Building the Perfect Body
Black Thongs and Gorilla Ass
I saw her from across the gym, a stunning redhead, thoroughly BodyPumped, clearly HOT-ROX'ed, nearly six feet of mouth-watering womanhood.
And she was walking toward me.
Surely she's just coming over to use a piece of equipment near me, I thought. But then her eyes caught mine, she smiled, and she walked right up to me.
"Hey, you're Chris, right? Can I show you something... in private?" she said.
Finally, my Penthouse Forum moment!
She lead me to the door of the group fitness room, took a peek in to make sure it was empty, and pulled me inside.
"I'm kinda shy," she said, "so let's be fast about this."
Fast? Yeah, as if she had a choice!
Within two seconds her pants were on the floor and I was looking at a lacey black thong and two of the best legs I'd ever seen. I was about to drop trou when she stuck her left leg out, flexed, and said, "So, do I need to improve my vastus lateralis for a better sweep, or just maintain quads while I bring up my hammies?"
You see, ever since we started this Body Shop series I've been approached by people in the gym wanting their body parts evaluated. Last week someone dropped their pants and asked me to check out their glute symmetry.
His name was Earl.
He had more hair on his ass than a mountain gorilla.
I couldn't sleep for four days.
I always explain that while The Body Shop was my little project, the real physique expert here is Dr. Clay Hyght. He's an NPC judge, a medical professional, and a competitive bodybuilder himself.
So please, folks, if you want your bodybuilding potential evaluated or you just want some advice on building the perfect beach body, either send us pics or go drop your pants in front of Dr. Clay.
Unless you're a redheaded supermodel-type. Then I'll gladly examine all your parts.
Anyway, here's this month's crop of evals! — Chris Shugart
Info: Oscar is 30 years old, 6' 2" and 185 pounds. He's been training off and on since he was 15, but only became serious a few years ago. Oscar's current goal is to enter a natural bodybuilding competition by the end of the year, but he's really worried about his leg development.
Dr. Clay: Oscar, I looked at your picture before reading your bio, and the first thing I thought to myself was, "This guy has to do a bodybuilding contest!" Then I read that you plan to do a show later this year. Good call!
The reason I'd encourage you to compete is that you have practically a perfect frame for bodybuilding — wide shoulders and a small waist. That type of frame can't be found in a bottle or even earned; it's simply genetic. And it looks like you won the genetic lottery in that regard!
Another genetic blessing of yours is your small joints and relatively round, full muscle bellies. This enables you to look far bigger than you really are. And if you put on 10 pounds of muscle, it'll look like 20!
So, let's discuss exactly what you need to do to maximize the insane potential you have.
Your upper and middle chest are significantly lagging behind your lower chest. Without exception, you should always start your chest routine with an upper chest movement. Incline barbell presses with a medium-width grip and incline dumbbell presses are two perfect options.
Here's a great pre-exhaust superset that'll really help your upper chest: incline dumbbell flyes superset with incline barbell press. Although no one will be impressed with the weight you'll have to use on the incline press, they won't be laughing in a few months when your upper chest is jutting out from your collarbone!
Your shoulders are good, but not great. I do like the fact that your medial delts are so well developed, but your anterior delts are lagging behind just a pinch. That's not surprising since your upper chest is weak and those two muscles have practically the same function.
Although emphasizing your upper chest will really help your anterior delts, I'd also implement one anterior delts isolation exercise in each of your shoulder workouts. Alternating dumbbell front raises is one of the best. To get an even more intense contraction on the anterior delts, make sure that your thumb is turned down and pinky up a tad at the top.
Your abs are really good, but they could use a little more thickness. Keep pounding away at them, but be careful about letting your obliques get too thick, which they're just starting to do. You certainly don't want this to happen because it'll take away from your narrow waist.
Now let's discuss those freaky-ass arms of yours. Your biceps are absolutely insane! If I were to see them by themselves I'd assume they belong to someone about 40 pounds heavier than you. But not only are they big, they also have that freaky split between the short head and the long head. As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "Flippin sweet!"
Do make sure, however, to do a decent amount of unilateral biceps work to make sure that your right bicep doesn't get any farther ahead of your left biceps. If you happen to be stronger on your right arm, don't do any more repetitions with it than you can with your left.
Your triceps are also really good, but they're just a bit behind your crazy biceps. You'll know when they're evened out because then, when you're doing your front and rear double biceps poses, the eye won't immediately be drawn to your biceps like they are now. Do only two biceps exercises and three triceps exercises in your arm routine for a while. This will help to even things out fairly quickly.
Your quads aren't as bad as you think they are; in fact, they're pretty damn good! When you flex them I can see good separation between the three visible quads heads. They also have a level of development that's at least as good as your chest, shoulders, and arms (maybe excluding your biceps).
