I must confess, I was one of those guys who believed that all I needed to do to build an attractive body was to either be as lean as possible or pack on muscle like crazy.
All through high school and college I worked like crazy to bring my body fat levels into almost impossibly low levels. Then after I graduated I just wanted nothing but slabs of muscle on my relatively small frame.
Now that I’m a body weight enthusiast I’ve noticed my physique looks at it’s best but it’s not because I’m just leaner or bigger.It’s more because I have proportion and curves in all of the right places.
I have nothing against cardio or heavy weight lifting. They both can both work well in the name of building a sexy body.
With that said, I noticed that my time worshiping the elliptical and the heavy iron didn’t produce the body I was after for the following reasons.
#1- When I did lots of cardio I did little to no strength training. This meant my legs stayed strong and muscular but my upper body was much more skinny.
In addition all of those hours sitting hunched over on an exercise bike made my posture and posterior chain suffer. This resulted in a less than attractive posture with rounded shoulders and a forward jutting jaw line.
#2- When I started lifting I filled most of my workouts with a lot of barbell work that I thought was the best to just pack on muscle….which I did. The problem was I packed it all around my thighs, hips, core and chest. This gave me a torso that looked blocky with flat shoulders. I was stronger, and I had more muscle, but it was not in proportion to the rest of my body.
The magic of body weight training sculpted my body while keeping it lean as well as strong. In fact, I developed strength I never had over the years of lifting heavy weights.
Hand stand push ups made my shoulders pop into shape and took attention away from my barrel shaped torso. My biceps and triceps grew to compliment my shoulders and even my forearms become more toned to add a subtle yet impressive visual appeal.
Hanging leg raises made my abs take shape without adding width to my 32 inch waist. Single leg squats and lunges also gave me muscle tone in my quads which I always figured I didn’t have the genetics for. My legs were never skinny but they never had any tone.
Lastly, but most importantly, pull ups and bridges fixed my posture issues. This helped me stand taller so I looked stronger and more confident. After all, even the most attractive physiques look frumpy with a poor posture.
There are a number of other reasons why body weight exercise finally brought my body into visual balance. For now though I have to credit the ability of calisthenics and suspension training to put muscle in all of the right places to give me more proportion and symmetry. If an area of my body was small and weak, body weight exercise showed that area no mercy and forced it to grow. This was especially the case with my shoulders.
In the next post I’ll explore how the element of technical progression helped me sculpt my body.