Let’s face it, the majority of you reading this article, and myself writing it, only workout to achieve an aesthetically pleasing physique. This can be done by training to support muscle symmetry (the size and shape of muscles on each side of the body when compared to its opposite) and proportion (shape of individual muscle groups and how they fit together to enhance physical balance).


When it comes to bodybuilding, achieving good symmetry means attaining a perfect balance of muscle mass on each side of the body while proportion signifies how well developed each muscle group is from both front to back and from side to side. Think about it way, if you have one calve smaller than the other, you have poor  muscle symmetry, but if you have equally sized calves but they are not in proportion to the size of your quads, then you have poor proportion.


If you have poor muscle symmetry, you would concentrate on the lacking side of your body, in the above case you could do single leg calf raises to concentrate on growing the smaller muscle. If you have a case of poor proportion, you would concentrate on building your calves to be sized in relation to your quads.



Because bodybuilding is a subjective sport, there is no specific proportion to achieve. You will have to find a level of what you are happy with. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” applies to proportionality.


Tips To Help You Balance Out Your Physique For Perfect Muscle Symmetry



Concentrate on form


Even you are following a program which is designed expressly for developing excellent muscle symmetry, if you are not concentrating on form, your movements will not provide the muscle stimulation required to bring up lagging body parts (proportion), or sides (symmetry). Perform movements equally, on both sides, by eliminating momentum, keeping tension on the muscle and by focussing on the eccentric movement (downward phase). I know this may be difficult if you have a weaker side, but work according to your weaker muscle rather than the stronger one in order to bring it up. Also focus on working your muscle from angles that create the most forceful contraction.


Isolation and Compound Movements


We all know that compound movements are great for adding size and strength, however, we should never neglect then isolation lifts which focus on the specific muscles within each muscle group. For example, the leg press or squat may work the hammies, quads and quads, but they may not give each individual muscle within each of these groups even of a drumming. Isolation movements will therefore help to “fill in the gaps” as we work to balance our physiques and muscle symmetry .


The Muscle Symmetry and Proportion Workout


The following 8-week training program incorporates a wide selection of movements specifically chosen to ensure optimal muscle symmetry and proportion.



Try to increase weight as the weeks go on (where possible).

s/w = Superset with


Monday – Shoulders


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Side lateral raises
3
8-12
Bent-over lateral raises s/w reverse flye machine
3
8-12
Wide-grip upright row
3
8-12
Seated dumbbell press
3
10-15
Dumbbell external rotation
3
12-15

Cardio: 20 minutes HIIT (treadmill, bicycle, cross-trainer etc.)

Tuesday – Quads & Hamstrings


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Barbell squats – wide stance
3
10-15
Barbell squats – narrow stance
3
10-15
Leg extensions s/w walking lunges
3
8-10
Hack squats
2
15-20
Lying leg curls
3
8-12
Stiff leg deadlifts s/w standing leg curls
2
8-12

Cardio: 30 minutes steady-state (treadmill, bicycle, cross-trainer etc.)

Wednesday – Back & Biceps


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Pull ups
3
8-12
Reverse-grip lat pulldowns s/w close-grip lat pulldowns
3
8-12
Bent-over barbell row
2
10-15
Bent-over dumbbell row
3
10-15
Dumbbell preacher curls s/w incline dumbbell curls
3
8-12
Hammer curls
3
8-12

Cardio: 20 minutes HIIT (treadmill, bicycle, cross-trainer etc.)

NB: Alternate biceps and back training from week to week


Thursday – Cardio only


Cardio: 40 minutes steady-state (treadmill, bicycle, cross-trainer etc.)

Friday – Chest & Triceps


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Incline dumbbell press s/w incline dumbbell flyes
3
8-12
Wide-grip barbell bench press
3
8-12
Decline dumbbell presses
3
8-12
Cable crossovers
3
10-15
Reverse-grip pressdown
3
10-15
Seated dumbbell tricep extensions s/w rope pressdowns
4
8-12

Cardio: 20 minutes HIIT (treadmill, bicycle, cross-trainer etc.)

NB: Alternate chest and tricep training from week to week


Saturday – Calves & Abs


Exercise
Sets
Reps
Seated calf raise 4 15-20
Standing calf raise s/w toe press (leg press) 3 10-15
Donkey calf raise 3 15-20
Swiss ball crunches 3 15-20
Hanging leg raise s/w rope crunches 3 10-15

Note: alternate calf and abs training from week to week

Sunday – Rest



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