being a key movement for pectoral development, this exercise is safe to burnout without much risk of injury.
I’ll start with 4 sets of push-ups that look like this:
20 push-ups followed by 45 seconds of rest, 30 push-ups followed by 45 seconds of rest, 40 push-ups followed by 45 seconds of rest and finally 50 push-ups to finish. You may need a little help completing all of these reps, especially starting out. If so, use your knees as a spot to help grind them out. Once you are done – you are ready to begin your chest workout. Talk about a PUMP!
I do not stop there – I also super-set push-ups into each exercise for the remainder of the training session. After each set, drop down and give me 10-15 more push-ups!
I have had to work extremely hard to improve my deltoids. My trainers and I focused a lot of attention on increasing reps on side lateral raises. Side lateral raises develop the outside head of the delt, thus giving you what we at Team USPlabs call tank top shoulders!
I typically finish up a shoulder session with side lateral raises that consist of 8 sets with 15, 15, 12, 12, 10, 10, 8, 8 reps. I only rest for 45 seconds in between sets. Despite what you think – you are not Superman. You will have to adjust the weight accordingly, so you can make every rep count.
As for super-setting shoulders, I love to use the resistance bands after the initial exercise. This is another safe way to increase reps without the extra stress of free-weights. I’ll incorporate side lateral raises in between shoulder sets in order to get the extra work on my delts.
Again, do not be afraid to add extra sets throughout the week – not just on shoulder day.
With the Men’s Physique and Classic Physique divisions booming, athletes are in better shape than ever. Use these tips during your next contest prep to bring your absolute best physique to the grand stage.
Do not let a “lacking” areas stop you from taking home the gold!
Written by Dustin Starr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of USPlabs or any employee thereof. Examples used within this article are only examples. USPlabs is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the authors of this article. Content contributors are not employees of USPlabs. Authors may have been remunerated by USPlabs.
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