Workout Tips

Fill Your Frame for a More Muscular Physique

Pro tips from Mr. Olympia’s trainer on how to get the body you want.

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Fill Your Frame for a More Muscular Physique

A bodybuilder's physique has traditionally been described as an X, complete with wide shoulders, a small waist, and big legs. The term V-taper has evolved to describe men’s physique, a look focused on upper-body training. With the launch of the classic physique division in 2016, a new frame has been introduced to the mix. I’ll call bodybuilding “Bold X,” classic physique “X,” and men’s physique “V.” Follow these pro tips to maximize your frame (shoulders, back, waist, and legs) or build up into a bigger one.

Training Guidelines by Division

SHOULDERS

All groups will perform presses and variations of lateral raises.

  • Men's Physique: Rep range is 10–15. Achieve a combination of shape, roundness, and separation.
  • Classic Physique: Rep range is 8–10. Achieve a combination of size and definition.
  • Bodybuilding: Rep range is 6–8. Go superheavy for size.

BACK

Backs are trained for both width and thickness for each group.

  • Men's Physique: Rep range is 10–15. Focus on upper back (straight-arm pulldown, pullup, pulldown).
  • Classic Physique: Rep range is 8–10. Focus on upper- and lower-lat fullness (reverse-grip row, straight-arm pulldown).
  • Bodybuilding: Rep range is 6–8. Focus on thickness and width (deadlift, dumbbell row, barbell row).

ARMS

Exercises are barbell curls, preacher curls, pushdowns, and skull crushers.

  • Men's Physique: Rep range is 10–15. Shoulders should be balanced with your arms. Use high reps/light weight.
  • Classic Physique: Rep range is 8–10. Also balanced, but more size for both shoulders and arms.
  • Bodybuilding: Rep range is 6–8. For proportionate shoulder-to-arm size, you’re looking at more than 20 inches.

LEGS

Train your calves. In a close contest, that could be the tiebreaker.

  • Men's Physique: Rep range is 10–15. I have my guys train legs once a week (squat, lunge, standing calf raise).
  • Classic Physique: Rep range is 8–10. Lunges and squats, but not so heavy that they compress the torso.
  • Bodybuilding: Rep range is 6–8. Go heavy on all exercises (squat, leg press, hack squat, calf raise).

ABS

A well-developed mid- section establishes the rest of the physique.

  • Men's Physique: Rep range is 50. The waist is going to be the smallest of all the divisions. Body weight only.
  • Classic Physique: Rep range is 20–24. Ideal is 30- to 31-inch waist. Use moderate weight.
  • Bodybuilding: Rep range is 10–15. Use heavier weight to thicken the abs from multiple angles.

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