Not everybody who starts working out wants a huge, bulked-up frame and enormous, bulging muscles. Rather, the most commonly desired male body usually involves a strong, lean structure, ripped or shredded abs, and proportional, powerful muscles. Proportion, symmetry, shape, and balance form the basis of aesthetic bodybuilding. Aesthetic bodybuilders also model for endorsements and compete in professional bodybuilding events, but in different categories depending on height, body weight, etc. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, Sergio Oliva, and Serge Nubret are some of the most renowned aesthetic bodybuilders.
The term aesthetic bodybuilding was coined by combining the words ‘aesthetic’ (beautiful) and ‘bodybuilding’ (muscle building exercise). It can help you achieve a defined and symmetrical physique with round muscular shoulders, six-pack ripped abs, and largely developed glutes and quads. While training nowadays concentrates mostly on individual factors like muscle size, strength, and power, an aesthetically perfect physique can be as satisfying as strong performance. But building a proportional, symmetrical body is not easier than any other kind of bodybuilding. Pulling heavy deadlifts is not the only exercise involved in its training. It also needs a special kind of workout regimen as well as diet. Aesthetic bodybuilders have an amazing V-taper, a small waist, and incredible, large quads that make their knees look small. Like other kinds of bodybuilding, you need to focus on maximizing muscle mass and minimizing fat for an aesthetic body.
The basics of aesthetic bodybuilding
If you crave for a carved, Greek god-like figure, there’s no need for despair. The basics of aesthetics are the same as those for any other kind of diet or body transformation. There are a number of ways to train for an aesthetic body just as there are a number of diets that you can choose from. However, an aesthetic workout programme is based on the philosophy of maximum muscle gain as well as maximum fat loss or minimal fat gain. You can decide which exercises or workout plan work best for you depending on whether you enjoy the training and it yields the results you are looking for, as long as you stick to the basic principles. The four most important factors that you need to keep in mind while following an aesthetic bodybuilding routine are diet, training, recovery and rest, and finally, periodization.
Key points for achieving a proportional aesthetic body
1. Set concrete immediate goals which are achievable. These will not only help you map your progress but also keep you focused on your training. You have to honestly assess your body and abilities and set expectations accordingly.
2. Aesthetic bodybuilding requires the same amount of commitment and hard work as other forms of bodybuilding. You have to maintain a clear sense of purpose to successfully complete high-intensity workouts and simultaneously maintain a proper diet plan. Often beginners focus more on the training and underestimate the role of diet in aesthetics but those who have some weightlifting experience would probably agree that the challenging part of aesthetic bodybuilding is not the training.
3. Reps are almost as important in aesthetic bodybuilding as the exercises themselves. You can upgrade and customize your workout plan just by decreasing the weight and increasing the reps while progressing through a lifting set. The best utilization of reps can cause a big difference in your physique.
4. Since aesthetics involves proportion and symmetry, you need to build a balanced physique and develop each muscle group proportionately. Unilateral training can help you get your body into maximum aesthetic shape by developing each muscle group evenly. Make sure not to overtrain one part of your body and neglect the rest.
5. Another important aspect to focus on is intensifying your V taper cut. Of course, skinny legs aren’t desirable, but in an ideal aesthetic body, the torso narrows or tapers towards the bottom. Achieving an amazing V taper can win half the battle. You need to develop wide shoulders and focus on a small waist for the perfect bodybuilder aesthetics.
6. Don’t forget to condition your body. Conditioning can help you achieve your aesthetic physique by accentuating your development and making your routine much more effective. You need to keep your rest intervals short-rest your large muscle groups for under 50 seconds and you’re your smaller muscles for 30 to 40 seconds.
7. Don’t skip the cardio exercises if you want an aesthetic body. You should complete around four twenty to forty minutes-long cardio sessions every week. An increase in heartbeat and metabolism burns fat.
8. While you can’t completely control symmetry and proportions, you can change muscle mass and body fat percentage to get to your desired physique. By maximizing full body hypertrophy with the help of a balanced regimen, you can also make sure that your body goes into a proportional development.
Aesthetic Workout Routine
If you are a complete beginner, you need to first start with basic strength training for the first six months since aesthetics requires some basic strength and muscle build up, to begin with. So in this case, full-body training with the help of large, multi-joint compound exercises and movements is the best way to go as it will ensure overall muscle development. You should include squats every day, alternating bench press and overhead press each workout, and alternating deadlifts and power clean. You can train for three days per week following this plan and move to more intensive bodybuilding routines after you’ve made progress for at least six months. You will also have to follow corresponding dietary instructions for a successful programme.
