If you want an aesthetic body, you’ll need an exercise routine that works your V taper. That means wide lats and wide shoulders. An aesthetic physique also features a narrow waist and quads with a good outer sweep.
An aesthetic bodybuilding physique will be well-conditioned and pleasing to the eye. So much so it can be compared to a work of art. This article will detail how to build an aesthetic body, including key points of bodybuilding aesthetics.
What Is An Aesthetic Body
An aesthetic body is a muscular physique featuring proportions that are symmetrical and balanced. The look should be almost artistic. It’s a little subjective, but common characteristics of bodybuilding aesthetics include:
- Wide Upper Back - Target The Lats
- Capped, Round, Wide Delts
- Balanced, Thick Biceps & Triceps
- Good Definition, Especially In The Abs
- A Small Waist - No Distended Guts Allowed!
- Moderately-Sized Quads & Calves In Proportion With The Upper Body
Developing an aesthetic physique like this takes targeted, balanced resistance training combined with a clean diet.
How Do You Get An Aesthetic Body
If you’re trying to develop an aesthetic body, a great first step is to get a visual image of how you want to look. A good idea is to find bodybuilders or athletes that are similar in height to you. They should have a physique like the one you want to develop. Do you want an aesthetic bodybuilding physique? You might want an aesthetic physique with a little less muscle.
Regardless, you will need to work on your proportions, symmetry, balance, and conditioning. This means a small waist, a good V-taper, and quads big enough to make the knees look small. Also, the quads should have a good outer sweep. And, don’t forget the calves!
For example, Samir Bannout was well-known for his aesthetics and proportions. Some may say Bannout has an artistic physique. He is 5’8” and competes around 198lbs. Looking at his physique, you may feel it has more flow and pleasing lines than, say, Frank Zane.
Finding examples of an aesthetic body that is inspiring to you is a powerful motivator to help you create your own aesthetic physique? Study the physique so you can create a clear mental image and train accordingly to bring to life what you see in your mind.
Visualize Your Aesthetic Physique
Now that you have a visual image of the physique you want to build, you can use visualization techniques to help you achieve it. Practice visualizing what you want your physique to look like. You can picture yourself posing in a mirror. You can imagine the physique you want to achieve as you’re posing.
Also, you can visualize your physique as you workout out. Arnold saw his biceps as huge mountains while he trained. You can see yourself developing a stunning aesthetic physique as you work out.
In our article Bodybuilding Visualization For Transforming Your Physique, we detail the best practices for using visualization.
Apply Mind Muscle Connection To Improve Your Aesthetics
An aesthetic physique demands a good V taper. Your V taper comes from lat width and wide side delts. An exercise like lat pulldowns is a great way to work on width. It’s also a problem exercise because many people tend to feel it in the biceps. To feel it in the lats, you have to mentally connect with the muscle.
First, make sure you understand the function of the lats. Here’s an exercise to help you connect mentally with your lats:
- Place Your Left Hand On Your Right Lat Muscle
- Hold Your Right Arm Straight Up With Palm Facing Forward
- Make A Fist & Pull Your Arm Down Slowly - You’re Imitating The Pull Down Movement
- You Should Feel Your Lat Contracting
Next, as you prepare to start the exercise, picture your arms as hooks. Think about the function of the lats. Begin the pull by flexing and pulling down with the lats. Do not pull with your arms. Let your arms follow your lats. Focus your mental concentration only on your lats. Hold and squeeze for a 2 count at the bottom and slowly let the bar go back up. Using your lats, fight the bar the entire way back up.
In our article How To Improve Mind Muscle Connection For Muscle Growth, we detail how to mentally connect with the weights. This helps you get much more out of your training.
How Long Does It Take To Get An Aesthetic Body
The amount of time it can take to build an aesthetic body depends on the kind of shape you’re in when you start. If you already have good muscle size but want to focus on aesthetics, it might take several months. If you’re just starting, it will take at least a year to build sufficient mass. As you build size, you can work on your aesthetics at the same time.
The most important thing is to plan accordingly so you can develop an aesthetic physique. We will review training guidelines soon, but you also have to eat clean. Aesthetic bodybuilding includes a clean, high protein diet. You should be eating minimal sugar and moderate total carbs. Also, eat a moderate amount of healthy fats.
You will also want to keep sodium low. Too much sodium will cause unwanted bloating, which will ruin your proportions. Avoid processed foods. You should be eating as clean as possible. If you need to build mass, think in terms of a lean bulk. Gain muscle slowly and limit fat gain as much as possible. If your abs smooth over, you’re gaining too fast. This might mean it will take longer to build an aesthetic body. However, you want to do it right.