I would, however, like to see a little bit more "shape" to your front thighs. What I mean is more sweep to your outer quads (the vastus lateralis) and a little more thickness to your inner thighs in the adductor region.
Narrow stance hack squat and leg extensions with your feet turned in just a bit are two great options to help add some sweep to your outer quads. As for your inner thighs, I think they'll be just fine once you bring up your hamstrings.
Now, I doubt I'm telling you anything you didn't know when I say that your calves are lagging behind. However, there is good news. You have really long muscle bellies in your calves, so once they do get big, they'll look great!
Because of the density your calves appear to have, I suspect they have great neuromuscular efficiency (motor unit recruitment). The main reason they aren't bigger is simply due to their lack of volume and/or the fascia around them is restricting their volume.
To remedy this it'll take a lot of sets and reps along with some seriously intense and prolonged calf stretching. Until further notice, you should be hitting calves on three nonconsecutive days per week, followed immediately by some intense stretching.
One more calf tip: Make sure to do some seated calf work. This puts slack in the gastrocneimus and forces the underlying soleus to do the brunt of the work. Enlarging your soleus will widen your calves from left to right, helping to get rid of that thin appearance that your lower legs have right now.
Regarding your hamstrings... they're small. But they'll come up just fine as long as you significantly increase the volume of hamstring work. I'd also highly recommend training quads and hams on separate days. This will enable you to mentally focus more on your hamstring training and prevent them from simply being an afterthought.
Lastly, let's talk about the primary body part that, when brought up, will make the biggest difference in your physique — your back.
Your back is wide but thin. Largely because of your wide shoulders, you have a really nice lat spread. But your back really lacks that three-dimensional "pop" that it needs.
You're a perfect candidate for twice-weekly back workouts. Make one of those a bit more upper-back dominant and the other more lat dominant. Then stretch your back thoroughly after training it. Hanging from a pull-up rack with weight around your waist is a great lat/back stretch.
Oscar, if you can add about 6-8 pounds of muscle to your physique and have most of that go to your back, hams, and upper chest, you'll probably win your first contest. From there, the sky's the limit, man!
Info: Tyson is 28 years old and has been training his ass off for 14 years. He's 6' 2" at 224 pounds. He's lifetime drug-free and is aiming to do his first show this summer.
Dr. Clay: Tyson, when standing relaxed to the front, everything looks pretty good.
Symmetry-wise, the main thing I notice in this position is that you need larger calves, especially on the medial aspect. You're standing with your feet a bit too far apart which will exacerbate that appearance, but you still need to bring up your calves.
Here's a tip that will, over time, improve the neuromuscular efficiency and size of your calves: each and every time you walk up a step, finish by going up on the ball of your foot. Although people will look at you funny (I know from experience), it'll help to clean the cobwebs off the neural pathways from your brain to your triceps surae.
You could also use a bit more size and sweep to your quads. Well, let me clarify that. You naturally have a great sweep to your quads and you have a great vastus medialis. But since you're a pretty big boy, you could use a little more quad size overall.
Your traps, deltoids, and chest all look to be in pretty good proportion here, but your right shoulder is significantly higher than your left, probably because you're right-handed and lift and carry things more with that side.
I'd encourage you to get some Active Release on your upper traps (particularly your right side) in order to allow this area to "settle down" a bit. Then maintain that with copious amounts of neck stretching.
I also notice that your obliques are a little on the thick side, and it's obviously not body fat. Although I wouldn't recommend that a non-competitor do this, I do have a trick that I've used on a few clients with great success: Consider wearing a light, fairly flexible weight belt during all of your training sessions.
Although it may give others the appearance that you don't know what the hell you're doing, it dramatically reduces the activity of the oblique's, which, over time, causes them to atrophy.
From the side everything looks pretty good and symmetrical up top, but once we move below the waist your physique starts to have problems. Your hamstrings really lack the fullness and pop that they should have from the side. It also looks like your calves need work from this angle.
As I'm looking at your left side relaxed pose in particular, it becomes apparent that you have some big-ass shoulders! That's the good news.
Ready for the bad news? It appears (and was sadly confirmed with some rudimentary measuring) that your deltoids from front to back are as wide as your thighs from front to back!
To get some legs that match those delts, you may have to build some "wheels of steel" like my client, IFBB Pro Desmond Miller. In fact, I want you to print a side view picture of Desmond's legs and put it in your training log. Then, study it before and during every one of your hamstring workouts.
Overall I should compliment you on your posture though. You've got some of the best "upper body posture" that I've seen on a guy your size in quite a while. But make sure to stretch your chest and anterior delts on a regular basis to make sure it stays that way.
Moving on to your rear relaxed pose, I can tell that you're very upper trap dominant. To an extent, this will need to be rectified before your lats are able to be developed to their full capacity. And you'll certainly need to get your lats as big as possible, because you have rather high lat insertions.