Once you have made significant progress, you can proceed to lift 5 days every week and include vertical pull, vertical push, followed by horizontal pull, horizontal push, and legs in your routine. There are a number of variations you can try but stick with a specific exercise for at least three to four weeks before switching to something else. There are different combinations to work out for aesthetics. These include:
1. Multiple muscle groups per day workouts
For example: Back and Shoulders Day / Leg Day / Chest and Arms Day
2. Single muscle group per day workouts
For example: Mon-chest, Tues-back, Wed-shoulders, Thurs-legs, Fri-abs
3. Upper and Lower body workouts
For example: Upper Body Day/ Lower Body Day / Repeat
4. Push, Pull, Legs workout
For example: Push Day / Pull Day / Leg Day / Rest / Repeat
Sample Workout Structure:
Start your workout with 2 warm-up sets to prevent injury and get your blood flowing.
Your first set should have about 6-8 reps with around 70-80% of your maximum effort. As you move through the sets of each exercise, you need to reduce the weight and simultaneously increase your repetitions. The first intense heavy sets are meant to shock your muscles and develop your strength.
8 – 10 reps of decreased weight. If you always stick to the same weight and reps combination all throughout your workouts, your body will get accustomed to it and find no reason to change. So decreasing the weight and increasing the reps is an effective technique.
8 – 10 more reps of decreased weight. The lighter sets with lower weight and higher reps will help you build bigger muscles. It is, therefore, the ideal combination.
10 – 12 reps at the lightest weight you are using. Though the weight keeps getting lighter, the workout is not meant to get progressively easier. The last of series of reps in the final set should be really difficult to perform.
Best body sculpting and fat burning exercises for aesthetic workouts
Symmetrical Arms and Shoulders
- Underhand Grip Pull-Ups
This variation really targets the biceps and works the lats at the same time. It will develop lagging bicep muscles effectively and can yield better results than most other bicep shaper exercises.
- Overhead Pressing
The deltoids form an integral part of sculpting the ideal aesthetic body. Two of the best ways to include overhead pressing in your regular workouts are with the seated dumbbell shoulder press movement or the standing straight bar military press movement. Overhead pressing can greatly improve your deltoids and get you that perfect shape.
- Spider Curl
- Standing Low Pulley One-Arm Triceps Extension
- Alternate Hammer Curl
- Alternate Incline Dumbbell Curl
- Tricep Dumbbell Kickback
- EZ-Bar Curl
Chest and Ripped Abs:
- Barbell Incline Bench Press
Since aesthetic bodybuilding is about symmetry and proportion, you need to develop a powerful, muscled chest along with six-pack abs. The barbell incline bench press can give you an amazing upper chest that fully complements your aesthetic body.
- Wide Grip Pull-Ups
This multifunctional exercise also works the upper lats and leads to the ultimate action figure-like body. That is why weighted pull-ups are a very important component of your aesthetic workout routine.
- Bicycle Crunches
While most of the typical floor training exercises are not very effective in achieving the perfect abs, they also run the risk of hurting your lower back or only engage the hip flexors.
If performed correctly, the bicycle crunch exercise instead hits almost every muscle in the abdominals including your obliques. You must make sure to perform the exercise in a slow and controlled way and keep your feet raised by about 6 inches from the ground. Touch your elbows to your knees and concentrate on a mind-muscle link with your abs throughout the exercise.
- Knee/Hip Raise on Parallel Bars
- Standing Cable Wood Chop
- Cable Crunch
- 45 Degree Weighted Oblique Extension
- Russian Twist W/ Medicine Ball
- Leg Raise + Crunch W/ Medicine Ball
Chin ups are great back building exercises that can help you develop ultra-wide lats. They are especially useful for beginners since they need the assistance of both your biceps and forearms to pull the body to the bar. Many experts even think that chin-ups can cause greater lat contraction as compared to other exercises like pull-ups because it also engages the biceps and forearms. This movement also puts a lesser strain on the shoulders.
Close grip pulldowns
Not only do close-grip pulldowns greatly improve lat width but they also develop the lower lat thickness which is difficult to target otherwise. The close grip pulldown is an amazing movement for getting a great V taper, especially since it also boosts growth in the mid traps, rhomboids, and serratus. These are some of the key muscles that improve overall aesthetics of the body. The neutral grip leads to lesser tension or strain on the shoulders and biceps or forearms, therefore enabling full emphasis on your lats from top to bottom.