A Workout To Build An Aesthetic Body
An aesthetic-based workout will enhance muscular symmetry. You will use varying rep ranges and exercises to stimulate muscle size. Bodybuilders training for better aesthetics will also focus on reducing body fat. The goal will be to achieve a balanced size with good conditioning. Your routine will feature targeted exercises to develop specific aspects of your physique. This is what bodybuilding aesthetics are all about.
Aesthetic workouts will feature the following:
- Use A Split Routine To Set Up Your Exercises And Workouts - This Allows More Total Work For Each Muscle Group
- You Should Use A 50/50 Ratio Of Compound And Isolation Lifts
- Your Routine Average 8-20 Reps Per Set
- You Should Average 3 Sets Per Exercise
- Use Exercises That Build A V-taper
It’s important to begin your workout with your heaviest exercises. These should be your compound exercises. No matter what type of bodybuilding physique you’re after, it’s always good to improve your strength. The key to an aesthetic body will be your focus on isolation exercises. Think side laterals for the delts, and quad exercises that work the outer sweep.
For example, your deltoid routine could look like this:
- Overhead Press - 3 sets x 8 reps with 75% 1RM - This is your mass builder
- Side Laterals - 3 sets x 8-12 reps - This works your V taper by working shoulder width
- Rear Laterals - 3 sets x 8-12 reps - This builds shoulder balance
Additional exercises such as squats and leg presses are also key for adding to your aesthetic physique. In this case, use a stance where your feet point inwards. In terms of aesthetic bodybuilding, this helps develop your outer thigh sweep. Combined with a tiny waist, wide lats, and delts, this creates the aesthetic body you’re dreaming about.
Also, think about using ab exercises that won’t add to midsection width. For example, avoid side bends with dumbbells. You aren’t trying to build thick ab muscles. Instead, for good bodybuilding aesthetics, work on your vacuum. This helps make your waist smaller. Also, crunches and the ab wheel are good choices.
The Best Aesthetic Body Examples
Examples of an aesthetic physique include middleweight fighters. These individuals have strong, visible abs, and good conditioning. However, they do not carry much mass. Another good example is the beach body physique. Think well-conditioned with reasonable muscle mass. A guy like YouTuber David Laid is a good example of this level of physique. A guy like this could be a natural-level bodybuilder.
There are several levels of an aesthetic physique. Different people visualize a different look when it comes to an aesthetic body. Still, any aesthetic physique should have the same fundamental characteristics. This means the V-taper, slim waist, round shoulders, and well-developed legs. It also means visible abs and good conditioning.
Finally, the most obvious example of this is the pro bodybuilders that train for aesthetics. We’ll look at the classic bodybuilding aesthetic physique next.
Bodybuilding vs Aesthetics
Technically, a bodybuilder is someone that’s concerned with building the most muscle size. If you train with weights, you can be called a bodybuilder. Usually, strength is secondary. A criticism of bodybuilding is that it’s all for show. Yet, a bodybuilder sees his physique as a work of art that’s still in progress.
Aesthetics is a form of bodybuilding that focuses on creating balanced, pleasing proportions. Look at some of the most famous aesthetic bodybuilders, like Frank Zane or Bob Paris. It can be said that they take the “bodybuilding as art” concept more seriously than the “mass monsters”. These are the guys that want to get as big as possible. To them, aesthetics matter less.
An aesthetic bodybuilder will limit size if they think too much will ruin their proportions. That type of thinking was common among the pros of the late ’70s and ’80s. Frank Zane was a good example. He stayed under 200lbs for his proportions and aesthetics. He felt if he went up over 200lbs, he’d begin to lose his classic look.
What are the most obvious examples of an aesthetic bodybuilder? Many would say Steve Reeves was the first to define this look. Guys like Frank Zane, Bob Paris, Flex Wheeler, Samir Bannout, Lee Labrada, and Shawn Ray are others. There are many more, but these bodybuilders are great examples.
The physique these bodybuilders present are in direct contrast to the blocky look of some bodybuilders. Bodybuilders that prioritize size first may not have good proportions. A great example of this is Mike Katz from the ’70s. Katz has a big chest, decent arms, and little else. Compare that to a Zane-type with a very aesthetic, well-proportioned physique. It should be noted that many people feel legends like Arnold or Sergio Oliva also have an aesthetic physique.
Others may feel these legends are less aesthetic and more mass-monsters. As far as modern-day bodybuilders, most pros do not have good aesthetics. This is because they have distended stomachs and train for pure size. Often it’s size without good proportions. The best example of a recent bodybuilder with good proportions would be Dexter Jackson. Other examples include many Fitness and Classic Physique Competitors.
Your Aesthetic Body
Building an aesthetic body takes effort, dedication, and vision. Once you’re aware of the aesthetic physique you want to build, commit yourself to your goal. Even if it’s not a bodybuilding physique, but a physique with a little less muscle. The choice of aesthetics and the physique level you want is up to you!
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