Speaking of big lats, you also need to check out Building a Bodybuilder Back, but do so from the vantage point of being upper back dominant. And if you ever do shrugs again, you deserve to be kicked squarely in the balls!
By the way, let me politely say that your posing is not as good as your physique. But since this column isn't about posing, I'll just say to work on that, perhaps with a good coach.
Your side chest pose reiterates the fact that you have insane deltoids! And your chest is perfectly developed from top to bottom — a rarity indeed. On a slightly less exuberant note, the same pose shows that although your hamstrings are piss poor, there is hope, and they'll look good once they're filled out.
You also need to work on your arms, both biceps and triceps. To help you out in the triceps department, read my article called Building Bodybuilder Triceps. It looks like you really need to work on the long head. This will not only help you out in the side triceps pose, but also in your front double biceps pose.
As for biceps, try finishing your biceps routine with four sets of 15 to 20 reps of low-cable curls, with just 30 to 40 seconds of rest in between. This particular time-under-tension and rest between sets is great for maximizing the volume of blood going to your biceps. But don't waste that great pump! Immediately go stretch your biceps like there's no tomorrow.
Although you have really good abs, your lower abs are rather thin compared to the upper... sorta like someone drank two beers out of your six pack. But don't worry, you can get those two frosty beverages back by always starting your ab routine with an exercise that emphasizes the lower abs. Hanging leg raises are tops on the list, and good old reverse crunches are another good option.
Overall, Tyson, you have a great, really dense-looking physique. If you can bring up your lats and hamstrings between now and your show, your symmetry will be much improved! And if you can learn how to pose and manage to peak properly, I have no doubt that you can actually win your first show.
Now go get busy; you have some work to do.
Info: Jessica (5' 3", 123 pounds) is 35 years old and has been training for 6 years. She has no plans of competing in Figure right now, she just wants to look her best.
Dr. Clay: Jessica, your physique reminds me of an athlete's. Hopefully you take that as a compliment. But The Body Shop isn't about compliments, it's about building a physique that's as close to perfection as possible. So let's get to it!
To me, your standout body part is your midsection, and it's that area in particular that gives your physique the athletic look. You can further enhance the appearance of this area by strictly doing abdominal work in the mid-sagittal plane. In other words, try to minimize rotational ab work.
Over time this will increase the size and thickness of your rectus abdominals, thus improving the appearance of your six pack while minimizing the thickness of your obliques.
Moving upward, your chest could use a bit more thickness to it, but it does appear to be evenly developed. Therefore just focus on bringing it up evenly. So if you do two chest exercises per chest workout (which is about right for you), make one a flat movement and one an incline or upper chest-dominant exercise. For some ideas, read Building a Bodybuilder Chest.
Your shoulders could come up as well. It appears that your medial delts are a little more developed than your anterior and rear delts. To even this out, keep doing whatever abduction exercises you're doing (i.e. lateral raises), but add in more overhead pressing movements and occasionally an isolation exercise for the front and rear delts.
Your back has some really good development in the upper region, but it appears that your lats are lagging behind a bit. Although I doubt your goal is to have a back like a cobra, every little bit of width that you gain in your lats will make your waist look narrower.
Read my article called Building a Bodybuilder Back and do the test therein to see if my guess (that you're upper back dominant) is correct. If so, structure your lat training routine such that about two thirds of your back exercises are predominantly for the lats as opposed to upper back. Underhand barbell rows and dumbbell pullovers should be two of your new favorite exercises.
Your arms are good, but like you said, they could use a bit more definition. You can accomplish this by slightly increasing the size of your biceps and triceps, while simultaneously decreasing your body fat by a couple percentage points. This will give you the look that you want, but without increasing the actual size (diameter) of your arms.
A simple, but really effective way for anyone to improve their arms is to train them on a separate day. So instead of doing biceps with chest or back, and training triceps with shoulders, have one day per week that's dedicated exclusively to training arms.
Now let's move below the belt and discuss your legs. You mentioned in your email that you're torn between wanting them to look powerful and muscular versus long and lean. While either look is certainly fine, your quads are proportionately a bit thicker than your chest and back. This could be primarily due to the fact that you, like the majority of women, tend to carry more body fat in your lower body, and your photos weren't taken at the same time.
Another possibility is that you've put some muscle on your quads since those photos were taken. But even if that's the case, I suspect leaning out a tad will help you strike that balance between lean and strong-looking legs. So I wouldn't overhaul your leg training just yet.
You already have a great physique, Jessica. But by making the improvements mentioned, you'll have a physique that looks ready to dominate any sport and drop some jaws at the beach. Not a bad combination at all, I'd say! — Dr. Clay