Workout Routines for Men: How to Build the Perfect X-Frame
How should you train for the ultimate male physique? There are plenty of workout routines “for men” on the web and in magazines, but most of them just fall short. Too many sissy exercises, all sorts of cardio, and none of the hard, heavy lifting that really matters. Plus, most trainers fail to focus on the right body parts that give men that coveted “X-frame” – broad shoulders, big legs, and wide lats.
While you should certainly train every body part hard, you’re going to want to emphasize specific areas to get that powerful look – the kind of physique that movie stars, fitness models, and bodybuilders always want to achieve. Here are my top training tips for building that kind of body as quickly as possible.
Slam Those Shoulders
You can find all sorts of articles that claim this or that body part “defines” the male physique, but NOTHING inspires awe and respect like a huge pair of shoulders. From the time of the gladiators to today, broad delts are the first thing people notice about a dude who’s big and strong. It’s still important to build your chest and arms, but they won’t do much for you if your shoulders aren’t up to snuff.
The best way to build your delts? Presses, presses, and more presses. Some guys will disagree, saying that side raises and rear raises are actually more important. While those exercise do help to build wide shoulders, you’re never going to gain much mass if you’re weak at overhead pressing. You’ll rarely – if ever – see someone with a big military press who doesn’t have huge delts.
So, the first and second movements in your shoulder routine should be some kinds of presses. The classic, standing military press is my favorite, but behind-the-neck and seated presses can be just as good. Once you’re done with those movements, move on to the side and rear laterals, and ALWAYS finish up with some heavy shrugs. To get that full, thick shoulder girdle, you need to have an impressive pair of traps.
A Barn-Door Back
Big shoulders will show off your strength from the front, but you’ve got to build a wide, thick back to look good from all angles. Even guys who don’t weigh that much can still look imposing when they’ve got an impressive upper back. Plus, your back strength will largely determine how much strength and size you can build in other areas, especially in your chest. As Arnold always said, the quickest way to boost your “chest” measurement is to build bigger lats.
My favorites for back are the basics – pull-ups, heavy rows, and deadlifts. For most guys, building strength on these tried-and-true movements will lead to incredible gains in overall back development. Go heavy, go hard, and use straps if you need to. You don’t want your grip strength to limit the weight you can handle with your lats and traps.
Building Your Sweep
Forget the V-taper! Big shoulders and a wide back are only half the equation, and workouts routines for men should always include some hard-ass leg training. Most onlookers won’t notice when a guy’s legs aren’t developed, but a muscular lower body WILL set you apart. Besides, nobody who’s scared to squat ends up making ANY progress, anyway.
Of course, the foundation of any good leg training is the good, old-fashioned barbell squat. There’s no avoiding this exercise if you want to build as much muscle as quickly as possible. Not only is the squat the best exercise for overall leg development – it’s the key to growth all over your body! Heavy squatting forces your body to produce a cocktail of anabolic hormones – testosterone, growth hormone, and more.
Aside from squats and similar movements – leg presses, hack squats, and lunges – you’ll want to throw in plenty of calf training. You don’t want to look skinny from the knees down when you wear shorts! Don’t think you can get away with a few sets of calf raises as an afterthought, either. The only reason most trainees have a hard time with calves is that they hardly dedicate any time and effort to them. Do 3-4 sets of raises at least twice per week, and take each set to the absolute limits of your pain tolerance. When it comes to calves, you’re not really working until it hurts!
Staying in Shape
This is the kicker for a lot of trainees, especially pudgier guys who’ve been training for years. No matter how much muscle you build, you’re not going to get that X-frame physique without a small, lean waist. There’s no point in adding an inch to your shoulders if you eat so much you add two inches to your gut!
If you’re still lean, then you don’t have much to worry about. Just eat clean, with most of your carbs and calories around workout times. That’ll help you use the extra energy for muscle growth, while still burning fat during other times of the day.
If you’re already a little portly, however, you’re going to need to lose some weight. Don’t fall into the endless “bulk or cut” cycle, where you never really focus on one goal. Get six-pack lean with a low-carb diet, and THEN focus on building the mass. If you dial in your diet, you may even be able to gain a little muscle while you drop the flab.
Want to know EXACTLY how to diet – and train – for the ultimate male physique. For more nutrition tips and workout routines for men, check out Bigger, Better, Faster Now – the best source for no-nonsense info on building the perfect physique.