Swiss Ball crunches
This exercise is great for targeting both the rectus abdominis and transverse abdominis. Its USP, however, is the fact that it also engages the smaller muscles that stabilize your hips and lower back. Therefore, it results in significant core strength along with a strong set of abdominal muscles. Since greater core strength leads to a better execution of the key V Taper movements such as the chin ups, pull ups and all pressing exercises, this is actually a very important exercise to include in your workout.
- Front Plate Raise
- Standing Military Press
- Seated Cable Rows
- Side Lateral Raise
- Bent Over Barbell Row
- Dumbbell Shrug
Sprints are one of the best kinds of cardio exercises for burning belly fat and boosting muscle building. It boasts some of the body’s most important fat loss and aesthetic hormones. You need to complete 6-10 sprints 2-3 times per week. The sprint durations should be around 10-15 seconds and you can rest for 30-45 seconds between the sets.
Aesthetic diet plan
Contrary to belief, aesthetic bodybuilding is as much about health and strength as it is about appearance. In order to increase muscle mass, you need to have a diet plan that contains lots of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, but in a balanced way, which can enable the body to manage and complete the intensive training. It is also necessary to have small meals multiple times throughout the day, to acquire all the nutrition that is needful for bodybuilding and prevent any decline in nutrients. Most bodybuilders take their meals every 2 hours to maintain the desired level of insulin and basal metabolic rate. The amount of food you eat should be flexible and you should adjust it according to your body’s needs and the intensity of your workouts. Preparing your own meals will help you get more specific nutrition according to the needs your body.
Meal 1: Pre-Breakfast meal or Wake-Up meal
- Nutrient Groups: Fast protein and high glycemic index fruits
- Foods: Whey Protein Shake, Bananas, grapes or any other fruit
Meal 2: Breakfast
- Nutrient Groups: Protein, low glycemic index carbohydrates, and healthy fats
- Foods: Oatmeal/ Eggs and milk/ whole wheat bread / Paneer Parantha /Paneer Bhurji and greek yogurt/ Low-fat yogurt and sprout salad
Meal 3: Mid-Morning Snacks
- Nutrient Groups: Protein and slow carbohydrates
- Foods: Roasted chickpeas and almond nuts/dalia/ brown rice/ chicken/ mixed vegetables salad
Meal 4: Lunch
- Nutrient Groups: Protein, Slow carbohydrates
- Foods: Brown Rice and mixed vegetables sabzi/ fish or 2-3 chapattis with green salad and curd
Meal 5: Mid-Afternoon meal
- Nutrient Groups: Protein and low glycemic index carbs
- Foods: Baked sweet potatoes, Protein powder, Whole grain toast with almond butter, boiled egg whites, banana shake
Meal 6: Post-Workout Shake
- Nutrient Groups: Fast Protein and fast high glycemic index carbohydrates
- Foods: Whey protein shake or alternative supplement shake
Meal 7: Dinner
- Nutrient Groups: Protein, fibres, and low glycemic index carbs
- Foods: Brown rice, sweet potatoes, chicken/fish, Vegetables, beans and green salad, paneer, soybeans, legumes or dal, eggs
Meal 8: Bedtime Meal
- Nutrient Groups: Slow protein and healthy fats
- Foods: Whey protein or casein protein with cottage cheese or peanut butter
1. Whey Protein:
During resistance training, the supplementation of whey protein leads to greater lean body mass, according to research. In comparison to soy protein, whey protein is also more quickly absorbed by the body and therefore causes a more robust muscle protein synthesis rate. According to a study, consuming a post-workout shake comprised of at least 10 grams of whey protein and 21 grams of carbs after a strength-training session enhances muscle protein synthesis rate significantly.
2. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs):
BCAAs consist of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. They are the only three amino acids that are directly metabolized by muscle tissue, so they are particularly important for the immediate recovery of a bodybuilder’s muscle tissue. They are taken to build new proteins after intensive training. They form an important part of proteins and are readily absorbed by the body which creates fast energy to the working muscles.
Creatine is a great supplement that can help develop your body in size and strength, according to extensive research. It can boost lean muscle mass and augment strength gains. It also amplifies muscle energy and hydrates the muscle tissue resulting in bigger and stronger muscles.
4. Omega-3 Fish Oil:
Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy blood circulation and enable nutrients like proteins and carbohydrates to reach muscles and improve strength. Omega-3s can also help in fat loss by increasing metabolic rate and support the formation of the foundation from which thermogenesis can easily take place. Some other benefits of Omega-3 supplementation include joint lubrication as well as cardiovascular health.